After more than a decade of existence, several changes in band members and five successful studio albums, Senses Fail decided to redefine their selves ones more.
Their newest album ‘Renancer’, that will be released on 26 March 2013, is both literally and lyrically dedicated to the search for an unexpected new chapter for the band. Not only is ‘Renouncer’ the Spanish translation for ‘to be reborn’, Buddy Nielsen, who was already known for writing lyrics as a form of self-therapy, took this album as another chance to share even more with his listeners.
At this point, Senses Fail is pretty much a career band. You’ve managed to soldier through various sweeping trends in rock music over the years while keeping a devout fan base. What has allowed you to be so consistent over the years?
I am not exactly sure, I think it starts with what we wanted the band to be from the beginning. We always said we wanted to be a band like Bad Religion or NOFX, we wanted a career that spanned decades. Every decision we have made, we made with the future of the band in mind and not just the immediate shallow mindset.
The band has been through some member changes over the years; guitarists have come and gone yet Senses Fail continues to keep a signature sound of their own. How have you managed to do so?
We have always written as a collective, so while Dan and I don't play or write guitar parts, our opinion was always strong about what we liked and disliked. Also all of the guitarist that we have had are great players and great writers. When we lose one great player we pick up another who is equal or better.
Would you say Dan and Buddy are the foundation of the band?
We are now, haha. Last of The Mohicans.
Buddy, do you write lyrics using a guitar or any other instruments or is it simply a pen and a pad scenario?
Pen and paper or computer and keyboard. I usually write everything on my computer or make notes on my phone. Back in the old days, the first two records, I used notebooks but found I can organize everything better on computer.
Many of Senses Fail’s lyrics are personal and intimate, which seems to resonate with fans much in the way Saves the Day’s fans connect with Chris Conley’s lyrics. Is it ever difficult to re-live those past experiences when fans want to talk about the meanings of songs?
Not really, because the act of writing them is my therapy and the act of letting go. Once the songs are out in the open they don't belong to me anymore and my experiences are, in a way, out of me and out of my hands.
You’ve made references to religious themes in your songs in the past (Priest and the Matador, St. Anthony etc.) Were any of you guys raised with religion? If so, how has it influenced you as artists?
I was raised with a lot of different spiritual backgrounds, but I am a confirmed Catholic. Spirituality has played a huge role in the band as well as my lyrics. I believe people should search out their own spiritual path as part of their life and that is something I actively do and describe in my lyrics, even more so on this new record. I think everyone is looking to get in touch with themselves on a spiritual level, whether it is a conscious thought or not and there are many different ways to reach yourself spiritually. I tend to lean towards the ways that are open and accepting.
What type of lyrical themes can fans expect to see on the new songs?
Positivity, love, passion.
How do you feel about albums that are released without the lyrical content included and is that a band decision or a management decision?
I would say it is always a band decision. In almost every situation the band and lyricist truly dictates what he or she writes, at least in this music scene.
It’s clear albums don’t sell like they used to and for the release of Follow Your Bliss you made a decision to only print 10,000 CD’s. Did that work out to your benefit?
I believe it did, we did a small run and we sold all of them.
What is your take on releasing albums only as vinyl and digital download and omitting CD releases? Do you think Senses Fail will ever reach the point of abandoning the CD release altogether?
Yes, eventually. But for this record we will have it on CD.
Your new album Renacer is slated for a March 2013 release. What formats will it be available on (CD, Vinyl, Digital)?
Who will be putting the new album out, since you’re no longer working with Vagrant? Would you say it’s a self-promotion for this release or are you getting a push from a label?
It is coming on Staple Records, which is part of Vagrant records.
A lot of veteran bands mention a feeling of being “over it” with regards to touring. It’s certainly understandable that touring can be a grueling process. What are you doing these days to stay in a healthy and positive mindset while on tour?
I love touring in the right doses. We aren't going to tour nine months out of the year like when we were younger, if we still did that I would be burnt out. I look forward to the touring we have coming up, I still like the adventure it brings and I love playing.
What bands will Sense Fail be bringing out on tour in 2013?
Such Gold, Real Friends, Major League and in the UK Handguns. I am very excited to share the road with everyone and stoked for our fans to hear them.