PropertyOfZack had the honor of speaking with Buddy Nielson of Senses Fail not too long ago. Buddy, who was absolutely a pleasure to speak with, and I discussed the band’s new record, the music industry on a whole, and Senses Fail’s future touring plans. Read up and enjoy, it’s a good one!
So you guys are officially in record release mode. How are you feeling about everything?
Good man. I’m happy with the record. I’m happy with everything that’s going on. We’re kind of limited to what we can do nowadays. I wouldn’t say limited to promote a record, but there’s just so much to do. So much of it is almost worthless promotion that you kind of have to really narrow down what works and what doesn’t work and I think let people know that our record is coming out just as good as anybody else does it. Records come out now and they just come out, honestly. People don’t really necessarily care. I think people tend to treat music differently then they used to.
So far Senses Fail have released two songs: “St. Anthony” and “The Fire.” In my eyes I’d say the latter has probably gotten a little better reception, but “St. Anthony” certainly didn’t let too many people down. How has the reaction been in your mind?
I’m happy with it. Definitely happy that people seem to like it, but then again, I don’t know. I can never tell what people like and what they don’t like. Everybody’s always going to like your older stuff and that’s how it goes. I only like band’s older stuff too because the newer shit sucks, so I understand. I’m like, “Quit playing the new shit, it sucks, I don’t want to hear it.” I think we have to listen, because the new shit does suck, but that’s the thing, I don’t think that the new shit sucks.
“The Fire” has caused a lot of people to comment on the never-ending improvement of your vocals album after album. Do you feel that you’ve made perhaps a larger leap vocally from on this record than from past ones?
Yeah, I think what happened was, well a lot of things. When we first started writing and recording, my voice didn’t like drop. So on the first record and the first EP, I could sing a lot higher and it sounded different and then Still Searching came and I had know idea how to sing because my voice changed and I actually got a surgery on my nose to deal with a deviated septum. The last record was kind of like me figuring it out. There were some rough times where I was not really singing very well and it also came across on our record. I think this record I kind of was able to find that through the help of a vocal coach. Even though I’ve been going through vocal coaches the entire time I’ve been singing, it’s just something clicked. It’s like baseball; you’re batting and you’re in a slump and you just don’t know how to break it. All you’re thinking about is why you can’t hit the ball and you make one little adjustment to your first step and then you’re hitting .300 and knocking in 50 homeruns. I think it gets better. I think our live shows a lot better to.
The track also features some pretty heavy-duty screams in the bridge that are reminiscent of some of Life Is Not A Waiting Room. Should we expect some more of those throughout the record?
Definitely. There’s some heavy songs. It’s the same kind of mix as we always have. Whenever we put out a song that doesn’t have screaming kids go, “Where’s the screaming?” Then we put out a song with screaming kids go, “Well that’s alright, but where’s the song that sounds like “Calling All Cars?” I don’t know what they want, but we’re just going to do both of them, so you’ll like half of the record. And you’ll probably only listen to have of it anyways because you won’t have the attention span to sit through 30 minutes.
POZ: Which is a shame.
Buddy: I know, it really is. It’s retarded.
POZ: I don’t think people understand that records are made to be to listened in full anymore.
Buddy: It’s like a whole thing, not just two songs. At least listen to it once.
You guys brought on Zack Roach to replace Heath on guitar. How was it working with him during the recording process for the first time?
It was awesome.
What are you most proud of in this release compared to some of the prior ones?
I think the sound and the overall vibe of this is very natural. It doesn’t sound overproduced. I think there’s a vibe you can pick up from it in the way we recorded it and because of the way it sounds natural it has a different feeling then records that come out now that are a little overproduced. We were able to work our asses off and come up with something that I think people will like. That’s really, honestly, the only thing that matters. I feel good about it, and hopefully people like it.
On October 19th you’ll head out on the Out With The In Crowd tour that will run right up until Thanksgiving. Are you looking forward to playing new music and co-headlining with some of your best friends in Bayside every night?
Yeah, it’s gonna be awesome. I’m very excited about it. I’m thrilled. I’ve met the Balance And Composure guys. I don’t know the Title Fight guys, but I do know a lot of people who know them, so I think it’s gonna be one of the better tours we’ve ever been on.
I believe you picked Balance And Composure and they picked Title Fight just because you see promise in their futures. What exactly do you see in them that make them stand out from some of the other bands in the scene right now?
There’s this whole kind of thing that’s going on in New Jersey, Philly, Pennsylvania are that reminds me of when I was in high school. It’s not even necessarily the style of music they play, because they’re playing just kind of pop-punk, but they’re like kids that are young, 18/19/20, that grew up listening to the bands that came around 2000/2001/2002 and then all this shit that came afterwards, like all the terrible stuff that happened in the last couple four or five years, they kind of were like, “This shit sucks. I don’t want to play music like this.” They’re just making it the way it used to be. It’s cool. It’s not even necessarily the kind of music they’re playing, but they’ve kind of created this new scene like this band Man Overboard. That whole scene. I think it’s really cool. It’s kind of like the new next thing that’s going to do well and then everybody’s going to go, “Oh my god, there’s so many bands coming out of New Jersey, and Philly, and Pennsylvania,” and then everybody else stars ripping them off. It’s already happening.
POZ: It’s like a rebirth, and then a copy of it.
Buddy: Which is awesome. It’s cool. I could see that happening and I knew it was happening like a year ago just because if I was a young kid and I liked pop-punk I’d kind of want to take it back before the weird left turn it made before The Maine and all this weird power-pop shit that doesn’t make any sense. For them to be a part of the Warped Tour crowd, it doesn’t fit or make any sense. I don’t know how it really got forced into there, but somehow it did.
POZ: Things got weird for a couple years.
Buddy: Yeah, a band like All Time Low should have no business being associated with a band like Senses Fail, but they are. There’s no similarity whatsoever in everything that we do. It’s weird.
POZ: Pop-punk got diluted so much that the term started to fit in with anything.
Buddy: Exactly. The Maine might as well be Matchbox 20. All Time Low might as well be Mickey Mouse Club. I like All Time Low, by the way. I do actually like them. I just like making fun of them. They did it to themselves. They could have been a fucking real band, but they decided to play the game, which is good, but the game never works.
Senses Fail hasn’t made announcements for any other dates after this tour. Would you guys like to hit Europe in the not too distant future?
Yeah, that’s the next thing we’re going to be doing in the winter. Europe and then probably back out in Canada and America and then try to do some South American stuff. I don’t know what we’re going to do this summer. We’re going to try to do the Warped Tour, I’d imagine. We’d like to do that again?
Will you guys be headlining ideally all the tours?
We’re probably going to do another headlining tour in America to do all the other cities that we didn’t get to. That will be the plan.
The Fire comes out on October 26th, but should we expect any other songs to be released in the not too distant future?
Definitely. We’re going to release another song and then we’ll it the album stream up like a week before. You can listen to it then decide you want to download it for free, which is what I do. It’s what I do. I’m like, “Oh, I really want this Bad Religion record, so I’m just going to download it.” I’m sorry everyone.
Is a music video in the realm of possibility?
We’re doing two music videos. One for “The Fire” and one for “New Years Eve.” We’re doing it a little bit different in terms of approach. It’s not going to be your basic, band playing with a shitty story line. We’re trying to do something different.
POZ: When should we see those out?
Buddy: Probably the week before the record comes out and then there will be another one that comes out after that sometime. They’ll probably both come out before the record comes out actually, hopefully.
Are there any other things from the Senses Fail camp that we should be on the look out for?
I think we’re all good. New record. Tour. That’s about it.
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