Raymond Westland caught up with Between The Buried And Me front man Tommy Rogers for a quick chat. They talked about the new EP – “The Parallax: Hypersleep Dialogues”, progressive music and BTBAM’s future plans.
Hi there and thank you for doing this interview. Your new EP, The Parallax: Hypersleep Dialogues is about to hit the streets. Are you satisfied the way it turned out and what are your expectations?
Very satisfied, I think we stepped it up a notch on this one without repeating ourselves. Lots of energy on this record. It’s hard to have expectations; we just wait and see if people like it.
From what I’ve heard it’s a concept album of sorts and the first instalment of a series of albums. What’s the concept about and what can we expect further down the line?
This record is an introduction into two men’s lives. They live on different planets and they are connected in ways we’ll find out later. The record is them dealing with their drastic decisions and their minds that are driving them crazy. Most of the album is them being by themselves over analyzing their lives. I can relate to this.
Musically speaking, “Parallax” still contains all the familiar BTBAM ingredients, but in a much more compact and focussed format, certainly compared to Colors and The Great Misdirect. How come?
It just happened naturally. We never plan when we sit down to write. We start and see what happens.
How did the recording and writing sessions for Parallax go compared to previous experiences?
Writing was just like it always is: write by ourselves, then write together, then record a demo of the record and go from there. Recording was very different on this record: we went to Toronto with a new producer(David Bottrill) and recorded it in 10 days, which is really rushed for us. I think it was good to try something new. Change is good for creativity
One of the marvellous things about your music is the seamless ease you combine death/metalcore with progressive rock/metal, jazz, bluegrass and other influences and make it actually flow. How do you guys manage to do that?
Lots of minds working together. We spend LOTS of time on our songs and a comfortable flow is always a priority.
Another stellar thing is the musical prowess you guys have. BTBAM is on the same page as Dream Theater and Opeth in that regard. What’s the secret behind your instrumental skills?
I think we become better players every record because we push each other. We love to play music and the more we play the better we get at our instruments. Part of growing up I suppose.
One of the things that plagues very technical bands is the fact it’s more about showing your skills than writing a decent song. What’s your take on this and how does this work for BTBAM?
I think being technical for the sake of being technical is silly. When it’s all said and done these are still songs. We don’t write music to show off, we write music to be creative and try new things. We aren’t afraid to write a simple riff with simple power chords… we just want to write the best possible song and shredding isn’t always fitting for the song.
BTBAM is often labelled as a “progressive” metal band. What’s your definition of “progressive music” and how much does this apply to your own band?
Who knows anymore? hahah. I think progressive music defines bands that try new things and don’t get stuck in a rut of repeating themselves. I would consider us progressive for us, but I do hate how easily that word is spread around now a days.
There seems to be a new wave of technical and progressive metal(core) bands with BTBAM and Protest The Hero leading the charge. What’s your take on this? Do you see BTBAM as some sort of a “leading” band?
It’s flattering. We are very inspired by other bands/musicians, so it’s amazing to know we inspire people. We hope to help these bands not be afraid to try new things. What’s the point in writing if you can be creative and fulfil everything you want to fulfil?
Time for the final question. When can we expect you guys over here in Europe and what’s next on the BTBAM agenda?
September we’ll be overseas for a month or so. Very excited to get back over there! Lots of touring for us this year, and we hope to write the next full length as well. Going to be busy times.
Do you have any final remarks or final thoughts?
Thanks for the interview, and thanks to anyone who enjoys our music! You are the reason we do it. Have a good one.