Every Time I Die

Every Time I Die
Sam Sutherland had a chance to sit down and chat with Every Time I Die guitarist Jordan Buckley during the Buffalo hardcore mavericks' final days of co-headlining the Sounds of the Underground tour.

So you guys are in Vegas right now, right?
Guitarist Jordan Buckley: Yes sir.

How is Vegas treating you?
Awesome. I love it here. I really, really like it here. But I’ve only been here for about three hours.

So you haven’t had a chance to gamble away all your merch money yet?
We’ve got a six a.m. bus call, so I’m sure that’ll happen eventually. I’m in no hurry.

Are you guys big gamblers?
Yeah. Well… yeah. It’s no secret that we like to roll the dice.

What’s your favourite casino game?
Casino? I’d say poker. I gave up on blackjack. But when it comes to just gambling, I’m a dice guy. We get pretty rowdy on the bus. We’ve had nights that have ended in hundred dollar rolls, with our merch guy down five hundred bucks to our sound guy, who then wins it back two days later. It’s fun. Boredom takes over, and when you’ve got three dice and a wallet, it seems to happen.

So how’s the actual Sounds of the Underground tour going for you guys?
Great. Quick. Fun. Metal. Loud. Hungry. It’s good. I can’t believe we only have four days of it left. It’s been unbelievable. It’s blown me away, the actual shows. It’s good to see how alive and well heavy music is.

You guys have been switching in and out of a co-headlining spot, is that right?
We were supposed to kind of flop around, but we play third last every day, no matter what. We either play before Shadows Fall or before Chimaira, and then Gwar closes it every night.

Is it magic getting to watch Gwar every night?
Oh dude, it’s great.

Has there been a band that has surprised you?
There are a lot of young bands on this tour. That was one my main reasons for wanting to do it, to get that younger crowd and audience that are there for the younger bands that are just starting out and doing what we were doing five or six years ago. It’s not a step backwards, but it’s about trying to get back in touch. Do you know what I mean?

Do you think you succeeded in getting back in touch?

Were you ever out of touch?
I think a couple of people could say we were. I don’t think we ever were, but when you see us in a bus, or in videos, or on TV, or on Warped Tour, I assume that people think we maybe forgot where we came from. That’s not the case, and I think this tour was a way to reconnect after such a long break to write and record. It was a way to make sure everyone who’s been with us in the past eight years is still with us. I think this tour is the best way to do that.

What do you have planned once Sounds of the Underground wraps up?
We’re doing a tour with Underoath for about six weeks in the fall, from September to November. Underoath, Poison the Well, Maylene and the Sons of Disaster. That tour is going to go just about everywhere, and it will be right when our album comes out, so it should be awesome. Get to be with awesome bands and play packed venues.

That was something I wanted to ask about. You guys have toured with some awesome bands, as well as some… less awesome bands. Is that fair to say?
That’s fair to say.

Do you ever feel like you get stuck on bills with bands that are really, really shitty? How do you deal with that?
We deal with that in any way we can. It’s nothing upsetting. They’ve got their own thing. I’m not the kind of guy who’s going to talk shit about a band that sucks, because there are a lot of people out there who think my band sucks. I will give any band two tries, and after that, I’ll make my decision. But I’m not going to go around knocking it. To each his own. Sometimes I take it bad. Like when their bands are bigger than mine and they’re a thousand times worse, I get a little upset and I cry myself to sleep and wonder how such terrible bands can sell so many records. It’s something that I’ll never understand. But five years ago there were huge bands that I thought fucking sucked, and today there’s huge bands that I think fucking suck. But who am I to know?

It seems like there’s a lot more bullshit in metal and hardcore, though. I mean, you guys don’t wear makeup or silly outfits. Is it weird to see that happening around you when you’re on tour?
It was weird at first, because I actually had a friend of mine, while putting on makeup, tell me how much he hates it and how we should do it if we want to sell more records. I just can’t think of anything more phony - doing something you don’t want to do just to sell a few extras records. It’s one thing if you walk around your whole life wearing mascara then start a band and say, "Hey, I’ve been wearing mascara my whole life, might as well keep it on the stage.” But it’s a whole other thing to start a band, realise you suck, and say, "Fuck trying to write better music, let’s just put makeup on and look like assholes!”

