INTERVIEW: Every Time I Die (USA), January 2013

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.

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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!”

INTERVIEW: Every Time I Die (USA), March 2012

Man, I have interviewed Every Time I Die so many times. I never would have guessed how many times I’ve done it before going through this archive, but it’s a lot. I guess it makes sense, really – they were touring a lot, and they were churning out records. They have to be one of the most scarily consistent bands in heavy music. They have a sound that’s theirs, but they’ve never gotten samey or stale across their career. Here, we’re talking about Ex Lives, which remains one of my favourite albums of theirs. The interview isn’t too bad either, considering I was still figuring out a lot about feature writing in these first few years.

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When you’re after a good time in the field of rock, punk, hardcore or metal, it’s rare that you’ll go past EVERY TIME I DIE. With a discography and list of achievements as long as your arm, the band have finally dropped their new album Ex-Lives after a nearly three-year wait…and, just quietly, it might just be their best work yet. Vocalist KEITH BUCKLEY got on the line with Australian Hysteria Magazine to shoot the shit and discuss the making of this stellar record.

“The Sabres won!” exclaims Keith Buckley as cheers erupt from the bar which he is standing out the front of. Ever the professional, Buckley has moved away from the noise in order to speak to Australian Hysteria Magazine. He may have missed the final moments of his beloved Buffalo Sabres taking out a huge NHL victory, but it doesn’t seem to concern him that greatly. After all, he is bursting with excitement to talk about Ex-Lives, the sixth studio album from his band Every Time I Die and his return to the ETID fold after going on tour with hair-metal supergroup The Damned Things.

Buckley spent most of 2011 working as a double agent of sorts, hitting the road with TDT in support of their debut, Ironiclast; as well as working on Ex-Lives in his time off. Both bands were on the line-up for the Soundwave Revolution festival in September of 2011, but fate was not kind to the festival and it ended up folding before a single stage had even been set up.

Thankfully, both ETID and TDT toured, the former doing a handful of headlining shows and the latter joining the consolation-prize Counter-Revolution line-up. “The fact that I can say that Van Halen screwed up my year is actually kind of awesome,” says Keith with a big laugh. “That said, them cancelling actually worked out for the best for us. The Damned Things got to come out and play, which was awesome, and all the shows I got to play were really, really fun.”

New songs were premiered on that tour – including the pulverising first single “Underwater Bimbos From Outer Space” – but Ex-Lives had not reached completion at the time of the September tours. Regardless, Buckley was hugely enthusiastic about the album and its sound: speaking to AHM at the time, he emphasised that Ex-Lives was “not just another Every Time I Die record” and that the material was “honestly some of the best stuff we’ve written.” Even with the album finished, however, Keith is still as excited about the record as he was back then.

“We’ve been sitting on it for months, which is crazy,” he says. “We’ve had time to really build up some hype for it and put out the video [for “Underwater Bimbos”] and stuff like that, so it’s kind of like we’ve gone into training to generate interest for this record before we tour it. We’re very excited. I still love it just as much as I did when we were recording it, and it’s crazy to me that we’ve been sitting on it for so long. Normally, when we’re done with a record, it’s straight out so we don’t have to worry about it leaking.”

Naturally, this perceived break from tradition leads the discussion to the topic of album leaks. Both Ironiclast and the band’s previous record, 2009’s New Junk Aesthetic, leaked online prior to the official release date, and so Buckley is questioned as to what a leak means to both him and to the band.

“It honestly depends on how close it is to the release date – because, sometimes, it can actually help a lot,” he responds. “When you get to the point when you’re worrying about record sales… I mean, that’s not the kind of band that we are. We’re not Katy Perry. We’re not Rihanna. We’re just a hardcore band – record sales don’t really justify anything for us. We still go on tour and play to kids who know the words to our songs – whether they downloaded it or bought it, they’re still coming out to the shows to hear the songs live. That’s kind of the point, huh?”

Talk then returns to Ex-Lives – a record which, for what it’s worth, sounds as though it will absolutely thrive in the live environment. With breakneck drums, howled vocals and punishing guitars left, right and centre, it’s an album that expands to new horizons for the band without losing sight of what made them an excellent band to begin with. The album, tellingly, was very rawly recorded, and presented quite a different style of recording process for Buckley in comparison to New Junk Aesthetic. “I was working on the vocals with everyone else in the band watching me while it happened, which is something I’d never done before,” he says.

