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14th April 2011
METAL DISCOVERY: You’re embarking on a month long North American tour starting in New York tomorrow…
(Tommy Rogers on being asked to provide guest vocals for Devin Townsend's 'Deconstruction')
"It was a huge honour...he’s just an amazing dude, you know, a nice guy. The fact that I got to be part of the record really means a lot to me."
Between the Buried and Me - promo shot
Photograph copyright © [unspecified year] Justin Reich
Interview by Mark Holmes
Between the Buried and Me Official Website:
Between the Buried and Me (2002)
Albums & EPs
Thanks to Andy Turner for arranging the interview
The Silent Circus (2003)
Alaska (2005)
Between the Buried and Me Official MySpace:
The Anatomy Of (2006)
Colors (2007)
Colors Live (2008)
The Great Misdirect (2009)
The Parallax: Hypersleep Dialogues (2011)
MD: How’s the pre-tour feeling for you – do you still get quite excited before you hit the road or just remain level-headed about the whole thing?
TR: We’re definitely excited. We’ve been off the road for a really long time so it’s kind of weird getting back into that mindset. It’s definitely exciting and I’m ready to play. We’ve been rehearsing this week and it’s been good to get playing again. I’m really excited to get playing these new songs out live and see how they do. Yeah, I’m excited for sure.
MD: Cool. And two of your label-mates on the tour too, Job For A Cowboy and The Ocean – are you a fan of their music at all?
TR: The Ocean, I’m a fan. I haven’t heard all their records but I’ve heard some recent stuff and it’s cool. I didn’t hear about them until a year or two ago. They definitely do some really cool stuff and I’m excited to see them live. Job For A Cowboy…honestly, I wasn’t a fan of their older stuff but I really, really, really like their latest record. Definitely a great death metal band, and we toured with them in Europe last year. They’re great, great dudes and friends of ours. I know they’re coming out with a new EP soon or something and I haven’t heard any of the songs yet so I’m excited to see what they’re doing.
MD: The Ocean are a great live band.
TR: Are they? Cool.
MD: And you’ve got Cephalic Carnage supporting too on a few of the dates…
TR: Oh yeah. We’ve been friends with them for years and years. They’ve actually been a band I’ve been listening to since I was probably, I don’t know, nineteen or twenty. So it’s always cool to play with bands that you’ve followed and listened to for years. It should be a good time.
MD: You’ve recorded some guest vocals on Devin Townsend’s ‘Deconstruction’ album that’s coming out this June…
TR: Yes.
MD: Was that quite an honour to be asked to do that?
TR: It was a huge honour. I mean, I’ve been listening to him since high school. He toured with us last year on ‘The Great Misdirect’ tour and it was just an honour for him to be playing with us. I became friends with him and he’s just an amazing dude, you know, a nice guy. The fact that I got to be part of the record really means a lot to me. There are some other really good singers on the record and the record is absolutely insane! [laughs]
MD: I actually interviewed Devin last month and he was describing ‘Deconstruction’ as the craziest thing he’s ever done.
TR: I really think it showcases everything he’s done. There’s definitely moments of…you know, the sense of humour he has, and there’s so much melody, and there’s mellow moments, and it’s very over-the-top. I love metal that’s over-the-top so…it’s a great record. I’m very, very excited to be part of it, for sure.
MD: He was talking about using a cheeseburger on the album as a metaphor for the inanity of pursuing the meaning of infinity, or something like that.
TR: [laughs] I don’t know the concept behind it but I know there is a song that involves a cheeseburger! [laughs]
MD: I think he said the guy in the story goes to hell to meet the devil who turns out to be himself and is then given a cheeseburger by the cheeseburger angels or something!
TR: [laughs]
MD: I can’t wait to hear this album!
TR: It’s a fun listen, man, it’s pretty intense.
MD: Since we last spoke in February you’ve done some live shows for the ‘Pulse’ material a couple of weeks ago…
TR: Yeah.
MD: How did those go?
TR: It was cool, man. It was very different. I was outside my comfort zone, for sure, but it was cool. It was good to be onstage and do something a little different, and play some guitar. I had some really good guys playing with me – Paul played with me, our guitarist. The tour was with…it was only five days but we did it with Stephen Brodsky from Cave In, he did some solo stuff, and then our good friends in Brave Young from North Carolina here. It was a good time, man. They were small shows but it was just cool to do something totally new.
MD: How were the audiences? Did you get many people turn up for those?
TR: It was small but I didn’t have expectations, you know. It’s so different and the record hadn’t been out long. We booked a tour pretty quick but…even though the crowds were small they were very excited to be there and you could tell they really enjoyed the music. I had a wonderful time.
MD: And did you play the entire album?
TR: Yeah.
MD: Are you planning any more shows or do you think you’ll do any more shows with the ‘Pulse’ stuff?
TR: I assume at some point but, right now, there are no plans. I actually had an offer for a summer tour but Between the Buried and Me needs to be writing, so that always comes first. I’m sure little things will pop up here and there but, as of now, nothing’s planned.
MD: And you’re over here in the UK with Between the Buried and Me for a few dates in September…
TR: Yeah, we actually just announced some more. Originally we were just doing London but we just announced a handful of others…
MD: …which is very good for us people who don’t live in London!
TR: [laughs]
MD: Is there any chance you can sneak a couple of ‘Pulse’ songs in there?!
TR: [laughs] Unfortunately not!
MD: Even if people start shouting out the song titles?!
TR: Well, Paul and I would be the only ones that know it. Maybe I could do an acoustic song or something! [laughs]
MD: Oh yeah, definitely. I’ll start a campaign online!
TR: [laughs]
MD: Two of the shows are booked in London at the same venue on consecutive nights – are you planning different sets for each of those dates?
TR: We haven’t even thought that far ahead! [laughs] Once we’re done with this tour then we’ll start to concentrate on the next one. I assume we’ll try to do something different. I think people would expect that so hopefully we’ll get some ideas together and play some different stuff.
MD: I read you’re playing Israel too later in the year as part of the September tour – will that be a first for the band?
TR: Definitely, yeah. We’re doing a few new places that we’ve never been to. We’re doing Russia, Israel and Turkey. I love unchartered territories for us.
MD: The final thing I wanted to ask – for people who will be reading this, what can they expect from a Between the Buried and Me show that would make them rush out and buy a ticket?
TR: Hmmmm…I think the fun thing about our shows is I feel like our music is just that much more intense live. There’s a lot of energy with the crowd and we try to always pick sets that flow well and create excitement in the show. I know for this US tour we’re doing some… not new ideas but we’re gonna try some sections we’re writing and try to make our set more like a big event rather than just random songs. You know, we’re trying to make just one big flowing set. I think it should be a good year and I’m really excited about what we’re doing. We’re playing the whole of the new EP as well. I assume we’ll do something similar overseas but we’re not sure yet. But, yeah, I feel like if you enjoy our songs then you’ll definitely enjoy them more in a live setting because it’s right in your face.
MD: Yeah, that’s what it’s written for, I suppose, really.
TR: Yeah, exactly.
MD: Okay, thank you very much for your time.
TR: Oh, thank you, man, I appreciate it.