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For Northern quintet Bentley Park it has been a long two years. Since forming 2011, the post-hardcore have been refining their sound and preparing for the release of their debut EP, 'Innocence', which finally sees the light of day this week. The EP takes the pop-punk sensibilities of their former band, and combines them with an edgy rock sound. We recently spoke to vocalist James Shaw to find out more.
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Every Time I Die are heroes. It’s probably the 11th commandment or something. They’ve been consistently good with every release but latest release 'Ex Lives' certainly shook the foundations of everything that’s holy in the world. It’s intense, it’s fast and it’s everything that Every Time I Die should be.
So, what next? The band are slowly taking over the world in one way or another and it’s only a matter of time until the whole world realises how good these gentleman are. We already know this so, so we jumped at the chance to interview them at Slam Dunk Festival.
We spoke to Keith and Jordan Buckley about 'Ex Lives' itself, touring in Russia and what makes a good Halloween costume…
AH: What’s the general theme for new album ‘Ex Lives’? I remember reading a while ago that the idea was to have a horror theme behind it.
Keith (vocals): I don’t think that was a theme, no. I think if anything we just wanted to make it heavier and faster than our old stuff. There’s no really like, motive. Other than to just be fun again.
AH: Keith, you’re quite cryptic with lyrics, which has been said a lot. Would you agree with that? The opening line ‘I want to be dead with my friends’ seems like a good example of that. Are there more hidden metaphors within the album?
Keith: Yeah it’s just more fun to write that way. I mean you know six records I think I’ve said everything I can say you’ve got to find new ways to say it. But yeah, I guess I’m not trying to be cryptic, I’m trying to have fun. It’s just language I guess.
AH: A lot of the songs seem to be more up tempo than previous efforts. Would you say new drummer Ryan had an influence on the song writing?
Jordan (guitar): Yeah it’s er, we always like fast music, we just generally like fast music and he can play fatser than our older drummer so it’s very straight forward. You know, it’s not like symbolic, it just is what it is; he’s faster than our old drummer so the music is drummer and that’s why the music is faster. It’s very simple.
AH: Would Ryan have ideas for riffs or did he focus more on the drums? How is the creative process when writing new songs?
Jordan: Me, Andy and Legs wrote all the music again and he was just more willing to try anything and erm it was a much smoother process than any of the other records just because of his willingness to do anything we asked him to do and try his own ideas and show off his own ideas. It was less of an audition and more of a free flowing, aggressive jam.
AH: You’ve just finished touring the hell out of Europe with Cancer Bats, Set Your Goals and Make Do And Mend; how was that and did you guys pick the support for their frantic live shows much like you guys?
Jordan: Yeah, we had a little bit to do with it. We always get to approve it. For most of the time I should say, not always. But their line up kind of came to our doorstep and we let it in.
Keith: Varied styles which is good. People don’t wanna see the same thing all the time, so with a band like Make Do And Mend on it’s good. Something for everyone.
AH: Did you have more of a diverse crowd?
Keith: Yeah, definitely.
AH: You played Brazil and Russia recently. Have you played there before? How was that and how was the crowd? Were they what you expected?
Keith: Great, they were rabid.
AH: Were they similar to English/American crowds?
Keith: No no no, not at all. It couldn’t have been more different. Outside of the venue was more intimidating because people didn’t speak English and nothing was written in English. It was kind of scary for a little bit but once the show started everybody was speaking the same language, I guess you find that everywhere in the world but we’ve never played anywhere as far as Russia or as far as south America.
AH: Was it more scary for you guys playing in a totally new place and a totally new country at the same time?
Jordan: Well I’d seen the movie Rio so I was prepared. It was exactly like the CGI movie about birds. If you ever go to Rio just watch that movie first to prepare you. Did hand gliding too, that was awesome, round the big statue.
AH: Do you often check out the place as well when you go touring?
Jordan: Yeah, you do the touristy stuff. I mean, you never know when you’ll get back so you wanna kinda do that first then go exploring when you get more comfortable with the city but we’re not really in the city long enough to get too comfortable.
AH: In Berlin you filmed the new video for ‘I Suck, Blood’…
Keith: Kind of. We’re only in one scene. It took us 15 minutes to shoot. It’s being filmed without us, so.. yeah. It’s a storyline about a romance between a guy and a girl. That goes wrong. You’ll see it. I don’t want to give it away.
AH: When can we expect to see it?
Keith: I think in two or three weeks.
AH: You’ve just announced UK headline dates for October with Stray From The Path and Last Witness, not forgetting your Reading and Leeds festival slots. I also noticed that your Manchester date of the tour is on Halloween. Are there any plans for that?
Keith: There will be, yeah. We’re gonna have to do something. I mean we don’t know yet.
Jordan: It’s so hard playing in costumes. It’s like, it’s probably my least favorite day to play a show because everyone expects you to dress up and then you dress up and 20 seconds in you’re like ‘this is such a stupid idea’ like, why didn’t I dress up like, something that involves a robe… I thing I was Jesus or something. It just sounded so funny and at 20 seconds in I couldn’t see anything and the next year we were ghosts which just involved us putting sheets on our bodies and cutting out holes and like, seriously, after the first note I was like ‘why…’ I mean, how do you play the guitar while you’re wrapped in a sheet this is so stupid. I forget what we did last time but I just remember erm, I can’t even remember where we were. Oh yeah, we were Chippendale dancers. That was actually good because instead of having a costume we were just in Speedos. SO, I think it works out better if you have less costume than more costume.
AH: Anything else to add?
Keith: Hopefully people come out and see us in October.
Jordan: We’re here 5 times this year. We were here in December, we’re here now, we’re coming back for Reading and Leeds festival then we’re coming back to headline so that’s like, 4 times in one year? So like, it’s awesome. I mean, if it wasn’t awesome we wouldn’t keep coming back.
'Ex Lives' by Every Time I Die is out now on Epitaph Records.
Words by Michael Brown (@MikeyMiracle)