Latest release: Ex Lives (Epitaph/Shock)Website: everytimeidie.net
This October, a battering ram of metalcore power from the States in the form of Buffalo, New York spawned band Every Time I Die will be slamming through Australia and leaving nothing but satiated gig pigs in their wake. Loud Online snaffled up some phone time with guitarist Andy Williams to find out what has been happening since they last brutalised Australia on tour and what their latest tour has in store for their enduring fans.
Seems you are coming back to Australia. Should be a good, intimate bunch of shows.
Yeah, we are totally looking forward to coming down to Australia again. Last time we were there it was for the Big Day Out [BDO]. These shows are a little more our style than the BDO. I’m not talking shit about them as those crowds are awesome and it is cool to be playing a big festival with The Red Hot Chili Peppers but it will be cool to get back into a club show.
How would you compare BDO with touring with Norma Jean and Cancer Bats?
For the BDO and stuff like that, you are brushing shoulders with dudes that you’ve looked up to for your entire life. I mean, Off! was on the tour and I’m the biggest Black Flag fan and Keith Morris [vocals] was walking around. Mario Rubalcaba [drums] was one of my favourite skate boarders when I was a kid so it was just really weird. I’m excited just to get back to a club to play our style of shows.
So for you, are festivals worth doing in the States then?
Yeah, for the most part, I don’t know, it all depends. You have the big three that do really well: Lollapalooza, Coachella [Valley Music Festival] and Bonnaroo and now there is the Fuck Yeah Festival [FYF] in Los Angeles which does really well. Also there is Fun Fun Fun in Austin, Texas. We just did a tonne of European festivals but I couldn’t tell you all the names and some of them I cannot pronounce. We played With Full Force [Germany] this year and stuff like that. We played some of the bigger metal tours or festivals this year. It was pretty awesome but it is completely weird. It is like a whole lifestyle and it is so funny that an entire city comes in and then leaves. That is kind of how it is.
You’ve toured with Parkway Drive. Did they leave an impression on you?
Dude, okay, there are bands where you can say, ‘Oh, this band is a big metal band’ or ‘That band is a big punk band’ but Parkway Drive is a big band, overall. They are fucking huge, man. Some of the crowds in Europe, were like retarded, man. It looked like Motley Crue was playing. So it was pretty cool.
Do you find yourself taking cues from bands you tour with of just do your own thing?
We just do what we do. ETID has always been a band where we do what we want to do and that’s that. We are also a band that laughs at a lot of bands too. If we see a band going to do something dumb we are like, ‘Really, are you guys going to do that?’, you know. We don’t have our noses in the air it is just that we’ve seen bands come and go. We’ve seen people make decisions that are ridiculous like having a tech for every member. Do you really need that if you do nothing all day? So the bass player cannot change his own strings? Just blowing money on stuff like that. ETID has always been a band that does their own thing.
Saving costs is essential. How have you noticed the impact of industry changes in the last decade?
Oh man, well, no one buys records. It is cool that a lot more people are starting to buy vinyl, which is awesome. Not talking shit about any bands but we just got off the OzzFest tour and I think that only three bands were not running tracks [songs parts pre-recorded]. It was really weird. We are of the old guard where if you can’t play it, don’t write it.
Running tracks would be a distraction if you’re relying on cues and your crew.
Yeah, there was a band on the tour who had a monitor guy setting up the tracks being played and it was going non stop. There was shit running the entire time the band was playing a song. It was crazy man, like extra vocals and fucking drums. It was insane.
You’ve got a new drummer [Canadian Ryan ‘Legs’ Leger]. How has he been doing on the tour? Also, what was involved in the audition process?
He is a beast. The weirdest human being I think I have ever met but he can honestly play anything. The auditioning was weird because we had a bunch of friends who wanted to play and who had played in older bands and they were all getting paid really well. A lot of them were looking for better bands saying, ‘Hey man, we’ll come and play with you but I need twenty three hundred dollars a week’ and you’re just like, ‘Ah, sorry guy’. The one thing about our band is that we’re not show offs. I can’t stand twirlers and shit like that. We had a bunch of guys who were throwing sticks around and playing really well but they were twirling their drum sticks and doing that sort of shit. It was like, ‘Get out of here, man!’ and then Legs send a video to me and I think it was of ‘Marvellous Slut’. There was one section where Ratboy [ex drummer Mike Novak] did a roll. Instead of doing a roll, ‘Legs’ did a blast beat. I thought that was the coolest thing in the world so I called him and told him to come to Buffalo and jam with us. That was pretty much it. He wrote on the album Ex Lives  with us. He was on the new record with us.
