Sun. Apr 14th, 2024

Expanding the Universe. An interview with Dan Briggs from Between the Buried and Me.

BTBAM UptopBetween the Buried and Me are a band that combines many different musical aspects, including different vocal styles and genres, to create one of the most unique bands touring today. They’ve released a continuing story on their albums called Parallax, which is a tremendous set of concept albums. Having finished a tour with Animals As Leaders last November, the band was eager to hit the road in 2013. They are currently on tour with Coheed and Cambria in the US. Be sure to check out a show and tell them that Unsung Melody sent ya!

Today, I’m joined by Dan Briggs. Dan is the bassist for the band Between the Buried and Me. First off Dan, thanks so much for taking the time to speak with us today. We’ll get started by talking a bit about the music you have out there. Your two most recent releases, the Parallax’s, are engrossing concept cds, but some might argue that the story and characters were introduced as far back as The Silent Circus. What can you tell us about that?

There are certain themes and imagery that Tommy references in later albums, I couldn’t exactly tell you which ones… I know Mordecai makes an appearance somewhere, it’s hard for me to remember all our older stuff at this point really haha. The Parallax saga really begins with “Swim to the Moon” off of “The Great Misdirect”. The character in that song is the Prospect who is located on Earth in the Parallax story. “Bloom” takes place in between “Swim to the Moon” and the Parallax EP.

So what’s in store for your next release; Parallax 3 or perhaps a new chapter?

Nope, the Parallax ends with “Goodbye to Everything” so… that’s pretty cut and dry as to where the story is!

There is such a huge shift in sound and style from Alaska to Colors. What sparked the changeover into the ambitious progressive “space” metal band we know today?

Honestly, Ozzfest had a lot to do with it. We were on that tour, hating every minute of it, feeling a complete disconnect from the kind of band that we felt we were, and that was the beginning of it. I wrote some of the first riffs for “White Walls” and the end of “Sun of Nothing” that summer, sweating my ass off in the back of our bus just sitting there with my guitar and a pad of manuscript paper jotting down all these linear riff ideas. Right after that summer, Paul, Blake and I got together for a weekend in Winston-Salem, NC and wrote “Ants of the Sky” and that just set the tone. That song is still one of my all time favorites, and it’s really no surprise it’s the center piece of the “Colors” record. We feel the Parallax II is another jump forward from a place of being a little too safe and content on the EP. Fuck that, we’re always going to be moving forward. In a year or so when we start thinking of the next album, it will be a huge leap forward again no doubt.

The transition from Victory to Metal Blade is a huge jump, in my eyes. Can you tell us how it affected you, be it positive or negative.

It really had no affect on us mentally. Really the main shift during that transition was getting on board with our management. Our team right now is really the most important thing, it transcends labels and really is going to be the main thing in getting us to where we want to be in the future.

Coheed and Cambria wouldn’t necessarily be the first, or even second band I’d imagine you touring with. How has the reception been from the different crowds of fans?

It’s been pretty good. There’s obviously the first few rows of people that are there to see Coheed. They all have their shirts on and what not. But we have a lot of fans at the shows, and it seems like we win some people over here and there. There definitely are some people that seem sad/bored when we play haha, but that’s to be expected on a support tour! It’s just nice to play for so many new people every night.

How is the summer tour shaping up? I saw a lot of larger European festivals listed.

Yes, we’ll be over there for a month. Festivals aren’t our favorite thing on Earth, so I’d just like to encourage people to come out to the shows in between festivals and try to warm our spirits and make us feel welcome on that fucking continent.

You have another band called ORBS. What can you tell us about the upcoming release of that album?

ORBS is such a fun project for me. It start in 2007 after I had an overflow of extra creative energy after the amazing “Colors” sessions, and it was just fate that I met up with our keyboardist Ashley. The new material is just the next evolution and then some. I listen to it and think it’s completely different from the first record but it’s still very exploratory, forward thinking progressive music. It has a very A/B type feel with the record, where the B side is very quirky and more out there songs. I’m excited for everyone to hear it! We’ll be recording most of the music in May before I leave for Europe.

Bass players usually have a tendency to listen to music that is a little off the beaten path. What is your go to band when you are listening for pleasure?

That’s real hard to say. I’m SO all over the place with music that I love. On this tour, I’ve been listening to Steven Wilson’s new album “The Raven That Refused to Sing” so much. It’s an incredible modern progressive rock statement. I’ve been starting my days out lately with Ornette Coleman’s “The Shape of Jazz to Come” and “Town Hall, 1962”. It puts me in such an interesting mindset to hear such exciting music from the get go. That speaks a little bit more to my mindset with my fusion group Trioscapes.

Alright, we have a bit of a tradition around here. We always try to end on a random question. So, here we go; If you were introduced as a character into the Parallax universe, what would your character be and why?

I would definitely be a majestic sea creature in “Bloom”. I sing the “…we uuuuused you” falsetto line later in the song, so I’ve already kind of interjected myself into the song.

Dan, we thank you very much for your time today.

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