“Normally, I’d do vocals for the song and then hear the band’s critiques of it later on when they came down. I’d take their comments on board and then go back in without them and do it again. This time around, though, I was doing the takes with all of them watching behind me, which was really weird. I was making all of my mistakes right in front of them. It’s weird, because a lot of people seem to think that if you’re going to perform in front of an audience, that you must not be that self-conscious. But I am. Extremely. Doing that was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. They’d never heard me make those mistakes before. It was good, though – I’m very open to input from the others, and I’m not a diva. It’s a band. It’s a democracy.”

With Ex-Lives finally ready to go, Every Time I Die are finally preparing for a full-scale tour, starting in North America and quickly moving onto the rest of the world. Quizzed on a potential Australian tour, however, and Keith is somewhat hesitant. “Oh, man, I really don’t know,” he says with a laugh. “Honestly, with so much going on I really don’t know when we’ll be able to get back down there. At a stretch, we’re gonna aim for November and see how that goes.” It might be awhile off yet, but do yourself a favour while you’re playing the waiting game and go give Ex-Lives a spin. There’s a very strong chance you’ll like what you hear.

INTERVIEW: Keith Buckley (USA), September 2011

Got to have a cheeky double-dip in this interview, as I was speaking with the devilishly handsome Keith Buckley about both the impending Every Time I Die record as well as his side-project at the time, The Damned Things. It was a good time to be a fan of Keith in Australia, as he toured both at the same time as a part of that whole Counter-Revolution clusterfuck. He’s a great interviewee and a lovely guy. ETID just came through town last month and they crushed, as per usual. I also got to speak to Keith again when Ex-Lives came out, but we’ll cross that bridge when we get to it.

– DJY, February 2015

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In the last eighteen months or so, Keith Buckley has been leading a double life – for the first time in his career, he’s lent his voice-box to two different bands. On one side of the coin, he’s been hard at work with Every Time I Die, the southern-fried hardcore rockers of which he is a founding member, working on a follow-up to their highly-acclaimed fifth album New Junk Aesthetic. “We are in the studio at this very moment,” Buckley himself confirms over the line from California. “This is my last interview, and then I have to go and record the vocals.” The as-yet-untitled record is projected for a late 2011/early 2012 release, and Buckley is already considerably enthusiastic about the sound of it.

“This is our first record with our new drummer,” he comments. Founding member Mike Novak left the group in 2009, and has since been replaced by new skin-pounder Ryan Leger. Buckley goes on about the energy of the new material – “It’s got so much more energy than our previous records – we’re really excited about it!” Interestingly enough, however, he’s reluctant to give the usual spiel about how it’s “the best record I’ve ever worked on.” It’s nothing personal – it’s just how many musicians like to drum up interest about the new material. So where does Buckley stand? Does he honestly feel the new record is going to be their best?

“The thing is,” he replies, “is that it’s not just another Every Time I Die record. Our old drummer was with us from day one. Everything you’ve ever heard of us being recorded, that’s been the rhythm section. So this is a completely new drumming style – it’s a new sound; it’s a new energy. So, when we’re looking at everything that we’ve ever done and then comparing it to the way we sound now? This is definitely some of the best stuff we’ve written. And it’s all thanks to our new drummer – he’s made us see it all in such a new way.”

Of course, let’s not forget about what else Buckley has been up to in this aforementioned double life. Teaming up with some unlikely pals from thrash metallers Anthrax and pop-punk stadium-fillers Fall Out Boy, Buckley spent most of 2010 and a part of 2011 fronting The Damned Things. The supergroup was a passion project for the five members to make some good-time rock & roll with a hair-metal and hard-rock edge to it. After three or four years in the pipeline – “You know what it’s like with our schedules,” says Buckley – the band finally released their debut album, Ironiclast, in December of last year. Although Keith maintains that he’s “not the type to get too finnicky in the studio,” it was notably different when it came to recording Ironiclast.

