“You don’t live until you’re ready to die,” echoes the lyrics of ‘We’rewolf’, a sing-along which has become synonymous with Every Time I Die. For fans at least, it’s these sort of sentiments – of partying so hard you hit rock bottom – that have long had them hooked on the Buffalo mob’s relentless bought of hardcore. So as Keith Buckley belts out “Live forever, just once” on the quintet’s most recent release – 2015’s ‘Salem’ EP – it might be fair to assume not much has changed in the 17 years since Every Time I Die formed.
Ahead of their upcoming UK tour, the frontman is the first to admit what was so integral to the band in the beginning, remains as such today; much of that lies with their legions of dedicated fans. “I was 17 when I started so everyone has watched me grow up,” Keith says, “it’s cool to have that relationship with your ‘fans’.” Despite having released their seventh full-length, ‘From Parts Unknown’, to much acclaim last year, the boisterous singer still insists on the quotation marks. “I hate saying fans,” he explains, “It sounds like I’m a rock star or something.” To many of course, he is just that.
Whether he likes it or not, it’s Keith’s willingness to leave his wounds wide open, while using his personal battles with drugs, alcohol and general self-destructiveness to fuel a back-catalogue of brilliant records. More crucially, his ability to exorcise those demons so brutally within the boundaries of the outfit he fronts, has left him with a prized pedestal position for fans the world over.
It’s as we rally the ins and outs of Every Time I Die’s November tour then, that Keith puts the band’s biggest successes down to the “people that like [his] band”, now resisting the word ‘fans’ altogether. “We’re not a big band and we’re not a mainstream band that have thousands and thousands of fans in every city,” Keith says. “To come to London, which in my opinion is one of the best cities in the world, and have so many people there that appreciate it is remarkable.”
This month, on top of a 10-date jaunt around the UK, Every Time I Die play four nights in the capital. The ambitious run has allowed fans to demonstrate their dedication by purchasing season passes for all shows and will see the five-piece headline The Dome, Borderline, Underworld and The Old Blue Last in almost cult-like fashion. “It’s a rare thing for a band like us to be able to do that,” Keith anticipates, “It feels incredible.”
Setlists are the priority. With four nights to cover as much of their discography as possible, Keith and bandmates Jordan Buckley, Andy Williams, Stephen Micciche and Daniel Davison are tasked with fulfilling fan requests as best they can. “We might do a ticket survey online to see what people want to hear so we make sure we put it in there,” Keith thinks aloud, “We’ll have fun with it. Maybe we’ll have a spin the wheel so it’ll land on a song and we play it,” he jests.
Every Time I Die’s success continues at a time when some metal and hardcore bands are finding comfort on arena stages and aspiring for sky-scraping chart positions. With this, Keith goes on to contemplate the idea of, instead, being that mainstream offering in today’s market. “I think the one thing it almost guarantees is that you’re not going to stick around for long because people are finicky and if they love it one day, they will probably hate it the day after.”
How does he think Every Time I Die have navigated around the industry’s pot holes thus far? “I think we just really targeted a wonderful group of people that aren’t that touch and go with the things that they say they like,” he explains with a hint of relief. “The people who like our band are really devoted and sincere, which is great.”
There’s no questioning the frontman’s eagerness to return to a town where this sincerity feels more apparent than anywhere, but with the four-night London stretch lingering at the end of the UK tour, the idea of keeping it all together is something he’s not dealing with just yet. Admitting, “I’m not even going to think about it until it’s happening and I’m sure after the first show [I’ll be] completely depleted. But we’re not doing it begrudgingly, it’s going to be great and I’m looking forward to it.
“I think four nights in a row, in a city like London, is just going to be something you look back on and think you were either the kind of person that was there, or the kind of person that wasn’t,” he concludes. “And you want to be the kind of person that was there.” P
Taken from the November issue of Upset, out now. Every Time I Die’s UK tour kicks off today, 6th November in Southampton.
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