So here it is – the second part of our interview with Dan Briggs. Here, we focus more on Between The Buried And Me, their tour with The Devin Townsend Project and Leprous, as well as a 10 year anniversary tour for Colors. Also, Dan talked about new material. Want to hear about new BTBAM? Read more!
It Djents: In 2010 Lamb Of God did a headline run with support from Job For A Cowboy, August Burns Red and Between The Buried And Me. It was literally my very first proper metal concert, and you were the first band I ever saw live! Do you remember yours?
Dan Briggs: My first live show was Stone Temple Pilots and Cheap Trick. They were opening for them, it was on the Tiny Music Tour in 1996 and I was 12. So yes, I do remember it, haha! It was very exciting. I was a huge Stone Temple Pilots fan. I was in my first band at this time, in the sixth grade. I was there with my dad and it was really cool! They were incredible!
ID: Sounds awesome! You just announced the upcoming Coma Ecliptic Live DVD. Tell me about the idea behind it!
DB: You know about it? It’s funny, we started the tour and we had no idea we were doing a DVD! It just crossed our minds, and the show our lighting director put together was so cool. So we thought, “We should capture this,” and we were kinda “Maybe we could do a one off show after the European tour”. Chris had to rent the lights only for one day; it seemed like a huge process. So we looked at our schedule. And we had a show in San Diego, just us, Devin was on tour I guess. Southern California is a great market for us, so we thought, “Let’s do that,” and see if we could film it there, which we did. Obviously, we wanted to capture this light show and visualize the record for people in Europe so that they are able to see it!
ID: So with Coma Ecplitic, you got more into a prog rock direction. Is your future music also moving in this direction?
DB: No, I think we just do what ever feels natural, if you know what I mean. Bands are always growing. It’s an exciting thing; we’ve written some music so far and it feels like the next thing.
ID: That sounds promising. So are you again working on a concept record?
DB: Yeah, Tommy already came up with one (a concept), which is kinda strange, as it doesn’t happen until the music is there, usually. We are kinda down with it. He doesn’t have bad ideas, he just comes up with things and it’s cool and we play or he changes it. As long as it has enough behind it to write for 70 minutes or so. I mean that’s a lot. So when he has an idea and sits down with it for a while and is like, “Oh no, I am two songs in and I think I’m done,” it can be hard. The Coma one had a lot of layers and depth; with the character going to these different worlds, I think he was like, “Oh let’s probably stretch that out.”
ID: Sounds even more promising and exciting haha! For this tour you brought back “Fossil Genera: A Feed From Cloud Mountain“. What was your intention behind this?
DB: We prepared for this tour, and started with “White Walls” instead. But no one really seemed into it after a couple of shows. So we just said “Fuck it, let’s not play it and play a song we actually enjoy playing.” So we are playing this one. It’s that simple, haha!
ID: How did you come up with the setlist you have been playing?
DB: We wanted to do a lot of Coma material and mix it with a couple older tracks that worked in with that material. So that was pretty much the thinking behind it. In 45 minutes it’s just tricky, but we can do it.
ID: Do you have a personal highlight within this setlist?
DB: I love the combo of the last two; “Option Obivion” and “Life In Velvet”. I get a lot from those songs. It does feel like a proper ending.
ID: It definitely works out brilliantly! I’ve seen a recorded version of you covering Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” on YouTube. But I’ve never found an official release. Can you tell us about that?
DB: Haha, you can buy it! We pressed a seven inch record of it, and it’s that and an unreleased song from the Colors writing session. It should be on iTunes. Maybe we should repost it, haha!
ID: I was even wondering like “Is this real?”
DB: (starts singing) “Is this the real life?”
ID: There is this band called Pangea who covered your song “All Bodies”. How does it feel to see someone doing this?
DB: I’ve seen that. They tagged me on Twitter so I watched it. They are playing it, so we don’t have to play it, haha! It sounded great! It’s pretty weird, as it’s probably a lot of work! That material especially was so sporadic and changed so much. They probably put a lot of time into it. But it’s very tight, it’s crazy! I was doing my best to cover Nirvana when I was younger…
ID: Looks like you are inspiring young artists! Do you see your band as a foundational part of modern progressive metal?
