The seventh studio album from New York hardcore punk group Every Time I Die, ‘From Parts Unknown’, has just hit shelves in Australia, and we’re excited and terrified all at the same time.
“Instead of making something that the kids can all sing along to, we wanted to make music that scares them,” frontman Keith Buckley said recently. He and ETID did just that over a month with producer Kurt Ballou, Buckley laying down his vocal tracks in a single day due to laryngitis. Metal.
The result was ‘From Parts Unknown’, which also features vocals from Brian Fallon of The Gaslight Anthem and Sean Ingram of Coalesce on a number of tracks.
Here Buckley takes Music Feeds on a brutally honest track-by-track run-down of the album’s 12 tracks, discussing the meanings and experiences behind the band’s new material.
Keith Buckley’s From Parts Unknown Track-By-Track
1: The Great Secret
KB: I learned pretty late in life that my own brain was my worst enemy. My inner monologue had done some terrible things to sabotage my own life. This song is about ignoring what you think and going by how you feel. The first line refers to blowing your brain out like a candle whose light is inferior to that of the sun.
2: Pelican of the Desert
KB: This song is about surrendering completely to whatever it is that you love and the idea that it can only harm you if you doubt it. Unfortunately, I am not capable of doing anything wholly and without doubt which is why the end of the song is about the heartache of knowing I am entirely responsible for my own despair.
3: Decayin’ With The Boys
KB: Being honest with yourself about the kind of person you are is the most isolating and transformative process you can go through. It’s fucking terrifying but it only helps you evolve. I imagined a bunch of ghouls sitting around in the dark and when a spiritually beautiful person came across them, she brought a light with her that made some run for cover and others start taking responsibility for the surroundings they saw once given that new clarity. I am both kinds of ghoul.
KB: I have been doing this for a long time. If you count going to shows, I’ve been around music for half of my entire life. A lot of people have moved on. Maybe I should have as well, but I simply cannot. My daemon will not allow it. I likened it to being in a flood and feeling like you’re going to be swept away but then waking up surrounded by devastation and very much alive. What do you do then?
5: If There Is Room To Move, Things Move
KB: There is no reason not to marvel at every day absurdities. Look where we live. Think about the universe. It’s all improbable and yet it is so. We need to take time to appreciate that once in a while. This song is about having gratitude for the things we have no answers for.
KB: Something very unfortunate happened to someone I love very much while I was away from home. It left me feeling angrier and more helpless than I have ever felt, and yet the person who it happened to completely transcended the experience. I tried to follow suit and learn to forgive but I could not. I still cannot. This song is about the karma and the undeniable human desire to seek revenge.
KB: Realizing who you are not is sometimes as valuable as realizing who you are. But realizing that who you are is someone who may never figure out who they are is far more important. You are not what you were last year or even yesterday. If people are confused because they can’t pin you down, it doesn’t mean you are lost or forgettable.
I think this song was about me quitting smoking. I had wanted to for a while but always thought it would ruin my “image”. As in I would rather get cancer and die than let people think I was disingenuous about what I liked. That’s fucking crazy to me now.
KB: This song came to me when I was listening to Howard Stern. I love him and I love the show but one day he was going on and on about how much he has done for other people and I found myself rolling my eyes. It was all funny, but he was being so PUBLICLY virtuous that it came off as ego-maniacal and self serving.
This song is about being desperate for the public to see you as “good” despite the fact that those close to you know you have a part of inside your heart that is pure evil.
9: Old Light
KB: I was watching some shit about outer space one night and they were talking about how the stars we see might be dead currently (because of how long light takes to travel) and I realized how deceiving and cruel the universe could be.
Imagine if you were floating around in space and you saw a star in the darkness (pretending there wasn’t gazillions of miles between you) and you thought “Oh that’s beautiful! I’m gonna go fly over that and be closer to it!”, and then you get there and it was fuckin’ dead.
It kind of served as a metaphor for everything we think is spectacular. The closer we get to it, the more we become aware that it’s not the way it was when you first noticed it. Also I may have been very high on pot.
10: All Structures Are Unstable
KB: This song is about a sinkhole that opened up in Florida and consumed a bunch of houses and killed a bunch of people. The idea that the earth you walk on and have no problem putting all your faith into might STILL collapse was pretty amazing to me. You’re just going about your business and then the planet snuffs you out like you’re an ant under its boot.
Of course, then I began thinking about destiny and wondering what choices those people made to put them in those houses at that particular place on earth at that very moment. Maybe it wasn’t “bad luck”. Maybe a higher intelligence was at work. Maybe that was a level of hell we all saw operating on the news that day.
11: El Dorado
KB: If what you value doesn’t value you it has no real worth.
KB: This song is about me. I am the idiot. I am not cool. I am not smart. I am not clever. Please trust me. If you could just believe me, it would relieve a lot of pressure.
‘From Parts Unknown’ is in stores now. Listen along to the album in its entirety below.
Listen: Every Time I Die – From Parts Unknown