Between The Buried And Me
One of our favourite metal bands Between The Buried And Me hit Glasgow recently to play a sold-out show at King Tut’s, so naturally we thought we’d catch up with the band to check how they’re doing. Bassist Dan Briggs tells us more.
Your recently released EP has three songs on it, and clocks in at 30 minutes. Does writing long songs come naturally to you?
Someone will either start off with a part or a series of parts and then once one person hears it – like maybe Paul [Waggoner, guitar] will play me something and I will instantly have ideas to spawn off of that. Because of the bands we like and we listen to, we’re used to songs that don’t wrap themselves up very easily – it’s like they have to go through a bit of a journey. Our idea of songwriting has gotten a little more expansive over the years. It’s interesting to see what we do on the next album – I kinda want to try maybe doing some shorter bits. It’ll be cool to experiment.
Because of all that, you get the ‘progressive’ label a lot. Are you happy with it?
Absolutely. When I was talking about some of the music that we listen to…Yes are obviously known for all that – ‘Close To The Edge’ was a three song full-length album – and there’s Rush, King Crimson, all these bands. They’re bands that I still listen to, and when I listen to them it’s like I’m enjoying it but I’m also just constantly learning and doing research. I’ve always been a big Zappa fan, but this summer I feel like I’ve gotten way into all the live stuff and everything. It’s almost like it was a lesson in school or something. That’s what I get from that music, and I think that’s what we strive to get in our music. We’re kind of like the musician’s band or whatever – we’re always trying to get better as players and as songwriters. It’s just like trying to satisfy that crazy urge that we have. So yeah, our band is always trying to progress.
Do you think you’re making prog cool again?
I don’t know. I would think there were already bands before us doing that, like The Mars Volta and Mastodon. There’s bands out there that are not doing it in a kind of geeky way. We kind of take from both worlds – we’re not afraid to be geeky.
Your music is very technical. Are you human?
Of course. When we write it at first, there’s always parts we can’t fully play yet, and that’s expected with every album. It’s not like we wrote ‘Ants of the Sky’ and then the next week we showed up and played through the whole thing. We wrote it and then seven months later, after we’d already recorded it, preparing to go on tour, we could sort of play it. And now we can actually play it. Four years later!
Who’s the most important member of the band?
We were playing a game before this tour where we were like ‘Who would replace each member of the band?’ We found replacements for Paul, Dusty and Tommy, but with Blake and I, they were up in the air. We said we’d probably replace Blake with Navene from Animals As Leaders if we had to, but they couldn’t think of a good bass replacement. I don’t think they were thinking very hard. But we’ve had this line up for about six years now, and if you were to take away any one piece and it’d be weird.
But you’re a bass player – no-one would care if the bass player isn’t there!
A bass player who writes music though…people may hear guitar parts and not realise the bass player wrote them. When I write though, I write on the guitar. I started on guitar when I was really young, and moved to bass when I was about 12 or 13. It’s always my go-to. I play guitar in another band, called Orbs. I’m always playing guitar, but I’m always playing bass too, so best of both worlds.
You’ve done a covers album in the past. If you could choose one band to cover your songs, who would it be?
We toured with Dream Theater, and we knew Mike Portnoy was a fan of our band, so it might have been cool when he was in the band. And it’d be interesting to see how a band who is usually melodic would interpret our songs. But yeah, I’d probably say Dream Theater.