Vocalists Jake Luhrs of August Burns Red and Beau Bokan of Blessthefall are spending their summers headlining Warped Tour, but the frontmen have made a goal to support their fans, as well. Three years ago, Luhrs launched Heart Support, a nonprofit organization built on a foundation of faith. It is a welcoming, online community that strives to encourage and inspire those who visit it and offer a place for people to anonymously ask questions or seek further help for challenges they may be facing. Heart Support will have a Warped Tour booth full of merch where Luhrs and Bokan will regularly be present for signings and opportunities to chat. We talked to Luhrs and Bokan about the organization’s Warped Tour plans and what the future holds for Heart Support.
Interview: Rachel Campbell
What is Heart Support?
Jake Luhrs: It’s a community for kids–basically for everybody–to discuss their struggles. Whether that’s with addictions to drugs, alcohol or porn or if they’re having relationship issues or they’re depressed, things like that. Anyone can come on to heartsupport.com and tell their story. We have a support wall with other kids to help encourage each other and uplift one another. Myself and Beau and some other guys have written blogs and done video blogs just about personal things in our hearts, encouraging words and what we hold onto as far as hope and things like that.
Why did you decide to start it?
Luhrs: I decided to start it three years ago because being in August Burns Red, I’ve always made it a thing of mine to go to the merch table after the shows. Time and time again kids have told me they really appreciate our lyrics and our music, and it’s helped them overcome. One guy said that he was going to commit suicide, and then he listened to one of our songs called “Redemption,” and then he decided not to do that. Another guy, he was a heroin addict for a few years, and at the time I had spoken to him, he had been six months clean. He said that he woke up every morning and listened to “Composure.” With stories like that, I really felt led to start this online community to give back to all the fans and all the kids to really make a difference and try to help more now that I’m in this band. In 10 years no one is going to care about August Burns Red or Jake Luhrs, but right now people do care, and I want to do my part to impact other people’s lives in a positive way along with our music.
How did the two of you meet and begin working together through Heart Support?
Beau Bokan: August Burns Red and Blessthefall have toured the entire universe together. I think we’ve been touring together since 2009. We always get billed on the same tours, and we’ve gone across the world together. We’ve become honestly, like, best friends. I say they’re our best friends especially in the music industry, so just touring together so much we have so much in common and hanging out all the time together. >>