INTERVIEW: Upon A Burning Body

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Photo Credit: Sinestra Studios

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We spoke to Danny Leal (vocalist) from the Texas-based metal band, Upon A Burning Body just a few hours before they hit the stage for their first ever headline show in London at The Underworld.

You are currently on tour The Charm The Fury and Martyr Defiled. How’s it going for you so far? 

Yeah, it’s going good! It’s day four I think, four or five, it’s been fun!

Have you managed to spend a lot of time with the other bands? 

Yeah, we actually just went to a bar with them last night and it was fun.

This isn’t your first time touring in England. What have you found is the best thing about touring in England? 

I mean the crowds are always good here so that’s obviously the first thing! Other than that there’s no language barrier so we can understand everybody so that’s nice. We like it, we enjoy coming here!

Is there anything you don’t like about touring in England? 

It’s cold! We’re Texas boys so we’re not used to that cold.

What’s the weather currently like in Texas?

I mean it’s kinda cold but it’s not as cold, and if it is this cold then it doesn’t stay that cold all day.

Does the cold here affect your vocals on tour? 

I mean as long as you’re not outside for too long I think you can kinda deal with it. It’s no different from any other winter tour if it’s snowing because I mean we’re from Texas but even then, the States you go up to like Northern States and stuff and it’s really cold… snowing all day. So you kinda deal with that and you just gotta learn how to stay out of the elements that are gonna sway you this way or that way from being 100% or being hoarse.

When it comes to meeting your fans after gigs, do you limit your time spent outside? 

If it’s really cold I try not to go out after the set, I try to stay inside.

Upon A Burning Body just did a cover of Lil Jon & DJ Snake’s song ‘Turn Down For What’ for the latest ‘Punk Goes Pop’ album, what made you choose that song? 

I think we’ve done some kind of songs that have that party vibe in the past and on this new record we didn’t do one and so when we got the opportunity and got asked to do the cover album and stuff and be a part of that, we got the list and we saw that on it and we were like yes, this has gotta be the one.

Was it a fun track to record? 

It was different… we didn’t really go to a studio, they kinda bought the mobile studio to us and then we just tracked it and the machine just did its magic on it and it came out great!

Have you played it live yet? 

We haven’t yet, no.

Do you plan on playing it live at some point? 

We would like to, we’re working on it. It seems like everybody wants to hear it so we’re trying.

You guys released your album ‘The World Is My Enemy Now’ back in August, how’s the response been to that album? 

It’s been good! The songs are getting recognised faster than the other two albums did, so that’s always good to see – you release a song and a couple weeks later people are singing it and stuff like that, it’s been good.

How has your band progressed in relation to writing new albums? 

I think we’ve just paid attention to what the kids like, that like our band and what’s out there and the type of stuff that is getting the massive crowds involved and bringing those bands to be able to play bigger places in front of more people. We have toured with a lot of bands who are really successful and we just pay attention to what they do that their fans love and what we do that our fans love and we just try to mould and get that kinda direction. It’s a challenge, you don’t wanna stray away from what you’ve done so fast but we’re just kinda trying to find that.

Upon A Burning Body have been together for about 9 years now. 

Yeah.

How has touring together over that amount of time changed you as people? 

In reality all you’re really doing is working, you’re just trying to better your band and build a better career so you don’t really notice what changes, you just kinda go with it and you learn what things to do more of and what things not to do and just roll with it.

Every tour is like the first day of school – meeting people and learning their names and then you gotta remember them. Everybody knows it’s like “Okay, nice to meet you”, nobody is gonna remember anybody’s names until like next week. It’s one of those things, every tour is different but you just try to do what you can to make it a fun tour.

How did you choose the title of your new album?

It’s just from an emotion from the way I wrote the new record on previous emotions on past stuff and childhood stuff. It’s just the way you would feel going through all those things is like if the world is kind of against you because you’re backed up in a corner and you feel these certain different emotions and that is the base of how you feel, it’s just like that, like the world is your enemy so we came up with that and it worked!

Is there a band that you haven’t toured with that you would love to tour with? 

I think we’ve done almost everybody that we wanted to tour with you know?

Are there any UK festivals you would love to play on? 

Slam Dunk was fun but all of them! Any of them, I mean any festivals. I personally love festivals, I love the way it is – you can go out and look at all the vendors and all the stuff that they have and there’s a ton of people. Usually you’d play in front of five/ten times of people as you normally would so it’s just an opportunity to gain new fans so I love every festival that we’ve ever played!

I suppose the great thing about playing a festival is that you know everybody at your set had chosen to see your band over all the other bands playing at the same time.

It’s always nerve-wracking because you don’t know how many people are gonna choose your band over the other ones that are playing so it’s always like hoping there’s a lot of people!

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Photo Credit: Michael Mullenix

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Upon A Burning Body have played Warped Tour before. How was that? 

Yeah, it was great! We didn’t really go out and actively promote our set time, we just set up a signing at our merch tent every day at a certain time and we’d just go out there and sign stuff and meet people for a sec and that was about it. Mayhem had it a little more organised, we were actually in the Rockstar compound and they had it posted – the time we would show up and stuff like that.

We would do posters. We would write them out – we had posters and in the space we would write out the time we were playing that day and then we would just stick them all over the place. We’d do that but we wouldn’t walk about with signs.

When you guys are on tour do you go out a lot? 

We try to go out as much as we can if it’s not a long drive and we can hang out and if we have friends in town and stuff like that then we definitely try to go out and see the city or see whatever is popular, like the tourist kinda thing.

Have you had a chance to do much today in London? 

We have but we’re doing a lot of press so not really hanging out but we’ve been around the city.

How do you cope being so far away from your wife and child for this extended amount of time? 

It’s hard but it’s like anything else, I mean there’s a lot of jobs out there where people have to be away to do what they need to do to support their families so at the end of the day, we have to understand that this is what needs to be done to further your career so you kinda have to go out there and be in all theses places that are really far away. You just kinda gotta deal with it, I mean at the end of the day you can do it or you can pick another job that keeps you in one place.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

That I’ve been given? I don’t know… oh man, that’s a tough one. Yeah, I don’t know, I can’t remember!

What are your plans for the rest of the year after this tour? 

We have an Asking Alexandria tour booked for right after this one and hopefully we’ll get something together – we have some tours being worked out right now for early next year so should be out pretty soon!

Interview by Jess Pearson.

 

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