Only a few moments before Set Your Goals are due to go on stage, I manage to grab Every Time I Die's ferocious vocalist Keith Buckley for a one-to-one chat about the band. We're standing outside Pumpehuset to avoid the noise from the sound check, which also means that eager Every Time I Die fans spot Keith straight away and on occasion interrupt our interview with requests for autographs and just to say hi and things like that. Regardless, we manage to get about 10 minutes worth of talk time before it's time to wrap it up; check out what Keith had to say about the band and their new record "Ex LIves".
RF.net: First of all, how's it going?
Wonderfully. Today's a little cold though. It's the first time we've seen it really cold on this whole tour.
RF.net: Unusually so even in this country. How's the tour going?
Keith: Wonderfully. I couldn't be happier actually. We're playing a lot in Germany, and Germany is, for us, always really hit or miss, depending on who we are with. They never seemed to really like us before, but I think this is a perfect tour package, us and Cancer Bats are coming up with new records. So I think it's good timing, it's gone really well.
RF.net: Why do you think that is in Germany?
Keith: I don't know. I think they just like more metal, you know what I mean? They're not really used to...we play with a lot of metal bands, but we're not as metal as them, so they didn't really care for us too much. But I think we've been around long enough for them to finally understand the style of music that we play. They're really appreciating it now.
RF.net: What about here in Denmark?
Keith: Oh, it's always great here. Yeah, this is great. I'm looking very forward to tonight's show.
RF.net: This is a pretty solid tour overall, I mean every band on the tour is great. Did you guys handpick the lineup yourself? Do you have an influence on who you tour with?
Keith: Yeah, we have a bit of an influence. Bands submit and we go after some bands, and it made sense because like I said, Cancer Bats just put out a new record, and we're good friends with them, and we've toured with them in the States and into Canada before. Touring with them is always fun, and Set Your Goals we just played with them in Australia. We're really good friends with those guys now. Make Do And Mend, we just kind of had the name offered to us, and we listened to the music and we liked what they had so its good.
RF.net: Last time you guys played here, it was at Loppen, a smaller venue, and on stage you specifically mentioned how you enjoyed the small or more intimate based venues over the arenas that you were playing at the time, because you were playing Taste of Chaos at the same time I think. So how would you say that an Every Time I Die show differs between the small and the big stages?
Keith: I just think it's apples and oranges. I don't really think that a big venue is an Every Time I Die show. I think it kind of defined by the fact that we interact with the crowd so much and try to get them on stage, you know, they're right in front of us and singing along. I think that when you have the barricade there, a mile away from you, that's not...that's not really the best light to see us in. The arena shows don't even hold a candle to the intimate shows for us, they mean so much more.
RF.net: So you guys released a new album called "Ex Lives" two months ago. So what are you thoughts on how the album turned out?
I couldn't be happier with it. With Joe Barresi on production, we've never worked with him before, and our new drummer Legs, it's a perfect record for us. I think it really captures something that we lost a long time ago.
RF.net: What do you mean lost long time ago?
Keith: I think that as time went on, our drummer started getting more and more resentful of the band. I don't think he wanted to be in it at all. He was playing slower, and the shows just lacked an energy that, once he left and we got our new guy in, we captured again. It feels good.
RF.net: The new album, just like the one before, "New Junk Aesthetic", it's received almost unanimous critical acclaim all around the board pretty much. Has that surprised you at all, or did you know all along that you were writing a great album?
Keith: For this new one you mean? I had a feeling that it was good, because I didn't really stop to think about until it was over. I think it just came so naturally that even the writing and recording process, I wasn't over thinking anything. It was just kind of happening, I sat back and listened to the whole thing. It just feels more honest. As a whole, when we were finished, it felt like a real honest record. I knew that meant it was gonna be good for us.
RF.net: I've also seen some magazines and critics throw around the word 'masterpiece' in connection with the album. I guess you could also apply the same word to the previous record in a way, so I'm sure you've seen it online as well or on magazines, so what goes through your mind when you hear that specific word about your record?
Keith: I don't pay attention to it, because I know that critics and people who listen to it are so fickle, that what they say today, they might not mean tomorrow, you know? I don't let it affect me. I'm not sitting on a golden throne right now with all the money I made off of a "masterpiece", we still have to play music we still have to write records, so it's not gonna change the things that we do really.
RF.net: So on the new record, I think that you guys have changed your sound a little bit. I can sense that there's some influence coming in from your project The Damned Things. Is that a conscious thing or did it just kind of happen on the way?
Keith: Well I mean obviously the music isn't going to be influenced by The Damned Things because they weren't doing it, that was just me. But no, it was never conscious. I've always liked singing, and I think that it's really easy for people to say "oh The Damned Things were singing" and now the next Every Time I Die record is going to have a ton of singing. Whether or not that's true, people are gonna say it. But I really feel like you can't find on our last record where there wasn't singing, you know what I mean? There's singing all over the place on all the other records, but I think now that the precursor was The Damned Things record, people are like "see I told you it was gonna be more singing". Go back and listen to "New Junk Aesthetic", there's singing all over that. I sing twice as much as I do on this record.
RF.net: So how has your involvement in The Damned Things otherwise affected the band?
Keith: No I mean it was weird, only because of touring schedule and timing it kind of made things a little hectic for a while, and I was pissing everybody off because I was being pulled apart from all angles and I couldn't commit to either one, it was always up in the air and people were getting fed up with me, but I think that once The Damned Things recorded, and I put so much time on that record, I need to give it its fair shake. Every Time I Die were cool with it, they took a few months off, and refocused. I came back and we went right back in the studio with Every Time I Die.
RF.net: So is there more The Damned Things coming in the future?
Keith: I don't know. I'm not gonna say no, it'd be cool if there was, but there are no definite plans right now.
RF.net: On Every Time I Die side again, you guys are known for writing songs with unrelenting intensity, I don't think I've ever heard any band come at you in the same way as you guys do on record. So how do you get so pumped up in a studio environment to capture the same thing as you do live?
Keith: Well I think that the thing about it is in the studio is that you're doing it probably, at least in my case and in this band's case, I'm doing it for the first time ever out loud in the studio. We don't usually play songs at a show that we haven't recorded yet. That very rarely happens. I think that you catch it on the record because it's the first time and it hits closer to home because you're way more emotionally tied to it at the beginning than you are seven years down the road, when you're still playing the same song. The meaning to you is still fresh, so I think that really shows.
RF.net: With the new album you guys have some pretty good chart success as well. I mean #20 in the US, that's pretty good for an album as heavy as you guys. What do you think about that?
Keith: Nothing. Same thing, we're not really seeing any benefits from it. It was cool, a nice little pat on the back from the music industry, I guess, and it really made me happy that people are buying records again. But again, it's not gonna change anything that we do. We didn't change our style for anybody. We never tried to chart, so it happened, and that's a good thing. It just felt like it meant that we had done a really good job. Like I said, a pat on the back, but other than that, nothing.
RF.net: So how would you say Every Time I Die has changed over the 14 years as a band?
Keith: I think that we've gotten into our own groove. It's weird because it used to be you had to figure out how to live on tour because you're with these other dudes so much, and it's different from your home life where you're by yourself. But now you have to figure out how to live at home. I don't know what to do when I'm not on tour. That's the life that we've become. I think we're a lot more mature than we used to be, and I think we just have a greater appreciation of the things that are going on. And we're proud to be able to be a part of it for so long.
RF.net: That was my last question, do you have anything to add at all?
Keith: No, by the time this comes out, people might have missed the show, but I'm excited about tonight. I hear there's like a boat of like a 100 people coming over. This is going to be a banger, it always is.