Buried In Verona are on their way up. The band’s latest album, ‘Faceless’ debuted at #15 on the ARIA charts, which saw the boys capitalise with a successful national tour shortly after. Richie Newman, rhythm guitarist and singer for the band spoke with us about their upcoming spot on the Midyear Mayhem tour, being a part of the 2013 Australian Warped Tour, and the drive and ambition of achieving even bigger and better things for the band.
Before your next headline tour over here starts, you guys were recently in the UK, how was that tour?
The UK has always been good to us. BIV has been doing pretty well over there and we’ve been back about three or four times now. Plus, in the UK I have a lot of friends and family over there, so every time we head over it’s like just going back to home. The shows were also really good! Kids know who we are now and are buying a shit ton of merch and singing all the words. It’s always good to go back there.
Regarding the upcoming Mid-year Mayhem tour, tell us about getting to play in these more intimate venues?
I’m all about playing those more intimate venues. You can get more into it, you’re closer to the crowd, you can walk around the shows and meet everyone, and just hangout basically. We started doing that here nearly five years ago and I love those small shows where you can just cram everyone in, and sell out rooms more easily and just have a shitload of fun.
And with some of those venues, like the Phoenix Youth Centre in Melbourne, they’re almost like floor shows to some degree with smaller stages.
Yeah! I love that kind of thing. It’s totally in your face. I’d rather go to those sorts of shows instead of going to big auditoriums where you have to sit one hundred, two hundred metres back form the stage. Personally, with my roots, I’m more hardcore orientated and it makes you feel alive when you’re there. It’s crowded, it’s hot, it’s sticky, it’s the most intense thing.
With Stories being the heaviest act on the bill, and Antagonist A.D. sticking to a more hardcore sound, what are your thoughts on the line-up offered?
Mixed bills are always a good thing. Personally, I wouldn’t want to go to a show and see the exact same band four times. I think the most successful tours are the ones with a mixed line-up and you hear a bigger demographic of bands. We might steal some of the fans who like Stories and Antagonist may steal some of our fans and it’s good networking experience. A lot of people might go ‘Ugh why is it such a mixed bill, I don’t like this shit’ but on the other side you get to have a lot of variation on the show. You won’t be sitting outside waiting for the same band to stop and for the main one to come on.
With those two supports, have you ever played with either of those two bands before?
We might have played with Antagonist, I can’t really remember? We have definitely played with Stories as the guys in that band are my friends, and I really get along with their guitarist Shawn [Young, guitar] and he’s a close fiend so I’m pretty excited to be on the road with him. I think we may have only ever played two shows with them outside of touring.
What are some of your favourite aspects about touring?
We’ve all quit our jobs now so we’re dependent on being a successful in a band now. A Lot of stress comes with that, and a lot of responsibility comes with not having a steady income and living like a fucking peasant, especially in this game. It’s not the 80’s anymore, you’re not really making money. Everyone’s getting ripped off by the internet now and the record label, management details and all the back door stuff, I wouldn’t do a thing else [though]. I love music and I grew up wanting to do this. Ever since I was fourteen and I picked up drums, I wanted to play music, I wanted to be in a band. I’m a lot older now and that dream is starting to happen to me and when you go through that and you’re being semi-successful it just feels like glory. Touring is all part of that and touring BIV is awesome cause it’s five best friends who get to travel the world together. Their are so many kids out there who want to do what we’re doing so from that aspect, touring in general is just such a great feeling for us.
On the topic of you playing drums, you used to be the drummer for the band, and I wanted to know what originally prompted you to switch to guitar and vocals?
I was playing drums since I was fourteen and got pretty good at them and then I just got to a point where I said ‘Well that was fun’ and I wanted to branch out. And when I did branch out is when I joined the band so I actually learnt guitar to play in this band. [Essentially] I’m a way better drummer than I am as a guitarist and vocalist. So I thought ‘Fuck! I need to play in this band, what do I have to do?’ And so I played for six hours a day just to learn the songs and to this day, I still only know BIV songs on the guitar. I made the jump from drums because I was over it and wanted something different, and I really wanted to play in this band.
That’s a pretty high level of dedication right there.
[Laughs] Yeah man! If you want something that badly and you love it enough, you’ll do whatever it takes to get there.
