Every Time I Die interview

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By Suzie Lee. Published on 12/3/2009.

Every Time I Die INTERVIEW

Suzie Lee spent some time with Keith Buckley of Every Time I Die, right before the release of the group's latest effort, "New Junk Aesthetic," their first album with Epitaph Records.


How are you?

I'm good.

Good. I kind of just want to jump into the whole Epitaph thing.

Ok.

What motivated the move from Ferret to Epitaph after being on Ferret for so long?

It was time to fly the coop, really. We had been with Ferret pretty much since we started the band. They were kind of moving in the direction of doing management and things like that. Our contract ran up so it wasn't breached or anything it just happened to be a good time for us to just part ways. We're all still friends, everything is great. Epitaph was just a label that we had grown up listening to bands that were on Epitaph. I remember when I heard that Converge signed to Epitaph I was just like, "This might be the greatest label of all time." So when we were talking about possible labels, this was before we had even asked [or] anybody had come after us or anything, we just said "Epitaph would just be perfect. If they ever come knocking, please just let them in immediately." So they did and it was all smooth.

So they came for you and you didn't go after them?

Yeah, yeah I think they did. I think so; I think that's how it worked. Brett said he was a fan of ours and that was really cool; then he took us out for sushi and we geeked out about Bad Religion for a little bit.

How is being on a new label going to influence the way that you sound?

Well I have to use auto-tune now, all the time. There's going to be a lot of auto-tune.

You're not cool unless you use auto-tune!

I've gotta do it.

This might be a little touchy subject but I have to...

Ratboy?

Yeah, I'm just gonna get it out of the way. So you recently parted ways with Mike "Ratboy" Novak, in your statement regarding the split you said it was something you've been foreseeing would happen, were you surprised that he decided to leave when he did with the new record and the new label?

No, I actually think that he was fairly poised for that to be exactly the time. I definitely don't think that he would've gone into another tour. I think that him recording the record with us and writing the record with us was kind of like his farewell to us, really. I couldn't see him getting in the van for another tour. He did it with enough time for us to find a replacement.

The press release from the band sounded a little bitter towards him, did you guys patch things up or is there some bad blood?

It's not like if we ever see him in a dark alley things are gonna go awry. I don't think our paths will ever have to cross again really. Basically we just don't really know who he is, but that was kind of the feeling for the whole time of the band. I just found out he had a sister a week before. I never really knew anything about him; it was more of like, he was a band mate where the other guys were my friends.

When he texted you guys that he was out what were your first initial thoughts on finding a drummer and moving forward as a band?

I was really excited to be honest, I really was. I just thought it was such a rebirth in every sort of avenue with the new label, new record. Our tour manager, who's been our tour manager forever who's like a sixth member of the band, went to management so we had to find a new tour manager as well. It just felt like a new...nothing against him we love him, we're still great friends, I'm just saying the Every Time I Die camp got all these new aspects in it and it was like, "Ok this might be a new stage of life for us." We were excited to start finding someone that would actually have fun with the band.

How is Ryan fitting in with the band musically and personally?

Great, personally great; he played one show with us so far it was a festival in Saginaw, Michigan and it wasn't just a great first show for him it was like one of the tightest we've ever played.

It was a festival?

Yeah.

That's kind of a big first show...

Well it wasn't a big festival though. But yeah it was a different environment outside of [a normal show].

Ok we'll switch gears here. So I heard that you're working on opening a venue in Buffalo.

Trying, yeah.

What compelled that?

There's not a really good rock bar. I mean there are plenty of good venues, there's Mohawk Place, if anybody from Buffalo's reading this knows were Mohawk Place is, and we've got Town Ballroom but they're kind of off these drags of main roads where for some people it's hard to get to, some people can't find them. We just kind of wanted to do one right in the middle of downtown and it's kind of in an area where there's not even a rock club, you can't even hear rock music if you go out to a bar so, we wanted to do that, bring that element to downtown.

What's the word on the contest regarding the name?

Um, we have one in mind that everyone is for, except for one of my partners and it's gonna take some convincing.

Did one of your fans come up with it?

Oddly enough, one of the people didn't come up with it, but I had come up with it and somebody else thinks it's a good idea too so that person, we have them on file. Yeah, we're still gonna bring that guy in.

Do you guys earn a living from the band or are you squeezing in part-time jobs when you get home?

Um, it depends sometimes. With this venue we're trying to open that would be my job at home. It something I'd love to do to still be involved with music even when I'm off the road.

And even when you retire from music you're gonna be a teacher...

