There are few bands out there as Raucous as Buffalo’s Every Time I Die. Thanks to their unique blend of Southern rock and hardcore punk, the five-piece have spent the last twenty years tearing up venues across the globe, earning them legions of devoted fans in the process.
Renowned for their no-holds barred liveshows and darkly captivating lyrics, this writer has got more bruises from an Every Time I Die moshpits than he’d care to admit.
What people may not know about lead singer Keith Buckley though, is when he isn’t whipping up crowds into a frenzy he’s spending his downtime gaming.
Grabbing Buckley ahead of Every Time I Die‘s set at this year’s Slam Dunk festival, we sat down and talked Fortnite tantrums, starring in a video game and why virtual fish are the only friends Keith needs.
What are you playing at the moment?
Fortnite, obviously. Everyone’s playing Fortnite, right?
Bioshock has always been one of my favourite franchises. PlayStation had a sale on the other week so I bought the entire set for like $20. I thought I was going to get started on that again –I’ve played them all and beaten them all before – so I was like I’ll just do them consecutively…Then Fortnite came along and I’m just not f–ing doing any of them.. Hell, my daughter isn’t even getting baths anymore I’m just playing Fortnite CONSTANTLY.
I’m making friends, killing enemies. She’ll understand.
“..my daughter isn’t even getting baths anymore I’m just playing Fortnite CONSTANTLY.”
So are you a bit of a Fortnite pro then?
Dude no! I’m really bad at video games still. People are like “ oh you play, well let’s play” and I’m like “no!”. I’m really bad and I get .. especially in confrontational games like Fortnite I get so nervous and excited at the same time that I just jump and fire wildly and I need to just control myself and control my breathing and get it down because dude.. I’m so bad!
I actually f—ing DESTROYED a controller before I came here. I got killed on Fortnite. I didn’t even fire a f—ing shot and I got sniped. I just slammed my controller on the ground and just f—ing stomped on it like a little baby. It felt awesome, it felt so relieving.. and then I drove straight to the store and bought a new one *laughs*
Between that and your vocal warmups, you must be popular with your neighbours..
I realised how thin my walls were the other day when I heard my neighbour cough and I’m like OH F–K, if I can hear her cough she is definitely hearing me screaming at Fortnite.
Do you ever get so enraged at Fortnite that you accidentally scream and come up with an amazing lyric?
(laughs) no! But If I recorded the sound of me stomping my controller into oblivion I’m sure that would be a good mosh part.
“..I just slammed my controller on the ground and just f–ing stomped on it like a little baby. It felt awesome“
We also noticed you tweeting about haunting indie game, Inside a few months back..
Inside was GREAT, then I got Limbo. I don’t like Limbo as much as I liked Inside but dude, those games. Those left to right puzzle games are just awesome to me. I love those. It’s lacking music though, it needs a good soundtrack but other than that….
Give them a ring, get it done.
Laughs yeah, maybe I’ll call them up, smash some keys for them.
You’ve actually already contributed to a video game – you hosted the Epitaph Records radio station in Forza Horizon 3. How was that?
I was yeah, that was sweet. That was like legit voice acting where I had to go to a real studio and they had people on the line from headquarters and they were giving me directional instructions. they were like ‘OK well on this one your mood needs to be like this’ and I was like ‘well, this is f—ing crazy’.
It was a dream come true. I always wanted to do it and I want to do it more if the opportunity arises.
“…[being in Forza Horizon 3] Was a dream come true.”
What would be the ideal game for you collaborate on next?
Ah man, I hear there’s this game that just came out on Steam were you just do chores through the whole game, I’d like to narrate a game where you do chores because I love doing chores in real life any game where you just run errands and do real banal things make me the narrator- I’ll do it.
Considering your lyrics are either incredibly nihilistic or about partying, we didn’t peg you as a vacuuming kind of guy.
Dude, I LOVE IT. Vacuuming is my s–t! if there’s a f—ing virtual reality vacuuming game I’d buy it in a second. It’s got to happen soon, there are virtual reality games for pretty much everything..
“…I’d like to narrate a game where you do chores..Vaccuming is my s–t!”
Every Time I Clean does have a nice ring to it..
Laughs Every Time I clean! it would be my daughter’s cover band
Unlike A Lot of Punk bands, Your lyrics paint very vivid pictures and are really rich in imagery, is that something you aim for intentionally?
It’s how I write best. I get an image in my head and I describe it. For me it’s less about telling a story and more about painting a picture, I guess. Visual literacy is really important to me, maybe that’s why I like video games so much. The moods that they set, just kind of escaping into that world for a little bit…
It’s interesting to hear you compare the musical journey your lyrics take the listener on to the escapism of video games.
