After a lacklustre 2014, Buried In Verona were at the end of their tether; ready to kick in the chair for good. But they’ve turned that negativity into blistering positivity, and have just released one of the better albums under their name – ‘Lions Below, Vultures Above’. We caught up with Buried In Verona vocalist Brett Anderson to talk about the new full-length that shows the band has a new lease on life.
I think that this album is a real return to form for you guys and that it will put you back on track…
This is definitely our masterpiece for us. We love this record, and it’s the first record of ours where we can casually put it in the car or on our iPods and just listen to it. A lot of our records previously had so many things we wanted to change, and this one turned out how we really wanted it. We’re super stoked it.
As far as putting us in a better place, this record has the legs and the ability to put Buried In Verona in a more comfortable spot. We want to tour and play music around the world and if this record can help us do that more so, than we’re really happy.
Good to hear, man. I saw an interview you guys did and how shitty things were for the band. Happy to see it’s behind you now, and with ‘Faceless’, how do you feel about that record one year on from its initial release?
I guess I probably shouldn’t say this, but all that record is to me is just some of the darkest memories and worst experiences of my life. Don’t get me wrong, I think there are some good songs on that album, it’s a tombstone for where we were in that point. It was just horrible, and that’s what that album is to me. But what can you do? Whatever you’ve done in a time and place, there will always be a statue to that time and what you experienced.
Oh, exactly dude. I think most album’s are really just a snapshot in time. I’m really glad you could take something so negative and make it so positive. Even aesthetically speaking too. I really like the use of colour and light in the video for ‘Can’t Be Unsaid’ and the album’s artwork and physical version too.
Yeah definitely, and I’m stoked you brought that up actually. We put so much into this record to make it a seamless connection with what we’re putting across. We are the happiest and strongest we’ve been and I think we’ve written the best album we’ve written, and I’m so glad you took it as that, because we really focused on the meanings and wanted it to be really cohesive. We wanted people to experience that change from negativity to positivity, so I really appreciate you saying that.
No worries man, it was just a big change in tone so I figured I’d bring it up. With all of the shit that you guys have been through, do you think you would you do it all again to get where you are now? I know it’s a hard one.
Yeah, it is a hard question. There’s two sides to it, I think. If we had’ve done things differently and trusted some…better people, then perhaps we’d be a bigger band. That might have put us into a more positive headspace to do a record like this. Although this album is positive, we had to come from a negative place to get that to where it is.
Maybe we could have done the album and still been as proud of it as we are now. It’s a tough question, but as we can’t change anything, I probably would trade in a lot of the good experiences to make this record. Making this album was amazing for me as I could get a lot of things off my chest, and I could sing about them honestly.
Yeah, well said Brett. With talking more honestly, do you mean in the way that ‘Pathways’ addresses alcoholism?
I’ve always spoken about personal things, but I think I’ve always held back from delving into the real shit in my life. Maybe I never had the confidence to speak about it before, but this album made it all flow out so organically, and I’d write the lyrics and when reading them back I’d have to really think about putting them out there. My bandmates gave me the confidence and told me that music is all about getting your emotions out there and getting some really shit stuff off my chest, and I did. I feel so much lighter and better having done it.
Good to hear. I think that kind of honesty helps to make the record a stronger effort overall. Regarding the musicality, there’s definitely a much stronger focus on the melodies, on the song structures and on the choruses. Even your vocals have changed, and I’m curious if that’s to set in tone with the new lease on life you guys have, or just to try something differently?
Subconsciously, I think it was a bit of both. Having done a lot of records, and screaming so much, I think that true screaming doesn’t come from technique; it comes from a really aggressive place. I just had had enough of being angry and I wanted to let that part of me go, so I needed to get out more emotions and I couldn’t do that with screaming. That was my mindset in changing up the style a bit, in doing so; I think the screams are the highlights when the emotion gets higher. Instead of just putting it in because we’re meant to have screams.
