Every Time I Die: Lower Than Low (p2)
Every Time I Die are certifiable Gods in the alternative scene, and they’ve attracted a cult following primarily for their ability to beautifully weigh down their brutal honesty with an intense heaviness. On their new album Low Teens, they continue to raise the bar – we sat down with frontman Keith Buckley to chat about the now-acclaimed effort and their upcoming trip Down Under.
Let’s move onto your debut novel, Scale, which was released recently. How did that come about?
It’s always been something that I’ve wanted to do, since before even listening to music or paying attention to music. I always wanted to write, but I’ve just never had an idea. I didn’t wanna write an autobiography because, I don’t know, a dude in a band’s autobiography is typically just ego-inflating bullshit stories about how crazy their lives have been, and that gets really boring and heartless. I just started writing a few years ago – it was a personal low on tour, and I needed something to distract myself, so I just started writing. I kept a tour journal every day. Some were stories, some were short little quips, and then I started to notice a pattern in the stories I was writing and things kind of came together in that way. I had this ‘eureka’ moment at a festival in Europe, about alternating chapters, and once that fell into place, it was a long, long process, but it’s what I’ve always wanted to do. I felt like once I could see it, there was absolutely no way I wasn’t going to do it.
You’ve got a young family, you’re writing novels, you’ve got various musical projects – how do you ever have time for yourself?
I don’t [laughs]. I think it’s really fulfilling to have things that are more important than yourself. Now, with having a kid, I don’t give a fuck about myself anymore – it’s nice. I don’t give a fuck about what I look like, or what I feel like [laughs]. All I have to do is be this machine that helps my child get to adulthood. That’s my purpose now. It’s nice. I don’t really exercise as much. I forgive myself a lot more for being a little lazy, because I feel like I’m resting for the next time the baby starts screaming and I have to get up and give her food or change or her diaper. It’s nice to have something more than yourself.
You’ve been part of various different side-projects over the years: everything from acoustic music to electronic music. Does that sum up your musical taste?
Yeah. There’s never been a cash-grab of, “Oh, this is hot right now. Let me try this.” I honestly feel like, strangely, the music I listen to the least is the heavy, aggressive music, which is odd, because my hardcore band has been going for eighteen years. I’ve been exposed to so many things over time, and the things that I like and put me in a good mental space have definitely changed. When I was little, it was punk rock. That was where I needed to be, mentally – that did it for me. As I’m getting older, I like vibe-ier music, like electronic music. I know that a lot of people probably don’t really expect that from me, but it’s fun, and it’s fun trying to stretch what I’m capable of.
One of the other heavy projects you had was The Damned Things – is there any chance of a reunion there?
Yeah. It’s not only a chance, it’s a huge reality. Myself, Joe [Trohman] and Andy [Hurley, both of Fall Out Boy] have been talking very recently. Joe just sent some demos over, a few weeks ago, and I’m going out there in October to put some ideas down. The ball’s rolling again. Hopefully, we’ll get back [to Australia]!
“I just feel like we’re a party band, and the only thing that’s changing is the people that liked us when our record came out fifteen years ago.”
That sounds really exciting.
When we played in Australia, again, it was a very surreal thing. At the time, I was so caught up in it – it was all moving so fast and I didn’t take time to appreciate what it was, and then it was over and we had to go back to doing what we were doing before. I loved The Damned Things so much. Being on tour with those guys was such an incredible experience. I’m very much looking forward to it again. I’m not sure exactly what we’re going to do, but I know that we’re going to write music again for sure.
You mentioned before that you’ve been in Every Time I Die for eighteen years. How do you feel the band has matured and changed in that time?
Man, I don’t know. I don’t know that it has [laughs]. I don’t mean that to sound like a bad thing – we’ve been able to maintain a youthful vigour and approach to the way that we write music. I know that a lot of bands, as they get older, are kind of like, “As expected, I’m just going to start slowing down,” and maybe our music’s going to reflect that, but we’re not slowing down. We’re going to go harder and faster. I don’t know what the secret is, but we just don’t ever want to be the people that are counted out because of their age. We’re going to go out and we’re going to play longer and harder than any new bands coming up.
It’s been fifteen years since Last Night In Town was released, which must be pretty crazy.
Yeah. Fifteen years ago, I was a totally different person. To think that I’m still doing something that has a demand is insane, because I don’t have anything in common with that person anymore… Except the band [laughs].
What’s the best thing about being in Every Time I Die?
I think the relationship that we have with the people who like Every Time I Die. I see so many of my friends in bands that just want to disavow their fanbase. They hate their audience, and I think one of the things that I’m really grateful for is that the people that like our band are people I would hang out with normally. I feel very good about that. The people that we attract shows that we’re representing ourselves very honestly. There’s definitely some wonderful, wonderful people. I think a lot of them are very finicky about their music, so the fact that they still like us is a good sign of approval.
In your nearly two decades as a band, have you noticed the fanbase change at all, or has it stayed fairly similar?
I think it’s stayed fairly similar. It’s always going to be the 18-to-36 guys and girls that are a little rowdy. I don’t think we’re ever going to be a marketable band, where girls are coming and screaming in the front row, or where people will bake cookies for us [laughs]. I just feel like we’re a party band, and the only thing that’s changing is the people that liked us when our record came out fifteen years ago. Now, they have kids that they’re trying to get into us, which is very strange to see.
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Every Time I Die / letlive. / Counterparts
Sunday January 8th – The Lab, Brisbane (AA)
Monday January 9th – The Triffid, Brisbane (18+)
Tuesday January 10th – Metro Theatre, Sydney (AA)
Wednesday January 11th – 170 Russell, Melbourne (18+)
Thursday January 12th – Arrow On Swanston, Melbourne (AA)
Friday January 13th – UNIFY Gathering, Tawrin Lower (18+)
Sunday January 15th – Fowlers Live, Adelaide (AA)
Monday January 16th – Amplifier Bar, Perth (18+)