“I was singing,” explains Buckley, who had never previously done “clean” vocals on a record before, “and I wasn’t fully aware of what I was capable of with my voice. I was finding out things that I could and couldn’t do, just experimenting with them. It was a challenge, because I wasn’t comfortable. It wasn’t like I had to invent a willingness to do it – I didn’t have to pretend that I like rock music. It was just something that I’ve always liked but have never had a chance to do. I was pushing myself physically with what I was doing with my voice, but it was never like I didn’t like the musical style – I just had to take a different approach to it.”

It should be pointed out at this stage that it was never going to be a case of Buckley leaving his band in favour of The Damned Things – although that didn’t stop a myriad of worried fans approaching Keith while he toured Ironiclast. “Everyone worries about it,” he says, “because nobody every thinks to ask outright. I have never, ever said that I wanted to tone down Every Time I Die. I never said I wanted to leave or anything like that, y’know? It was just another opportunity to write and make music, which is what I like doing. So I did it!”

A simple enough reason, certainly. But here comes the challenge – for the first time ever, Buckley will be bringing both aspects of his double life on tour at the same time. “Yep,” says Keith with a laugh, “I’m gonna be workin’ two shifts in Australia.” While both bands were scheduled to be a part of the doomed Soundwave Revolution, both The Damned Things and Every Time I Die will still get their chance to perform in the country; the former as a part f the Counter-Revolution festivals and the latter doing their own set of headlining club shows. “It’s gonna be quite different to what I’m used to,” Keith says of performing with both bands. “Normally, I just get set into the one style and run with it – but this time I’ll be going between the two. I’m not sure how it’s all going to turn out, but I sure can’t wait to find out!” Likewise, buddy.

INTERVIEW: Every Time I Die (USA), January 2010

“This ain’t my first rodeo!” Actually, this was – I’ve interviewed members of Every Time I Die four times, and this was the first of those. I’m pretty sure it was Keith Buckley who answered the questions. This was for the Boys of Summer tour – remember when that was a thing? Another emailer; this was pretty sweet as I was just getting into these guys. I finally got to see them live in 2013; and their headliner ended up being one of the best shows of the year. Now, on with the show.

– DJY, April 2014

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Welcome back to Australia! Have you been looking forward to coming back?
We absolutely have, especially because where I live there’s about four feet of snow on the ground. Now I’m out here sitting pool-side. When I go home, I’m gonna be the cats pyjamas! But we also love being here because the shows are amazing. Everyone is super nice to us. Sometimes aggressively nice. That’s sometimes a bad thing, but it’s rare.

Looking back on 2009, what were some of your favourite moments?
I got married, which was pretty monumental. It was a good year for us. We’ve been touring a lot on the newest record and did our first legit headliner for Epitaph. The reception was better than we could have hoped for.

My little brother has fond memories of Keith getting nailed by bottles at Sydney’s 2009 Soundwave. Did this kind of stuff happen at every stop?
I tried to encourage it as much as possible. We want to make the people watching us feel like they’re a part of the show. Since the stage was so big and we really weren’t close to them, I wanted them to come to us. It kept me on my toes too. I’m a lot faster than anything thinks.

You must be upset that Trap Them are no longer on the bill?
I am indeed. I’m an enormous fan of that band.

What do you think of the other acts you are playing with on the Boys of Summer tour?
I think they’re all really cool. They have a lot of support from the kids coming out so it adds a great element. They’re familiar to people. The guys are super nice too.

Many bands speak of how gruelling touring schedules can be. Has that ever been a difficulty in the ETID camp?
No man, it’s just a part of the job. You know what you’re getting into when you sign up. Well, at least you did years ago. If people complain, it’s because they put their music on the internet and got signed before even playing a real show. Either it took them by surprise or they’re just spoiled and didn’t realise that the instruments they bought with daddy’s money didn’t come with a ‘Get Out Of Jail Free’ card and they’d have to suffer for their art.

What have recent set-lists consisted of? Is there even a slight chance of playing at least one Burial Plot track?
There is ZERO chance of a BPBW song. Haha. It’s a good mix, about four songs from each record.

Can you tell us any more about what’s happening with The Damned Things?
I just did some demo/pre-production right before leaving for Australia. Things are coming out splendidly. A lot of solos; a lot of huge choruses. My dad heard a song and said it sounded like Foreigner. That’s a real good thing.