Interview by Jordan Sibberas
When thinking of the heaviest, wildest, most unpredictable acts in modern extreme music, few bands bring to mind the same furious tempest of styles and sounds of North Carolina’s Between the Buried and Me. Now, they are set to bring a special treat to Australian fans of the band, as they embark on An Evening With tour, showcasing their prolific career. Jordan sat down with frontman and keyboarder Tommy Giles Rogers to talk touring and the band’s progress.
Jordan: What can fans expect from Between the Buried and Me this time around?
Tommy: Well this tour is an evening with, so what we’re trying to achieve with that is show the journey that we’ve taken as a band from point A to point B, which is the present. And I don’t know, it’s been a long journey, almost 20 years now, and I think musically we’ve evolved quite a bit. I think a lot of that has to do with age. We’ve always been the kind of band that has never really pigeonholed ourselves in any trend and we’ve always tried to push ourselves in new directions. And because of that, we’ve written a lot of music, and a lot of different music. We’re doing two sets, about a little over two hours of music, and we’re trying to incorporate somehow all that in those two sets and kind of give the audience an idea of where we’ve come all these years. In the process, hopefully, give them a night that they’ll remember. We’re also stoked to get back to Australia.
Jordan: How have you found touring in Australia in the past?
Tommy: It’s always been really good for us. We were very lucky in the sense because when we first toured over there, we did two weeks and 14 shows I think, or something like that. And we did it in a van, so we got to see a lot of the country that most bands don’t get to see. So, we saw a lot of the small towns and seaside towns and just experienced things that bands don’t get to do. And, you know, we’re very lucky that we got to do that because as any musician that tours in Australia knows, you normally fly in and you fly every day, and you need to normally play maybe anywhere from three to five shows. I’m glad that we’ve experienced more than that. And you know, even when we do the smaller tours like we’re doing in February, it’s always a really good experience and the fans make us feel welcome.
Jordan: Does the technicality of your music make “touring fitness” an important thing to think about? How do you stay “in the zone” on tour?
Tommy: Yeah, it does actually. I can only speak for myself obviously, but you know, I think for all of us, it involves a lot of preparation, especially with a tour like the evening with. When we agreed to do this, we’d already done a European evening tour before all that we kind of signed on and committed to it, and in the back of my mind I was scared that I physically couldn’t do it. So, you know, touring fitness is definitely something that I have to really think about. There’s a lot of prep that goes into being able to sing and scream, especially for that amount of time. It’s not fitness in the sense of like, you know, pull ups and push ups and the typical like workout thing, it’s more about vocal fitness and just using things I’ve learned over the years and I’m learning how to pace myself and do things properly. Simple things like eating well and sleeping well and staying clean and all these things, so I make sure I don’t get sick because sickness is a singer’s worst enemy. So yeah, on a tour like this, all that stuff is very important, and you must be able to play for over two hours and play well. As for how you stay in the zone on tour; I don’t know. I don’t really think about it. Kind of like what I was touching on in the other question, over the years you kind of learn how to make it work and you learn new things, both about my voice and about things that helped me, physically or mentally on stage or off stage. And it’s just about finding the routine that works for you. For me, writing a little bit on tour on the side has helped me kind of mentally deal with the day to day a little better. I’ve been kind of bad about it lately, honestly, but it’s something that really helps me. I think the key is just finding a routine that works for your lifestyle and keeps you playing well on stage and keeps your personal life in check.
Jordan: How have the songs from the Automata albums been received live so far?
Tommy: Really good! Even after all these years, I still think we’re considered a live band. We’ve always toured a lot. We’ve always played almost all our songs we’ve ever written on stage. So, you know, when you’re writing you always have to think about the live setting and what you think will translate well and how you’re going to incorporate that well into sets. And yeah, so far the Automata run has gone really well.
Jordan: Do any Australian prog bands stand out to you in the modern scene? Do any older ones inspire you?
Tommy: Man, I’m really bad at on the spot stuff. I’m trying to think… Karnivool is a great band. I’ve always been really into Australian music. The Presets is a band I’ve always really liked, an electronic group. The psychedelic scene is great in Australia too. You know, the Murlocs? King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard are phenomenal band, and super prolific too. I know there’s more, especially in that genre, I really have gravitated toward the psychedelic scene and I’ve noticed that a lot of it comes out of Australia. So, I don’t know. I would love to somehow intertwine the world we are in and be part of that in some way or another.
