Every Time I Die frontman Keith Buckley once felt he was paying for mistakes made in past lives. Bolting over personal hurdles, Buckley and his merchants of metalcore masala will blow the minds of us antipodean types, appearing on Aussie soil for the second time this year.
The screamer from Buffalo, New York feels optimistic. Buoyant, even. It’s a complete 180 from last year. Personal obstacles and social media distractions felt like blows to his vital spirit. Daily life was layered over with the desire to curl into a ball and fade away. “At that period, I felt confronted by this thick wall. I was stuck,” Buckley opens up. “I dealt with it very poorly back then. There was a lot of alcohol. There was a lot of self-deprecation. Complete fucking pessimism.”
Buckley eventually carried torches into the darkness of his soul. He just can’t remember when, how or what brightened his world. “I’ve tried to figure it out. I’ve tried to go back and think, ‘What was it?’ I don’t know. It happened in my sleep one day. It was like, ‘Today I’m gonna start differently.’ I was just saying to myself, ‘I’m just gonna try to be in a good mood.’ I tried it, it was fun. I guess you just gotta keep your head up. The only thing to do is not get caught up in all of it.”
His renewed positivity steels him for this year’s second long haul flight to Australia. “Oh yeah, we love it,” Buckley confirms. “The last thing we want to do is over-saturate it and ruin a good thing. But we have a good relationship and I really hope you want to see us.”
Buckley figures Australia is like one of his night-time friends. One of his really long-distance night-time friends. “You have daytime friends and you have night-time friends. Some friends you don’t get along with during the day, but at night they’re perfect. They’re the ones you hang out with when the sun comes down.”
Who do you call when you’re eager for brunch? “You call the guys in Blink-182 for that,” he deadpans, before cracking up laughing. “They seem like brunch people to me.”
Back in Buckley’s home country, a liquid brunch before football games or music festivals apes the night-time spirit. Fans indulge in a ye olde American tradition of tailgating – camping in a stadium carpark and drinking until the event begins. “Some fans tailgate all morning. They’re up at eight o’clock in the morning, drinking. Some people won’t even go inside the venue.”
Meanwhile, those who managed to stagger into this year’s Big Day Out saw Buckley earnestly comforting the non-metalheads who were jostled and lost amongst veteran headbangers. He screamed, “If you don’t know what a moshpit is, I don’t have time to explain the formula.” So, Keith, what is the formula?
“Chaos. Complete chaos is the formula,” he chuckles. “I don’t think anyone who is gonna come to our shows will not know what it is. I’m sure that people are enlightened enough to know what to expect now.”
Not that it matters to some audiences these days, treating music like an open tab on their web browser. “I really just hope when people come out they’re going to be involved. My dream now is to play a club where nobodyhas a camera phone. I just want them to be there, to be present, to enjoy themselves. I don’t think it’s too much to ask. Hopefully it will happen.”
BY TOM VALCANIS