Cross Country – Dustie Waring of Between The Buried And Me

by JustinReich_04

Between The Buried And Me. Photo credit by Justin Reich

It’s been a long two years of waiting for UK fans of prog metal pioneers Between the Buried and Me. Now, fresh from the summer release of the widely acclaimed Coma Ecliptic (Metal Blade), Ghost Cult caught up with BTBAM’s  guitarist  Dustie Waring on their current world tour, ahead of their recent London show.

BTBAM_ComaEcliptic_2015

There have been some fantastic reviews for the new record; you must be really proud of it?

Yeah, we are. It was something really different for us, musically. We try to never repeat ourselves so the fact that people like it and support us is giving all of us a pretty incredible feeling.

When you’re in a band like BTBAM that have so many ideas going around, how do you decide between what’s working and going to work and what should be discarded?

There’s always a lot of ideas because everyone in the band contributes but the process is a fairly straightforward one: if we like something collectively, it’s in. If a piece doesn’t fit quite right in one place but is going to fit in another then we simply move stuff around: it’s pretty democratic and open.

Did you have any arguments you had when making the record?

You know, we don’t have arguments. At all. We are a very rare band in that regard. I guess we are like brothers, like family. Don’t get me wrong: we are all brutal with each other from a sense of humour perspective; we have a very dark sense of humour, but there’s never ever been arguments in our entire career – we just don’t do that.

When it comes to the live show, given the vast range of styles, how do you pick what should go into the BTBAM set?

Dan (Briggs, bass guitar) keeps a log of every set list from every tour so we look back and remind ourselves what we have been doing and what we have missed out on. Obviously, we are trying to promote  a new record so we will be doing stuff off that, but we kinda just try to play the bangers off the important stuff. Stuff everyone likes. There’s songs from every record – almost- and a fun little encore that we do (Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody, fact fans).

 

Between The Buried And Me, by Jessica Lotti Photography

Between The Buried And Me, by Jessica Lotti Photography

You’re known for having a fan base that is passionate and, dare we say, a little bit anal about everything you do; what’s the song that they always ask about that you don’t play?

Well,  obviously you get some people who yell out once in a while who want some really, really old shit that was from before, like three of us were actually in the band.

So some people will shout for some stuff off the first record but those kids are like maybe 1% of our audience and we have done that and the majority of the crowd have joined us from the newer stuff, so when we are doing really old stuff they are going “Hey, is this new?!”

We understand that some people want the old stuff but, to be honest, it’s not actually that popular with the majority of our fans. Some people ask for ‘Swim to the Moon’ but that’s like 19 and a half minutes…or people ask for the full length version of ‘White Walls’ or ‘Selkies’.

We have done a version of ‘…Moon’; we do from the clean break which comes out cool. Mind you, having said all that, if people yell stuff and we are in the mood, we’ll usually find a way to play it.

byJustinReich_03

Between The Buried And Me (2015) Photo by Justin Reich

When you are travelling from town to town, concert hall to concert hall, how do we keep yourselves motivated?

Honestly, it’s what we chose to do with our lives and so it’s not that much of a burden but there is another thing – there are so many bands who do so much amazing music and no one gives a shit about them and we have just this amazing opportunity to play music for a living- we aren’t rich or anything in this age of the music industry – no one is getting rich – so it cannot be about money.

I just want to play my fucking guitar. I have this great guitar company that make me my dream guitars and they customise them just for me and this band. These are the best people I could be playing with and people like us and support us and come to see us and they go nuts when we play and that’s what keeps you motivated.

We have the rare opportunity to create whatever the fuck we want and you know no one questions it. Our fans almost expect us to do weird shit now. Honestly, we all love to play music and we love our instruments and the fact that we can pay our bills just by doing this is a blessing.

You’ve spoken before of being a band with a wide range of interests and influences. What have been the things that you have loved this year?

I really, really love this new Ghost album. I was never really a fan of their older stuff – it didn’t really grab me – but the new record in particular I listen to a lot. I love it – I’d like to play with them one day. I listen to a lot of shit that people probably wouldn’t think I would listen to. For example, I have been listening to this Casey Musgraves record a lot; she is fucking awesome; I love her. I’ve been listening to a lot of SG Lewis too – really relaxed, ambient electronic stuff with pretty melodies, he’s just smooth and cool. The other band that I have been spending a lot of time listening to is Happy The Man from Washington DC. I’ve been listening to their records from the 1970s; I have been into them for a while and their album has been played A LOT.

I like a lot of country blues because the players are sooo good; I actually play with a Nashville artist when we are not on tour just to try and develop myself as much as I can and be as well rounded as I can be as a guitarist. Working with the Nashville guys is good because you have to change your phrasing completely to do that kinda stuff, it’s completely different to everything that I had learnt. I want to be good at all kinds of music not just a good metal guitarist so it’s good to test yourself; it’s good to able to improvise over a blues scale for example: that shit is important to me.

