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INTERVIEW: Buddy Nielsen (Senses Fail)

IMG_6968This week Infectious Magazine’s Caitlin Shores went backstage to chat with Buddy Nielsen, the lead vocalist of Senses Fail. Just before finishing up the last tour date on the Let It Enfold You 10 Year Anniversary Tour, we got to discuss today’s music demands, as well as future plans for the band. Check out the interview below, and purchase a CD or buy concert tickets here.

Infectious magazine: It’s been over 10 years now and Senses Fail has definitely managed to stay relevant in today’s music world – what advice would you give to bands looking to do the same?

I would definitely say to keep up with what is current. I think it’s hard to stay current if you don’t like current bands, or at least it gets harder. You can get away with it for a while but I think, years down the road you can be completely out of touch with what’s going on. I think that can also affect your relevance, even if you’re a super huge band, I feel like you gotta kind of know what’s going on the ground level or else you’ll start making music that’s not relevant.

Would it be likely to see Senses Fail on another 10 year anniversary tour in 2016 for Still Searching?

I don’t know if people would like it as much, maybe they would. I don’t know if that record holds as much significance, maybe it does, and maybe then we’d do it. Maybe we’ll do something for our 15 year anniversary, because that’s in 2017, so that’s kind of close.

Senses Fail has toured with many new up and coming bands within the last few years, and you’ve also spoken on the significance of touring to places most bands don’t go. Can you talk about why these things are important to you as a musician?

I think it goes back to staying relevant, I think it would be weak to be taking out bands that only were in our genre ten years ago. Plus our music has kind of shifted a little – the scene that we were a part of doesn’t match what our band is now. We’re closer to bands like Knuckle Puck, or bands that toe the line between pop punk and hardcore, rather than say… like Yellowcard. If we went on a tour with Yellowcard right now, it would be cool, but I just don’t think we would really go over that well. But if we play with bands like Knuckle Puck, To The Wind, or Expire, even though it’s not the same exact genre, it’s better. I don’t want to just cater to only our older fans.

Is there anything that prompted signing with Pure Noise Records?

I wanted to be on a label that has relevant type of bands. Pure Noise, they have some stuff like To The Wind, they have stuff like Front Porch Step, they have Rotting Out. It just feels much more like a label that is representing what’s going on now. Some other labels are kind of all over the place, or catering to a genre that we don’t really fit in with. Like for example, I think Fearless is a really good label, but I don’t think for the music we’re making and what we’re doing that it would make sense for Senses Fail to be on the same label as those bands. It would be cool, because they’re a good label, but I don’t even know if that would have made sense. Especially with the record we’re going to deliver, similar to our last record.

You’ll be recording the next album starting November; are there any current musical influences that may be driving inspiration?

I would say a band like Russian Circles. A band like Title Fight – and I really like Title Fight – I love bands like Expire, and Backtrack. All the hardcore bands that are in the scene right now are really awesome, and I think they’re writing really cool music, it all sounds very… not tired. Which I feel like can happen with music after a certain period of time. It can be kind of recycled and re-hashed. Everything right now, I at least feel like people are starting to listen to everything. They used to like 10 or 12 years ago – everybody listened to everything. You had all these different bands playing with each other, and everybody liked everything, and then it got really big and commercialized. Because a lot of industry people feel like you have to package one type of thing in order for it to be successful. Sometimes that is the case, that you do a tour with these kind of bands and only these kind of bands, and get a room filled with people that like this and that. Now I think people are listening to everything again, because there’s so many different kinds of music and so much access to it, and you could really do a show like this and have a bunch of different bands, have it do well, and have it be successful. Have people come early and check out a bunch of different bands. I feel like it’s gotten to the point where you can do that, and there’s a lot of cross mixing of genres which is really cool and, again, kind of used to be like that.

You’ve described before (in other interviews) the upcoming album to be “heavier” “experimental” and even went on to say it may be “the most adventurous record” for Senses Fail. Can you elaborate on that?

Yeah, I mean there’s definitely some longer songs on there, some that are slower, and a little bit more post rock where there’s not going to be as much singing. And then there’s some really heavy, faster stuff. It’s not really going to contain a lot of that Senses Fail choruses – well theres gonna be choruses – but it’s not going to be that old school Senses Fail like Buried Alive or Rum Is For Drinking chorus, it’s going to be a different approach. I mean we’ve already written a million of those songs, and they exist, and people like them, so trying to recreate those songs… I don’t know. I don’t think we’ll ever be able to do it, so now it’s like “why don’t we do something different”, and try to make THAT something that people will like, rather than trying to recreate, because we obviously can come play our old songs. People like them. But I don’t want to try and recreate those old songs, so it’s definitely more adventurous throughout.

Where do you see Senses Fail in the next 10 years?

I don’t know. I mean it really depends on if people like the new stuff we put out, and depends if people keep discovering the old records. It really all depends on trends and music, and kind of what they like, what people are interested in listening to. I think if they’re interested in listening to mixed genre kind of stuff like we’re doing, and what’s going on right now, I think we’ll be cool. Maybe we’ll be doing a 20 year anniversary on this record, that’d be cool. Yeah. I’ll be 40, so I’m sure I’ll still be able to make music then. I’m sure it’ll be good then.

Is there anything else you’d like to add?

No, I’m good. Thank you!

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Caitlin Shores

Writer and Photographer

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