Between the Buried and Me bassist releases debut with supergroup side project
When he’s not holding down the bass duties for acclaimed metalcore act Between the Buried and Me, Greensboro native Dan Briggs explores the nexus of classical, metal and experimental as the guitarist for Orbs. With a longdistance lineup comprised of members from BTBAM, Cradle of Filth and Fear Before the March of Flames, the “supergroup” label is unavoidable, but Orbs is more of a creative outlet for a group of musicians who’ve already “made it.” Their sound is big, as if drawn from a far-gone era of metal, which many will discover when they play the album release show for Asleep Next to Science on Thurs, Aug. 19 at Legitimate Business.
YW!: With so many band members spread all over, how did you get the notion to start Orbs?
DB: Basically, it started and always has been me writing off of our keyboardist Ashley, who came in three years ago and we started writing these really big, monstrous piano sections. I was really inspired by them, but the big huge epic grandness that Ashley adds to the band, I felt like you know, this could really use some energy. I start playing along of a sudden a two-minute piece turned into a 10-minute song. I feel like writing Orbs music is like a different side of my brain. There are definitely elements from when I sit down to write BTBAM music that spill into Orbs. I think one is definitely writing atypically structured songs. Sometimes I play really long, sometimes they’re split into two songs. It’s kind of a fun way to write you know, not having any rules.
YW!: Your album Asleep Next to Science sounds very theatrical.
Almost as if it could be the score to some sort of avant garde stage production.
DB: Growing up when I was in high school I played in multiple Broadway-esque productions, whether in high school or the local playhouse. I’ve always kind of been drawn to music that has a story that goes along with the music rather than lyrics that don’t mean anything. I really appreciate Adam’s writing style. Every song turns into some elaborate story. I think he felt that, the music being as adventurous as it was, that he would really be able to portray how quirky it was in the lyrics and melody.
YW!: Lot’s of Dream Theater influences also.
DB: (laughs) Definitely, for me especially. Lot’s of old ’70s progressive rock in general. It’s some of my favorite just because I feel that’s when people were taking things the Beatles started off doing at just got super experimental and super weird. There were classical elements and jazz here and there. I felt like that was definitely one of the most exciting times for music and definitely a huge inspiration to me. To take that and try to be able to modernize it for both of my bands is something I’m always trying to do.
YW!: You’re 25? What got you into obscure ’70s progressive rock?
DB: I guess just growing up my dad was always listening to Zappa and Gentle Giant and lots of Genesis and stuff. I think then I just kind of wrote it off as my dad’s weird music, then I got to high school and would hear little bits of Yes and be like, “Oh, that’s kinda cool.” I heard the classical influence and it just made more sense to me. I’ve made it my own since then.
YW!: Does Orbs maintain the same democratic songwriting style that Between the Buried and Me has?
DB: It’s basically just Ashley and I for the first record. It’s just the two of us writing all the music and Adam writing all the lyrics. We did all of the music in just a couple of months and it all just happened very fast. Adam’s a gifted songwriter with his band Fear Before the March of Flames and I’ve always wanted him to be involved in the songwriting aspect from that side. The thing that kind of hinders us is that two of us are in Greensboro, one of us is in Denver, one of us is in Salt Lake City, and the other is in Los Angeles. For us to all get together it takes us going on tour or actually recording a record.
YW!: How did you react to the “supergroup” moniker when you first heard it ascribed to the band?
DB: We didn’t really reject it, but I think Orbs should be able to stand on its own eventually I hope. It’s so different than things all of us have done in the past that the second you start to label it a supergroup featuring members of Between the Buried and Me and Cradle of Filth people are going to be expecting something extreme. It’s obvious that we grew up in the hardcore and punk scene, but it’s mostly an experimental punk record.
YW!: Your CD release is coming up in a couple of weeks, but I swear I’ve seen this around for months.
DB: It leaked a while ago when we actually recorded it in last January and sure enough it found its way onto the internet. That’s not something that bothers us really because we all grew up downloading music and we’re not going to lie, we still do it. I feel like it’s not going to hurt your record sales one way or the other. Nobody gets a lot of money from CD sales except the people putting it out. If you have a record you’re proud of and you really stand behind, it can only help you. It helps spread your music extremely fast and the hope is that people who hear it like it and come see you live.