Brandon Saller says ATREYU's self-imposed three-year hiatus was "good" for the band, allowing him and his bandmates to pursue opportunities beyond ATREYU, not to mention providing them with a break after over a decade of regular touring and album releases. As one of the leading acts from the Orange County, California hard rock/metal scene that also spawned 18 VISIONS, AVENGED SEVENFOLD and BLEEDING THROUGH, ATREYU decided to take a break after the touring cycle for 2010's "Congregation Of The Damned" concluded.
"I think we were just burnt," Brandon told Cutter of Green Bay, Wisconsin radio station Razor 94.7 (video below). "We had spent, at that time, about 12, 13 years just wash, rinse, repeat. It's like right after we wrote our first album, it was write an album, tour for two years, write another album, tour for two years. I don't know [if stopping] was the smartest thing in the world, but it was what we needed. I mean, like I said, how we make music, it's very time-stamped. We're very much a band that will do what we feel, regardless of what the consequence may be. I think that at the end of 'Congregation Of The Dammed', that cycle, we were kind of like 'I feel like we're getting to that point where we were phoning it in a bit. We're kind of here and we're existing.' I don't feel that a band deserves to be in that position. I don't feel that fans deserve to be in that position, to be like 'I paid money to come see this band.' They may not know it. I think being in a band, is the coolest fucking job in the world. It's not a job. We're so fortunate to be able to do this. If you get up there and kind of go through the motions and collect your check, you don't deserve that."
He continued: "We needed to take a break and figure out what our lives were like outside ATREYU. That's all we had known; I turned 18 on tour. I was a youth. I was doing ATREYU and that was it. But it was good for us. Our guitar player had started a merch company. He really dug into that and had huge growth in that. Our singer at that time, opened a gym and started doing a gym and he's a trainer and all that shit. He did that for a while. I started HELL OR HIGHWATER and doing a lot more writing for TV and film, more writing for me. It allowed us to bloom in our space. I think that when we came back to ATREYU, we all just were ten times stronger in ourselves. I think that you could hear that kind of new unity. You could hear the growth individually that we all brought to the band."
Saller says that one of the reasons ATREYU was able to reform in 2014 was because they didn't split on a sour note. However, contact remained sparse between the band members during their hiatus, leading Saller to wonder ATREYU would ever reform. "I think deep down, we all knew it was a hiatus, but me personally, I had no idea," he said. "We didn't end horrible; it wasn't like a gigantic [break-up] and I fucking hit Alex [Varkatzas, vocals] in the face and Dan [Jacobs, guitar] like shit on my car. It wasn't like that. It was one of those things where we were all [thinking] 'I don't know…' We hadn't talked for so long. I talked to Dan every now and then. We kind of took our time. I'm always a never-say-never kind of person, but my head was so far into what I was doing. It was like 'I don't know if it's ever going to happen.' I'm very, very happy that it did. I think that what we've been able to accomplish in the past three years has been ridiculous. The kind of second chance that we've gotten as a band is insane."
ATREYU's most recent studio album, "In Our Wake", was released last October via Spinefarm.