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Senses Fail’s Buddy Nielsen Talks Musical Transition, Fall Tour + More

Senses Fail
Staple Records / Photo by Jonathan Weiner

Senses Fail are preparing to hit the road again, booking dates for October and November with Being as an Ocean, Expire and For the Fallen Dreams performing on select shows. The band is supporting their ‘Renacer’ album, which was released earlier this year. The disc is a transitional one for the band as they bring forth a harder sound more in line with frontman Buddy Nielsen’s current musical passions.

Noisecreep had a chance to catch up with Nielsen earlier this summer to discuss the band’s new GameChanger game, ‘Senses Fail: Grind Core.’ The interview also veered into other band activities and continues with a look at the group’s fall tour plans and the transitioning of their sound. Check out our interview below:

I have to ask, ‘Renacer.’ Transitioning a bit. Taking a heavier hardcore path?

I think we did, I think we made a step. Looking back I wish we went a little further. I think our next record will be playing that style of music. Even now when I’m thinking about the record I think there’s too much, too many parts that make me go ‘ah, we should have made a full transition’ — it’s more a transitional record for us. From what we were to what the band is going to be moving forward. More of a solely heavy type of thing. More metal, more hardcore, less melodic stuff.

I think we’ll step out of that world of verse chorus-ey, stuff. Maybe on the next record, there’s not going to be a lot of singing. There’s going to be clean vocals but I would like it more towards what the Deftones do, rather than what Senses Fail has been in the past.

You worked with Far’s Shaun Lopez on this record. What was your experience working with him after having had such a long road with your past producer?

He’s great producer for us. He was awesome to work with, very laid back. We came in and did what we wanted. He was able to deliver amazing guitars. The sounds he gets and the effects. With what he made with Far and Crosses and his contributions to Deftones stuff was sort of perfect for where we were trying to go. I’m working on the next record as well and sort of want to continue the relationship and see where it takes the band. See what we end up with and see if people like it.

See if people like it. That’s the thing, the band is going to change pretty drastically and I don’t know if all our fans are going to be interested in that. We’ll have to see.

You talk about change and looking at your Facebook page, it seemed appropriate you posted an Alice Walker quote about growth. Is change heavy on your mind these days?

Yeah, I just moved from New Jersey to LA for the first time. That was more about that but definitely with the band. I want to put out a record that basically, in a way, I don’t want to say alienates our fan base. I don’t want it to be negative. But I want it to basically end what the band was. We put out our transitional record, but this one there was still some of the ‘OK this is still Senses Fail.’

The next one I think it’s going to be for people that don’t like the heaviness of this record, they’re just not going to like it. It’ll be way more of that. That’s what we’re interested in doing. We’re not trying to be the biggest band in the world anymore. It’s more specifically about making music that we want to make. It makes it more fun.

Tapping into influences and what’s inspiring you at the time, are there bands that moved you towards that direction?

Yeah, there’s a band right now I f–ing love. They’re called Harms Way. They’re a metal kind of fusion, I call it blackened hardcore. There’s a bunch of new bands, a mix of darkness of metal that’s been a lot of hardcore flow as well as the bounce. I love the Deftones, I love spacey stuff I think for the band the next thing, that sort of heaviness with minor periods of Deftones-ey sounds. That’s honestly where we’re going to go. That’s what I’d like to do. I know it sounds completely different than anything we’ve ever done but that’s what we’re going to strive for.

I see a headline tour coming up in October and November. What are you expecting from the trek? You also have For the Fallen Dreams, Expire and Being as an Ocean supporting.

It should be cool, we’re doing B market tour, which we do every record. It means we go to places that most bands don’t go to. We started that out I think 10 years ago when people didn’t used to do B market tours. We made a point of if you go to these places that people don’t want to play just because it’s far, it really helps you get that ability to do that kind of touring in the US.

You do your full US; the major market tour and then you can focus on that. But when you’re done with that you can’t really play anywhere else you just sort of stop. We always do that we always try to make it a point to cater to places that were less than ideal for bands to play.

For the Fallen Dreams is a great band. The singer is back in the band and putting out a new record, Expire is an awesome, hardcore band. I’m really excited they’re a part of the tour. I think they’re doing something new by doing a tour like this. I think it’s going to benefit us and I think it’s going to benefit them. Being as an Ocean is this new band that a lot of people don’t know about but doing really well and they really have that old school type of buzz going on.

It has nothing to do with the media, and nothing to do with blogs, nothing to do with anything. It has to do with kids whom are telling each other about this band and people are liking it. I think in a year from now, they’ll be the next sort of cool band that’s got a buzz on them. I always try to do that; I always try to bring out bands that I think a year from now is going to be doing well. I think it benefits Senses Fail to have a young band that take a shot, take out a band that no one is taking out. It helps us to remain current, really. I see a lot of bands they’re I guess, our age?

They take out bands that just — they’re not taking young bands. You can only do that for so long before you end up in your late thirties and forties and completely out of touch with the young music scene and you’re basically just like lost out in the deep end.

You become a nostalgia act.

Exactly. That’s the other thing with us, that’s why we keep changing our sound. We’re trying to — I want our music to be nostalgic. I don’t want to play songs from when I was 18 years old. I have nothing in common with that and I don’t make music to make money, so I don’t have any interest in that. You have to find a line between the people that pay to see you and the casual ones. That’s one of the hardest things to do, for most bands. Most bands that just make enough money it doesn’t matter; ah we’ll just play some songs we don’t care about.

We don’t really care. We’re trying not to be combative with our audience but we also want to let them know that if you’re not with the change, there’s no point in fighting it because you don’t really have a say over what we’re doing. It’s not your music.

I know off this record a few songs are out there. What’s going across as the best live track at this point?

I don’t really know yet, it’ll be interesting to see on this tour which ones sunk in. We play a lot of new stuff. This is the first time I’ve been happy with anything we’ve done so, we wanted to play a lot of it. In the past, we’ve put out records and I didn’t want to play any of that s—. This record I felt like it is something I finally feel I can be proud of; we played a lot of it I think almost too much. I think a lot of people we’re like, wait a minute I don’t want to hear seven songs off the new record, it was something that we wanted to do.

We’ll see which ones stick, I don’t really know. I’m not really sure. It’s hard to tell on the first tour or the second tour. It’s a couple of years to really realize oh this is the song people keep asking for. I would say ‘The Path.’ I don’t know what’s going to stick.

Sounds like things are wide open for you at this point. Bright future.

Yeah, I’m stoked.

Anything on the horizon we should be looking for from Senses Fail at this point?

Not really, we’ll start writing again soon. I’d like to get a record out next summer to solidify that the last record wasn’t a fluke or something. I want to keep up the momentum about the fact that we need to change and our plans are to go that route. We’ll see if that’s possible.

Our thanks to Senses Fail’s Buddy Nielsen for the interview. The band kicks off their fall tour Oct. 4 in Sacramento, Calif. Their full itinerary can be seen here. The ‘Renacer’ album is out now.

Next: Buddy Neilsen Talks 'Senses Fail: Grind Core' Gamechanger Game

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