How does the song writing process work for ETID? Do you present riffs to each other or just jam to come up with ideas and songs?
It’s a little bit of both. Jordan [guitars – Buckley] lives in California and I live in Buffalo so we’re the guys that write pretty much most of the music. Jordan will come into practice with sixty percent of the song and vice versa. Then we’ll write it through trial and error to put it all together.
Six albums into your career, how has your production style changed over the years? I’m guessing you’re pretty confident with your overall vision for a project.
Kind of yeah, it is pretty tough because I hate recording, it is the worst part of being in a band. I hate the stress of having a person stare at me under a microscope. When you play something and it feels right yet they tell you to do it again, you’re like, ‘Are you fucking kidding? I just played that as well as I possibly could so don’t tell me to play it again’. Ah, but I guess that is a little ego thing there. Our production style for us now is going back to Joe Barresi, the guy we did the last record with because I was calm, I wanted to play guitar and it was awesome. When you’re writing a song you’re playing it over and over again so it can get to the point where you’re rewriting a song. Things start sound the same so it is cool to have someone come in with fresh ears. We’re listening to it a thousand times whereas he is listening to it once.
What sort of amps are you using in the studio?
I use EVH stuff. I have a 50 watt. I and a buddy built an amp [Bison AW-77] and it is pretty rad. It is based on a Soldano and I’ve been touring with that for the last year. Also, I’ve been using the EVH cabinets which are awesome. They have Greenback [speakers] in them which are cool.
Would you ever consider using digital emulators and DI in a live setting?
Oh, that’s never going to happen. Everyone on the last tour was using the Axe-FX things and they’re cool, they sound alright. But, I am a little too grass roots for that, man. I have a JMP-1 [Marshall pre-amp] and a 9100 power amp which is the closest thing, that is like the early nineties version of Axe-FX, you know what I mean. Those are cool and that is what Stephen [Carpenter – guitar] from the Deftones used up until he got that Axe-FX.
Guitars wise, what are you using these days?
I’ve been using Charvel guitars and Les Pauls. I have two white Strat style Charvels and they are fucking awesome. I use stock stuff but a Seymour Duncan JB already comes in it so that is pretty good. They have their own locking tuner in it. I mean, they are built to last and because they are bolt on neck guitars, if something happens with the neck, you can always replace the neck.
Do endorsements have any effect on creativity if you’re obliged to play an instrument?
No, not at all. Jordan has been using ESP guitars for about fifteen years. I have a Les Paul, a Gibson Marauder from the seventies, a [Fender] Strat, a Gibson SG, a Les Paul custom and a [Fender] Telecaster. I have a Maton guitar downstairs that is sick too. So, when I’m touring I might use a Charvel and a Les Paul custom but I’m always changing my shit up. That Maton is the electric Mastersound guitars. I love them, man.
You mentioned that a vinyl resurgence is good for bands. What about Spotify?
I love Spotify. For up and coming bands it is the coolest thing because you can tell people to check out your record on there. If people are listening to it then that is going to make them come to your shows. If you’re a band that is starting out, it is perfect. I always thought that about downloading too. It sucks for labels but for the bands, for the most part, people are at least getting the music.
Has doing soundtracks and tribute albums helped out at all?
Ah, not really, man. We did a Gunners tribute record a long time ago. We’ve never played the song ever again. We did a Nirvana song for some company on a Warped tour. There is also talk of doing two cover songs on something coming up.
What got you into metalcore or at least the influences that led to that genre?
When I was kid, I got into punk before I got into metal, really. I listened to Black Flag but I liked Deep Purple and Black Sabbath. I think that I have to say that Slayer is the band that got me into heavy music. I really wanted to play fast music and that was my big thing. That was the one band that got me to play heavy music.
How has your style evolved over the years?
The only thing that has really changed is that I went from writing songs as a nineteen year old kid to now being a thirty five year old man who writes songs. I mean, obviously it is going to get older or at least I am going to mature a little bit. That is the only thing that I could see has changed. Some people will say, ‘Oh, those dudes want to write songs’, or something like that but I am sick of just putting a bunch of riffs together.
Every Time I Die is touring Australia this month:
18/10: HiFi Bar, Brisbane QLD
19/10: Manning Bar, Sydney NSW
20/10: Corner Hotel, Melbourne VIC
22/10: Fowlers Live, Adelaide SA
24/10: Amplifier Bar, Perth WA