“If I could get anything tattooed on my ass, it would be Michael Jordan getting ready to dunk into my asshole,” said Tommy Rogers, lead singer of Between The Buried And Me. For a band that claims to be “the most boring guys on earth,” Rogers’ choice of body art does not seem remotely boring, and neither is their music. An epic metalcore band straight out of the dirty south (North Carolina), BTBAM have managed to fuse the music stylings of melodic hardcore and metal in a way that most bands these days can only attempt to copy in their dreams. With the band’s latest release, Colors, being garnered as their best album to date, BTBAM can only get bigger and better from here.
Rogers talks about the concept of the new album and his childhood love of Glassjaw. Hopefully, for the band’s next album we will see the Jordan tattoo.
Usually Between The Buried And Me have been tour support for larger bands. How does it feel to be back on tour as headliners?
It’s great. This is our first headlining tour in three years or so. It’s reassuring that we can still draw kids on our own. The new record just came out so this is the first tour that we have been playing Colors start to finish every night. It’s refreshing for us to do that, since we have been playing the same songs for five years.
Your band name is derived from a Counting Crows song, ‘Ghost Train.’ How did that come about?
Basically, when we first started our band we were just sitting around the apartment. We started going through lyrics, getting ideas, pretty much getting inspired by bands that inspire us.
Paul went over that line [‘Took the cannonball down to the ocean/Across the desert from the sea to shining sea/I rode a ladder that climbed across the nation/Fifty million feet of earth between the buried and me’] when he was reading over some of their lyrics. We thought it had a very unique message and was longer than most band names. It was different, and from day one with this band we always wanted to do something different than what was done before. We thought it had many different meanings. A lot of thought goes into that statement. For me, it has a positive message: it’s what we do between now and when we die. That’s my interpretation of it as a band name.
What influences the fusion of melodies and metal in your music?
We’re big music fans as a band. We love all kinds of music. We grew up playing and writing metal, but that’s not really all we listen to. As musicians it gets boring to play the same stuff over and over. It’s always fun to progress as a band and push ourselves as individuals.
We love all types of music, and we don’t criticize each other if one of us wants to do something different with a song. Everything is always open to interpretation, as far as writing goes, with our band. It keeps things interesting.
How has the response been to the new album, Colors?
It’s been awesome. We really didn’t know what to expect because it is a lot different than anything we have done before, but at the same time it does have a lot of those elements of what we have done before. It just seems that every year we get more and more diehard musician fans, people who play music themselves. They can relate to this record because it is a little off the wall compared to what we have written and what other metal bands are writing right now. We’re excited to see where we are gonna go with our music. Who knows what is going to happen down the line?
The album sounds like one epic continuous song. Is it meant to be played as one track?
This one we wrote as one piece. We laid it all out and then recorded. We wanted it to be one piece of music, just cut up into different tracks. We have been playing it start to finish on this tour.
Bands in our genre don’t really do anything like that, so we said, ‘fuck it, this is the Colors tour. Let’s play the record start to finish since that’s how the record was intended to be listened to anyway.’
When you went into the studio, was that the direction you planned?
When we started writing [for the album], that was the only idea we knew we wanted to do; that was the main goal for writing. When we write, we don’t like to plan too much because we like to see what naturally happens with all the songs. It went really smoothly in the writing and recording process, so I wouldn’t be surprised if we don’t start writing all of our records like that from here on out.
What influenced the band to deviate from the epic metal of Alaska to the more melodic touches in Colors?
That’s the thing about us; when we write, we don’t ever plan out what we are gonna do. We just write and see what happens. With Colors, we just went with it as musicians where we are right now in our lives. We found a comfort zone in ourselves and among each other, as far as writing goes, and found the sound we have been trying to achieve since day one.
Is the band excited to be playing Saints And Sinners this year?
We definitely are. We really don’t know what to expect; we’re worried about set length. [We’re] playing an hour and 15 minutes every night, so we need to figure out how to put our songs into a 30 or 40 minute set.
Who are you most excited to see play?
Glassjaw. They’re a band I grew up listening to, so it would be cool to see them.
Between The Buried And Me played the second day of the Saints And Sinners Festival on Sun., Nov. 4. Their new album, Colors, is in stores now. Fore more visit betweentheburiedandme.com.