Was there some trepidation that The Great Misdirect would be a little too much like Colors? Colors was so well-received, did you guys walk in there and think you were going to accidentally make another one?
That was kind of a concern. When we started writing, we were like, ‘What are we gonna do now?’ Like you said, we didn’t want to do a continuation of Colors, we wanted to do something that was fresh and new, and we definitely did not want to repeat ourselves. But when we started writing, we knew pretty quickly that we weren’t going to do that. We knew that the stuff was going to sound way different, I think it does sound way different. For one thing, it’s not one continuous piece of music, which Colors was. I think songs stand on their own, and I think we achieved that goal of not repeating ourselves and not making Colors Part II. That was a concern for us and probably for our fans too. They didn’t want us to do the same album again.
You did do tours of Colors front to back, do you have any plans to do that with The Great Misdirect?
Right now, no. We did a CD release show where we did that, but for this album I don’t think that’s really necessary. I think Colors almost needed to be played from start to finish, because that’s how it was written. This record, I don’t think there’s a need for that. That’s not to say that we don’t do it on a special occasion or something, but right now we don’t have any plans on doing that.
Tell me about the Surround Sound mix that you did for the deluxe edition of the album. Was that the first time you did Surround Sound?
Yeah. It was. I’m going to be honest—I haven’t even heard it (laughs). We didn’t even know it was happening—that was a label thing that they decided to do it. None of us had the ability to even listen to it in Surround Sound; nobody has a legitimate Surround Sound system. I don’t think any of us have actually heard it (laughs).
We really didn’t have anything to do with it. We were actually pretty stoked about it [when we heard], but our excitement dwindled when we realized we didn’t have a way to listen to it properly in that format (laughs). I’m sure we will eventually, but we’re so busy, we never even thought about I guess.
Do you listen to your records after you put them out?
After they’re out, no. The thing is when you listen to a record you listen to it so many times when you’re mixing it or analyzing it to figure out parts that you need to re-record, you listen to it so much, to be honest, you get to a point where you never want to listen to it again. It’s not because you don’t like the music, it’s because you’ve only listened to it with this analytical ear, and you can’t get away from that. Every time I would listen to it, I’d be picking at a part saying, ‘Oh, I wish I would have done this different,’ or ‘I wish we would have turned this part up a bit.’ It just makes listening to music not fun, and it’s hard to listen to at a certain point. It’s kind of rough.
Does that ever change the way that you play things live? When you go back and listen to those old records, do you decide to adjust things? Have you changed any of those leads that you’ve decided are not cool anymore?
Yeah. I think you do. There are songs that we’ve played from the first album, and I’ll listen to that album now and my playing is so elementary compared to how we’ve evolved now. So you kind of spice it up a little bit, you might play a lead a little different, add a couple notes in, phrase something a little differently. Even as a band, we’re playing a song on this tour that’s from the first album, there’s a part where we slow down exponentially. We just play it a lot slower, it just has more impact that way and it makes it I guess more fun because you’re doing it a little bit different. There’s probably a few songs that we play a little different live. Nothing major, just little things here and there.
Have you ever wanted to do something major? Have you wanted to deconstruct one of your own works?
We’ve actually kind of talked about it would be cool to strip a song down and do a song acoustic or something, or maybe do a medley of a lot of songs, maybe an instrumental medley and try to tie in ideas across all the albums. Something like that would be cool, and we’ll probably do that eventually.
I don’t want to say the band is electronically dependent, but doing those songs acoustic would be really eye-opening.
Yeah. I think it would be cool. Certainly there are some parts we probably couldn’t do, but I think it would be cool to do. There are a lot of melodic parts in our songs that could be stripped down to their bare essence, which is in a lot of ways the way they’re written, just on acoustic guitar. Just strumming chords, and when we get into the studio, we layer it up and make it bigger sounding and more electronic I guess. I think it would be cool to sort of strip a lot of these parts down and just show people ‘Here’s the basis for what you’re hearing on the record.’
Is there ever a worry on fan reaction to that? I feel some bands seem to care a little bit more about what their fans might think of something like that, whereas other bands just do it and they don’t really give a damn what their fans think.
I see what you’re saying. For us, we really don’t care. I think we set this precedent for our career, for lack of a better word, where we’re pretty much gonna do what we want and we’re going to push the envelope as much as possible and I think our fans expect that at this point. I think our fans would embrace something like that, whereas a lot of bands couldn’t get away with that, their fans would consider them sell-outs or whatever. I think our fans are pretty cool in that they are willing to accept whatever we do, and at least give it a shot. I think they expect the unexpected, and that’s a really cool position we’re in.
It looks like you’re going to be playing in front of everybody. This is the world tour dude.
Yeah, I know man. Gosh. Brutal. I try not to think about it right now, but it’s going to be awesome I guess. I’m looking at a list of the shows the other day, and it’s so intimidating.
You’re going to Singapore I see.
Yeah. I’m amazed that there’s even people that listen to us in Singapore. That blows my mind. I think we’re going to Thailand too.
Are you changing set lists at all?
We will when we go to Europe, we’ll have to play a shorter set. We’re pretty much playing the same set throughout the U.S. tour, but we’ll switch it up when we go overseas.
The Great Misdirect is out now. Between The Buried And Me perform at the Fillmore At Irving Plaza on Jan. 30 and the Trocadero in Philly on Jan. 31.