Thomas Giles, front man of Between The Buried And Me, released his second solo album towards the end of last year. Modern Noise debuted in the top ten of the Billboard “New Artist” chart. Our resident prog expert Progger jumped at the chance to fling a few questions Giles-wards…
How long was Modern Noise was in the making? Can you describe the journey this album represents?
I’m really bad about time, but it feels like I wrote most of the record in a few months. I wrote most of the record on the road with BTBAM.
Tell me about the themes the album’s title captures for you.
The main theme to me, is be yourself. This record feels like a very accurate extension of myself and that was very intentional. I wanted to create a record that was overly organic and didn’t need much tweaking to feel right in my ears.
Could you describe the creative process behind the new album, and the process behind the propulsive, mercurial title track?
I like to pick up guitars a lot. I enjoy just playing around and a lot of times riffs or musical ideas develop. I video tape a lot of these ideas (or use voice notes) and the beginnings to a lot of my songs are written this way. I start with a simple idea and build from there. I like to create songs off of one riff, or a few ideas, and this outlet houses that ideal very easily. The electronic stuff I normally just start from scratch and see where the song goes. Like I said before, most of this record was written on the road, so every day created a different mood and I noticed the songs each having their own identities. I enjoy this about the record.
Can we delve deeper into what “Wander Drug” is communicating?
“Wander Drug” is actually a story about the apocalypse. There is only one man left on earth (that we know of) and all he wants to do is find someone to play music with. I imagined this rocker guy just wandering the earth trying to find other dudes to rock with. I always imagined a storyline drawn out and written by the people who do “Regular Show”.
Where does Modern Noise stand compared with the debut album Pulse? Both in terms of your opinion, and in the changes musically?
The songs are stronger in my opinion. With Pulse I had no clue what I wanted to do. With MN, I knew exactly what the end goal was. I was more confident and felt like I had become a better song writer. Confidence is important when writing new material. I feel MN is more focused and has more of a heavy rock vibe. I enjoy that about the record.
What did Will Goodyear contribute and how did he help you out shaping Modern Noise the way it turned out?
He was such a joy to work with. I would send him the simplest drum ideas and he would make every song come to life. Most of the material he just improv’d in the studio, and I wouldn’t have had it any other way. He’s such a great song writer himself and I knew he would help these songs get to new levels. Very pleased with his work on the record.
You worked with producer Jamie King, with whom you previously worked on many occasions with Between the Buried and Me. Although Jamie is a big professional, I guess that Modern Noise was a bit of a challenge for him. How did your chemistry with him work?
I would actually disagree. I never sense Jamie being challenged. Hahaha! He crushed it like always. We had such a wonderful time working on this record. It a lot of work, but it went so smooth. Honestly can’t imagine working with someone else’s perfect chemistry.
It’s been two months since Modern Noise was released. Are you satisfied with its reception?
I’m very satisfied. I never know what to expect with any release, and it’s been great to hear how much people enjoy MN. This music is different for me, and it’s very motivating to see fans enjoying all the sides of my writing.
Perhaps it’s early to talk about new solo material considering that you have quite hectic schedule with BTBAM, but do you have a clear vision of where you want to take your solo work?
I know I want to write more. As far as what I want it to sound like, I have no clue. I hope to start writing some new music soon. We will see! Thanks for the interview.