Yeah, hopefully.

And run the venue.

Yeah, it'd be great. I'll tackle all aspects.

Kick kids in your class out...

I did that before when I taught I said if I caught any kids in class at our shows I'd give them an 'F'.

When you guys go home do you all hang out together?

Not really. Jordan lives in California now, our drummer lives in Canada, our bass player lives in North Carolina, Andy lives like twenty minutes away. I see Andy every once in awhile, he'll come over and watch movies sometimes, but he doesn't drink so if I go out to a bar he usually doesn't go. But its good cause then we get in the van it's like gossip girls for the first ten hours of the road trip where everyone's catching up its fun.

You wrote a blog earlier this year while on tour with Gallows that Europe had not been done right since you were there with My Chemical Romance in 2005.

Yeah.

Being there with Gallows definitely gave you a chance to get the ball rolling again. But you'll be heading back there with Killswitch Engage, In Flames, and Academy. What do you think will be the outcome of that tour?

I don't know. Obviously people [who] saw us on tour with Gallows are interested in heavy music. I think that that was the thing when we first got our big introduction with My Chemical Romance, who in some sense appeals to a different crowd than the heavier metal bands, which is great cause so do we so it was a perfect fit. But then we came back with A Life Once Lost and bands like that, it's very heavy and I don't think that people really expected it, cause there was just a whole different vibe to it. I think now that they've seen us with the Gallows they'll appreciate the bands that we're going back with.

You always play with different varieties of bands, every tour you're on its always switching; from going [to Europe] with My Chemical Romance and now going back with In Flames, Killswitch [Engange] and Academy. What types of shows or crowds do you enjoy playing to most?

I don't know. It's odd because the My Chem crowds, it's not as personal, there's a huge barrier and things like that so it's not as intimate but they're very appreciative because a lot of them are younger and they're not real jaded metalheads. But with the Gallows everyone's on top of each other it's just awesome. I don't know, for one I'll always choose an intimate venue over anything else, I always do like playing to the kids that go a little more insane.

My questions are a little out of wack.

That's ok.

Every Time I Die has been around for the last eleven years, what have you noticed has changed the most about kids that have been going out to shows?

They're not going to shows anymore.

True, it's hit or miss.

Yeah. The kids that used to go out to shows aren't going out and for the most part I don't necessarily blame them, I mean I remember growing up I would to go out to every single show that came through town. But that just doesn't happen anymore because unless you've heard of these bands or you've gone to see them a bunch of times it's just not...I mean there's so much out there that's such nonsense and so insincere, and so much posturing it doesn't even make for a rewarding show, you know? I mean, I can't believe the fact that I saw a "hardcore" band use auto-tune live. I can't get over that.

Can you tell us what band that is?

(Laughing) No, no, no. I couldn't believe it. But if you check the lineup of probably the only show we've played over the last three months you can figure it out.

Ok. So, how do you feel about the music community today now that everything is so digitalized? You know, you don't go to shows and see fliers anymore; people wait to see them on Facebook or Myspace.

Well you have to really adapt, unfortunately. There was a period up until about a year or two ago where I was a very staunch observer of, "FUCK the internet. I'm fuckin doing it the way I always have. Get in the van and the only way we're gonna spread is by word of mouth and that's fine with us that's always how we've been doing it." But the truth is that the internet is really helpful and it's really the only thing that's controlled by people and not filtered by politics, religion, and all that stuff. I feel that the scene has gotten a little wider, but if you learn to adapt you can widen with it. (Laughs) And most people who sit on the internet are pretty wide to begin with.

Having been together as long as you have how do you guys consistently make music that continues to draw attention and not get old? What's keeping the Every Time I Die fire burning?

I think the fact that the scene is being pulled out from under us is constantly trying to make us stay afloat and really raise the bar for people that still do appreciate that sort of intimacy you know, bands like Dillinger [Escape Plan], Converge, Poison the Well, UnderOath, and Unearth these guys have been doing this for as long as we have, you know. It's amazing that they're still doing it and there are still a lot of people that appreciate that and I think that as long as we continue to challenge each other within that small demographic, it's gonna keep growing. You know, it would be very easy for us to say, "Ok well I have to get a job when I get home, so maybe if we got a keyboard player and a girl in the band then maybe I can be on the radio." It's very easy to do but I just don't want to.

I read one of your interviews about kind of competing against Dillinger while you're on tour with them trying to 'up' each other every night.

Yeah absolutely, it keeps it fun and it keeps us young.