 Between The Buried And Me, by Jessica Lotti Photography

Between The Buried And Me, by Jessica Lotti Photography

 

If you weren’t playing in BTBAM, who would you want to be playing with?

I have some friends from North Carolina who are in a band called He is Legend; I’ve always really enjoyed their records and Adam (Tanbouz, guitar)  is a sick, seriously underrated guitar player and…. (mimes guitar picking) his hands, man – no one can sound like him. It would be cool to play with Casey Musgraves, for sure. There’s a guy in the USA called Sturgill Simpson who has this unbelievable guitar player from Estonia – can you believe that – this incredible, authentic Southern country playing and it’s a guy from Eastern Europe! It would be cool to play stuff like that….

As a working musician, have you found people more open-minded to different types of music or less so?

Oh with some bands, for sure. There still a lot of bands who keep writing the same record over and over; but over the last five years, there have been some bands doing new and interesting records. I’d say a lot is down to location and the fan bases. Fans are a lot more open-minded and accepting. Take us is an example. People totally accept us for who we are and what we do. Having said that, we are definitely taking time to build our audience. We are not an overnight sensation and we have been on a steady incline.

Do you think that is because you are not an easy band to define and because there is so much going on in your music?

Yes for sure; people have been telling us that they would listen to the record for 10-15 times and not like it and then – bang! – something happens and they are really into it. That’s cool by us. Over fifteen years we have realised that we are not doing this to get rich. We are doing this because we love music and we love playing and we hope, ultimately, that people like us.

 

 

WORDS BY MAT DAVIES

Between The Buried And Me – Haken: Live at Electric Ballroom

between the buried and me haken uk euro tour

There used to be a misapprehension that “feel” and technique were mutually exclusive, particularly if your act was of the progressive nature. Musicians were either in a deep, trance state where odysseys were channelled through fingers and larynxes (it’d certainly explain some of the lyrical fascinations of the 70’s), or were producing unfeeling, but impeccable, noodling, or to be more contemporaneous, poly-rhythming. Both of tonight’s denizens of the stage well and truly disproved that; Haken bringing a light, uplifting elation and Between The Buried And Me a myriad of journeys.

Another misconception is that bands of a prog bent don’t have a sense of humour, a fallacy shattered within seconds of entering Camden’s Electric Ballroom and seeing Haken’s glorious Kevin Bacon T-shirt, leaving the unsure in no doubt as to how to pronounce the band name. With fellow Ghost Cultist Rafa Davies having acquired said garment and with beverages purchased, the mood was ripe for the London based sextet to enhance a reputation that took a steep climb up 2013’s The Mountain (InsideOut). Concentrating mainly on that breakthrough opus, they set about marrying the impressive quirky and progressive rock with an immaculate live performance, including a touch of ‘Hocus Pocus’ing, spotless yodel-ay-ee-oh’s and all.

Between The Buried And Me, by Jessica Lotti Photography

Between The Buried And Me, by Jessica Lotti Photography

Between The Buried And Me’s approach is an altogether more layered assault, from teasing and probing progressive movements, through floating crescendos diving into djented stabs and jazzed death metal acts of sensory violence. Despite being shorn of any elaborate production, nonetheless BTBAM don’t do basics, with each band member faultless and pristine, delivering each song with album quality precision in a consummate performance that still felt like there was meaning and intent in the delivery.

Between The Buried And Me, by Jessica Lotti Photography

Between The Buried And Me, by Jessica Lotti Photography

It’s no secret I struggle with BTBAM in general, but a quality live act is a quality live act, and the North Carolinians are able to transmit their passion for their music and their fans, ensuring multi-faceted beasts like ‘Ants Of The Sky’ connect not just aurally but emotionally with a charged audience who respond in turn. Here lies no serenade of po-faced disconnection, instead deep, ethereal moments are respected and inhaled, and the crushing metal segments are devoured.

And yet if prog-gasm had been achieved in a main set that included three very well received tracks from this years’ mind-melting Coma Ecliptic (Metal Blade), along with favourites ‘Selkies’ and ‘Lay Your Ghosts To Rest’ and more, that’s nothing to the rapture that beheld the throng during a remarkable cover of ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’, during which Tommy Rogers showed that Brian May et al missed a trick by not throwing hods of cash his way to front the band during their post-Freddie shows.

Between The Buried And Me, by Jessica Lotti Photography

Between The Buried And Me, by Jessica Lotti Photography

This was a performance to impress even the most sceptical with both bands bringing complex, technical and diverse songs to the live setting with exquisite tightness and proficiency, but above all exuding emotion and sincerity while holding that line of not taking things too seriously live. While Haken’s music spoke to me most, there’s no denying that damn near everyone left feeling they’d witnessed a great gig.