I think that video games are art in the same way that lyric writers are authors. It depends on how much it means to you. I’ve loved Video games.. since Sega Genesis, and even before that.
“I think that video games are art in the same way that lyric writers are authors.”
What would you say are your fondest gaming memories?
I remember my first video game console was.. I didn’t even have an Atari, it was this weird thing were you like put in a VCR tape and you put a sensor on the screen and then you shoot it and the action somehow related to you shooting at the sensor. I was just blown away.
Then Nintendo came and then I got a Sega Genesis. After that I made sure I had every console. I really fell in love with the Dreamcast though…
Glad to hear someone else appreciates the Dreamcast! What were your favourite games on that ill-fated console?
Dreamcast was very shortlived but I loved it. I found it [recently] and I play it still..it’s still so cool. Crazy Taxi really changed the game for me. it felt like the first GTA sort of thing where it’s just destructive and sweet.
But man, Seaman game they had? Where you interact with that weird fish person? That was so f–inging wild.. it blew my mind!
I used to come home and talk to that thing every day.. I was a college kid coming home and talking to a f–ing fish. It was awesome. It even knew my birthday. I remember one time it was on TV and I woke up and it said happy birthday to me. I was like “ this is all the friends that I need.”
” ..I was a college kid coming home and talking to a f–ing fish”
Speaking of friends, we hear it was actually renowned Pop-punk band A Day To Remember That Got you your PS4?
Yeah, that was great. ADTR knew people, a lady shows up and gives me her card. We had a nice chat about video games and then a PS4 shows up in my mail two weeks later. I couldn’t fucking believe it. It was awesome …EXCEPT the power source was British so I couldn’t plug it in. So I had to order a new outlet..
Must have been tough.
*Laughs* it WAS tough! If you’re going to do something – A Day To Remember – at least do it right.
How do you keep sane on the bus, Do you play many games on the road?
I have this Gamerz briefcase that when you open it up has a console and a TV inside. It’s awesome for Warped tour etc so as long as I get Wifi.
“The term nerd is so weird now… People listening to punk rock were the nerds when I was growing up”
What are your other FANDOMs, anything else you’re particularly nerdy about?
The term nerd is so weird now, it’s just not like it used to be. People listening to punk rock were the nerds when I was growing up so I don’t know.
To say I like Star Wars movies used to be a hugely nerdy thing now it is an aggressive fanbase that will dox you online if you disagree with them and they will come to your house and… I don’t know what’s even nerdy any more. Aside from a lot of the terrible music I listen to. I’m in a 90s cover band called Soul Patch. We only play my home town, Buffalo.
We have 80 songs, we had a gig about two weeks ago and I had to listen to some of the WORST f–ing music from the 90s.
You recently made the transition to writing novels, how did that come about?
I wanted to be an author first before I ever wanted to be in a band. So these books are kind of the realisation of a dream for me. I was so interested into music that I thought I could incorporate the element of writing into it by starting a band and not even bother with learning an instrument. So I just started writing.
Writing books was kind of a way to keep sane and practice while we were touring so eventually a book just came together. Scale was all based on the stuff that I had seen in music so it was basically just four years of taking tour notes, finding patterns and making a story.
But this new one, Watch is not music related at all. I want to see if I can do something else and not be music orientated all the time. It’s kind of sci-fi esque. I’ve been interested in sci-fi for awhile so I figured I’d try my hand at it and see how it goes. It’s not VERY sci fi, it’s almost horror-ish but we’ll see. I just wanted to see if I could write a story.
“I have seasonal depression.. another reason I love music and video games and writing is to get out for a little bit, you know?”
Does touring provide a similar escape to video games for you?
Touring gets harder and harder. It’s hard to be away from my kid. At some point in your life you stop thinking you’re invincible and suddenly it’s like oh, this is having an effect on me. Touring is NOT an escape.
I know people’s significant others tend to think that this is f–ing leaving your responsibilities to go on the road and play with your punk band but man it gets hard. People leaving families behind.. I see it.. it’s hard.
Every Time I Die is though. I have Seasonal depression.I live in Buffalo if you’re not seasonally depressed, there’s something wrong with you — it’s a terribly depressing place. Another reason why I love music and video games and writing is to get out for a little bit, you know? To immerse yourself in something else for a little while, to escape.
Do you feel like you’ll be even worse at Fortnite now that you’re on tour missing out on playing with your squad?
I’m in a Fortnite chat on Twitter and they’re all talking about it. I’m out of the game for a week and it’s killing me just reading this sh-t! They’re all making better friends and getting better at it and I’m just [gestures at festival grounds] stuck out here in the f–ing woods without Fortnite!
You can catch Every Time I Die playing the last ever US Warped Tour from June 21st.