DATE OF INTERVIEW:
BETWEEN THE BURIED AND ME
22nd September 2015
METAL DISCOVERY: The video for ‘The Coma Machine’ is a phenomenal piece of work. When that came out, it was like… “What?! That’s amazing!”
DAN: Yeah, our drummer’s brother did that.
(Dan Briggs on his reciprocal creativity)
"... I feel like I have a lot of creative energy but it only really comes to fruition because there’s someone else feeding me something."
Dan Briggs backstage at the Rescue Rooms in Nottingham, UK, 22nd September 2015
Photograph copyright © 2015 Mark Holmes - www.metal-discovery.com
Interview & Photography by Mark Holmes
Between the Buried and Me official website:
BETWEEN THE BURIED AND ME DISCOGRAPHY
Between the Buried and Me (2002)
Albums & EPs
Thanks to Andy Turner for arranging the interview
The Silent Circus (2003)
Between the Buried and Me official Facebook:
The Anatomy Of (2006)
Colors Live (2008)
The Great Misdirect (2009)
The Parallax: Hypersleep Dialogues (2011)
The Parallax II: Future Sequence (2012)
Future Sequence: Live at the Fidelitorium (2014)
Coma Ecliptic (2015)
MD: Yeah, he did the last one as well, didn’t he.
MD: Was Wes the auteur of that video; did he come up with the whole aesthetic and storyboards too?
DAN: Yeah, well, what’s cool about… I mean, that song on the record, the character is, basically, getting ready to go into his coma, and what Wes wanted to do was write a backstory as to why he would want to do that. That’s not something that Tommy actually talks about in the story or anything; that was kind of Wes’ call. And it’s really cool because, I mean, he found a guy that looks like the guy that’s on the cover, that was important, and then he recreated visuals from the album. I don’t know how he fucking did it because most of it is organic. The only effects stuff is the stuff that’s obvious, like post-production, special effects stuff. And I think, in the whole video, there was something like five or six cuts. He wanted to film it like ‘Birdman’; he was really inspired by that, like long single shots.
MD: Like Hitchcock’s ‘Rope’, I guess.
DAN: Yeah. So there was a lot of storyboard planning and stuff. Like, at this particular moment, on this beat, we’re gonna be in this room, we’re gonna do this and things are gonna come flying by. Shit, I mean, whenever he sends us something, we’re just blown away. And the fact that we don’t have to be in it is that much nicer!
MD: I much prefer videos like what you’ve done, rather than the band playing, or even the band intercut with a narrative. I think it’s a lot more effective.
DAN: I think the fact it ties in with the concept and the story so well, and that it came out before the record actually came out, is like a really good introduction to the story. Yeah, I wish we could fucking afford him to do a full… I mean, he would be the guy to be able to do the whole record.
MD: He’s your Alan Parker.
DAN: Yeah, but he costs so much! He does commercials for Pepsi and stuff. He’s like… yeah, he costs a lot! [Laughs]
MD: You need to start a Kickstarter campaign like Devin did recently. He exceeded the amount he asked for by something like 10 times. So, maybe…
DAN: Yeah, maybe, it’s possible. We’ll see.
MD: Every BTBAM fan will have their favourite album but, personally, do you regard ‘Coma Ecliptic’ as your masterwork at this point in time?
DAN: Yeah, because, for me, what we did, musically and everything, is the general idea of something I’ve wanted to do since I was in high school. Again, it’s just like I wasn’t mature enough to write a rock opera, prog metal concept album or whatever. And, you know, this year, in 2015, is ten years that me and Blake and Dustie all joined… well, right before when we started writing Alaska, at the end of 2004. So, it was like the year started for us in the studio making another album and just looking back ten years, like, “oh my god, I can’t believe how far we’ve come.” Even just how different the production of the record sounds compared to 2005. It’s insane and it’s been an awesome trip. I mean, the last few months, touring America was incredible and the album charted here for the first time, in Germany for the first time… which is cool. Coming over here, it’s always different worlds, and I’m sure it’s the same for European and English bands… we’ll walk around and see the O2 and we’ll be like: “Who the fuck is that? Why are they playing the O2?” And we look and, “oh, they’ve been a British band for twenty years but who the hell are they?! We’ve never seen them in America!” I’m sure that’s the same thing over here for us, but I think we’re kind of getting a cult following.
