The Metal Minute Awarded 2009 Best Personal Blog By Metal Hammer Magazine

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Take 5 With Dan Briggs of Between the Buried and Me

In their loud but strangely modest way, Between the Buried and Me has steadily evolved into one of the most important bands of the metal revival. Steadily is probably an understatement considering the blaster caster speed Between the Buried and Me utilizes at its grinding core is enough of a tempest to rival the fastest guns in the game.

What separates Between the Buried From Me, as well as their contemporaries such as Dillinger Escape Plan, Psyopus and Behold...The Arctopus from the rest of the grind pack, however, is their boundary-busting modes of progression between the outrageous velocity that serves to draw listeners into their challenging experimental chambers. Last year's masterwork Colors has become the new benchmark grind bands will be answering to, so much it'll be hard to top an album that seamlessly merges the propulsion of Napalm Death with the psychedelic soothe of Pink Floyd. In between are splashes of classic rock, country, electronica, jazz, salsa and other hidden spices that makes Colors as satisfying a serving as authentic Italian lasagne. In both cases, you'll be hard-pressed to replicate them accurately.

As The Metal Minute's (as well as my personal votes in AMP and Metal Maniacs) selection for Metal Album of the Year, it gives me immense pleasure to present this Take 5 interview with Between the Buried and Me bassist Dan Briggs...

MM: As the band has evolved over five albums now, how much was it badgering you guys inside to reach the level of songwriting that Between the Buried and Me is now at? It seems to me like Colors was the ultimate goal, using The Silent Circus as a starting point.

DB: Yeah, but Colors was so easy to write. It didn't seem like it was a lot, since the songs came together very easily, a lot easier than Alaska. With Alaska, me, Blake (Richardson, guitars) and Dusty (Waring, drums) had all joined around the same time and it was the first time we’d recorded together. Sometimes it was a mess, but somehow we got through it. We kind of see Alaska as a jumbled record, but we’re so glad that people liked it. Still, I think Colors is us being settled in and really putting out product that is of the five of us.

MM: I want to go back to The Anatomy Of... for a second. It’s one of the few cover albums I actually appreciate, because it’s more a blueprint of the band’s influences as it was a hypothetical preview of what was coming with Colors. Still, do you feel most people got the gist of The Anatomy Of... ?

DB: I think our fans did, but I don’t think a lot of critics did, which doesn’t really bother us. Everyone was wondering if it was going to have an effect on the next CD, whether it was going to be quieter, this and that... At that point, there was very little written for Colors, maybe just a little of “Ants of the Sky,” so I don’t really know that The Anatomy Of... had an effect on it. I think it was more about choosing some of those songs to see if we could do them and then try and do some of them live. We’ve played (Queen’s) “Bicycle Race” for awhile and some of the heavier songs live. I thought that album was cool; it was pretty beneficial for Tommy (Rogers, vocals) since it was a confidence boost for him to try those songs.

MM: I don’t know how to fully evaluate one single song from Colors since there’s so much going on, but taking a song like “Informal Gluttony” with the diverse tempo changes, the tribal beats as bookends and the “feed me” mantra, there really is a sense of gluttony from the standpoint of your muse since the song packs as much as it can into nearly seven minutes. I’m interested to know more about what fueled this song.

DB: That song was pretty much based around two parts: obviously with the big toms and drums in the beginning and kind of brought back at the end, and the chorus, which we’ve never really had before, like the repeating chorus that comes back. This one has more of a structure to it and it’s kind of based around--musically speaking--there’s the chorus in C minor and everything else was based around E minor, I guess. One of the goals of this record was to present long songs that had a lot going on in there, but to have it still feel cohesive and ferl like everything really belonged and everything mattered. A lot of that was having songs that were very key-centered, like in the same key or being able to come back and have that sense of a band like Opeth, who does that softly. They’ll write ten-minute-long songs and they’re all relatively in the same key, but they make it sound like it’s not quite as long.

MM: Good point. As complex and detail-oriented as Colors is, is it safe to assume you guys were exhausted after recording that album?

DB: I mean, directly after, yes. I can remember sitting down right after we got done recording--and I believe it was June or July--and I sat down with my guitar and I felt like should still be writing something! Maybe for like a week I was trying to write down some ideas and I had some stuff but then I was like, ‘God, fuck it!’ (laughs) ‘I need a break!’ So then I didn’t think about anything for a little while and then I had to focus on learning to play Colors live. I’m hoping soon I’ll be able to regroup and gather some ideas and get some influence to write more stuff, you know?

MM: Where you guys go mentally while playing this album live, as I'm aware you played Colors in full onstage during your fall tour? I mean, bro, you’ll have a weird breakdown that sounds like a Danny Elfman interlude in the middle of “Son of Nothing” before you guys start dazzling us with all of that senses-pounding note progression with--to my ears anyway--the Pink Floyd and Voivod tweaks. You guys obviously take us on a trip with each song on Colors, but as you’re playing these songs, where do you drift to mentally? Is it a whole different planet, or what?

DB: (laughs) A lot of people probably don’t want to know what’s going on through mine and Paul’s (Waggoner, guitars) and Blake’s heads! A lot of numbers are flying around and we very much concentrate on what we’re doing. Being more comfortable with this material means having more fun as well, and some parts fall off your hands a little easier, but we’re all pretty focused onstage. We don’t really go crazy or anything onstage; we don’t throw our bodies around because we’re too busy trying to replicate all the notes! We don’t really care about being crazy anyway.

(c) 2008 The Metal Minute / Ray Van Horn, Jr.

1 comment:

Thomas Garty said...

Best Band Ever.