Over the past 15 years, Every Time I Die have cemented their place as one of the greatest metalcore bands on the planet with consistently bar-raising albums and a relentless touring schedule that just won’t quit. This has allowed them and their sound to remain vital while most of their peers have fallen victim to irrelevancy. Last year’s Ex Lives was impeccable even in
terms of the band’s stellar discography, and gained the band arguably it’s highest level of critical and commercial acclaim, debuting at #20 on the Billboard charts and receiving 5 star reviews from publications across the globe. Last month, Every Time I Die started on their latest conquest of North America, and I got the chance to talk to vocalist Keith Buckley on the afternoon before their show in DC.
BG: How’s the tour going so far?
KB: It’s been going great! The shows have been pretty much selling out. Last night wasn’t ideal..we were at this place in Charlotte, North Carolina and the bouncers were, you know, a little drunk with power…
BG: That’s the worst.
KB: Yeah. But now we’re in DC and things are looking up.
BG: Nice. So you guys are always on the road it seems. Year after year, you guys are out there, how do you guys manage that? You guys have been a band for more than a decade now, so how do you keep up with such a constant, steady touring schedule?
KB: You know, as of now it’s just pretty much second nature. I mean, there is no other way to compare this to. It’s not like you look at what your life is like at home and you go ‘ahhh, well this is kinda beneficial in this way, and this is a little better here and this is a little better there’, there is no home life really, so…there’s nothing, this is the only way, you know what I mean? This is kinda just what we are. We’ve been reprogrammed genetically to adapt to these scenarios. Probably better than most people.
BG: I guess at this point you kinda have to be.
KB: Yeah, I mean, this is what your calling is, you can’t do anything else.
BG: Do you ever find yourself regretting getting into this lifestyle or do you still love being on the road?
KB: I still love being on the road. I definitely think that the fact that we’ve been able to do it as long as we have is pretty rare, as far as music trends are constantly fluctuating, so I definitely don’t take that for granted, the fact that people still want to see us and hear us. I think that if there’s a demand for it, we’ll meet that as much as possible. I can’t really imagine what else I’d be doing be doing if not this.
BG: Right on. So it’s almost reaching the one year anniversary of Ex Lives, which I just wanna say was absolutely incredible.
BG: It was one of your most acclaimed records, it got tons of praise from all over the planet-
KB: On other planets too. It was interplanetary. Other planets liked it as well.
BG: Oh yeah?
BG: So have you guys started writing the follow up?
KB: No no no. No. I think that when people get back to writing so quickly it’s almost like they’re ashamed of their last record, but I think there’s still so much we have to do with this one, a lot of places we have to tour still, a lot of songs on it that we haven’t played. So I think, you know, every record deserves time to live, and we’ll honour it for as long as it wants to live. We’re in no rush, there’s no rules as far as when another record has to get written. Whenever we feel it’s right, we’ll start, but we haven’t yet.
BG: Awesome man, take as long as you need.
KB: *laughs* Thanks.
BG: I found that in Ex Lives, there was a bit of a punkier sound, a more hardcore based record. Did anything in particular spawn that, or was that just your mindset at the time?
KB: It was kinda just my mindset at the time. I think that maybe I had just been listening to so much mellower stuff, I was doing The Damned Things for as full time as that could’ve been previous to that so, you know, it was a little looser and not as aggressive, and I think I just had that itch that I needed to do something that was a little bit heavier and a little bit faster. I mean, it’s not like I write the music, but I think that once we’d realized what the energy was we let ourselves go to it, and it sped us up a little.
BG: One of my favourite things about you guys, is, well, I actually live up here in Ottawa, kinda the middle of nowhere, and when most bands tour, they leave us out, but Every Time I Die are here and I’ve seen you, year after year, putting on amazing shows.
KB: Thank you!
BG: So why exactly do you find that you keep returning to these smaller towns, these smaller cities that other bands leave out? Do you find there’s a different energy there?