MD: Well, there’s an evil genius over here called Simon Cowell… I think he does stuff in the States as well, like on ‘American Idol’ or whatever…
MD: Cowell and Live Nation seem to dominate the music industry over here.
DAN: It’s so weird.
MD: It’s terrible!
MD: I gather you’re constantly working on various side projects peripheral to BTBAM, as well as Trioscapes and Orbs, so does maintaining a diversity of different musical outlets help you to become more forward-thinking and innovative with your creativity?
DAN: It does, and I think some people are under the misconception that I’m always writing so much music and I start a fusion group to do this, and a space rock group to do this… and it’s not that at all. I meet these musicians and I have personal connections with them, and then something develops. And so it’s all about I feel like I have a lot of creative energy but it only really comes to fruition because there’s someone else feeding me something. To that degree, I feel like I could just go back and forth, back and forth, forever and ever. I just started something with the guitarist, Rich, from Haken. We wrote an album… actually, before we even met. We met at the beginning of this tour, but we wrote this album and we’re gonna record it in the States in January. That was just another thing where we’d been emailing, we like each other’s groups, so we passed some stuff around.
MD: And how will that sound?
DAN: It’s awesome. It’s super different. The keyboardist is from Southampton and the drummer is in the States; he plays in Trioscapes with me, as well. I guess you would call it fusion, but not so much like jazz fusion. It’s like prog meets world/ethnic kind of music. It’s a weird mix!
MD: Sounds like it might be a bit like Subterranean Masquerade, if you know them?
DAN: I’ve not heard them, no; I’ll have to check it out.
MD: Have you heard of Green Carnation?
MD: They’re a Norwegian band and their singer joined Subterranean Masquerade last year.
DAN: I’ll write that down now… [starts typing the name into his phone]
MD: It’s prog metal with some world music… their new album came out this year; a long time coming!
DAN: Oh cool, that’s awesome.
MD: The final thing I was going to ask - can you see yourselves continuing to progress along the lines of ‘Coma Ecliptic’, or is it too early to speculate about where BTBAM might go creatively in the future?
DAN: It’s so early, man…. Sorry, I’m still writing Subterranean Masquerade! [Laughs] I’d leave the room and not remember! I have to write everything down; my calendar looks insane!
DAN: Yeah, it’s too early because we haven’t even played all the songs off this album yet. So, this time next year in American, we’ll probably finally get to tour, doing the ‘Coma Ecliptic’ album. Who knows, maybe we’ll do it there and then we’ll be able to take it elsewhere, if the demand is there for it. We started writing together a year ago, so it’s already been a year, the album’s been out a couple of months, we’ve played three of the songs off the album so far, so I think we’re gonna play two more on the next tour that we haven’t played yet in America and, yeah, we’ll just be chipping away until the fall.
MD: And build up to that full-on musical production!
DAN: Yeah, it’s pretty much impossible for me to feel like I’m sick of this and move on until you’ve played those songs fifty times or whatever; you know, until you’ve just exhausted them. At this point, I can still put them on and I’m psyched to listen to ‘em because we haven’t beaten ‘em to death on stage yet!
DAN: So, you know, talk to me in another year and a half and maybe I’ll have some ideas. I couldn’t even tell you; I’ve no idea where it’s going next… which is cool!
MD: Definitely. It’s part of the joy of the unpredictability of BTBAM!
DAN: Yeah, I know it’ll be different from this record, I just don’t know how.
MD: Right, cheers very much for your time.
DAN: Yeah, thanks, man, thank you.