When and how did you realize you were destined to pursue a path in music?
It was very early on. My first concert was Bon Jovi and Skid Row (I was eight) and I instantly became obsessed. Nothing grabbed my attention like music did. Once I started playing guitar, I instantly wanted to write my own songs. There was always something about the creation of it all that intrigued me.
How come you ended up singing and playing keyboards? Was it always something you had set out to do?
I grew up playing guitar but I sang for a hardcore band in high school. I didn’t really know what I was doing (still don’t) but I knew I enjoyed the raw nature of it. However, I originally wanted to play guitar for BTBAM. We couldn’t find a singer so I went for it. Keyboards came later on… I didn’t start incorporating them into music until our second album. I loved the fact that it opened an entire new world and it had endless possibilities/sounds. I also wanted something to do during long instrumental breaks. Hahaha… I’m still learning so much about all my instruments to this day and I hope I never get to the point where I’m not eager to learn more and get better at what I do.
Your new album “Automata” is actually two records – a double-release. How did this come about…and what sets the first apart from the second?
We wrote and recorded like a normal record. Once we sat down and started analyzing how we want to release, the idea of splitting it became something that we were instantly interested in. We know that we write very dense music and for a lot of people this is an easier way to digest our music. Also, music comes and goes so quickly these days, that we thought it would be really cool to have the fans get music twice from us this year…and it’s awesome to not let people get what they want instantly in 2018. Hahaha… It’s honestly been nice splitting them up because it gives us room to breathe and get ready for the next step. The second half of the album is really special to me and I’m so stoked for people to hear it. It’s a crazy journey and there are lots of fun twists and turns around every corner.
What’s the best part of being in a band and a professional musician?
When I’m home I can wake up and spend time with my family and not have to go to a 9-5 job. There is a lot of freedom in that. Creativity is my job and it still blows me away that I get to do this.
What’s the worst thing that ever happened to you on stage?
I’ve fallen on my face…messed up intros and had to start over… Wrong words…been hit with things…fucked up my foot in Japan…lost my voice completely (more about that below)…
…and in the studio?
I’ve been pretty lucky. All of our albums have gone very smooth. However, right before we filmed the Parallax DVD, I got strep throat and completely lost my voice the last two days of tour. We were scheduled to film the DVD the next day, but we had to reschedule. I really hate to inconvenience people so this was really hard for me. The doctors said that I shouldn’t sing for 2-4 weeks, but I flew back about 5 days later with no sleep and filmed the DVD. You could say I don’t remember doing that at all and my voice might not have been the best it could be. Hahaha…
In recent years, it seems like the lines between genres in metal have blurred, allowing for much more open sounds and influences. How come, you think?
I think people are just finally realizing that good music is good music, regardless of what category it falls under. That’s been a big goal for us since day one: to write things that excite us regardless of the genre. I love that the public is becoming more open to this idea… We are destined to get bored and there is a lot out there to get excited about.
How did you cross paths with Toontrack and how do our products help in your creative process?
I first was introduced to Toontrack through their drum software. Then once I started chatting with the company I realized how amazing the keyboard and mixing software is. I use the EZkeys sounds in all my projects and I use Superior Drummer 3 for all my demos. Everything is so quick and easy to work with and it helps my ideas come to life. I tend to move fast and get over things if they don’t happen early on, so the Toontrack family really helps me with that problem.
You were kind enough to let us remix your track “Millions” using the sounds of the Hard Rock EZX by Bob Rock. Anyone into rock and metal probably has a relationship to Bob Rock in regards to the bands he’s produced. What’s yours?
He produced some of my favorite albums when I was a kid. Still to this day I think “Dr. Feelgood” and The “Black Album” are some of the best sounding heavy rock records ever. It’s honestly pretty crazy looking through his discography. Such a big part of my childhood.
Top three Bob Rock-produced albums?
Mötley Crüe “Dr. Feelgood”
The Cult “Sonic Temple”
You recently signed a new deal and moved labels to Sumerian. What do you hope this transition will bring to the band?
We always hope for new experiences and new opportunities. Anytime you work with new people you open up that possibility. We’ve been very lucky to have had such a great team of people to work with over the last few years, and we look forward to continuing that fire with this new label.
All members of the band have side projects – all metal/rock/progressive, except for yours which sticks out a little bit. How come you went in an electronica direction? Is this type of music something you have always been into or something you discovered along the way?
Thomas Giles is a platform for me to write literally anything that pops in my head. I’ve dove into rock/metal/etc. in the past, but this last album I really wanted to write an electronic record. I love the music and I’ve always been a big fan of it. I needed to create my version of it. I just completed a brand new record that’s very different from my previous work and I’m very excited to release it later this year. I don’t think in terms of genres when I write, I just write what comes to me. I use the solo platform as a way to write simple songs that are based around melody and mood. It’s very liberating.
BETWEEN THE BURIED AND A HARD ROCK.
Listen to “Millions” by Between the Buried and Me, remixed entirely using the sounds of the Hard Rock EZX.