KB: Yeah yeah, definitely, I think there’s a different energy there and I think that it’s cool that we tapped into it, because everyone wants to leave smaller cities – I don’t know if Ottawa’s a smaller city – but in general bands wanna leave smaller cities out…you know, their ego, they don’t wanna play a club without a backstage or a barricade, or only a 300 person cap, they wanna be bigger than that. I think that they’re missing out, and we’re kinda picking up what they’re leaving behind because the people in smaller cities, in the 300 cap rooms, have the most energy and they don’t get a lot of shows so when they come to one, it’s a huge deal to them. I just think there’s no reason people don’t deserve to see music because of where they’re located geographically. We’ll always play those clubs, and I think they’re always the best ones.
BG: Absolutely. Like, all the Ottawa shows that I’ve been to, the crowd goes absolutely nuts for you guys, and I imagine it’s like that all over the place.
KB: It can be. Sometimes it’s not, but that doesn’t mean it’s a bad show. I mean, Ottawa’s definitely one of the better ones. Last year we did a short Canadian run with The Chariot, and it started in Ottawa, so, I just remember that being fucking bananas, I was stoked, it was the perfect way to start it off.
BG: I was in pain for a solid two weeks after that show.
KB: *laughs* Yeah, I remember, like, slipping because of all the moisture in the room. I kept falling all over the place.
BG: It was ridiculous. And I remember you guys had that hold up at the border, and it was mounting the tension in the place…it was crazy
KB: Maybe we didn’t have any hold up at the border, maybe we just said that to set a mood.
BG: Either way, it worked. It was an absolute powder keg in there. So you guys have been around for a while, you’ve played a lot of places over the years. Have you noticed any particular changes in the way that the audience reacts when you play?
KB: Yeah, I think that when we started out, people didn’t really know what to do with
us. The music scene is so self-important, heavy music fans don’t necessarily want to have a good time. They’re going to see heavy metal, and they’re used to being miserable and depressed and angry. So I think that once we came out and we’re kinda heralding light heartedness and just overall, you know, fun, people were kinda taken aback. Now I think we’ve grown into it and they have too. It’s funny because, like, I’ve noticed that the first song, whatever it is, people just start throwing beers in the air. It gets a little rowdy. So I just think that people are a little more comfortable with us than they used to be. It’s okay to go to a show and not want to kill somebody and come back with a smile on your face.
BG: Absolutely. Every Time I Die shows are consistently good times. So you’re in a band with your brother (Jordan Buckley). What’s it like being forced to spend so much time with him? Do you hate each other at this point?
BG: *laughs* nah?
KB: Nah. It’s just, you know, it’s a weird working relationship, it’s hard to describe, but it works. It takes a lot of work, but it’s like that with everybody. At this point, after 15 years in a band, everyone is like my brother. It’s all the same, you just gotta find the common ground to make sure you don’t impose on anybody. Don’t harm each other. As long as you keep those two things in mind, then things will work out.
BG: Kind of on that note, you guys have gone through a legion of bassists over the years. Do you have any idea why that might be? Do you think you, your brother and Andy (Williams) have such a tight knit relationship that it’s hard for the bassists to get in on it?
KB: In your neighbourhood or something, have you ever seen a spot, like, a place of real estate where a restaurant will open up and then it’ll close, and then another restaurant will go in, and it’ll close, and then something else goes there and it closes too, and you realize that it’s actually what opens up there as much as the location of the spot?
BG: Yeah for sure.
KB: I think that’s what it’s like. I think that once the first or second bassist left, all of the sudden the location was bad. *laughs* you know? It just had these bad vibes to it, like a haunted piece of property. I don’t know. That could easily turn around with just a better attitude, and I think we have one now. We’re not expecting our bass players to walk out the door.
BG: That’s a great analogy.
KB: *laughs* Thanks! I just thought of it. Now I’m gonna use it in everything.
