Buried Inside | Interview with Andrew Tweedy

[Buried Inside]

I could start the interview with Buried Inside’s guitarist Andrew Tweedy by asking that typical and extremely fatiguing question on how the group started, probably leading him to roll his eyes and exclaim in annoyance here we go again, but I won’t.
All you need to know is that Buried Inside are five individuals from Ottawa, Canada who burst forth an epic, dark and pungent amalgamation of disparate styles of music like tribal, sludge, crust, hardcore, metal, punk and doom with demanding lyrics that are bound to stir the intellect.
The band is about to release their fourth album “Spoils of Failure”, which follows their highly acclaimed Relapse debut “Chronoclast: Selected Essays on Time-Reckoning and Auto-Cannibalism” from 2005. I guess the most obvious thing to enquire about is exactly why the band took four years to re-emerge with a new work?

“Well, we toured quite a bit after ‘Chronoclast’ came out. We never write at all while we're touring, so we really didn't start writing until the spring of 2006. But we do take a long time to write. We write collectively, and we usually start with nothing. We write a lot by ‘jamming’ so to speak, and we record just about everything we do. We also tend to sit on parts for a long time before arranging them into what you hear on the records. We try many different arrangements, and just slowly put the pieces together until we are all 100% sold.”

Buried Inside stated in several interviews they had a very meticulous writing process where everything is carefully laboured. Would you describe yourselves as perfectionists when it comes to song-writing always looking for the right sounds, riffs and melodies?

“Definitely. That's not to say I think we are perfect, but these songs are exactly as we wanted them, to the last note.”

So when and who does usually shouts that’s enough and puts a halt to such incessant search for enhancement and perfection?

“No one really steps up and says anything, we all know when a part is finished or if it needs work.

If everyone is happy with a section except for me, then maybe I'll re-work my guitar part until I'm happy with it, and so on.”

Buried Inside debut for Relapse Records “Chronoclast” was a refreshing approach to an ominous style of riff-heavy and atmospheric music that quickly gained solid recognition. Although “Spoils of Failure” follows the furrow ploughed by the band on their previous work, it sounds incredibly bigger, fuller and more cohesive.
How do you feel you’ve matured as a band during these last four years?

“That's a tough question... I think in a recording sense, we actually learned a great deal while recording ‘Chronoclast’. Matt knows how to push you to the limit and in the end it made for a really great sounding record. We followed that up with months and months of touring, and I think we all got tighter as musicians as a result. So going into the recording of this record, we were ready to go.”

For the new record the band opted to work with producer Kurt Ballou of Converge fame, whereas “Chronoclast” was produced by Matt Bayles whose production credits include Isis, Mastodon, Russian Circles, etc.
What was like working with Converge’s guitarist as opposed to working with Matt Bayles, who is said to be very demanding and meticulous?

“Matt is just that... really meticulous and precise. Matt gets the absolute best performance possible out of each member of the band, and that's what makes his records sound so good. He's also got a great ear for the more noisy styles of heavy music, and has a talent for making them sound clear without sacrificing their intensity. Kurt was really into getting great sounds out of each instrument, spending hours and hours on each one. With Kurt, the performance was really in our own hands. He wasn't very critical... he ultimately had us make the call on each take for the most part.

Really different approaches, but each one really worked for the record in question. They are both really good at what they do. Matt mixed ‘Spoils of Failure’, so we really had the best of both worlds on this record.”

The previous work had a strong underlying concept on time and its impact on our everyday existence. No matter how much we try to avoid it, each and every one of us is a slave to the clock.
Does your upcoming release “Spoils of Failure” have any sort of similar challenging concept as “Chronoclast”?
One of the things that stand out right away is the lack of song titles, songs are simply referenced with Roman numerals.

"The lyrics throughout this band’s existence have always tended to lean towards the broad question of who has power and control over what, and how that power is used, or more importantly, how it abused.

This record deals with several elements which all ultimately fall under the same question. So it’s not a concept record per say, but it does carry on in the same direction thematically as past records.
As for the titles, Nick thought it made more sense for this record to leave the lyrics as they were without associating some sort of meaningless title with each part. For the last record, the titles served a particular function that wasn't necessary this time.”

It seems the lyrical content of “Spoils of Failure” deals mostly with ethological and epistemological themes and there are several quotes from sociologists and authors like Thorstein Veblen, Jeffrey Reiman and W.H. Auden to sustain the ideas and commentaries expressed by the band.
Can you shed some light on what vocalist Nicholas A. Shaw manifests through his words on “Spoils of Failure”?

“Like I said above, generally speaking the lyrics are in large part a reflection on the inequalities and imbalance of power throughout the world. The unfulfilled promises, deception, and essentially the false hope imbedded in modern society by those who stand to flourish and profit by those things.”

Song number five for instance, seems to deal with the implications of progress and the principles of justice, the fact that crimes committed in the name of profit and progress always get unpunished. Is that statement right?
In my country Portugal for example, people with influence and money always find a way to bend and twist justice to their own convenience and never get convicted for their crimes.

“Ya, we see a lot of that here as well. Right now the mayor of our city is about to go on trial for bribing his opponent in the election to drop out of the race. There's a very strong case against him, and yet he continues to make the decisions as to what goes on here. We live in Ottawa, which is the capital of Canada, and our mayor is on trial for a very serious crime, and I don't think many will be surprised if he is let off without any consequence and the whole thing is swept under the carpet.”

An ex-Prime Minister of Canada is heavily involved in a scandal that took place while he was in power years and years ago involving a huge amount of money that he had allegedly accepted as a bribe while running the country... These things get so wrapped up in politics and ultimately nothing ever comes of it. These are real criminals, but for some reason they are generally looked upon as though there's some sort of grey area around what they've done.”

I understand most of Buried Inside members are vegan and vegetarian, how do you manage to conciliate that regime with the arduous life on the road.
Do you have to be a lot more organized and regimented on tour to satisfy your nutritional needs?

“It's never been too much of a problem. Especially over in Europe... You guys take good care of bands coming from overseas!”

Buried Inside has toured immeasurably in support of their previous album with names like Coliseum, EyeHateGod, Unsane, Jucifer and many others. Can you tell with whom has been your best experience on the road so far?

“We love touring with Coliseum because they are good friends of ours and we share a lot of the same ideals and whatnot, so it's always a great time. But every tour is a different experience on many levels... I wouldn't say any band has been 'the best', they've all been different and fun in their own ways. We just enjoy touring with good dudes who get what we're all about.”

For last, what do you think the future have in store for us?

“We'll hopefully be over to Europe before the end of 2009, and aside from that... no idea! Some touring here in North America, maybe Japan, Australia... as many places as will have us.”

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