Bands are usually most proud of their most recent record, which one are you most proud of?

I am most proud of this one to be honest, and it's funny cause I read a review, I think it was on Lambgoat and it said, "This is like the heaviest record they've done since..." Last Night in Town or Hot Damn! or something. People act like The Big Dirty was an acoustic cover record... it was so heavy! I remember when we were done with it I was like "Fuck! This is like the heaviest record we've ever done!" I was so stoked. Everyone goes right over The Big Dirty, and it's like "Wait a minute. Hold on. This was actually a very heavy record."

It seems like a lot of people are overlooking newer records now.

Well everyone's a conservative, everyone's a purist. The further you can go back the cooler you are, obviously.

I want to show you something, it's funny. I know this won't come across in an interview but it's this funny diagram that my dad sent me of the music flow chart. It starts off like 'Are they signed to a label?' and then you go 'yes' or 'no'. 'No'. 'Do they seem like a band that could be big in the future so I can be a dick about how into them I was years ago?' 'If yes...' boom 'new favorite band.' And then it has all these: 'Do they have beards?' 'Are they from a foreign country?' 'If they're signed to a major label just go straight to corporate bullshit.'

Can I get a background story for the title of New Junk Aesthetic?

Yeah, well I don't really know if there is one. It was said by Andy Williams and it was awesome. It just kind of stuck, kind of the same way choosing the name did it just sounded great at the time. I was like, "Where the fuck did that even come from?" So I was looking on the internet and the only reference I could find of that phrase was in some college term paper, some really obscure thing. I don't even know what it means but it could have meaning because it's this kind of like...for everyone out there that's swallowing up all these bands that are textbook formulaic bands that are all digitized the fact that they look at us and what we're doing is not worth the time because we're not making money, we're not making a living out of it but this "junk" is still really precious to a lot of people. So I think that if we make sure we let people know that we're proud of the fact that we've resisted that temptation...not even temptation, we haven't been tempted, but resisted that trend of going the digitized way and keeping it very emotive. That is the new aesthetic, I hope.

How did Pete Wentz of Fall Out Boy come to get a guest spot on the record?

He's been a friend of ours forever. When we used to play in Chicago and he was in Arma Angelus they used to come out to shows, support each other's bands. He's an awesome dude, and then when we were recording he was out in L.A. so we said "Why don't you come down, listen to this part and do vocals?" (Imitating Pete) "I don't know man, I don't know, I'm so nervous! I'm just gonna fuck up your band! You guys are gonna lose like all credit for having me on there!" I'm like, "Dude, it's gonna be awesome. You have a great screaming voice." And he did, he came down and fucking nailed it, it's great.

Oh, he's screaming on it?

Yeah, he's screaming on it. But I want to wait until the record is out because I know people, especially on Lambgoat will be like "Oh this is the song that Pete's on? I fuckin hate it." So if I don't say yet where he is people can't have a predetermined assessment of it, so we're gonna let the record come out and see if people can figure it out.

What's the deal with having a deluxe edition? Because when it comes out everyone's excited to go out and get it but then a couple months later there's gonna be another one [with more material].

I think maybe that's it! Maybe if we put the deluxe out right away it won't feel like we're ripping anybody off. Bands do that, band's like, "Hey get our CD!" and then you buy it and three months later they're like "Oh wait! Here's the other part of that CD you didn't get." I don't know, I don't know how the marketing works but it's cool. There are two tracks we decided we didn't want to put on the record and then Epitaph's like "These are still good songs, we should do something with them." I don't know, it's there; and you get the DVD with it, so.

Which I've watched, it was hilarious.

Thank you. Yeah, it's cool to still have something palpable so that people don't have to steal everything off the internet. Especially with Jordan doing the artwork it's cool to have it in your hands.

Speaking of Jordan doing artwork, where'd you guys get the concept for the "Wanderlust" video?

We took all the drawings he'd done from the layout and we were talking about a plan of attack for how we were going to come up with the record. Videos are kind of obsolete right now, everyone's kind of doing their own thing, so we're like "Well, we might only get one chance to make a video so let's just make it as much of everything at once as we possibly can." So that was our favorite song off the record, and our friend Sims had the idea of just making it of like...kind of like...like the Cell sort of, where you go in different rooms inside of a head and seeing different things.

Why do you get all the face time in the video?

I don't know, I don't know. It was weird cause you said that, I'm like "That's weird." I've never really been that guy before but it's ok. I think I deserve it by now (laughs) Finally!

You've been around long enough.

Yeah, seriously!

