Progressive metal quintet Between The Buried And Me are back at it again, rigorously touring the U.S. The North Carolina-native band continues to perform on the success of their 2012 release and their eighth album to date, The Parallax II: Future Sequence. The group, currently with Metal Blade Records, has been at it for years, playing shows and setting the standard with their sound for other outfits within the subgenre. Between The Buried And Me’s musical influences come into play with the blend that is their distinct sonic presence.
They bounce back and forth from thrashing riffs to heavy grooves, draped with guttural screaming. Between The Buried And Me have spent 2014 on the road and are preparing to continue on Meshuggah’s 25th anniversary tour this summer. Vocalist Tommy Rodgers set some time aside to chat with me about the band, his side-project, and staying grounded in the today’s machine of an industry. Below are highlights of all that the artist had to say:
You guys have announced plans to record and release a live rendition of The Parallax II:Future Sequence. What prompted this?
Yeah, we actually filmed it last month, right after our last headlining tour. It went really well; it was a lot of fun. Basically, we just played the new record live. We wanted to do something that was kind of out of the ordinary. We had talked about doing a live DVD, this way we could give our fans more of a personal connection to us, almost so that they could feel that they are at practice with us. That was kind of the idea behind it. We haven’t gotten into editing yet—we haven’t seen the finished product—but I think it’s going to come out really good. I don’t know the release date, but it’s later this year, so I’m really excited for it to get out. Hopefully, our fans will enjoy it.
You have toured for the early part of 2014 and now are scheduled to perform alongside Meshuggah for their 25th anniversary tour cycle. They are obviously a super influential and inspirational band. How did this tour with Meshuggah come together?
It honestly just fell into our laps. We just got a call from our manager one day, asking if we were interested. It worked out time-wise; we were kind of at the end of our tour cycle anyway. It was an easy thing to jump into. We’re very privileged to be a part of that and to have them reach out to us like that. It should be a good tour, for sure.
Are you friendly with the guys of Meshuggah already?
We toured with them about five or six years ago in Europe. We haven’t seen them since then, but we do know the guys—they’re awesome guys. It should be fun.
You have been playing shows seemingly nonstop over the past few years, riding the wave of your last album. When can fans expect to hear new material from Between The Buried And Me?
Well, we haven’t written a note yet, so it will be a while. We do plan on taking the rest of the year off, start writing this year, and early next. Once we start it, we will have a fairly quick release. We hope to get a record out next year at some point. There’s no telling when.
How does writing work for you guys?
Um, every time it’s totally different. It really depends on the track or the record; it’s a group effort, for sure. A lot of us write by ourselves at home, then we all kind of collaborate and work together to build the songs. That’s the shortened version of it. It really depends on the songs. With this record, we talked about the fact that it’s kind of time to do something new. Who knows if that will happen or if we will continue to grow our sound as it is.
How do you keep your performance as well as your voice fresh night after night?
There’s no rhyme or reason, I guess. It’s hard. As far as vocals go, it’s a lot about health. I have to really take care of myself; getting sick is a really big problem. After years of touring, I’ve just learned how to do it. I don’t really know how to tell someone. Drink tea, chew gum, vocal warm-ups before the set. Other than that, it’s really all about taking care of yourself.
What are your favorite and least favorite aspects of the music industry today?
My favorite is that I love creating music. I love the whole process and when the final product is done, it’s a feeling like no other. As far as the business goes, there’s a million things wrong with it. I feel like the musicians are at the bottom of the totem pole and we’re the ones that create the music. That’s a hard thing to digest.
Over the years with the crumbling of labels and all that, it had let the artist get into a spot where they can take it into their own hands, try and be a little more creative. You have to be creative now. A label is not the only thing out there doing it for you. People aren’t buying records. You have to find a way to get people to your shows and be self-sufficient. I still think bands get paid the least. They get credited the least. It’s corrupt. I think it will get fixed one day. It might not be in our lifetime.
What advice would you give to up-and-coming progressive metal musicians?
My advice has always been be patient. I think people want things to happen too fast nowadays. This is worse than it has ever been. Young kids think that bands like us are famous and that we’re filthy rich. They think that success happens overnight. They join a band, they tour, it’s miserable, like what we’ve all gone through. It is a struggle. I think people don’t expect that. If you love creating what you love then the patience part isn’t hard at all.
What are you listening to at the moment?
Me and my girlfriend are obsessed with Ghost right now. Their singer has another project that I have been listening to. That’s a tough question. I’m bad at naming music off of the top of my head.
You touched a bit on this before, that the band’s plans are to take the remainder of 2014 off and get working on the new record, correct?
Yeah, we don’t have anything scheduled. We’re going to start writing. I’m recording a new solo record in July which will be out in November. I’ll get that done before the band gets going. Hopefully, everything will go well with writing and we’ll put out a record that people will want to buy.
What are some long-term goals for Between The Buried And Me?
We’ve never been the kind of band to say, “Let’s do this and this and this.” We’ve always just taken it day by day. We’ve kind of done things our own way and we’ll continue to do that. We obviously want to grow. We hope to get better at our craft, write better songs. That is always the end goal.
Between The Buried And Me will perform at the Best Buy Theater in New York City on June 21 and the Theatre Of Living Arts in Philadelphia on June 23. For more information, go to betweentheburiedandme.com.