Every Time I Die songs embody a mindful chaos that seems to only reveal their organization after they’re finished. Such is a talk with Keith Buckley about said songs.
A week before the band’s tour started, I rang the hardcore crooner in the middle of a trio of phone interviews he was doing in support of their most recent album, New Junk Aesthetic, their debut on Epitaph Records and their first with something of a steady bass player in Josh Newton (ETID have had more bassists than Deep Purple). Not long after, though, founding drummer Mike Novak called it quits and left the group without a steady man behind the kit for the new record.
And the band’s line-up chaos continued until just recently with the recruitment of drummer Ryan Leger, who didn’t play on the record, but will be performing with the band full-time on tour. Buckley talked about the line-up change, their video featuring the album’s artwork (by brother and guitarist Jordan Buckley) coming to life, the songwriting process from the vocalist standpoint, and of course, Bell Biv DeVoe.
Are you in rehearsal now?
No, rehearsal starts this weekend. Our band is scattered across the U.S. and Canada right now, so we’ve got everyone converging on Buffalo Saturday morning.
So you only have a few days to bang everything out?
Pretty much. That’s how we do it. We’ll go for five or six hours straight each day. We just played a show so we had warmed up for a few days before that, and we feel pretty confident.
Who’s playing drums again?
His name is Ryan [Leger]. He’s a dude from right outside Montreal.
What happened with Mike?
I dunno man (laughs). That’s a great question. I know he got a girlfriend, I know his girlfriend hated everyone in the band, and then Mike started drifting and they bought a house. Then he just kind of had to do his own thing I guess. I don’t know if he didn’t want to be in a band anymore, but I know someone didn’t want him to be in a band anymore.
Is there a rhythm section issue with Every Time I Die?
Yeah (laughs). There really is. People are not willing to sit back and play rhythm. Everyone’s gotta do lead something.
So when I hear the title New Junk Aesthetic, I think about that weird New Jack Swing genre in the early ‘90s.
Was there one of those? Who was the rap group that was in it? Bell Biv DeVoe?
I guess? I know Babyface was doing work in it and that Michael Jackson Dangerous record was New Jack Swing.
There was a line, ‘New Jack Swing on my nuts,’ I remember some band saying that. Fuck. I’ll Google it later. [Ed. Note—We Googled it. It was Ice Cube in ‘Wrong Nigga To Fuck Wit’]
And the Ghostbusters soundtrack. Is that what you thought when you came up with New Junk Aesthetic?
(laughs) No, that never crossed our minds whatsoever. We feel so much music is just aimed at the radio right now. I think there needs to be a reintroduction of music that’s not made for that, that most people would consider crap. But I think you need to be proud of the fact that what you’re writing most people who are putting out what you hear on the radio today would consider you crap because that’s a huge compliment because those people are idiots and what’s on the radio is fucking garbage. I think it’s time to take pride in the fact that you can still write dirty aggressive music.