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.
It's not supposed to be bullshit [...] it's not supposed to be a fashion show. It's 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 he's having an engagement party. The engagement party is going to be a show. He asked us to play, so we said yeah we'll do it, no problem.
Is a new album in the works?
Yeah yeah, everyday we're 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?
It's going to take a lot of people by surprise; it's going to show tremendous growth in the band considering the last songs we've written that people have heard were from about 3 years ago. So we've 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 we've grown to. It's 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 - just musically. Lyrically it's still coming together; I really don't know too much on the theme of the record is yet. I'm really excited about it and I'm really excited for people to hear new stuff after about…for us it's been 3 years, for most people the record just came out like a year ago. For us it's been a long long time and we've grown quite a bit. The only problem with the record is that it isn't going too far because I think we're 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 we've written tons of songs that just don't fit, they just don't work for us, and they just don't sound like Senses Fail. And that's 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 it's part you want to please yourself and be proud of the music, but you also don't want to alienate the people that listen to your band. You don't 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. It's part of the challenge to figure out what is too much and what works and that's something that our producer also helps with.
Do you have any guess of when this will be released?
Probably in August, I'd 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 Christianity…just how contradictory most people who call themselves Christian really aren't 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?
I'm not really that knowledgeable in religion, I have a hobby, I guess I'd say of just looking at that and being interested in it. Not that I have any sort of real knowledge of it. It's basically more prevalent on the last record I don't know how much it's 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 Christianity…just how contradictory most people who call themselves Christian really aren't Christian in any way, shape, or form. So there's going to be that, but as far as exploring more Eastern religions and basing songs off exploration of religion isn't 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 I'm 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 I'm saying, but in a clever way. And something that's 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 didn't work out. He kind of didn't 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, that's old stuff. We got picked up by Geffen. Geffen didn't want to put out our record. We didn't want to play the major label Geffen game. They we're 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 don't know there's 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, it's not the same thing that is was even when I was 15 and going to shows. There's a lot of bullshit, there's a lot of fakeness. That's in everything, there's a lot of bullshit and fakeness in this world. But, that's 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 - just music. It's not supposed to be bullshit, it's not supposed to be…I'm trying to think of the right word without offending anyone…it's not supposed to be a fashion show. It's not supposed to be who can dress the best, who wears the most makeup, who has the coolest shoes. It's supposed to be about the music. I'm just kind of over the fact that it's become a fashion show now. It's 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 can't really get into bands that don't have substance, for me it's a really important thing. What they are saying, and who they are, and what they stand for plays a lot into whether I'm 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 there's a feeling you get that it's real. And that it has emotion and it's not just done to make money. And it's 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. That's really what it's all about, the interaction between you being a kid going to shows and then you end up being that person on the stage. It's easy to forget who you were, and I think a lot of people don't 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. It's one thing if you're 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 we're not going to forget who we are and where we came from. We're 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. That's pretty much what I have to say.