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Between The Buried And Me

For more than ten years Between The Buried And Me have been expanding their technical horizons. What once started as a technical metalcore act has by now, thanks to infusions from almost every genre imaginable, grown into a unique, sometimes unintelligible brand of progressive metal. On their latest album 'The Parallax II', also the full-length debut for their new employer Metal Blade records, the band pushed themselves harder than ever before, and it showed. Vocalist/keyboardist Tommy Rogers was so kind to discuss with LoM the creation of the album as well as the current status of his band.

By: Richard G. | Archive under different metal

First off some congratulations are in place for 'The Parallax II'. It's doing great in all the charts! Were you expecting it to do so well?
We don't expect anything, man. With this record and the state of the music industry right now, we really didn't know if we would sell much. It was an amazing experience to have such a great first week. We put a lot of work into this and it definitely paid off. Not financially, of course hehe, but when it comes to response. And that's what matters, you know.

This is your first full album for Metal Blade Records. What has been the biggest change for BTBAM since signing with Metal Blade?
We just needed something new and Metal Blade were the right label for us. They let us do our thing, they let us roam free and that is very important for us. We tell them what we are doing rather that they are forcing us what to do. It has been a very good experience so far. The biggest change is that they have a very good presence over-seas and that is one of the big priorities for us in this point of our career.

Obviously, a lot of parts of BTBAMs music can only be played if one has technical skills on his/her instrument. Which part on the record was the hardest for you to learn?
A lot of the songs are hard to learn for all of us. It's a lot of music and a lot of things to remember. But it is what we have been doing for over a decade. We practice a lot on our own and get ready for tours on our own a lot, so when we get together it all flows pretty naturally. So it is kinda hard to say. For sure for everybody there are harder parts. For me personally the hardest part is singing and screaming live. Physically that is just a lot to take on. I have to worry about my health and about not blowing my voice out so I can actually hit some notes.

Could you tell us a bit more about the album's storyline? How did you come up with it and what does it mean to you?
The basic idea behind the story is that there could be another planer exactly like ours. There could be another version of you somewhere. That is the case with the story essentially. There are two men that share the same soul, they are from two different planets and from two different time periods. In their journey nature kinda brings them together and that determined the outcome of all humanity. That would be the brief explanation. For me it means that the world has endless possibilities and what we see is not always what we get. Just because we have been taught one thing, does not mean that there are not possibilities in other forms.

Most musicians regard their latest work as their best to date. Does this also apply to you? If yes, what exactly makes 'The Parallax' your best effort so far?
I think so and I think it is due to the fact that we are just becoming better at our craft. We have been a band together for a while and with each record we are more comfortable and we really do well writing together. We are starting to understand each other more with each record and ourselves and what we write and what we can do. We really pushed ourselves with this record. We went balls to the wall and did not hold back at all. We put the most time we ever put into a record and that had a lot to do with it as well, Hard work pays off, I guess.

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Which parts of the new album do you enjoy playing most and why?
So far for me the middle section of 'Telos', the mellow part. Just because it is such an intense song and then it drops down so much. It is a really good part just to zone out. And then it build and builds and builds until the final release, which is pretty intense. That would be one of my favourites so far.

In the ten-plus years that BTBAM has been going at it, the band has been touring almost all around the globe. What have been the greatest places you have been and why?
My favorite places are the one-off countries that not a lot of bands go to. The first time we went to Mexico city was amazing. Singapore and Thailand. Portugal. All these places we have never been before. That kind of shows are the most rewarding. People are just so excited that you are there.

Where would you still like to go and why?
I would still like to do South America. India also. China would be cool. I'd also love to play Iceland, for example.

A while ago, a very interesting documentary was posted on YouTube by one of the guys in Car Bomb showing how hard the touring life can be. Have there ever been moments where you were close to throwing the towel? Does the touring life ever get too much for you nowadays?
Yes, it's very tough and everybody who says it isn't is probably rich and seventeen. It's hard to make money, it's hard to hold together relationships, it's hard to have a normal life. I have a family now, for instance. And it's tough being away from your loved ones. I am thirty-one years old now, so I've come to a point where I have to look at it as a business as well as something that I really enjoy to do. I have to pay the bills, I have to support people. I have to be home enough so that I can be a part of society, so to speak.

And that's just the tip of the iceberg, especially for bands that just don't make a lot of money. It's so hard now, compared to even when I started. Just because of the gas. It is hard to get your name out there without touring. And then of course your van breaks down. There's a million different aspects about touring that just suck. A lot of people think the life is like in the movies where you party all day and everything is free. But there's a lot of hardships. Bands and musicians in general are sad people, I think. It's a group of people that miss home and normal lives, sometimes.

In your experience, what are the main differences between European crowds and US crowds?
We are behind over-seas, so the main difference is that our crowds are bigger in the US. It is starting to get better in Europe, it's starting to equal out in terms of the fanbase and the intensity. Hopefully that will continue to grow.

These were my questions for now, thank you very much for your time and music. Hope to see you soon on stage somewhere! If you have anything to add, please go ahead.
Thank you for the interview and thanks to everyone who enjoys what we do. Hopefully we'll continue to put out kick-ass music that you all enjoy.

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