Between the Buried and Me

"...we're boring people, and take it easy."

Between the Buried and Me played a spectacular show in Montreal on August 5th, 2015 at Club Soda with Animals as Leaders and The Contortionist. CJLO's Phil Aveline had a chance to sit down with bassist Dan Briggs before the show to chat about progressive metal and the food catering at Heavy Montreal.

Have a listen right now, courtesy of

How many times now have you played Montreal?

We're usually here a couple of times a year, at least 20 or 30 times!

You've been playing with Between The Buried and Me for how long now?

I've been playing with Between the Buried and Me for about 10 and a half years.

When you were here last time you played the entire Parallax II record in its entirety, how come you missed a few stops on the tour, you were doing a couple of shows and not hitting the east coast of Canada.

It's different we go every tour, we don't try to hit the same cities ever tour. We're gonna be coming back in November to play Toronto.

Why is it that you're coming back in November to play Toronto?

So we can tour longer, and be able to play the cities without exhausting them. Like a repeating cycle, we wouldn't play Toronto five times, there would be less people there.

Now that the album is out, are you guys really happy about how it turned out and how well the critics and how they're responding to it?

Yeah, it's gotten great responses, and for us the material was something new and a step in the new direction. It's really important that we write music for ourselves and that's what's important. We're not a band critics usually like, with songs being too all over the place. I really like opening up records and devouring them, and I take a lot of influence from my old records.

Do you have any plans for a DVD release like what you did for Parallax II?

Yeah, we just need to learn the songs, maybe a tour with the whole record or so after that, will make it.

Do you know if you're going to have a long tour span like Colors for this record?

Yeah, we're going to play the whole record soon, in the near future with touring.

What do you guys do in your spare time?

On tour, nothing. Because we're boring people and take it easy. Our big adventures are finding food or coffee, as well as seeing friends if they're coming to the show. But just hanging out and laying low at home. It's the same, we just play music, and I have a lot of other projects as well. Couple of us are into sports, we're really big into football, basketball, and baseball.

What other type of genre of music do you like writing other than progressive music?

Forward thinking music I guess. I'm in three bands, and people know about them. I also wrote a new record with a band nobody knows about them. I have a fifth project that's completely different. I don't want to repeat myself, it's not my thing.

I met a couple of people outside, and they were from Halifax. I was wondering, why do you guys not go to Halifax?

I met some people from Halifax last night. I guess we gotta get up there!

Where was your head when you say we're writing The Great Misdirect, Colors, and The Parallax Saga, compared to whatever your writing today, would those albums sound different if they were written today?

Definitely. It's like doing something more with less back then. We're just doing more. We want to do more. It was hard a few times for some songs that we wrote that were seven minutes long, and not know if we were near the middle or the end, it was hard to find the vision for it. That seems weird for me now, bands just structurally form their songs, we need to consistently evolve. We also need to focus on what the future holds.

What album would you recommend for someone who's just jumping into the Between The Buried and Me discography?

Coma Ecliptic. It's what the band is now, and what the closest jumping-off point into the future.

The earlier albums sounded a lot more metalcore and technical death metal, what made you guys want to go into the more modern progressive metal domain? There's a lot of classical prog rock in there.

That's what I've listened too for a really long time, 10 to 15 years, that was my main influence to music. And it's the forefront. We have seven hours mix of death metal, and proggy stuff. We're on to something new.

What would be the ultimate tour and who would you put as openers?

I would love to tour with Pain of Salvation. We're going to Europe with one of my favourite bands, Haken, we would like to bring them here to America. More practical ones, maybe Soundgarden, Faith No More, Refused. That'd be great.

I noticed last time you were here, you guys played Heavy Montreal, how did you guys like that experience?

I don't really remember, I know it was a huge festival. The catering was good though.

I know as well a couple of months ago you played Bonaroo. How was that experience?

It was one of the best festival experiences we've ever had. Really well organized, diverse, and good catering. Got to see a few bands like Tears for Fears, which was incredible. Our show was really good.

Was there any positive reaction towards your set, and did you recognize any fans in the crowd?

Nope, wasn't really paying attention. Focusing on playing and being on stage.

When you released "Memory Palace" as a single, how was the reaction like from critics?

It seemed good, we took it on tour right after that and it's a fun song to play live.

Is the whole Parallax story related to Coma Ecliptic at all, or is it its own story?

It's a totally different story.

Because I know that Prospect 1 and 2 were drifted away, they would've been linked.

Prospect 1 and 2 died at the end, Goodbye to Everything was a very true statement that they were dead, then it's something new.

I also noticed that in the album that the different songs, are like episodes in a Twilight Zone-esque fashion.

We made each song to have its own unique identity, so they connected to a much bigger story.

In the new album, I noticed that there was a lot of reprises in the songs "Famine Wolf", "Memory Palace", and "The Coma Machine" that end up in the final track "Life In Velvet". Do you care to please explain how they are reprised?

We were trying to write a big conceptual piece of music, based off of musical variations you would hear in classical music, and a lot of inspiration from Quadrophenia from The Who, pictures of Exhibition Mussorgsky, as well as musicals from Andrew Lloyd Webber, Stephen Sondheim, big dramatic pieces of work that were not really rock inspired.

How come is that you look at these albums/artists and contribute them to your music?

It's part of my DNA, that's what makes me, me. The music I write, the music I enjoy.

Why is it now a days, that you're doing a set, and you don't really play much material say off of, Alaska/Silent Cirus/Self titled?

Most of the crowd does not know that material, it doesn't resonate with the audience that much that come out to see our shows now. It's just awkward and weird now. If we play a song once in a blue moon, we would play "Mordecai" once every so often in a tour cycle. The Silent Circus was a totally different band, that material just comes from a totally different place, more aggressive hardcore rage.

Is there any sort of secret, or b-side material that you have left over from any other records, that you'd like to release soon as a compilation?

No, we really do not have left over material, all the guitar riffs that we use usually dissolve with our writing process, if it does not work in a song we just throw it away and move on to something new. It's not moving backwards, it's moving forwards.

You did something at the New England Metal Festival. Something really awesome and special.

We did "Bohemian Rhapsody"!

What can we expect from Between the Buried and Me in the future, new sound, or something greater beyond fan expectations?

Musically, I have no idea. We have just put this new record out, go on tour, and promote it.

Paul's new guitar line up from Ibanez, is it out yet?

I don't know shit about the guitar, but he is playing it on this tour. It's nice, he likes it. It's a Paul question. I don't think it's been released.

What's it like during the pre-production mindset.

We just go through one song at a time. For this record, we got up Monday through Wednesday. We'd jam how the song is laid out, work on it with Blake [Richardson], part by part, one section at a time like a demo. After that we put the guitars down Wednesdays, and then we go home and listen to it, and prepare the next song. If there's anything we wanted to change we do that Mondays. But we started early September and we were finished writing in November. We had a month and a half to work on parts and went to the studio in January and just did it.

I know that you work a lot with [engineer] Jamie King. Have you contributed to any of his projects that he's done?

No, not really. He had me play bass on this one project he was doing but that was a long time ago.