Wall Of Sound – Virtual Hangs: Keith Buckley of Every Time I Die
The greatest band from Buffalo returned with their ninth album last week and you better believe we tracked them down for a good old chat about what could be a key player in this year’s album of the year list…
Every Time I Die are back with 16 new tracks on their highly anticipated album Radical (our review here) which sees frontman Keith Buckley (aka the SEXIEST man in metal) pouring his heart out into some pretty heavy and hard-hitting subjects that he wrote prior to the world turning to shit around us. Yes, that’s right – the fear, anxiety and powerful instrumentals you hear on ETID‘s ninth album pre-date the COVID pandemic and thrusts us back to a time when all hope had seen lost for our protagonist.
What was essetially a theraputic brain dump of emotions during turbulent times, Keith spoke about the process in which (and why) he bared his soul to the world through his lyrics and the band coincidentally created a brutal instrumental soundtrack for that throught process:
“I just wanted to be honest, and what was honest at the time of writing it was that I was very angry at a lot of different things, you know? Everything I was trying to explore for an album worth of lyrics, they ended up finding someone very angry at the core of it all. But I kind of exorcised the demons in writing it.
I recognize that a lot of the anger I tapped into when writing it was was very universal. And I just felt like there was a way to connect to those people and to, if not, I mean, not solve problems, but at least let people know that I see them. You know, I see the problems that people are having and I might be having them myself or I just might be very empathetic to people that have them. And I understand them.”
“When everyone felt so disconnected, I just wanted to make people feel seen.”
Seen, heard and acknowledged is definitely how I felt when streaming the album non-stop over the weekend. Finding the songs that meant the most to me and playing them on loop whilst screaming along in unison (especially with ‘Hostile Architecture‘ – fucking banger amirite!?).
When we listen to our favourite musicians, we tend to latch onto their music and make it our own soundtracks for moments in our personal lives – good or bad, happy or sad, OR in this case moments of pure anger that can only be calmed when you scream along to the words being screamed back at you.
The end result of Radical became Keith’s rebirth/emancipation into the man he is today as he reflects on why he had to create this album (with all of that pent up rage inside) in order to shed himself of the baggage that person brought into the studio at the time of recording:
“Because I wanted to believe that there was going to be a version of me that could answer for them somewhere in the future… I couldn’t imagine what the kind of person that I would be. I couldn’t imagine what they would look like, but I wanted them to be able to answer for something. So, you know, I kind of declared my truths as sort of a way to talk to that higher self, and, you know, lo and behold, we made it through and now the record’s out and I get to proudly say yeah, that’s that’s exactly who I am”
“The person that I was who wrote those songs is just completely gone. But you know, the person that he imagined before he died, that’s me now. So it’s very cool. It’s a cool relationship to have with my past and my present right now.”
Talking about new beginnings and new directions – the band tapped into those emotions with track eight ‘Thing With Feathers‘ – a ballasesque, southern-rock blues belter that is completely different to anything Every Time I Die have recorded in the past, yet still managed to maintain the overall emotion of the release. Featuring guest vocals from Manchester Orchestra‘s Andy Hull, it’s a beautiful piece of music that the band were kinda/sorta worried about releasing, mainly due to the fact it’s new ground for them, but the response so far has been nothing short of amazing with fans and critics alike praising the band for taking that sharp turn into new territory as Buckley explains:
See, I saw beauty in every Every Time I Die song and I was just trying to tell people how it was beautiful. But now, now it’s very easy to see, it’s very easily to recognise this beautiful song. I love it because we’ve never done anything like it and the way people are responding to it is just like, so fulfilling because when you take leaps of faith like that, you just hope people like it, you know, and people do. And that’s great. It feels great.”
When quizzed with the idea of where Keith and Every Time I Die will be in 10 years’ time, without hesitation he replied with “I swear to god, I feel like I’m just getting started” and when you remember this band have been going strong for 20 years, it makes you wonder where they can head next given where they’ve already been.
During that time there’s been plenty of ups and downs for the boys and because of that, the subject turned to Buckley’s other passion for writing – having already released two novels titled Scale (2015) and Watch (2018) – we pondered the idea of delving into writing a biography of his life in the music industry (in both ETID and The Damned Things) but don’t expect a recap of his life thus far anytime soon, because there’s still plenty more to come:
“Um, I mean, I would love to because as a fan of stories, I think it would make for a good story, if I were to really delve in deep to some of the stuff I’ve been through. But like I said, I feel like I’m just getting started. So if I am gonna do that, it’s not going to be for another 30 years, at least.”
If you’re impatient, maybe turn your attention to his first book which he briefly explained:
“I feel like in a way, my first book Scale was, you know, semi-autobiographical.”
(Pssst – both books available here if you’re keen.)
Looking ahead, the band are set to hit the road across America in the lead up to their massive concert climax at the infamous Tid The Season Festival which has now become not only a staple in Buffalo’s annual music and entertainment calendar, but a “must-do/wish list” item for any/all ETIDiots to attend (we even had an Australian bloke feature on Who Wants To Be A Millionaire discussing his intentions of heading along after winning $50,000).
I actually am getting any younger but whatever I’m still putting you on the guest list pic.twitter.com/9JRieQwop3
— jordan buckley (@JordanETID) September 28, 2021
Mainly because of the fact the 2021 show (featuring the likes of Spiritbox, Ice-T, ’68, Knocked Loose, Poison The Well, Circa Survive, The Bronx and more) has already sold out, I selfishly questioned whether the band would take that show on tour in future years or if it was specifically locked in for Buffalo, for us to all swarm the city when we can. As expected, Keith elaborated on its importance for Buffalo’s economy, but hinted he is open to taking a similar show on the road in future:
“I think it’s very special to Buffalo because, I mean, the roots there are so deep now that it extends into small businesses within the community, things like that, you know, all the people coming in from out of town and helping the city of Buffalo itself. I think it’s really important for that, I think it’s a mainstay. But I would like to, you know, actually have a tour like that, a festival tour that went on the road, absolutely, something like that. But not that specific one!”
Whether you’re new to the family or have been long ingrained for the two decades Every Time I Die have been making music, it’s never been a better time to throw yourself in deep with what this band has to offer. They’re not getting any younger, but they’re certainly aging like a fine red wine and I for one cannot wait to see what they do next.
So fucking proud of this band and all they’ve accomplished. Watch my full interview with Keith below!
Virtual Hangs/Words by Paul ‘Browny’ Brown @brownypaul
Buy/Stream Radical here
Every Time I Die – Radical tracklisting
1. Dark Distance
3. Planet Shit
5. A Colossal Wreck
6. Desperate Pleasures
7. All This And War (feat. Josh Scogin)
8. Thing With Feathers (feat. Andy Hull)
9. Hostile Architecture
11. The Whip
12. White Void
13. Distress Rehearsal
15. People Verses
16. We Go Together
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