For a group that has been around the block as long as Every Time I Die, genres mean no boundaries, especially within a live concert setting. Currently, the seminal Buffalo, New York-based metalcore act is headlining the Pure Noise Records-sponsored Common Vision Tour, which also features the likes of Real Friends, Counterparts, Brigades, Granwolves and Gatherers. With a lineup completely diverse as this tour, the clashing of these pop punk, metalcore and hardcore acts is enough to bewilder fans and make many heads spin.
On the other hand, by bringing these contrasting scenes together, Every Time I Die frontman Keith Buckley shed some light on this tour’s true vision: to attract new fans who might have not been to a show of this caliber before, all while bringing something fresh and exciting to the underground scene.
Right before Every Time I Die began their run of dates on the Common Vision Tour, Buckley and I discussed the diversity of the tour, and also the one-year anniversary of their seventh studio full-length, From Parts Unknown, as well as the time when he made a guest appearance on Say Anything’s last studio effort, Hebrews.
You’re getting pretty close to the start of the Common Vision Tour, which starts next week. What are you looking forward to the most?
We’re definitely playing for the kids this time around. It’s a pretty fucking weird mix of bands; we’ve never toured with Real Friends, and I don’t think a lot of people pictured us touring with Real Friends. But, you know…we respect them greatly, and we like their music. I don’t know, I think the point of us all of this is to get a bunch of people into a show that might not have come before because they’ve never played in their town, or haven’t really saw any bands that might be interested in seeing, so I think we’re going to get a lot of kids out of the house and into the club.
Sure. I am actually very intrigued by the diversity of this lineup, especially because of the fact that you have Real Friends and Gnarwolves on the bill, who are both completely different in style compared to both you and Counterparts. How did this tour package come about? Did Pure Noise Records play a huge role in putting this tour together?
Well… the thing of it is that it’s a branded tour, so we got asked to headline it, you know? Pure Noise Records sort of put it together, so they knew it was going to be us and Real Friends co-headlining the rest of the tour. And then we each got to have a say in what other bands were coming along.
I don’t know, I think their vision was to… I keep using that word over and over (laughs), but their vision of the Common Vision Tour was to, you know, have a bunch of different angles covered from a musical standpoint. They definitely wanted two diverse acts that they could think of, so they were pretty on point with us and Real Friends.
From your own personal standpoint, do you normally prefer to mix things up every now and then and play with a lot of different bands as opposed to playing tours that strictly cater to hardcore or metal crowds only?
No, I love mixing it up. Me playing with the same group of fans that you know you’re going to do well with is a good feeling, but as a kid when I used to go to shows, I loved seeing diversity. So, I kind of have to imagine it from their standpoint of the people that are coming out to the shows, and they probably don’t want to see the same thing over and over and over again. You know, we’ve been touring for so many years—we’ve played every city, probably a dozen times—so coming back with the same bands might be good, and fun, and cool, but eventually, it gets a little tiresome. So, we got to do something that keeps people interested in us, so maybe this will do it.
You guys have been around the block for quite some time and have probably seen your fair share of genre-mixed shows, tour packages and festivals. Do you think more than ever in today’s music scene, there is a huge emphasis on opening up fans to different kinds of bands and different scenes coming together through genre-mixed shows?
Oh yes, totally… I think that’s really important. We could, if we really wanted to, just stick to the “what you know,” and “what we’re good at,” but then that just becomes an odd sight sort of thing, do you know what I mean? Where it’s just the same kind of music that is pummeled into you all day until it is pretty much waiting for the headliner the whole day, and not come in for the opening acts—and that is something we would not want. We do not want the opening bands to be just “filler” until you get to Real Friends and Every Time I Die; we want every band to play like they’re the headliner, and to be treated like they’re headlining. And I think that’s what is important with making things fresh, and keeping it as cool as possible.
The last time you played Jersey was when you came here with The Used at the Starland Ballroom. Are you guys excited to be coming back here once again on this tour, considering that this is a venue that you frequently headline?
New Jersey is just fucking bananas; I don’t know what it is! I have a feeling of what it is—it’s always been good, and you guys have an amazing, incredible hardcore scene for yourselves. The fact that you guys in New Jersey just keep coming back… and it’s not like people come out because it’s like a thing to do—like in New Jersey, especially in that venue [Starland Ballroom], people just go fucking bananas; it’s great. I am not looking forward to one city over another, but I am looking forward to playing some of the same cities that we’ve played again.
Not too long ago, From Parts Unknown celebrated its one-year anniversary. Compared to any full-length that Every Time I Die has released, where does this record hold up for you personally?
I don’t absolutely say that we’ve put out garbage, but I absolutely think that this one [From Parts Unknown] is the best one; I feel like it’s the quintessential Every Time I Die album. It’s weird because, after seven records, this is the one where finally hit our stride. I know for me personally, the songwriting is so organic. I didn’t have to force anything, I didn’t have writer’s block, and I actually had too much stuff to work with, so I was able to pick the best stuff. And I mean, every single before this record has been, “I’ve been going with way too little,” and then, “I am squeezing water from a stone on the 11th hour,” and it would just leave me with a really, really bad feeling. And this one, I had the time, and Kurt Bloom produced it, and I felt like everything came together with him.
On that note, would you say that From Parts Unknown musically represents where you guys stand at this point in your career?
Yeah, I definitely don’t think it was a step sideways. At this point, when there are so many bands in the scene who are as old as we are, it’s kind of important to stay relevant, and it gets more and more difficult to stay relevant. I think the fact that we’re able to get this far in our career is a step forward; just being able to do it at all is a step forward for us. Not to mention that we were trying so many new things with this one.
Nice. Now, I am actually a huge Say Anything fan, and I remember when I first heard the song you appeared on, on their latest album, Hebrews, when it came out last year. How did that opportunity come about?
We did Warped Tour with Say Anything in like, 2010… I want to say together, or maybe even 2008. But, Say Anything, I’ve been a fan of everything Max Bemis has done—he’s brilliant. We were hanging out and we kind of kept it touch, and one day, when we were recording our last album, there was just a text message that said, “Hey, do you want to be on the record?” And I was like, “Yeah.” He [Max] was like, “All right, I will email you the part I want you to do,” and I stuck it in when I was in the studio here in Buffalo. It was very DIY—no labels or no management involved, just friends working together.
Now that it’s been a year since this record has been out, has the thought of writing new material been introduced in conversations amongst you and other members of the band yet?
No, no, no. We’re very focused on every moment of Every Time I Die; we’re not really thinking long term as we are going. We would tour until the management and the labels will be like, “Okay, time to start writing a record now,” and we’re like, “Okay.” And that is how we exactly shift our focus on that. There will be ideas thrown around on tour, but only when we have a recording date set. But right now, we’re still touring on it [From Parts Unknown].
Since you’ll be finishing out the summer with the Common Vision Tour, what is the fall going to be looking like for Every Time I Die?
Oh, man, the fall is off; we are taking September and October off. And then in November, we obviously don’t have a plan yet, but we are looking to do a support tour, not like our last tour with The Used, but something of that caliber, where we get to play with a cool band like that and do support for them.
Every Time I Die are currently on the road headlining the Common Vision Tour alongside Real Friends, Counterparts and many more, which will be coming to the Starland Ballroom in Sayreville on Aug. 20 and the Theatre Of Living Arts in Philadelphia on Aug. 21. Their latest album, From Parts Unknown, is available now through Epitaph Records. For more information, go to everytimeidie.net.