INTERVIEW: Joe Buras (BORN OF OSIRIS)
Must-see is a phrase so easily passed around these days, but when two of the hottest heavy acts kicking around at the moment team up for a co-headline tour on our shores, you best believe you better not miss this one - especially when the two acts are none other than Illinois heavies Born of Osiris and Utah thumpers Chelsea Grin.
For Born of Osiris, 2019 has certainly proven to be one of their busiest and most ambitious years to date - unveiling their fifth studio album 'The Simulation' in January, relentlessly hitting the road and planning a sixth album release before the year is through is just a minor peek into the incomparable work ethic and passion this blasting quintet bring to the table. And that same passion that awaits us, as Born of Osiris gear up to return to Australia once again and bring their twist on progressive deathcore around the country on a whirlwind tour.
Whether you love them for their polyrhythmic wizardry, their blasting live shows or their array of djenty, techy fusion, there's certainly a whole lot of epic sonic madness awaiting Aussie audiences when the gents touch down in June. But before the face melting and head banging does the rounds, we grabbed keyboardist and vocalist Joe Buras to chat new influences, new music and his adorable love for us Aussies.
TIANA SPETER: Hi Joe! Thanks so much for chatting to me - where am I speaking to you today?
JOE BURAS: I'm in San Diego, California.
TIANA: Ah! Well, we are currently on opposite sides of the world, but as of next month that distance is gonna get a whole lot smaller because yourself and Born of Osiris are obviously heading out here co-headling with Chelsea Grin, which is extremely exciting. But what are you actually most looking forward to about heading down under for these shows?
JOE: Well first of all, this is my sixth one! And I'm really excited, you're the sixth Australian I've talked to today, and everyone has been super awesome. So I'm getting more and more excited! I'm in charge of booking the flights as well for this one, so I've been looking at flights to and from all of the different destinations that Born of Osiris lives. I'm excited to get back, obviously, to Australia. It's been a bit of a long time since we've been there, and our first time working with Destroy All Lines, which is the company that's bringing us out. I'm excited to meet some new friends! We just toured with Make Them Suffer, so I know some of them are from Melbourne and we're excited to see them. And Dead Letter Circus, we know those guys.
TIANA: Oh aren't they a bunch of sweethearts!
JOE: Yeah, we did a tour with them with Periphery, and became good friends with them. Australians are awesome!
TIANA: And how do you find your Aussie fans compared to, say, fans back home or around the globe? Are we relatively well behaved, I hope we've shown you a good time when you've been out here in the past...
JOE: Yes! I remember we learned how to play cricket at the beach one time, which was super fun! I'm a huge fan of English culture, whenever we go to Europe I love London and Manchester and going to all those spots. So, obviously Australia kinda has that vibe...ish?? You know, we're all English-speaking and I don't think I've met an Australian I didn't get along with.
TIANA: Well, you're already more Australian than me, I actually don't know how to play cricket. So you've got some bragging rights on me there.
JOE: Wellll, I can't say I remember how to play. It was years ago (laughs).
TIANA: Oh awesome! We're back on even footing then! That's good. And as part of this upcoming tour, it's obviously coinciding with your latest release 'The Simulation' which dropped earlier this year. And I know you've taken it on the road a bit already - how's the reaction been to the new tracks in a live setting so far?
JOE: It's been super good, we put out the record in January and then went on our headline tour promoting it in February and March and it's been very awesome to see people already singing the words to the songs, and knowing the parts. It's been rewarding and I feel like it's given us a little boost of confidence, and a boost of the status of the band, in a way. So can't complain! We're working on a tonne of new stuff as well right now, we're hoping to put out as much as we can!
THE ACCURSED (BORN OF OSIRIS)
TIANA: Well that's pretty damn exciting, I'm very excited to hear that! That's awesome.
JOE: Yeah, we were thinking about doing 'The Simulation' Part Two. But, I think now we're more leaning towards just doing a new idea. So we'll see what happens!
TIANA: I will watch this space very eagerly! And speaking of 'The Simulation', there is obviously quite a strong narrative circling throughout it, and one that is sadly increasingly relevant. But as a band in existence in 2019, do you feel that technology is a necessary evil in the music industry, and do you guys find that you can strike a balance to not succumb wholly to this whole digital addiction thing?
JOE: It's tough. My girlfriend works in social media and so I kind of get some inside scoop on that stuff. And we're not the type of band who's been super big on it. I barely use Facebook nowadays, and even Instagram I'm slowly posting less and less. I dunno what it is as you get older, or at least for me...I'm seeing it as something that I don't necessarily need. If I want to share something with my close friends and family I can talk to them directly. But obviously it's an amazing tool to share your creative outlet, and things like that. But as far as "the simulation"...it's just something that I feel like everyone's talking more and more about. It's a conversation that gets brought up a lot on tour, between fans and bandmates...that's my personal view.
TIANA: It's definitely a tricky one. And I guess we just kind of have to go with it and hope that it doesn't all turn into Black Mirror, or something like that.
