Guitarist Dan Briggs of the band Orbs took some time out of his incredibly busy schedule to speak with me about the band’s newest release, Asleep Next To Science. Orbs is what I would call a ‘super group’ of sorts. Comprised of Dan Briggs (Between the Buried and Me), Adam Fisher and Clayton Holyoak (Fear Before), and Ashley Ellyllon from Cradle of Filth, the band has many different influences to pull from. The band’s varied backgrounds and influences meld into what I would call a progressive, experimental and at times post-hardcore album that is quite enjoyable. Here is how the conversation went.
How are you doing?
Dan: I am doing well. I am doing a little record shopping and some burrito eating.
Where are you at?
Dan: I am in North Carolina right now actually. I am relaxing because I just got back from Europe last weekend with my other band Between the Buried and Me.
Were you over there doing festivals?
Dan: Yeah. We played about eight different festivals and then a couple of random one offs and it was fun.
Do you get to relax a little bit now?
Dan: A little bit because I think we are leaving again this weekend.
With Between the Buried and Me or with Orbs?
Dan: With Between the Buried and Me. It will kind of be our last run for this year. Right after that the Orbs record comes out and then we leave for about a month long Orbs tour.
Now that your brand new CD, Asleep Next To Science is complete, how do you feel about it and are you satisfied with the outcome?
Dan: Yeah, Definitely. It has been a bit of a process… waiting forever. We finished writing the album in early 2008 and then recorded it in early 2009 and now it is mid 2010 and it is finally coming out. I am super excited about it. I feel like it is some of the proudest I ever been about the music I have been involved in.
After sitting on for so long do you think there is anything you would like to go back and change?
Dan: Structure wise and song wise… no. Production wise… yes. But that being said I think the recording captured the songs at that time the way they should have been captured. I think the recording is a good representation of the songs. It ended up being a dense recording with keyboard textures and stuff and a lot of times they did not all come through. When we were mixing I didn’t know what be a good level for all of it so I would just wait for Ashley to say something. If she didn’t say anything then I just thought they were at a good volume. Little things like that. Overall I think it sounds awesome and I am pumped that it is coming out.
What was the writing process like? Did you guys all write together?
Dan: It was written by Ashley and I and it was me flying out to Arizona where she was living at the time for like for or five days at a time when I had off between tours with Between the Buried and Me. We would just generally knock out like two or three songs every time. Sometimes we would come in with ideas and sometimes there wouldn’t be much and something would just spark and we would go with it. There were one or two songs that were written without us even being together. For the most part it was the two of us getting together and feeding off of each others creative energies. We have such drastically different tastes and different backgrounds musically. Ashley has been playing the piano since she was 5 and she is schooled in classical piano performance. I actually went to school for classical upright bass performance as well but I was more into rock and metal so it is an interesting mix.
Can you give me some insight into the title, Asleep Next To Science?
Dan: It comes from the last song on the album, “Eclipsical.” I think we kind of knew that the title for the record might come out of that song. That was the last song we wrote for the album and it just seemed like a culmination of the writing process between Ashley and I. Once Adam had his lyrics and vocals it was like, ‘Oh my God. This is so great.’ This song represents everything about Orbs and it just seemed natural that the title came out of that. The title also lends itself to how we as people are always questioning things and trying to find answers and things.
I have listened to it a couple of times while preparing for this interview but can you tell me in your own words what fans can expect when they pick up a copy of Asleep Next To Science?
Dan: I think you can pretty much expect it to not sound like any of our other bands. I think it has two legs to stand on its own. I feel like people hopefully can put it on and just get lost because it is a long record. I think it flows really well and every song is an adventure and has a really wild story to it.
Are there any tracks on the disc that are personal favorites or that have good stories behind them?
Dan: I really like the two part song that is in the middle of the album, “We The Animal” and “Kid Cancer.” I love the idea of how people are so quick to judge and they question things without really even knowing anyone’s individual situation. Adam kind of wrote it from the sense of almost a Goldilocks and The Bear perspective. Where this person is taken in by these bears and then she turns on them because they are bears, when in actuality they were just trying to help.
I know you said you will be finishing up your touring with Between the Buried and Me but what kind of touring plans do you have with Orbs?
Dan: In August we leave for a month. We plan on getting out everywhere in the States. We are looking forward to playing all over the country and finally play these songs and get the record to people.
Any closing words at all?
Dan: We are ready for this record to come out and we are excited for people to hear it.