Between The Buried And Me, by Jessica Lotti Photography

Between The Buried And Me, by Jessica Lotti Photography

 

Between The Buried And Me, by Jessica Lotti Photography

Between The Buried And Me, by Jessica Lotti Photography

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WORDS BY STEVE TOVEY

PHOTOS BY JESSICA LOTTI PHOTOGRAPHY

New England Metal and Hardcore Festival 17: Live At The Worcester Palladium

Death Angel Just Added on Friday

Death Angel Just Added on Friday

It was a celebratory mood as I waltzed into The Palladium for another go-around of “Metalfest”. My 10th time attending and 17th overall in the history of the fest proved to be one of the most fun I can remember. Sure festivals can be grueling, all weekend affairs, logistical nightmares and just exhausting. But it’s also like a family reunion in which you hate almost nobody. Lastly, I was lucky to work with Meg Loyal of Meg Loyal Photography all weekend, providing the awesome shots of the bands all weekend for Ghost Cult.

The venue was swelling with people when I arrived, and I was glad to see support for early first day acts such as Begat The Nephilim, Lody Kong, Downpour (featuring Shadows Fall, Unearth and Seemless guys), The Atlas Moth, and Fit For An Autopsy. I usually do a loop of the venue right when I get in. Checking out the vendors, meeting old friends and making some new ones, it’s always a blast.

Within The Ruins, by Meg Loyal Photography

Within The Ruins, by Meg Loyal Photography

Finally getting down to the main stage floor, Jamey Jasta’s solo JASTA set was just ending. Being a Connecticut guy and a Palladium regular, the place was packed and seemed to end the set on a high note. Checking out the merch tables in between bands, it was cool to see sponsors such as Tama and Ibanez offering cool contests anyone could win. I caught some of Within The Ruins’ set and they were killer, as a bunch of bro dudes punched each other silly in the pit. Settling in at the main stage to watch the rest of day one was a tough choice. I love Overcast and Code Orange, but they played opposite COC Blind, which I could not miss. Playing hits off of Blind, this entity of Corrosion of Conformity includes singer Karl Agell (King Hitter), drummer Reed Mullen, and guitarist Scott Little (King Hitter, Leadfoot) among others was in great form and the audience seemed to enjoy the cuts much deeper than ‘Vote With A Bullet’.

Death Angel, by Meg Loyal Photography

Death Angel, by Meg Loyal Photography

Next up were thrashers Death Angel. It seemed like they might be more at home on the Saturday bill with their Bay Area brethren, but they killed anyway. Playing a short set of mostly recent tracks, they nearly stole the show on day one. Following them was Cavalera Conspiracy. A long changeover seemed to stall the momentum, but there was a lot of excitement to see Max and Igor play together once again. I spent a lot of time focusing on Igor, since watching him play is a treat for me. The set leaned heavy on the “hits” of CC, as well as choice Sepulutra jams and a Nailbomb song featuring Richie Cavalera on vocals.

Cavalera Conspiracy, by Meg Loyal Photography

Cavalera Conspiracy, by Meg Loyal Photography

The Red Chord, by Meg Loyal Photography

The Red Chord, by Meg Loyal Photography

The Red Chord was next and I was pumped up to see them, since I missed the band in their last few comeback shows. They played a set heavy on their masterwork album Clients (Metal Blade) and one new song. Again, the deathcore brings out the crazy pit ninjas en masse. Guy Kozowyk was in great form, as the was the entire band who has been missed much.

Between The buried and Me, by Meg Loyal Photography

Between The buried and Me, by Meg Loyal Photography

Closing out the night was Between the Buried And Me. While I really appreciate the North Carolinian prog metallers, (who gave a neat shout out to COC), I have never been a rabid fan. On this night they played the best set I have ever heard from them. They had a sweet production of video screens, smoke and lighting. Not only was their choice of songs slick, but their pacing and patience as a band has really risen up to the level of the veterans that they are. For an added bonus just for the Metalfest crowd, the band closed with a cover of Queen’s ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’. Except for Paul Waggoner playing the iconic piano parts on guitar (of course), the band became Queen, with Tommy Rogers transforming into Freddy Mercury; immaculate right down to his stage moves, voice, and half a mic-stand. The entire venue was singing and some people were crying too. It was an unforgettable end to Day 1.

Between The Buried and Me, by Meg Loyal Photography

Between The Buried and Me, by Meg Loyal Photography

Between The Buried and Me, by Meg Loyal Photography

Between The Buried and Me, by Meg Loyal Photography

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WORDS BY KEITH CHACHKES

PHOTOS BY MEG LOYAL PHOTOGRAPHY