Mark talked to singer and song writer Buddy Nielson about this upcoming album, their trip through various record labels, and about what he thinks of the current state of the scene.
Itís not supposed to be bullshit [...] itís not supposed to be a fashion show. Itís supposed to be about the music.Mark Rowan: Why did you guys decide to play just this show in Hartford?
Buddy Nielsen: Our tour manager is getting married and heís having an engagement party. The engagement party is going to be a show. He asked us to play, so we said yeah weíll do it, no problem.
Is a new album in the works?
Yeah yeah, everyday weíre writing for about 8-10 hours a day. Demoing, doing stuff, getting ready to record at the end of March/April.
What should we expect from this album?
Itís going to take a lot of people by surprise; itís going to show tremendous growth in the band considering the last songs weíve written that people have heard were from about 3 years ago. So weíve spent 3 years basically getting better at our instruments, so when these songs come out people are going to be really really surprised at the level of musicianship and song writing ability that weíve grown to. Itís going to be a lot of stuff based on just overall feeling. The movement of the song, the feeling, the emotion of the song. That is what we are going for, very dramatic very moving and emotional Ė just musically. Lyrically itís still coming together; I really donít know too much on the theme of the record is yet. Iím really excited about it and Iím really excited for people to hear new stuff after aboutÖfor us itís been 3 years, for most people the record just came out like a year ago. For us itís been a long long time and weíve grown quite a bit. The only problem with the record is that it isnít going too far because I think weíre capable of doing a lot of things, but they are a little over the head of Senses Fail. We had to kind of hold ourselves back in a way because weíve written tons of songs that just donít fit, they just donít work for us, and they just donít sound like Senses Fail. And thatís the most important thing to us, is that we keep who we are and we remember why people listen to us and why people like us and what they like about us. So itís part you want to please yourself and be proud of the music, but you also donít want to alienate the people that listen to your band. You donít want to come out as a new band, which is a hard thing after writing basically for 3 years and growing and changing as a person and a musician. Itís part of the challenge to figure out what is too much and what works and thatís something that our producer also helps with.
Do you have any guess of when this will be released?
Probably in August, Iíd assume sometime around the Warped Tour.
[...] most of it is questioning faith and basically the basis of America and the back bone of a lot of Americans, which is ChristianityÖjust how contradictory most people who call themselves Christian really arenít Christian in any way, shape, or form.
I heard you were pretty knowledgeable in religion, how do you think that plays into your song writing?
Iím not really that knowledgeable in religion, I have a hobby, I guess Iíd say of just looking at that and being interested in it. Not that I have any sort of real knowledge of it. Itís basically more prevalent on the last record I donít know how much itís going to be discussed in this record. There is some religious stuff, most of it is questioning faith and basically the basis of America and the back bone of a lot of Americans, which is ChristianityÖjust how contradictory most people who call themselves Christian really arenít Christian in any way, shape, or form. So thereís going to be that, but as far as exploring more Eastern religions and basing songs off exploration of religion isnít going to be too much of a topic. But, 3 years ago when I wrote the record I was heavily into that and it was a big thing for me, so I wrote a lot about that. Now Iím more into trying to be as honest as possible and be smart with imagery and be clever with metaphors, but to not overdo it. Cause the most important thing is that when someone listens to a song that they can relate to it, as opposed to kind of hearing something and not knowing what that is. Only the person who wrote it can really know what it means, I really want people to listen to something and know exactly what Iím saying, but in a clever way. And something thatís not completely just from my mind and not able to be understood. Just being as honest as possible and not trying to just please myself on how crazy or how clever or metaphorical I can be.
What happened with the original guitarist?
He just didnít work out. He kind of didnít want to be in a band anymore so we just went our separate ways.
Why did you make the switch from Drive Thru to Vagrant?
For a lot of different reasons, thatís old stuff. We got picked up by Geffen. Geffen didnít want to put out our record. We didnít want to play the major label Geffen game. They weíre able to move us from Geffen, which is part of Interscope, and Vagrant has a deal with Interscope, from Interscope to Vagrant.
Anything else you want to say to kids out there?
I donít know thereís a lot of bands in the scene right now that come up through this scene and just forget about it and go onto the next thing. They end of being an indie band and moving onto the next level without any kind of idea of what this means to people and what it means to kids and what it means to bands who have done this for so long and never got a chance to be that successful. I kind of look at it as, it has totally changed, itís not the same thing that is was even when I was 15 and going to shows. Thereís a lot of bullshit, thereís a lot of fakeness. Thatís in everything, thereís a lot of bullshit and fakeness in this world. But, thatís the one thing I always relied upon, was music for me, to not be bullshit and fake. And I want people to kind of open up their eyes and just know that is what this is supposed to be, kind of a place you can get away to Ė just music. Itís not supposed to be bullshit, itís not supposed to beÖIím trying to think of the right word without offending anyoneÖitís not supposed to be a fashion show. Itís not supposed to be who can dress the best, who wears the most makeup, who has the coolest shoes. Itís supposed to be about the music. Iím just kind of over the fact that itís become a fashion show now. Itís basically who can look the coolest and write the shittiest music. A lot of these bands that are getting big right now, they have no substance. I canít really get into bands that donít have substance, for me itís a really important thing. What they are saying, and who they are, and what they stand for plays a lot into whether Iím going to be interested into listening to a band. Not to say that every band has to stand for something as far as political or anything, but thereís a feeling you get that itís real. And that it has emotion and itís not just done to make money. And itís not just like everything else. They were out in the crowd and they were moved by bands and they feel that they have something to give back to people. Thatís really what itís all about, the interaction between you being a kid going to shows and then you end up being that person on the stage. Itís easy to forget who you were, and I think a lot of people donít take that into consideration. I have no problem with bands getting as big as they are, I have problems with people who change their image and change so they can get bigger. Itís one thing if youíre just a band and you end up in that limelight and you end up doing really well. I hope my band does really well, but weíre not going to forget who we are and where we came from. Weíre going to write things for us and for the people that like us, not for the people that want to make as much money as possible on us. Thatís pretty much what I have to say.