Between the Buried and Me's Paul Waggoner: "I Could Live in Melbourne'

The Victorian capital comes up trumps in another 'liveability' survey...


You'll be aware, of course, that US progressive deathsters Between the Buried and Me are heading our way during November, in support of their spiffing new ouevre The Parallax II: Future Sequence (brought to you by those smashing folk at Metal Blade)and we just wouldn't be Australia's leading heavy metal portal if we didn't run the boys to ground for a chat, would we? And so, as if by magic, here we are chewing a particularly tasty piece of fat with the band's very own Paul Waggoner (well, I'm chewing the fat - Waggoner is a vegan so he's making do with a few pulses), a weaver of 'six-string tapestries' of the very highest order and a man with a slight medical condition that he wants you all to know about...

But first some other business. Paul, You’ve been plying your trade now for a fair while – So long in fact that you predate the ‘digital revolution’ in music delivery. In your opinion, how different is the music scene today to when you first released a demo all those years ago? Is the future for artists as bleak as the doomsayers are trying to make out? 'It has indeed changed quite a bit since our early days. I can still remember burning cds one by one on my shitty Hewlett-Packard desktop until the wee hours of the morning just do we could have something to sell at shows. Nowadays you just upload your music to a social media site and that's it. You can gain significant exposure without ever even playing live. I won't speculate on whether I think this evolution is good or bad, because it varies from artist to artist and ultimately it doesn't matter what I think. It is what it is. The Internet ain't going away. As for he future, I don't think it's quite as bleak as people think. I just think bands and industry folks are going to have to retrain their brains and unlearn some of the tactics of the past. We have to get more creative with album releases and use other incentives, besides just the music, to make an album more valuable. Let's face it, the music itself is no longer a commodity. But if you package the music with other tangible items, the record buying experience can be a truly great thing'. 

Your new release: Would you say it’s your most accomplished, ambitious album to date? To my ears as an outsider it sounds almost like the culmination of everything you’ve been trying to bring together over the last two or three releases – would this be close to the truth? 'I don't know if I would say this record is a culmination of our past releases, but I do think it's our best work. We really approach every record as a blank canvas so to speak. With this new record, we were all just really motivated and determined to write the best record of our career. The vibe was good and the musical chemistry between all of us was really conducive to writing some good stuff. 

How challenging is it to replicate the new material in the live arena? 'It's always a challenge at first. But after a few times of playing a new song it starts to become ingrained in your muscle memory. That's when you can stop focusing on the technical aspects of playing a song and just focus on having fun and actually "performing"'. 

What sort of set can we expect from you on the upcoming Australian shows? And, as an experienced tourist, are you finding that globalisation has touched metal audiences with it’s icy hand or do you notice that crowds still have very distinct regional distances? 'We will play a nice combination of old and new material at the upcoming shows. We want to showcase some of the new stuff obviously, but we are aware that there are some crowd favorites that we have to play. As for the globalization of metal, i still think people are different everywhere you go. There is still quite a bit of cultural differences between all the places we visit. Some people are more reserved and observant, others like to get rambunctious and move around to the music'. 

As you move deeper into your second decade as a band, what are the things you enjoy and dislike most about touring? 'The best part of touring for me is playing the shows. I'm still amazed and humbled by the fact that I can go almost anywhere in the world, and there are people that know our music. It's really a great feeling. Touring does have its downside of course. Being away from close friends and family is always tough. Especially when we are gone for months at a time'.

Any fond memories of the last time you were down under? 'For me it's Melbourne. I really love that place and of all the places I've been that's the one city where you say, "man, I could live here". I just love the people and the vibe. We really love coming to Australia. It's a beautiful place with wonderful people'. 

Anything else you think the readers of MaF should know? 'My penis is slightly crooked'. 

And on that bombshell...