It’s been a massive couple of months for Brisbane’s Monsters Up North. MORE: BULLET FOR MY …
After 20 years as a touring band and eight albums that continue to grow an already expansive fanbase, it seems like Every Time I Die is sitting at the top of the world.
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Which from the exterior, is not a false representation. Internally however, the last few years have seen the groups frontman Keith Buckley grappling with divorce; mental health issues and a deep journey of self discovery; all which he credits as major precursors responsible for the groups 9th LP Radical.
“I found myself at a point during the pandemic where I was really in a bad spot. I had to go, okay, i’m writing a record that is then going to have to get recorded; and then released and then toured on. All the stuff which was coming 7-8 months down the road, when I couldn’t see the next day.”
“It was like, who am I going to be when this record comes out, because I don’t even know who I am now.”
“I kind of imagined I was the best version of myself and wrote things as if I was able to look back on the place I was in when I was writing it.”
Seemingly, it worked. With Radical proving to be the groups most innovative work to date, with moments like the albums closer, We Go Together showcasing what was agreed to be one of the bands most “audacious” songs to date. Describing the song and the difficulties of writing with such staggered cadence Buckley said,
“I loved it. I loved the fact that it had abrasive time signatures.”
“Sometimes the answer is the most obvious.”
I feel like everything up until Radical, I can look back at and think, ‘oh, man that guy …’ I mean, I can see what that guy needed, I just wish he knew that at that point.
[ Kieth Buckley ]
“I was trying to figure out interesting ways to phrase things and make it work but in the end that song came to me without vocals. Meaning I couldn’t change anything as the music had already been recorded. That gave me a lot of room to play around … and I did.”
“That really abrasive part, I’d never done anything like that before…. Maybe the closest I had ever done to a pattern like that is one moment in ‘Glitches’ which features the whole staccato vocal thing and I always liked that. So I thought, maybe I’ll just intensify that. I’m glad it worked.”
“At that point, I had nothing to lose. I couldn’t imagine who I would be if I was actually alive when this record came out, so I figured why not take as many risks as I could.”
Speaking on the risks showcased on Radical, Buckley stated it was a release he is extremely “proud” of. A stark contrast from some of the group’s previous work, which often feature profoundly introspective; self-deprecating lyrics.
Bearing the question; does Buckley ever look back at some of the group’s older songs and regret the level of self-accountability; or the perception that he held of himself at the time?
“Ohhhhh absolutely,” he states,
“I feel like everything up until Radical, I can look back at and think, ‘oh, man that guy …’ I mean, I can see what that guy needed, I just wish he knew that at that point.”
“It’s very easy to look back at certain parts of my life and go, what a fucking waste of time or feel angry at everyone who was a part of that time. But I feel like even in the worst situations I have been in, I have managed to learn some lessons or find some beauty before I got rid of it for being too toxic.”
“It’s sad, but it’s part of the fucking journey. I wouldn’t be here if I hadn’t been there, so it makes it all worth it.”
“Everything had to be done how it was done for me to be here now. And I’m happy with that. I don’t want it any different. I don’t want to fuck with the possibility of not having this.”