Louder with Bury Tomorrow
Celebrating the release of their 5th studio album, I sat down on release day to chat (over the phone of course) to Davyd Winter-Bates, bassist in Bury Tomorrow. We spoke about Cannibal and it's inception, grassroots venues and all things metalcore.
So let's get into this, the album was delayed from April 3rd until now, thats a while time to keep fans waiting but it's very much worth while. How did you guys feel about the moving of the album?
*chuckles* At the time of moving the album, we were all certain by June everything would be back to normal. So that made sense for us, we wanted everyone to get their record at the same time, we wanted to play shows around the record and we wanted to be able to celebrate with our fans. So for us, it was a quick decision; let’s move to July, it’ll be over and back to normal. In hindsight now, I don’t think anyone could’ve predicted the way it was going or the way it went. I think if we knew then what we knew now, we probably would’ve released it in April. At least this way everyone gets to hear the record at the same time, there are positive and negatives to it.
Must be refreshing for it to finally be out and let the fans have this piece of work to enjoy?
Yeah absolutely, it’s all any band ever wants. They don’t go into the studio to self indulgently just listen to their own record all year. They go into the studio to make things that people react to, and emote with and connect with. On that level there are some bands that do it because they need to get more money and luckily for us we don’t need to worry about that, we just worry about our fans and what they want.
So obviously you guys only did the Black Flame tour in December so it was already later in the year but this has come around very quickly. So I guess you must’ve always been working on this during the Black Flame album cycle?
Yeah, we started demos for Cannibal as soon as we finished recording Black Flame to put that into perspective we finished recording Black Flame and it had probably been out around 3 months by the time we started hearing demos for Cannibal. We work very quickly, I won’t lie we have demos right now that might never become songs, but we’ve got demos right now from the beginning of lockdown. It’s just one of those things, when you’re trying to stay creative and in a positive place, you don’t ever stop. It mainly came together in 2019, from like June til October was our main Cannibal writing and recording process. Everything up until then is quite interchangeable. Then when we start, we start with quite an intense pre-production with all the demos and we kind of just gut it all and start again.
God it is really quick then. And as you said, you’re writing in lockdown, it’s probably almost the best time to be writing for bands right now.
Yes and no. It’s definitely not good to write new demos before anyones heard new music. Because if you write something that you think is better than anything on Cannibal, let me tell you, that is not a nice feeling. Luckily that’s not going to happen.
Do you ever feel though as a band there’s a certain pressure to step up with bands like Bring Me having their fans say “Well this doesn’t sound like you?”.
No *chuckles* We’ve actually never had that problem because our fans always complain that it does sound like old us.I’ve said this before in other interviews but, realistically we are not a band that came into metalcore to change what metalcore was. We came in to prove that we could be the best. That’s what we’ve always been about. I think people can agree that Killswitch Engage will always be one of the greatest metalcore bands of all time. But at some time at some point, somehow, someone is going to have to overtake them in everyones eyes and we were like we should do that!, it’s going to take a really long time and we’d probably all be in our 60s but imagine if one day people look back and think “Bury Tomorrow were the greatest metalcore band of all time”. That would be great. But for us it’s about refining and fine tuning. It’s not about changing the sound of metalcore. If we changed the sound of metalcore then we haven’t done what we set out to do which was to be the best.
As you’ve said, you’ve got your classic Bury Tomorrow sound that keeps going. I think it was Beez yesterday who said when do we put you guys on the platform with the greats and I really believe it’s now. It could’ve been earlier but this album is amazing!
Thank you very much. I think for us, the main thing about this album and all our catalogue; I think our fans would agree with us, what keeps us going is I don’t think we’ve hit a point in our career yet where we’ve written the same single twice. Okay, so they may sound similar in structure but musically they aren’t the same. They’ve never gone: hold on? Didn’t they release that in 2011 or something. We’ve never written the same single twice and I think for a band to have 6 albums and can honestly say if you put all of these on a best of, you’re not going to find the same song twice. I think that’s what we’re doing well. That’s our accolade so far: consistency.
Was there anything you learnt on Black Flame that you took forward onto Cannibal?