I also think it was a good change of pace for you guys too. Changing gears for a bit, this upcoming tour is the first big one you guys have had on Australian shores in well over a year.
It has been far too long, and we are absolutely itching to get back out there. We took a big chunk of time off just because we needed to sort out our band life and personal lives. I think that time off really made us reflect on what we wanted to do. The songs have been sounding great and we cannot wait to play them live and show the loyal fans that we’re back.
I think we’ve definitely neglected Australia for a while, and spent a lot of time overseas. It was situational that we didn’t get back here as much as we wanted to, and we want to give back to the fans. Hopefully for an hour we can make them forget about what’s going on in their lives and just have fun, and that’s all we’ve wanted to do – have fun out there.
Right on, Brett. Obviously, this tour will also be Hand Of Mercy’s last ever tour, what are your thoughts on their rather sudden and casual announcement to call it quits?
I heard the day before they announced it publicly, and I was blown away. Number one is that we’ve known them for so long and that they have a really loyal fan base. They’ve put out some great music recently and had some great albums. I found it to be such a shame that the Australian music scene is losing another great band.
But I understand why. You’ve gotta set yourself some kind of boundary to how far you want to take music before it can really affect the rest of your life. Not as a cop out, but you’ve got to give a lot and put a lot of your personal life into it, like anything else in life really.
Bands get to a stage where they have to decide on what’s best for the rest of their lives. In saying that, they’ll be taking a lot of amazing memories, as we all will when we finish up. Not everyone gets to tour the world, and have people sing your songs back at you. It’s a shame, but I totally understand where they’re coming from, and you’ve got to make decisions when they count.
Yeah, it can be a really tough thing to sustain. I’m curious man, what do you say to the fans who want the ‘Circle Of The Dead’ and ‘Saturday Night Sever’ sound back?
Firstly, I’d say pick up the new record, and listen to it with an open mind and I think you’ll find a lot of hints to the older records. I think my screams have gone back to the first two and it’s much more aggressive. I do think that the older fans will find a lot to like on this album. The other side of it is that a band who is honest with themselves at the time of writing an album, is that they’ll always change. I think it would be a massive lie to everyone if we wrote five ‘Saturday Night Severs’. You would be in the studio writing riffs and songs that you just hate, and you wouldn’t want to play that. You would be writing to please other people, and that’s the first mistake a band can do. Bands grow, and you can’t stay that aggressive and crazy the whole time, and that’s when bands end much earlier.
I definitely think that the older fans will have some tracks on this record that they can really get in to. With an open mind, I think they’ll really enjoy it, otherwise they can just put on Saturday Night Sever. All you can do is put something out and you’re at the mercy of the people really, nothing you can do.
You’ve always gotta write for yourself and to change things up. Well with that old sound, and those albums, do you ever look at songs like ‘Hangin’ Hoes By Their Toes’ with lyrics like ‘You’re Face Looks Better Bleeding’ and cringe a little, or are you happy that you have those songs?
I think everything I did in the past was cringeworthy [laughs]. That song was about when I was mugged and bashed outside a club, and that song was me thinking about what I wanted to do to the guy who started it. It was an angry reaction to a bad thing that happened to me. I don’t hate it, and I probably could of thought of something better now that I’m a bit older and wiser. At the time, that’s what I wrote and it did some great things for Buried In Verona. If that’s what it took for us to play shows and to tour, then so be it.
And that’s a good example of something negative being turned into something positive. With that Brett, I think we’ll leave it there, thank you so much for your time today man, this has been really enlightening.
Thank you brother, I really appreciate it when people give a fuck about this record. It means a lot.
But before I hang up, my younger brother, Matthew, who reviewed ‘Faceless’ last year and who panned it very hard, wanted me to tell you that he really loves the new album. You’ve turned a once fan, who became a hater, back into a fan again with this record.
Oh, really? That’s actually amazing, thanks for telling me, man. You can’t ask for much more than that.
‘Lions Below, Vultures Above’ is available now via UNFD.