JOE: (laughs) Yeah. Skynet! Or Morpheus. We'll see! But at the same time, it's always fun to be on the cutting edge. And if you were to talk to our other vocalist Ronnie (Ronnie Canizaro - Vocals), I think he's more that type, he knows about every gadget and that stuff. I'm kinda more of the nostalgic type.
TIANA: I'm with you there! I'm pretty old school. But that's ok, we can all balance it out a bit. And with the album, I've ready you guys speak quite frequently in the past about partially being inspired by the reaction to the ten year anniversary tour you did for your first release. And obviously this time round with 'The Simulation' you guys had Nick (Nick Rossi - Bass) onboard as well. Did you find it was a dramatically different process in terms of how you approached this from a creative and technical perspective?
JOE: It was interesting because we had started writing the record when David Da Rocha was still in the band. And then David left and Nick joined, and so we had this new mind and new songwriter. 'Cycles of Tragedy' is a track on the new record that wasn't really planned to be on there, and then Nick Rossi showed us the track, and we fell in love with it. And so we added it towards the end of the process, and it ended up being the music video song, and one of the really good live tracks on the tour we did. So it's been this cool new mind and influence. And going forth from there since the beginning of the year, Nick has been sending so much. You can tell he's kind of on this new page with a lot of inspiration, he's been sending a tonne of new material to us and I've been chopping up a little bit of it, adding some keyboards, adding some vocals. And, yeah, it's definitely a new mind to work with!
BORN OF OSIRIS//pic: Ray Duker
TIANA SPETER: And an exciting time too for this lineup, with yet another new album on the horizon. It's gonna be interesting to see which way you guys move forward from here, I'm so keen.
JOE: Yeah, Lee McKinney (Born of Osiris Guitarist) who does a lot of the songwriting just released his solo album, and I think he had a guy that he met who does saxophone. So one of the new Born of Osiris songs that he's working on, or that we're working on, has a little bit of saxophone. Which we're really excited about!
TIANA: Oh, hell yes! That's awesome!
JOE: (laughs) Yeah, we're all big fans of The Midnight! They're so good.
TIANA: Now, I won't keep you too much longer. But considering you are about to come on quite a long trip and you're in the middle of booking some flights already to Australia...for yourself, is there one "must have" essential item that you take with you on the road to keep you sane?
JOE: I think, when touring internationally outside of the US...I would just say headphones. I think there's those mornings when you wake up with six dudes and some of them are maybe in a bad mood or complaining about something that I don't wanna hear (laughs). Noise cancelling headphones! I think sometimes at the airport or in the van, bus or wherever we're at - that is key.
JOE BURAS ONSTAGE WITH BORN OF OSIRIS//pic: Dana Willax
TIANA: Yep, solid answer! Solid. And final question. You kind of hinted at it earlier, but obviously the latest album touches on the notions of simulation theory. If you suddenly woke up Matrix-style and you were presented with the option to take the red pill or the blue pill - which would you choose?
JOE: Definitely would take the red pill and go down the rabbit hole. Because, there's just more to learn! Do you want to keep living your same life or do you want to see the other side of things? I think I would definitely wanna be on The Nebuchadnezzar and meet Morpheus and fight the robots. I think that's exciting!
TIANA: And hopefully fighting robots while Born of Osiris is playing in the background! It'd be a pretty badass battle scene I reckon.
JOE: Yeah! And actually, there's The Nebuchadnezzar and then if you watch The Animatrix, there's a ship called the Osiris.
TIANA: Oh dang! I need to rewatch The Animatrix. This is too perfect!
JOE: Have you seen the Animatrix?!
TIANA: I have, it was a long time ago though, so I'm going to have to do a revisit. That's it, that's my weekend sorted!
JOE: Yeah, cos it's like a bunch of different animation and episodes, I think there's one of them that's just about the Flight of the Osiris, I believe it's called.
TIANA: That is utterly perfect!
JOE: Our singer Ronnie (Ronnie Canizaro), it was his birthday on our last show in our hometown show in Chicago in March. On St. Patrick's Day! He loves The Matrix, that's like his thing. And so we printed out his face on Neo, and we had this big printout in the green room, and we all celebrated and did a cheers to Neo and Ronnie!
TIANA: I love that so much! Well hopefully we might be able to do something equally as memorable for you with these upcoming Aussie shows. Cannot wait to see you guys live in action, and can't wait to see what's next for Born of Osiris!
JOE: Awesome, yeah we're excited to get down there and party with you guys and play some shows!
TIANA: Thanks so much for the chat. Hope the rest of your day isn't too painful, hopefully you're nearly done talking to Australians!
JOE: (laughs) Thank you, you too! Enjoy your day!
BORN OF OSIRIS WILL BE HITTING OUR SHORES IN JUNE, CO-HEADLINING WITH CHELSEA GRIN AND A HEAP OF LOCAL SUPPORTS. FOR TOUR INFO, HEAD HERE, AND FOR ALL OTHER BORN OF OSIRIS INFO, HEAD HERE.
BY TIANA SPETER