Did you guys play a basement show last night in Milwaukee?

No! Why?

I heard about it from Architects' Facebook...

No, we stayed with Hurley, Andy Hurley, and he has all the Fall Out Boy gear in the basement of his house so he's like, "Oh you guys should just like, play a show." It was like four in the morning, first of all the house is like unbelievable, and I'm like whispering cause it just feels like we're gonna wake up somebody's parents, and he's like "No, it's fine, it's fine, just jam!" But we almost did, everyone was kinda stoked on it.

Almost did? That's not raging like the Every Time I Die everyone knows.

No, but it was just us and the bands there we're just playing for each other. We'll do that tonight anyways.

You're gonna do that for the next month.

Seriously, no rush.

So you've toured this country coast to coast and every little nook and cranny in between, what keeps you on the road? How does it not get repetitive playing the same venues year after year?

You know, it's something you really can't convey unless you know the dudes in our band. Something interesting is always happening. We've lucked out, we have great, great group of dudes with us. And Doug, who films all the DVDs, just came out today so...

Are you guys filming the tour for another DVD?

Yeah we're doing like a Shit Happens part two. The one that comes with the record is just like recording of the record, but then we're gonna actually put out another full DVD.

What's with your DVDs and the 'poop' words?

I think the next one is gonna be called 'In the Shit'. We're gonna have a whole series of shit theme [DVDs].

This one is from Alex Lambgoat. Give us your thoughts on the following bands:
Horse the Band.

Um, we had a lot of problems with Horse the Band at first there was a lot of shit talking, but we confronted them in Australia and we smoothed things out.

Make up?

We're civil.

Can you say what kind of problems?

They said in some interview that we ripped them off or something and we were like "That's kind of weird, I don't think we've ever listened to Horse the Band really. I don't know specifically that we've been ripping them off." And then when we were in Australia they were on a taxi-bus from the hotel to the venue and our friend John from Lamb of God was on the bus in the back seat, I don't know if they knew this or not, they were talking shit about us and he overheard and he's like "Hey I'm friends with those guys. I'm gonna make sure you tell them to their face when you see them." So he told us. But now we're civil.

Job For a Cowboy.

I like that band! I mean, it's not like I'm gonna listen to them when I fall asleep or anything but I mean they're good at what they do and they're sweet guys.

I think everyone knows the answer to this one; Converge.

We have a motto in the band: it's 'WWCD', 'What Would Converge Do?' They're just like, to us, they're like everything in hardcore.

With you guys being on the same label now, is there a chance that you...

I fuckin hope so! Yeah, I hope so. Andy's known Kurt a long time, and they all kinda know each other but I don't know anyone really well in that band. And I think it's good because then there's still some mystique about them cause I've listened to them since When Forever Comes Crashing came out. Having not known them, or hung out with them, or toured with them it's kinda cool. They're still that band that I can aspire to be without having met them. A lot of bands are disappointments when meet them it's like, "Oh they're assholes" whatever, but the fact that I don't really know them personally is cool to me. They're still on the pedestal.

Burnt by the Sun.

Oh man, old one, jesus I haven't heard of them in awhile. We used to tour a lot with them. They were awesome. They just came out with a new record didn't they?

I don't know.

I think they might have.

[Colton] They did.

They did? Yeah. Is it good?

Two thumbs up.

Good, I gotta listen to it then.

The Acacia Strain.

Oh my god, great dudes. They're fuckin hysterical. Actually our friend Drew Stafford here plays for the Buffalo Sabres, Acacia Strain's like one of his favorite bands.

Last one. Emmure.

I don't think I've ever heard of them or run into them.

(Laughing)

(Chuckles) Why?

They're one of Victory's bigger bands.

Really? I don't think I've ever heard them or run into them.

You've never heard of them?

No.

You obviously don't read Lambgoat.

I do. I don't read the message board a lot; I check the news. I don't know. Why? They're big? They're good? I'm kinda out of the loop.

They're big, we'll just say that.

Ok, ok, you know being popular has nothing to do with talent anymore. So I don't know, they could be good, who knows. I know who sucks.

That's it. Do you have any last words?

No, no. I'm surprised he picked those bands to ask me about. I thought that it was going to be like Brokencyde or like Attack! Attack! Or something.

Or the Millionaires. What do you think about them?