DB: I don’t know. I think we have been doing our thing for a while and I think it’s neat that we’ve been allowed to really grow. We haven’t been pigeonholed into something that we felt like we had to stick to or something. It’s not like Radiohead. Just imagine being forced into writing “Creep” over and over again. We have had such an interesting career and are able to try something new out each time. I guess this is pretty inspiring, and hopefully, if there are younger bands that are listening…hopefully they grab onto this idea.
ID: Most people have been speculating about a Colors 10 year anniversary tour. Instead, there was the Coma Ecliptic Live announcement… Have you thought about an anniversary tour?
DB: Yeah, the ten year anniversary is this fall, I think in September. When Colors came out, I don’t even think we thought people had hear it yet, but we played it on tour anyway. We were just like “Fuck it, we spent a long time writing this record, we are going to play it,” which was a pretty bold move. I don’t think we’d do that now. That idea -like, having a record out and touring on it from day one was crazy. But we had a lot of this “Fuck it” attitude. Also, we didn’t have a manager at that time, so there was no one like, “Maybe you should wait and get people get familiar with the music first.” It ended up working out great. There were never shows we played that seemed weird cause people were like, “Oh, we don’t know this record“. I think, even if they didn’t know the songs, it still worked.
ID: For me personally Colors is a journey that works best in its entirety. What is it for you?
DB: It’s weird sometimes for us; we have taken all the songs out of order and played them except for “Viridian”. It’s weird with “Ants Of The Sky”, we always have to figure out how to start it, because it just comes up out of nothing. You just dive into it. It definitely always feels better playing Colors in full. The last time we did that was when we did 2 nights in London – that was, I don’t know, maybe 2010?! It was our first headlining show in London and we played it on the second night in full.
ID: Colors still seems to be a fan favorite. What was different with about writing it compared to past records?
DB: It was very fun to write; we had a lot of fire behind it. We were trying to evolve quickly and rapidly but with what felt right. We all kinda pushed each other. I think that kinda didn’t stop! That energy carried over onto The Great Misdirect, Parallax, Coma.. We just made a change there in 2007. Back then, it was cool; there were new people that were just hearing the band and listening to us for the first time. I think a lot of people came around on that record.
ID: Do you also have a favorite record within your discography?
DB: In the BTBAM discography, it’s usually what we have done most recently, and I am very excited about Coma Ecliptic. I haven’t listened to it in a long time, probably since I was preparing for tour. But, at the moment, for sure that one! I feel like it’s really the only album where there is very little I would have changed looking back!
ID: A thing I’ve always loved is that you only put quality bands on tour with you! How do you pick them?
DB: Yeah, usually we come up with ideas and just send it off to our manager to try to make it happen. Sometimes it doesn’t work out with different timelines or financial issues. Our show budget has to stay in a certain range. It’s not like 50 dollars to come and see BTBAM and friends. We usually like to do three bands, us and two other bands – like this tour. Sometimes a fourth gets added on. I think we feel a lot of responsibility as the bands that we choose to tour with reflects on us.
ID: So let’s talk about the future; you are currently about to write for a new BTBAM record?
DB: Yeah, we started sharing demos before this tour, in the last couple of months. We have a lot of good ideas going, and definitely a good foundation to build from. That’s exciting, maybe taking some time to just chill at home for a while after tour and then getting back to it!
ID: What is your personal definition of the term “progressive”?
DB: Kind of evolving against the grain. You know, a typical experimental thing I guess. I think it is more of an idea than a genre or something. You see the gig tonight and it’s three very different sounding bands who are all ‘progressive bands’. That’s exciting, you know, every era that there is, with prog bands or whatever, you can take a handful of them and they are all pretty different. That’s cool and exciting. I think that’s the whole thing, and it’s always nice to meet up with like-minded people. We don’t always tour with prog bands, and it’s cool to hang out and talk shop with those groups who are!
ID: And now that the tour is almost over, are you happy with this or are you also a bit sad?
DB: I’m not sad, because it’s been a two year cycle on this album. And it feels right to be at home. We had a good run. At the end of the day, we are over here for a purpose; it’s a job somehow…. but we had fun for sure with Devin‘s group and with the Leprous guys. We didn’t know them before and they are very cool! It worked out alright!
We hope you enjoyed this two-part interview. You can go back and read the first installment here. You can also check out Between the Buried and Me on Facebook, as well as Dan’s new group Nova Collective here.