So in case you hadn’t heard, I’ve done a lot of ETID interviews. This was my first time speaking to someone that wasn’t Keith, however – his brother, Jordan, was on the line this time around. This was to promote the band’s upcoming appearance at the Big Day Out – what ended up being the penultimate Big Day Out, actually. I hadn’t written for AHM for a few months, but they knew I was such an ETID fan that they could get me back in just for it.
It’s an okay feature, but I did have to make a change here.
So, one of the hot-button topics around this time was Laura Jane Grace. I, and basically everyone around me, had no idea about trans people at this point. This was our first proper exposure to it, and as such a lot of us didn’t exactly know the etiquette surrounding discussing trans people. I deadnamed Laura in this article, and I’ve promptly removed and reworded that part of the article. I normally leave them up as is, bad syntax and all, but this was the only time I really had to step in and check my past self. I don’t blame me for not knowing, but it’s something that present-day me has control over. So there’s that.
Endless touring, clothing lines and one of 2012’s most exciting punk/hardcore records – just another year in the office for EVERY TIME I DIE. AMH’s DAVID JAMES YOUNG caught up with founding guitarist JORDAN BUCKLEY to discuss the year that was, as well as ETID’s imminent appearance at the 2013 Big Day Out.
Make no mistake about it – this ain’t Every Time I Die’s first rodeo. Over fourteen years and half-a-dozen studio albums, the band have cemented themselves as not only one of the genre’s most shit-hot live acts, but even as an influential force that younger bands will often imitate but never surpass.
2012 was another champagne year for the five-piece, sporting a new rhythm section and not only their first album in three years, but potentially their best LP yet in Ex-Lives. With so much going on within the ETID camp, it’s difficult for Jordan Buckley – Keith’s younger brother and one of three remaining original members – to pin down just a few highlights from the year just past.
“I had a great time on Warped Tour, actually,” he offers up after running through a few ideas. “I got to take my clothing line out with me, and I had my own tent up. That was really cool – as well as the shows being great, I actually put an insane amount of time into drawing and designing everything. I guess when you’re watching all of your hard work pay off all day long in the form of when I get to play on stage; as well as people really liking my designs. It was a summer where I felt like just being rewarded every day.”
The clothing line in question is Jordan Buckley World Wide – or JBWW for convenience’s sake – which featured drawings, cartoons and designs by Buckley on t-shirts and hoodies. Jordan says that he began JBWW not as a means to get involved with fashion; but rather that it was an outlet for his art. “I’ve been drawing all my life,” he explains.
“I started doing it a lot more around five years ago, but I didn’t really know what to do with what I was making. I wasn’t really in the position to be doing gallery shows, because the people that like my art aren’t really going to be the kind to be dropping five grand for a painting. I decided to do the clothing thing because that was the easiest way to achieve most of the goals I had set – getting your art out to being seen and making it affordable. A kid at a show might not be willing to put down a thousand dollars for a framed piece – but they can probably throw in a twenty for a t-shirt.”
Indeed, Every Time I Die is a group of individuals that truly seem to have creativity oozing from them. It sees as though the band simply don’t have time for anyone within the band that isn’t 110% committed to the output. It was this that lead to the departure of drummer Mike Novak following the release of the band’s last album, 2009’s New Junk Aesthetic. Ex Lives was the band’s first LP with new sticks-man Ryan Leger, and Buckley insists that this was a major contributing factor to the album’s creative process.
“Even though it was our sixth album, it really felt like making our first one,” he says. “It was less painful. We were trying more things, different things. With Mike in that later period, it honestly felt like we were auditioning riffs at some points. There were times that he wouldn’t even play if he didn’t like your riff. We’re all about trying everything now. Who knows? We could end up doing something that we really like. Some days, we were like ‘Hey! Let’s write a song that has a banjo!’ or ‘Let’s just write a song with two riffs and call it a day.’ It was different things every day for this record.”
After previewing the Ex Lives material in Australia during some headlining shows in September 2011, the band return for their first-ever Big Day Out and for their first shows here since the record was released. Buckley is particularly excited about the line-up, including his childhood heroes in the form of headliners the Red Hot Chili Peppers. There is one act, however, that not only make up the higher-profile punk/hardcore contingent, but have also been one of the most talked-about acts of 2012. Coincidentally enough, it’s also the band that will be playing straight after ETID on the main-stage: Floridian punks Against Me!, who made headlines in 2012 following the news surrounding the transition of frontwoman Laura Jane Grace.
“We’ve been very good friends with them over the years,” says Buckley. “We’ve done a bunch of Warped Tours with them. I’m an Against Me! fan. I had heard the references across the albums and actually gotten them. So when the news came out, it wasn’t a shock thing – it was more of a ‘Wow, hey did you see this?’ thing. I remember we were in Europe, and it was all over the internet. We all just thought it was really cool, y’know? We haven’t seen them since, just because our paths haven’t crossed – but I’m really looking forward to seeing them. They’re an incredible band. It is what it is. More power to her!”