Jordan: Being a frontman/keyboardist is rare in metal, can you tell us a little about how you find fronting a band from behind the keys?
Tommy: It’s definitely not as rare now as it was when I was doing it originally. It was kind of one of those things where people kind of joked about it back then. Keyboards were so weird, it wasn’t very accepted in the earlier days. But now it’s becoming more normal. And you know, I think people have realized the positive things they bring to music and how it’s one of those instruments where the sky’s the limit. And I think that’s what has drawn us to keyboards. Dan plays as well and we write a lot of songs based around keyboard stuff and the way I started honestly was just because I didn’t know what to do during instrumental breaks and I don’t like sitting around on stage. I don’t like not having something to do. I first got up a little Novation X station, that was my first keyboard with the band and I used it as a tool to create just weird noises and extreme noises to give our music a different life here and there and it evolved into what it is now. But yeah, I think it’s a very important part of the band at this point, which is pretty cool because it really wasn’t in the beginning
Jordan: Between the Buried and Me have achieved so much so far, what goals do you have for the future?
Tommy: It’s cool to see the evolution, that Between the Buried and Me have achieved so much so far. We’ve never really been the kind of band that, you know, marks it out like “Hey, in five years we want to achieve this, or two years we want to achieve that”. I think it’s just because anyone in this industry knows things can change quickly and you have to kind of take it day by day. And that’s how we’ve always operated. You know, obviously you have years planned out and your tours planned out pretty far in advance. But as far as goals, we just want to always really write music that inspires us, that gets us excited as well as hopefully our fans. That’s always the goal. And just to make the best decisions for the group and going forward. And that’s all we can do, and to take it one step at a time. It’s always been a slow climb for us, but we’re very lucky in the fact that hell or 20 years into doing this and we’re still it’s our career. Our goal is just to keep doing what we’re doing. Hopefully always getting better at it and maybe get in front of new people and gain new fans. That’s always the goal.
Jordan: Thank you for your time!
An Evening With BETWEEN THE BURIED AND ME
Thursday, February 27: Factory Theatre – Sydney
Friday, February 28: The Triffid – Brisbane
Saturday, February 29: Corner Hotel – Melbourne
TICKETS ON SALE 12PM FRIDAY SEPTEMBER 20
Live Nation pre-sale: 11am September 18 until 11am September 20
(ALL SHOWS 18+
One of the most innovative prog-metal bands in the game, BETWEEN THE BURIED AND ME, has announced its overdue return to Aussie shores for February 2020.
Renowned for their relentless touring, consistently delivering dynamic shows – a frantic, theatrical feast of intense, riffing raw energy – the American five-piece will tear through Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne for three intimate shows only this summer.
The shows will see Between The Buried And Me play two sets each night, with bassist Dan Briggs explaining: “The ‘evening with’ set is a curation of almost 20 years of music with the specific intent on realising what it all means in 2019 – how did we arrive here and where do we go?
“Sometimes the process of realisation comes from breathing new life into old material.
“Over the two sets of music, there’s a four-part arc that will play out in the form of one cohesive night of music spanning 2002-2019.”
Tickets for all shows go on sale at midday this Friday, September 20.
My Live Nation members can secure tickets first during the 48-hour pre-sale beginning
11am Wednesday, September 18.
For complete tour and ticket information, visit:
The North Carolina quintet – Tommy Giles Rogers, Jr. (lead vocals, keyboards), Paul Waggoner (lead and rhythm guitar, backing and lead vocals), Dustie Waring (rhythm and lead guitar), Blake Richardson (drums), and Dan Briggs (bass, keyboards) – broke-through with the 2007 the album release Colors, followed by The Parallax: Hypersleep Dialogues EP in 2011 and The Parallax II: Future Sequence a year later. 2015 saw Coma Ecliptic elevate them to new heights yet again. Not only did it hit #12 on the Billboard Top 200 but it also garnered widespread acclaim from Noisey, Revolver, Alternative Press, and The Guardian who welcomed the album with a rare perfect score.
In 2018, Between The Buried And Me delivered their two-part, eighth full-length and introductory offering for Sumerian Records, Automata (Automata I and Automata II), acclaimed by fans and critics alike.
In between studio sessions, the band launched countless sold out headline tours and support runs including a few Aussie adventures, their most recent back in 2016 in front of packed out rooms.