Yeah I think we did, we took it a bit too far on Black Flame but we really love the cinematic soundscapes on Black Flame, pushing the envelope in sonics, it’s really that we wanted to push what we already had. We’ve had these instruments that we’ve pushed through but we’ve never really had this level of cinematic chorus or ethereal background distortion. I think that when we started discovering it on Black Flame, we were kind of like more, more, more. Then when we stepped back we like, okay well we’ve got that out of our systems, now we can do this with a Bury Tomorrow touch. Before we very much wanted to keep adding. It’s no problem on Black Flame we just made it the album it was, but now we have the understanding of it more, we can do it on Bury Tomorrow terms and I guess the best way to put it is, it comes across more organically on Cannibal. It doesn’t feel like you’re being led into a cinematic section of music where as on Black Flame that kind of just happens, we were kind of making it obvious then like *by the way we’re going off track a little bit here, just so you know*.
I have this debate quite frequently of “Should an album ever be shuffled” and I think this album is one that flows perfectly front to back, it isn’t one you ever want to shuffle.
Thank you! We tried really hard on that. I’ll be honest with you this and Black Flame…We’ve got this thing with tracks 1, 3 and 6, we’ve always had this thing about them. Track 1, 3 and 6 are the main ones that you have to really smash in terms of, you want to hit the first one out the park, you want to hit the third one after it’s gone down a notch and then you want to hit the sixth one when you’re in the middle of the record. You want to hit, the absolute peak there and at the end. So for that, we thought really hard about ebbing and flowing. I think on Cannibal we got that to perfection with those songs, I think we went up and down, not drastically but so you’re flowing through the record nicely.
Now I see that, and go through the track listing, I see exactly what you mean. That’s Choke, The Grey and The Agonist which, personally, are three of my favourite moments on the record.
But these things are great but we never expected tracks like Cold Sleep, Dark, Infinite and Quake to just kind of bolster sections that we’ve not really focused dynamically on.
So if Cannibal wasn’t the title track of the album, what do you think would best represent this album?
I guess thematically it depends what you want from the album. I can tell you, it very nearly wasn’t the title track of the record. Dark, Infinite was the original working title when we were in the studio. So for a long time we talked about Dark, Infinite being the name and then when we heard Cannibal and the finished lyrics and then Jason (Cameron)’s part in it, we decided that the track thematically and musically summed up where we felt we were. We felt Cannibal was really a snapshot, if you listened to it and you really liked it there was a good chance the rest of the record you’d love. Whereas Dark, Infinite is a very much something or nothing metalcore track, our fans are absolutely going to go wild for it but people outside of our community maybe not so much. Cannibal felt like it summed up the album as a whole and what it was.
Let's talk about this artwork, its so bold and such a juxtaposition from the simplicity of Black Flame, what made you want to do this as a band?
You know, that was one of the very few things that was planned. We planned that before we even touched base on Black Flame. Just like we went from Runes to Earthbound, we knew full well. We like to mix it up each time so we always knew, if we were going so super simple with Black Flame we would explore the next one way more visually. It wasn’t a gimmick, we knew with Black Flame that we almost wanted to be no gimmicks so the only thing in Black Flame was the fans. They were the black flame. It was all about them, not about the artwork, it’s a symbol they can adopt and that can be theres. Then, with Cannibal, it was so easy to explore this idea of infinity, it was very good to explore that visually.
You guys have such a massive stage presence and have played venues of all sizes, during the current pandemic one of the worries is losing key grassroots venues. What has been your favourite small venue to play as a band?
I would be remiss, if I didn’t promote my local venue. We did the Stage Invasion tour and the stage invasion tour gave us the ability to see so many grassroots venues up and down the country but honestly, you’ve got to have love for The Joiners. It’s where we started, it’s where our first show was and it was very much our home for a long time. We have both happy and sad memories there but you know what it’s not about the happy or the sad times, it’s just about if you have memories. I’ve said to a lot of people over this pandemic, the hardest thing is that they’re not making memories. Summers are about going out and seeing friends you haven’t seen in ages, standing in a field arm in arm, going to shows or going on holidays. You’re not making memories at the moment or at least not in the classic way you have done for the rest of your life. It’s why music is so important and why music venues are so important. There’s almost a conduit to stage this memory that’ll be in your mind, for the rest of your life. I’m really hoping when we’re back, there’s a resurgence in live music because everyone thinks we need it!
Could we see the return of the stage invasion tour?
Yes, I’m telling you without a shadow of a doubt, yes. Nice easy one. You’ll definitely see a return. We love playing live. It’s always super nice to play really big venues but realistically, for me personally I love really tiny venues. I love having a certain amount of fear when I play and I’m not talking about stage fright. I’m talking about “Am I going to survive this show?”. So for me, those smaller venues are great.
Bury Tomorrow Website: https://www.bury-tomorrow.com/