After releasing their seventh album ‘If There Is Light, It Will Find You’ last year, it was just a matter of time before Senses Fail decided to make the long trek out to Australia and perform for their fans!
Getting to speak to vocalist and last founding member James ‘Buddy’ Nielsen about the run of shows in July, the interview kicked off by discussing the excitement levels within the band and Nielsen was quick to express how “I’m really excited to be back! I mean, I love Australia and I love traveling, so it’s an awesome opportunity to travel so far from home and play music for people. We’re really excited and it’s been a minute, so we’re really happy with the opportunity to come back down.” before taking time to elaborate why Senses Fail fans were forced to wait almost six years between visits:
“As I’m sure you know, a lot of things changed in the Australian touring landscape in the last couple of years; there were many people that were running tours, who are no longer doing that. We worked with a promoter a couple of times (who still actually owes us a lot of money) and the last time we came down, he didn’t fulfil his end of the bargain and we had something else planned, but we had to cancel. So after having a bad experience and then the last time having to cancel, we sort of just tell through the cracks. We had planned to come in early 2016, but two previous members of the band had quit the band due to them having children; that just meant we weren’t able to get down there for that record. So whilst it was unfortunate circumstances that kept us away, I will say that Australia is a “small-big” country, so you can’t come too often or you’re asking people to pay a lot for the shows.”
Taking time to talk about how fans have reacted at live shows since the album release last year, Nielsen points out “I would say the band is as successful now as we were at the height of our career in 2006, at least in America. It’s been received really well here and I would say it’s our most successful record since ‘Still Searching’, which was back in 2006! I’d say we’re on a bit of an upswing over the last decade, which is why I pushed so hard to come back to Australia; I know people in the US are enjoying it and I wanted to make sure we give it the time there as well.
Taking time to speak to Nielsen personally about what songs he is most excited to perform on this upcoming Australian tour, he explains how “I really like the first song on the record Double Cross. It’s about going through hardships within this band or life in general and feeling like your heyday or best days are behind you, but pushing through that and continuing on with your passions for better or for worse. Whilst I think hard work does pay off, at times I don’t know if I agree with that statement also. However I do think that if you keep showing up, doing good work, believe in what you’re doing and what you’re outing out there, you can continue to inspire people to listen to and participate in what you have going on. Then there’s Gold Jacket, Green Jacket which is about being a millennial. I’m from the tail-end of the millennial generation, but I feel like I have a foot in both generations. In Australia, I’m sure you know what’s happening in America with our politics and whilst it isn’t a political song per se, it’s definitely a generational call-out to what it’s like to have grown up in such a tumultuous time, highlighted by 9/11 all the way up until where we are. That song tries to capture what it’s to live with the expectations of this life that is promised to us, but then facing the realities of what’s actually available.”
Since forming back in 2001, Senses Fail have experienced quite a few highs that have been counter-balanced by quite a few lows; when asked how he keeps the motivation up to create new music/tour around the world, Nielsen had no shame in pointing out how “after we cancelled the Australian tour in 2016, I was close to quitting the band, as I was in this weird spot. I had written this record that wasn’t received very well; I mean it was a big risk as it was a different kind of record, and it didn’t really go as planned. I was feeling pretty bummed out about where everything was and then my wife got pregnant…to not only miscarriage, but then get pregnant again! During the time frame of when she got pregnant for the miscarriage, I was like “I’m going to be a father and whilst I don’t know what I’m going to do with my life, I know how to do music”. This re-inspired me to do everything I can to be successful with music, because that really inspired me to put my head down and go for it no matter what.”
The truth bombs and hard hitting subject matter continued as Nielsen further elaborated how “I’ve also been through a lot of depression, anxiety, depression, drug use etc. and people ask me all the time what keeps me going and what keeps me going from pulling the preverbal trigger. I think one of the reasons I like to be alive (laughs dryly) is because I like to be creative. Being creative gives me purpose and gives me the feeling of meaning; when someone asks what is good about life, I respond with having purpose and having meaning and as being creative gives me purpose and meaning, which is why I keep making music. Even if it wasn’t successful, being creative makes me feel meaningful and have a purpose!”
Taking time to deliver an insight into what Australian fans can expect at the long overdue run of upcoming shows, Nielsen was happy to express “we’re going to play a long time! Generally we play about an hour and a half, which I think is quite long for most bands but we’ve been a band for 17 years and have a lot of songs. Plus we don’t get down there as often as we like to, so we want to make sure people get to hear everything they can! We’re also going to play a lot of old stuff, as we don’t shy away from out back catalogue; we play a lot off our first two albums, as well as things off every record. I say we’re going to play about four or five songs from the new record, probably 15 songs from the first three records and then we’ll throw in the remaining video songs, as they’re the most well-known. All you need to know is that we play a big mix of everything, we play for a long time and it’s definitely the best the band has ever been! You’re not going to waste your money seeing the band, as you’re going to have a good time and hear the songs you want to hear; I mean, I hate it when I go see a band I want to see and they don’t play any of the songs from their records that made them successful!”
Drawing the interview to a close, Nielsen was quick to the point as he wanted to make sure everyone knows “we appreciate all your support over the years, we’re sorry we haven’t been there as frequently as we would like, but thank you for waiting for us and we can’t wait to see you soon.”
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