For sure man. The band’s first two albums are quite different from your latest two, so where do you think Buried in Verona will be a few years down the track with the next album or two?
I really don’t know man. I wake up each morning and I change my clothes, you know what I mean? With BIV it’s the same thing for all of us. There’s no real vision for the music, it just goes in the direction that it goes in. We’re forever evolving and forever changing to what we feel at the time. That’s what makes a diverse musician I think. Getting outside the box and doing something new even if it wasn’t intended to to be new. Next album though, I have no idea. I just know it’ll be heavy. [Laughs]
After four albums in, has the writing process for Buried In Verona changed at all or has it remained the same?
‘Saturday Night Sever’ and Circle Of The Dead’ weren’t written by me but by the old members of the band from five or six years ago. I jumped on the writing process for ‘Saturday Night Sever’ and helped with re-arranging some of the songs and got in the vocal booth and sung some cleans. As it progressed, I just started writing and writing and it turned out pretty good and catchy so we just went with my writing style. I’d write all the riffs, some of the drums and just help to piece together the songs and the ideas. Then we’d just bring everyone in and re-work the songs together. Brett [Anderson, vocals] is really good at sections, but he can’t play guitar or drums for shit. All he can do is sit there and say ‘Let’s smoke this section roll into this one, a chorus should go here, bring in another section here’ and he’s got a really good ear for that. Shawn, Dan and Connor are really good by adding in their fills and lead lines on top of those songs. It all works pretty well, but I just do all the ground work stuff.
As you mentioned earlier, you said it was your dream for a long time to play in a band, so what band or artist inspired that in you?
I know exactly what it was. Back in 1999, I was catching a ferry to school cause we had to get a boat to school for some fucking reason. My friend gave me this cassette tape with the head phones and everything, and and told me I had to hear it. At that time I just listened to top 40 on the radio and had no idea about what heavy music was. When he pressed play I was like ‘What the fuck is this shit!? This is insane!’ And it was Slipknot’s first album! As soon as that intro finished I was hooked. I stole the tape off him, took it home, dubbed it and listened to it every day. All my friends and family just thought what is wrong with you and I just figured that was what I wanted to do, what I wanted to be, I want to go to those shows and I want to love Slipknot as much as I could. And I did! After that, I started playing drums, my uncle was a drummer and he taught me everything I pretty much know. And the rest is history man. But the first initial spark for me, I gotta give it up to Slipknot [laughs].
I’m the same man, I was blown away by ‘(Sic)’ and ‘Eyeless’ when I first heard them too and I’ve been a fan ever since.
Yeah! When you’ve got virgin ears to that kinda stuff and you hear it for the first time, it’s just such a kick in the face!
It was just announced that Warped Tour won’t be coming back this year, how does it feel to be a part of the tour last year, considering that it was now just a one-off thing?
Oh, it was an honour. AJ [Maddah] put us on that, and gave us a run with the Soundwave, Warped Tour touring team and it was just an honour to be a part of something like that. In the states it’s a lot bigger, a lot more prestigious and over here it was fucking awesome. I mean, Noodles from The Offspring sat side of stage for our set. I looked around and he’s sitting there, nodding his head along. I used to skateboard to that shit when I was sixteen. It was a weird experience but a great one. Everyone at Warped was great, I met so many people on that tour and I wouldn’t take it back for anything.
What has been the most surreal on-stage moment for you?
It was either at Impericon or Groezrock festivals in Germany and Belgium, one or the other and there was something like seven to eight thousand people there. Before our intro came on, I walked out and got on one of the riser boxes on the stage and put my phone in the air and all these people put their hands up all at once. It was one of the most glorious moments for me, my whole body was just electrifying itself. We then walked out to our intro and it was just crazy!
Did you ever think that when you joined the band that something like that would ever happen?
I’ve always been on an upward mission to succeed in the band. I know that we can do it but you never really know until you’re living in that moment. You can always hope and wish, but you’ll never know what’ll happen until you’re living right in that moment. I want that feeling a lot, and if you want that feeling, you’ll get it through hard work and determination, that’s just how the universe works.
Killyourstereo.com and Destroy All Lines present Buried In Verona on the Midyear Mayhem tour this July/August, with Antagonist A.D. and Stories.