When The Bureau went into the studio to cut a record in 2017, the members had lofty visions of a sci fi-driven concept album.

“The concept of the record was a comic book-type story about how our world merged with one from an alternate reality,” frontman Allen Garrett wrote in an email ahead of the Roanoke rock outfit’s show at Beale’s Beer this Saturday.

“It was to be explained that the current insanity in modern politics and world events could be blamed on a government agency that partook in top-secret blue pill/red pill type of time travel experiments and tore the fabric of reality.”

The project, though exciting, proved a bit too much for The Bureau, which had already undergone a lineup change since the group formed a year prior.

Garrett and his crew scrapped their project, but hints of the epic album that almost was remain, especially on the band’s new EP, “Y!kes,” which it released last month.

The story has only just begun. The Bureau plans to keep exploring new galaxies with its first full-length record next year, wrote Garrett.

“Get ready for a lot of references to UFOs,” he added.

Before The Bureau sucks its Bedford audience into another dimension, Garrett talked about the appeal of sci fi, the throughline of “Y!kes” and what could possibly be the nerdiest song ever written.

There’s definitely been rock albums inspired by sci fi in the past. What for you personally is the appeal in combining sci fi with rock?

“Sci fi is such a cool genre because it inspires people who have a tendency to daydream to allow their minds to wander into weird concepts and ideas they previously hadn’t thought of. It’s an awesome form of escapism, especially for today’s fans as sci fi movies (Hollywood in general) tend to inform tomorrow’s ideas and innovations. We’re also huge fans of loud, raunchy rock ‘n’ roll. Putting the two together was a no-brainer.”

How did you land on the name The Bureau?

“I was listening to a Gerard Way record called ‘Hesitant Alien.’ The first track on the album is called ‘The Bureau.’ I really liked how ominous the title and lyrics were. The name stuck in my head and made me think of things like ‘The X-Files,’ ‘The Prisoner,’ ‘Doctor Who’ and other science fiction series that were big influences on me since childhood.”

You opened for Hinder in June at a show in Lynchburg. What was that experience like?

“Opening for Hinder was such a cool experience for us and more specifically where we currently are as a band. We’re just starting to venture farther out, playing new venues and meeting new people. Opening for Hinder allowed us to meet several new, like-minded people and experience their music. It was so cool to see how bands who actually tour function on the road and at shows.

“I remember being hit with such a strange feeling when we were asked to play because I could remember listening to Hinder on the radio as a kid; 14-year-old me would have never guessed that a band I was a part of would be opening for them.”

You released a new EP, “Y!kes,” last month. What is the album’s story?

“There really isn’t a story to the EP. The four tracks are the first songs we wrote as a band. The only common ground between the songs is that my cat was forced to listen to us write and practice the material on the EP. His name is Yikes so we decided to name the EP after him.”

Of all your music, the song I hear the most overt references to sci fi — or rather science — is the aptly named track “The Scientist.” Can you tell me about it?

“‘Scientist’ was written by our guitarist Patrick Keeney. Patrick has a passion for science and set out to write, in his words ‘the nerdiest song possible.’ The song discusses the beauty that is to be found within existence and that this understanding can be had by anyone. It’s a gorgeous song. There are several lyrics in this song that makes me incredibly jealous as a songwriter.”

You mentioned an upcoming release. What can you tell me about that?

“We are currently in the process of recording our first full-length album at Final Track Studios [in Roanoke]. It will consist of 11 to 12 originals. Included in that number are the four songs from our EP as well as two other singles we have released this year. I can’t reveal the name yet, but I’m super excited to release it. It’s due out early 2020, but we’ll be dropping teasers between now and then.”

Emma Schkloven covers arts and entertainment for The News & Advance.

Load comments