Every Time I Die have been around long enough to be able to rest on their laurels and continue to play to crowds who are still as passionate about their music as they’ve ever been. Thankfully, they aren’t like that, and continue to create chaotic, life-affirming hardcore/metalcore that makes a lot of these younger bands look like they have no idea what they’re doing. When The Garden Statement had the privilege to sit down with frontman Keith Buckley to talk about their fantastic new album From Parts Unknown, we learned that they still have that fire in them, and it’s helping them make their best music ever, and feel younger than ever.
The Garden Statement: You’re listening to 91.3FM WTSR on the campus of The College of New Jersey. This is Donald Wagenblast with The Garden Statement. We’re here in Holmdel, New Jersey for the PNC Bank Arts Center date of Vans Warped Tour 2014, and I’m honored to be joined by Every Time I Die frontman Keith Buckely. First of all, congratulations! This is the release week of your seventh full-length album, From Parts Unknown!
Keith Buckley: Thank you very much!
TGS: Let’s get the generic question out the way: how was the recording process different from your other albums, specifically your most recent release Ex-Lives?
KB: I think this one has a lot of layers. When we were recording, it felt a lot like some of our earlier records. It was a little different than those records, though, because now we know how to do things right, so we just did what we’re used to and built on that. We went more off of our instincts, and I think that this one’s more instinctual and we just feel more honest. So I think that’s what reminds people of our older stuff.
TGS: And do you credit that to the fact that you guys have been doing this for so long, so you feel like you have that creative ability to just let it all hang out?
KB: Yeah, that was definitely part of it. I think it also had to do with our producer, Kurt Ballou of Converge. Another huge part was that we’re all huge fans of Converge, and they’re one of the reasons we started playing. So we kind of felt like we finally ascended to his level, and we just put ourselves in his hands.
TGS: You actually just mentioned something I wanted to talk about. Kurt Ballou, guitarist of Converge, produced the album. As a fan, I feel like From Parts Unknown is certainly heavier than Ex-Lives, and even New Junk Aesthetic as well. Is that because he was producing? Did he bring that out of you?
KB: Yeah, oh yeah. I feel like maybe even subconsciously we were trying to impress him, you know? Like, “Look what we can do!”
TGS: Now, this question is a little self-indulgent, so you’ll have to forgive me. As a fan of both bands, I’ve got to know: how on earth did you get Brian Fallon from The Gaslight Anthem to sing on the album?
KB: I just texted him, and asked if he would be on the record. We’ve been friends for a while. We have a mutual fandom for each other’s bands. It was great. There were no managers, no label issues, it was just “Hey man, you want to do this?” and he was like, “Yup!”
TGS: So will you be returning the favor on The Gaslight Anthem’s new album, Get Hurt?
KB: I wish! (laughs) I’ll just send them some stuff, and see if they put any of it in.
TGS: So you guys are back on Warped Tour this year. You’ve been doing the tour for so long now. How has it evolved over the years since you’ve been on it back in 2012 and 2010?
KB: I think it’s returned to what it once was. It’s more hardcore-based than it’s ever been. It’s more punk than it’s ever been. I mean, there’s still bands like Attila out there, but you’re gonna have those. It’s Warped Tour, you know? But the stage that we’re on, the Monster Stage, it’s got Terror, and Stray from the Path, and Vanna, and us, and it’s almost like the Monster stage has become “the hardcore stage.”
TGS: That’s great to hear from you, because in the past, you were one of the people– I remember an article you wrote for AltPress–
KB: I shouldn’t have written that article. I regret writing that. Because it was just so angry. I really regret it. At that point in my life, I thought there was a “right way” and “wrong way” to do music, and that we were one of the few bands that were doing it the “right way,” and everyone else was doing it the “wrong way.” And there’s just not a right or wrong way. I was trying to figure it out, and I got so angry when I couldn’t figure it out. I’m not like that anymore.
TGS: I don’t know that you should feel that bad about it, though. There were a lot of people who also spoke out, even moreso than you.
KB: Yeah, but I still shouldn’t have written that. I shouldn’t have rallied the troops.
TGS: Having said all that, are there any bands out on this year’s Warped Tour that you’ve checked out and didn’t expect to like?
KB: Yeah! They’re one of the most entertaining bands on the tour. I mean, I don’t necessarily agree with the lyrical content, but when I watch them, it’s like when you watch a wrestling match: there’s entertainers who put on this show, and is it tracked? Are they playing live? You don’t know what’s going on.
TGS: On Twitter, and sites like AbsolutePunk, you guys are kind of referred to as the “older crowd.” Does that get under your skin at all?
KB: Absolutely, and I think that’s one of of the things that I’m happy about on the new record. We sound a lot younger.
The Garden Statement would like to thank Keith Buckley for taking the time to talk with us. Be sure to catch Every Time I Die on the rest of the dates on Warped Tour, and be sure to check out their blistering new album From Parts Unknown, out now on Epitaph Records!