BG: It happened here first!
KB: Yes it did!
BG: Anyway, you guys have had a slew of guest vocalists over the years, all of them, in my opinion, absolutely spot on. Any plans to work with anyone in the future?
KB: There’s ideals that I would love to work with, but I don’t know, it just depends on if the song calls for it. If you notice, New Junk Aesthetic had the most guest vocals, and Ex Lives had none. So I think that if it really calls for it, it’ll have some, and if not, it won’t. I didn’t think that anybody needed to help out on Ex Lives. I was like, yeah, I got this one.
BG: *laughs* You held it down for sure.
KB: Thanks. Yeah, there are a few people I would love to work with, but if it doesn’t happen, it doesn’t happen.
BG: It all depends on circumstance I guess.
KB: Yeah, definitely.
BG: You recently started up a website of your own (http://www.keith-buckley.com), sort of like a collection of your writings. Do you have any plans to move beyond that and writing a novel, or publishing a collection of short stories?
KB: Yeah, I mean, I would love to, but like, people say that like you can’t just sit down and do that, like making a chair or something like that. Unless I have an idea, I can’t really do that. But I’m totally open to ideas and I would love to do that. It would probably be a short story, I don’t necessarily have that long of an attention span *laughs* but that’s my goal, that’s my dream. Hopefully one day when I settle down and clear my head a little bit it’ll all come together.
BG: What writings you have up there are great, so I’m sure you’ll have no problem putting something together.
KB: Thanks man. I appreciate that.
BG: No problem. So you guys have an upcoming live DVD coming out at some point.
KB: Kind of yeah. It’s very…I dunno. It’s lingering there. We have a bunch of stuff, we’re still gonna add to it. It’s one of those things that you can build on for as long as you’re alive. We just gotta figure out the right place and the right time to put it out, but it’ll be out eventually. I don’t even know what format. It might be on the web for free, we might do a DVD, I don’t know. One of those things. But it’s forthcoming, for sure.
BG: Well I look forward to seeing whatever incarnation the footage comes in.
KB: Thank you, thank you.
BG: Alright, let’s finish this off by talking about Jose Canseco for a minute.
KB: Yeah! Jose Canseco, he’s fucking bonkers, I don’t know if anybody follows him on twitter that’s reading this, but I suggest you do. @JoseCanseco
BG: Oh, he’s amazing.
KB: Ah, he just has no idea what is going on in life. Like really, he has no constitute of reality. So one day, I just so happened to be sitting at my computer, with my twitter thing pulled up on the screen and I saw him write ‘I think lyrics are the most important part of a band. I would love to sing in a band’ or something and I just thought, like, oh my god, he could write lyrics for us! So I tweeted at him saying the name of our band. And then I didn’t know what happened, I left the hotel room for a second thinking like, holy shit! Jose Canseco! So what, I just wrote to Jose Canseco, millions of people do. Then I went back and checked and he had written back. But he had so obviously just like googled our band, and then the first thing that came up, he referenced, as if he was a huge fan of the band long ago.
BG: Just trying to make himself look hip.
KB: Ohhhh yeeeahh, yeah yeah, totally. I mean, it’s almot adorable.
BG: He is adorable in an old man who is losing his mind kinda way.
KB: Like a 90 year old man! Yeah! Like a 90 year old man with Alzheimer’s.
BG: *laughs* Well I think that’s a dream collaboration for a lot of people so you should really try to hook that up.
KB: I’m still gonna push it. I mean, I don’t have his phone number or his email anything but hopefully I can reach out again on twitter and I can hook something up.
BG: There you go, there’s your guest vocalist for the next record.
KB: Yeah! That could be it right there.
Every Time I Die’s tour dates can be found on their website so be sure to check it out because they’re probably playing in your city.
Site – http://everytimeidie.net
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/everytimeidie
Twitter – @EveryTimeIDie