Artist Interview: Matt Traynor of Blessthefall

A couple weekends ago, I got a chance to sit down with the guys from Blessthefall, a metalcore band from Phoenix, Arizona. These guys have been slaying stages for years and although Sayreville, New Jersey was their last stop on tour with August Burns Red, they will not be slowing down too much after the holidays. Matt Traynor, the band’s drummer, was nice enough to chat with me and we even had a brief appearance from Beau Bokan, the band’s singer.


ROP: How long have you known August Burns Red?

Matt: Uh, I think we’ve known them since…I can’t count (laughs) like 4 years? Our first tour with them was with August Burns Red headlining, we were main support…there was Iwrestledabearonce, and I think Enter Shikari. It was real fun. That was in the United States and then we’ve done two tours with them in Europe, one tour with them in South America and then this one. We’ve toured with them all over the world multiple times and consider them our best friends.

ROP: How many times have you toured with August Burns Red?

Matt: Beau says nine. Is it really nine? Nine tours with ABR?

Beau: yea—total. Australia, South America, Asia, 2 America, 2 Europe..

Matt: I guess he’s right.

ROP: Every year ABR plays a Christmas show; would Blessthefall ever consider joining their show one year or writing a Christmas album?

Matt: Uh, I think it would be fun to do something. I don’t know about Christmas especially ‘cause they do it so well, I wouldn’t wanna.

ROP: (laughs) It is pretty awesome.

Matt: I wouldn’t want it to be like, “oh, Blessthefall came out with an album, it’s not as good as ABR’s” cause we’re kind of in the same genre. I think if we did something else…anything else; just an album of covers like New Found Glory or Blink 182’s, I think that would be fun.

ROP: That’d be fun.

Matt: That’d be cool; I don’t think it could top ABR’s covers.

ROP: What about your Aerosmith cover?

Matt: Oh yea…I’d like to do a whole album of that, that’d be fun.

ROP: How old were you when you started touring?

Matt: Oh my god…too young to drink (laughs) and I was forced to drink by Bullet for my Valentine. I think I was, uh, maybe 19 when I first started touring—just right after high school, I barely did one year of college and then we got our first tour and I guess it was all down hill from there (laughs).

ROP: Have you ever had to spend the holiday on tour?

Matt: Uh, we frequently miss Thanksgiving, we never miss Christmas ‘cause no one’s gonna go to a show on Christmas anyway. Um, we haven’t missed New Year’s yet, I don’t think we would but pretty much every holiday, birthday, anniversary we missed but it’s okay, you learn to live with it.

ROP: How do you stay connected with family and friends while on tour?

Matt: Skype, Viber, Whatsapp (laughs). It’s getting better, internationally it’s getting better with Wi-Fi and phone services and everything have been better so luckily technology has been getting better; you get to talk to everyone better.

ROP: I know, I felt like that was a silly question.

Matt: It makes sense; it makes a lot of sense. Out first tour in Europe, it was like, “well, I’ll talk to you in 30 days ‘cause I don’t know how I’m going to talk to you. I have a shitty Blackberry and there’s no Wi-Fi so…” Things are way different, that’s actually a good question.

ROP: How do you manage to stay up to date with your favorite shows or sports games?

Matt: Uh, luckily there’s websites, not entirely legal but (laughs) um, nothing anyone does now-a-days is legal.  Streaming shows online, there’s websites—I make sure I stay on top of it. I haven’t seen The League in awhile though; I need to catch up.

ROP: A lot of Google searching?

Matt: Yea, a lot of Google searching, find the right link!

ROP: Other than your own, what was your favorite album of the year?

Matt: Uh…I really liked Bring Me The Horizon’s album a lot. I don’t really like heavy music so much ‘cause we’re around it so much, so I like to chill out with some Ellie Goulding and stuff like that but Bring Me’s album was pretty flawless. I listen to it a lot so I would say Bring Me definitely.

ROP: You recently played a show in Philly, what do you like most about playing shows there?

Matt: We usually play TLA; I think that’s where we go. I’ve never—I cant really remember a bad show in Philly. I like the venues and I like the sound and I like the kids. I forget where we played this time—Union Transfer? Is that a new venue? I like Union Transfer—it was awesome. I don’t know if we’re going back on our headliner. I enjoy that place; I hope we’re going back on our headliner in spring.

ROP: Since Lights (Beau’s wife) will be having a baby soon; does the band have any plans during that time?

Matt: Well, after this tour, we have the holidays off and then we go to Australia and South America and as soon as we get home from that, uh, we’re taking time off for like two months and that’s when she is expecting and we’re just gonna hang out and get ready for our spring tour so it’s good. We need a break, Beau and Lights need a break, it’s gonna be a good time and we get to start practicing again, get ready for our spring tour—probably gonna play twenty songs or something, it’s gonna be a long set. It will be fun.

ROP: Who inspired you to start playing drums?

Matt: Travis Barker (laughs)

ROP: That was a really quick answer

Matt: I was in a punk band, spiked my hair, debated getting dreadlocks because he had them…me, Jared (Warth), Miles, our old guitar player—we were in a punk band and we were terrible (laughs). So yea, Travis Barker, and then obviously things went a little more metal when I started listening to As I Lay Dying. So, um, Jordan Mancino (As I Lay Dying) and Matt Greiner (August Burns Red); those are the three.

ROP: What was your punk band called? Can I Google it?

Matt: No Real Cause—I don’t think we’d be able to Google (laughs). I don’t think we’re on Google.

ROP: What’s your advice for aspiring musicians?

Matt: Uh, just don’t give up and don’t play into the bullshit you see with other bands, like “oh, you have to have three guitar players”, or a keyboardist playing synth. Just do what you wanna do, don’t try to sound like any other band, do your own thing and don’t be a dickhead (laughs). Be humble and make friends with people and don’t be cocky or you’ll never get a tour.

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