Diversity in music has become a rare quality for many musicians, but what many bands lack, Between the Buried and Me has been making up for. This North Carolina based tech metal band has been putting out albums consistently for six or so years now, each one better than the last. The band’s fourth effort The Anatomy of, a follow up to 2005’s highly acclaimed Alaska, just dropped and consists of pure cover songs. I had the chance to meet BTBAM’s frontman Tommy Rogers in Toronto, Canada a very short while after the album’s recording phase had just finished. Standing outside of the Kathedral on the streets of Toronto and over the faded sounds of passing cars and random conversations, Tommy and I talked about the new record, Ozzfest, and more. This is what he had to say….
Alright, so to start off what’s your name and what do you do in the band?
Tommy: My name’s Tommy, I’m the singer and keyboardist.
Ok so after Alaska was finished, which probably was one of the best records of 2005, your next album The Anatomy Of dropped and is all covers. Did you just want a break from writing a bit and something to do for yourselves?
Tommy: Well yeah, I mean definitely because Alaska has been out for about a year now, so it’s kinda like an in between album before our next full length. It was kind of a breath of fresh air you know? A chance to do something new, and try some things we’ve never done before. Just cover some bands we think are amazing bands.
Alright, so was it easy to throw your Between the Buried and Me spin on each song like you had on “Blackened” while it was up for a while?
Tommy: Umm… yeah. It was a big challenge honestly, the whole record. It was a lot of music, a lot of different types of bands. But a challenge is good, and we like a challenge. I think it came out really well, and as far as our writing goes I think this record really helped us. As far as being in the studio and trying to accomplish certain sounds and learning how to achieve certain sounds for so many different kinds of music you know. I think it will just help us with our future stuff as well.
On the album what would be your personal favourite songs that were recorded?
Tommy: Mine would have to be Queen’s “Bicycle Race.” That was like… they’re by far one of my favourite bands of all time. And doing the song, I mean it was just amazing to do that song. It was a very challenging song and I was just personally very worried going into it. But I mean Freddie Mercury is probably one of the greatest vocalists of all time. But it was great to just be really challenged at that level. I think the song came out way better than I ever thought it would. I was very, very pleased with it.
After being here for about your third time this year, you’re finally headlining. Were there any real reasons to bring like, such a varied selection of bands with you?
Tommy: Umm… yeah. We like variety you know? We don’t want to tour with three or four bands that sound exactly the same. It was just a mixture of us wanting to mix things up a bit. Just for kids to hear some good bands that they might not have heard of before.
After this tour you’re on Ozzfest. How cool is that to have such a dedicated fan base to vote for you every day to get you on one of the biggest tours of the year?
Tommy: We’re pretty stoked about it man. And um, we really don’t know what to expect. It’s going to be totally different from anything we’ve ever done before. Hopefully we’ll gain some new fans. And a big thing for us is that there are so many bands playing and we stand out amongst all the bands. So hopefully that will be noticed.
Alright, so are there any plans scheduled for after Ozzfest is finished yet?
Tommy: We’re working on something now… I can’t really talk about it, but it’s going to be a really, really good tour!
So I pretty much have to ask this one. Are there any plans for another Giles album coming out sometime soon?
Tommy: I actually plan on starting to write sometime this summer hopefully. I haven’t talked to Victory about it, but either way I’m going to release it myself if a label doesn’t put it out. So I’m definitely going to keep writing. It’s a fun outlet, you know, something new and different outside of the metal I’m used to playing.
After the self titled Giles CD came out, you wrote the song “Arsonist.” Underneath the lyrics you had an explanation of its true meaning about one particular church. What kind of response did you receive from it?
Tommy: Not as much or anymore than I’m used to. Like when it came out, I got a lot of feedback, mostly good which I was very happy with. I just felt the song needed an explanation because just at first glance it looks like I’m just bashing religion in general. Which, that’s not what I was trying to get across. It’s more just that certain area of that religion you know? And that certain church and their beliefs. Honestly when I found out about that website and the whole whisper about this church… I don’t know it enraged me to write a song about it. I just wanted people to know about that side and be aware that there are groups that ignorant out there you know.
Definitely! So are there any tips that you would give out to someone who would want to do vocals as good as you?
Tommy: I don’t know… I don’t know if I do it good [laughs]. Just practice man, honestly. Being in a band in general nothing’s gonna come overnight. I’ve been playing music since I was fifteen years old and I’m 25 now you know. It’s a long road and you have to be very dedicated with everything… just vocally and just being in a band touring and everything. It’s all about patience and just practice. Vocally it’s all about just understanding your voice and not trying to do things you’re not capable of. And try to get your own feel rather than just like, “Oh this guy sounds good, I wanna sound like him.” A big thing about me when I started screaming is I needed to do it and just see how I sounded and naturally what’s going to happen with my voice, rather than imitate someone else. I like singers like that. I don’t want to hear a singer that sounds like everybody. I think being unique is a very good quality for any musician.
For sure, so any shout outs to anyone?
Tommy: Shout outs… I don’t know man… our fans. It’s amazing we can tour up to Canada and there are people who know who we are. So to this day, it’s awesome. This is what I’ve always wanted to do and I couldn’t be here without people who enjoy the music. That’s the main shout out. So thanks. [ END ]