That's not even a band. A band like Brokencyde or The Millionaires is kinda like what would happen if you took the band from Chuck E. Cheese and put em' on tour. It's not a band it's just kind of there to watch while you're eating pizza. The thing about the Millionaires, I heard, is they're a fun dance band, I guess if they're at like a club. I don't know. I saw them fuck up at a show, their Ipod skipped or something. Why isn't Millie and Vanilli around anymore? They were a sweet band and they had one little kink in their record and their career when downhill, one dude killed himself, and now all you have is people hooking up Ipods and playing shows to them.

Do they seriously just hook up and Ipod and play shows to them?

I think so, that's what they did in this clip I saw of them fucking up, yeah.

So you're watching the Millionaires on YouTube huh?

I love seeing bands fuck-up live. You know what it was, I was watching stand up comedians getting booed off stage on youtube. I mean, that's just fuckin brutal, I love watching it. I think that was a link something like 'Millionaires fuck-up and get booed' or something like that, so I clicked on it.

What's your biggest fuck-up on stage?

Oh I've straight up forgotten entire lyrics. It sucks cause if I miss a beat I'm thrown off completely. So then at that point I just jump in the crowd. (laughs)

Pretend like it never happened.

Yeah and then get drunk to the point where it almost didn't happen.

That's all I've got, you have anything else to say?

I hope people actually hear the record before they say they don't like it. That's all I'm askin'.

Sweet, thanks.

No problem.



Comments
BALLS_   posted 12/3/2009 2:28:25 PM
HxC band using auto tune?? WTF?!@?
anonymous   posted 12/3/2009 2:44:53 PM
this band is still great.
tnuttybuddy_   posted 12/3/2009 3:51:37 PM
Actually, I really enjoyed this interview
thedevastation_   posted 12/3/2009 4:48:43 PM
TLNR.
drew_   posted 12/3/2009 5:26:10 PM
it's hard to do a bad interview with keith buckley.
drewcifer_   posted 12/3/2009 5:26:24 PM
that was my way of saying, "good read."
gollum_   posted 12/3/2009 6:24:07 PM
this band is still good. mohawk place rules.
buffalo hardcore ftw.
reynaldo_   posted 12/3/2009 8:11:35 PM
vocalist is one of the nicest and most genuine dudes i have ever met. i shared a much needed clove with him afterwards.
lolathxcmusic_   posted 12/3/2009 8:17:05 PM
The auto-tune piece was lawlable. If your using auto-tune at all, you are joke of an actual "singer". I would actually thank these kind of "hardcore bands" for using it live, rather then breaking our ears with their voice that they apparently know is terrible.
anonymous   posted 12/3/2009 10:18:50 PM
Emmure and Suzie Lee: never heard of them. Webmaster is still a gay for removing the review. "Do they seriously just hook up AND Ipod and play shows to them?" Really? "AND"?
BuffaloBound_   posted 12/4/2009 12:54:20 AM
Keith right, shows are shit now, they're not even fun. I remember Showplace and The attic in Tonawanda above the independent music store, now that was fun. These days? Ah, little older, not as close to as much fun. The kids are shitty, the music isn't the same, and it's a huge barrier between bands and the crowd; so boring.
Eli from Milwaukee_   posted 12/4/2009 3:31:12 AM
dude i remember shows week to weekend every day and I use too think the people cared about what they had, but wasted it all on the obviousness of the shit storm of gay bands. Everytime i die was always the number one band on being awesome, with every record. I've been listening to new junk aesthetic and i cant stop saying just because your afraid of the dark doesn't mean its frightned of you... f*ck! there good.... and keith i think deep down you really like those soft singing parts you big h
DaveClinch_   posted 12/4/2009 3:02:38 PM
I met Keith in Jacksonville a couple of years ago, during the Cave In, FATA and ETID tour. Cave In left the tour to go play with Muse but ETID def filled a gap for me. Keith is a super guy, even when I brought up Lambgoat he remained a good sport. He and ETID deserve everything they get.
BobbyLove_   posted 12/5/2009 1:11:28 PM
should've asked them what they thought about "WHEN DREAMS DIE"
anonymous   posted 12/8/2009 11:21:08 AM
Should've asked him how the hell he can be proud of anything that isn't Last Night In Town
Gus_   posted 12/24/2009 2:25:56 AM
I love how last Night in Town is thought to be their pinnacle, really??? You should stay the same and never progress? End of the day they are artists and if you don't like what they put out move on. They create what they have evolved into and try new things. Enjoy 2001 I guess and never move on.
anonymous   posted 1/6/2010 9:02:13 AM
good dude
oh yeah_   posted 1/21/2010 6:19:27 AM
one of the best interviews I've read in a while