So you literally had people you know telling you how much they hate makeup while putting it on?
I was in a dressing room with someone, while they were putting on their makeup, talking about how much they hate it and we should do it if we want to reach out and get the fucking idiots who actually care about that shit to like our band. It’s not like Gwar. Gwar are fucking cool and they dress up because they’re maniacs.

One thing you mentioned earlier is being excited to get out on tour once the album dropped. The album leaked a few days ago, right? Is that a colossal bummer for you guys?
No, because people like it. If they didn’t, it would be a colossal bummer, but they like it, so whatever. I didn’t expect to be the first band in the last five years to not have their CD leak. It was obviously going to happen.

So it’s not something that concerns you guys too much, I guess?
As far as sales go, I’ve never seen a fucking cent from a record sale in my life. It’s not like I’m going to start. That’s just the nature of the beast. I don’t think you see any money until you sell, like, a million records. We were locked up in a basement for four months writing it, travelled across the country to record it, and the biggest concern is that people enjoy it as much as we enjoyed making it. Shit, if it leaks a months before it comes out… The last Underoath record leaked the day they were done! Someone stole it from the studio. It came out three months later and still sold an insane number of copies. I think we’re at a point now where if a band thinks their record isn’t going to leak, they’re misled. All you can hope is that people like it.

The new record has a lot more Hot Damn! than Gutter Phenomenon to it. Did you guys have specific intentions going into it or is that just how it came out?
With Gutter Phenomenon, we just thought too much about every single thing. I think the point of this was to just go back to having fun. Let’s try everything, let’s do everything, and if it sounds good, let’s keep it. There’s too much fear in Gutter Phenomenon, and it just wasn’t fun. This was fun. We showed up at practice, we jammed, it was heavy, it was crazy, it was rock’n’roll. Everything we’ve ever tried to do we did on this record, and it was fun to do. I think we lost touch with that with Gutter Phenomenon. We put out a good record, we were proud of it, but holy shit was I glad when that was over.

That’s something I wanted to ask about. I read an interview with Andy [Williams, guitar] where he was saying how much he utterly hates that record. Do you all dislike that record?
I like it in the sense that I can put it on and listen to it and say, "This is a good record.” But the process was just torture. With this, we were writing about a song a week. With Gutter Phenomenon, I think it took us about six weeks to write the first song. We were going over everything with a toothpick and it ended up driving us fucking crazy and it ended up making us kind of distant from the goal we had set. I don’t know what the fuck we were trying to do. I think we were trying to reinvent the wheel with that one, and I think once you chill the fuck out you do what you do a lot better. That probably goes for any profession. If you think too much about what you’re doing, you’re going to end up blowing it. Just do what you do, and it will be good. That’s my inspirational speech of the day.

Did that pressure come from within? Did it have to do with Machine producing?
I don’t know. Last Night in Town came out, and we were surprised that people liked us. Then Hot Damn! came out, and we were surprised that a lot of people liked us. Gutter Phenomenon was the first record where we actually thought of our fans. We thought of our record label. We thought of everyone we had worked with in the last few years, everyone who jumped on to help out and convinced us we weren’t just a bunch of schmucks who could only tour in the summer. We realised we could quit school, quit our jobs, and do this full-time. I think that was the pressure that led to us over-thinking the writing process. Now we know what we do best. We have lot more confidence when it comes to writing music. I can come to practice with ten riffs, and maybe seven of them suck, but at least three of them work. With Gutter Phenomenon, we were afraid to give ideas. With the new record, we just shared everything. It was a lot more experimental and a lot more fun.

When you guys went in to record, did much change, or did it all get put down the way you had been rehearsing it?
The recording was very different, too. The recording was a little too laidback, I thought. All of our other records were recorded in the wintertime in the northeast. There were blizzards, and we were just locked in the studio for a month or two months. This time we did it in California, and there are distractions outside every door. It’s just fun. There were times where you’d have to say, "Okay, I’m not on vacation, I’m here to work.” I wish we could take the writing of The Big Dirty and mix it was the recording process of one of other records. I wouldn’t be surprised if it was a little lacklustre in recording.