James "Buddy" Nielsen of Senses Fail talks to Rod Whitfield about how scheduling international tours is just like raising his young daughter.
American post-hardcore band Senses Fail released their latest album, the enigmatically titled If There Is Light, It Will Find You last year. The band’s frontman and main lyricist James "Buddy" Nielsen has a lot of meaningful stuff to say on the record, and according to the man himself, much of that was inspired by the crazy state of the world, especially his own country, in 2018-9.
“Hey, at least you don’t live in a country where people keep getting shot every five seconds,” he laughs tragically, speaking from his home in LA. “That’s the reality of things in America.
“This is what it’s come to here. My wife’s a teacher, and she’s also an ex-Marine, she was in the war in Iraq, and now it’s like, ‘Was my wife safer in Iraq, or is she safer in a school in the US?’ It’s weird, it’s just a weird time to be alive.”
Nielsen ponders how we – we being humankind – seem not to learn from history. “Sometimes I ask my parents – they were alive in the late '60s which was also a ridiculously crazy time, with various presidents. Unfortunately it seems that history is repeating itself with these different characters. Which is what they’re getting to on Game Of Thrones as well!,” he laughs again.
Nielsen is very happy to be taking a break from the craziness of modern-day America to come to the relative calm of Australia for a tour in mid-July. Still, he's aware of the high turnover of PMs in Australia since 2010. “Are you guys going to have a new Prime Minister by the time we get there?” he jokes.
“You put out a record and you give up control of everything."
It's been almost six years since Senses Fail last toured Australia. Nielsen draws a parallel between the band's approach to scheduling international tours, and the way he's bringing up his young daughter.
“Hopefully by withholding it for a while it makes people super keen to see us, like when I don’t give my daughter what she wants right away, she gets super fired up when I finally do. It’s a method I’m using in my parenting that I’m now using for…” he hesitates.
For an entire country? “Yeah, well, if you put it like that!”
There is method to the madness, however. “We don’t want a country like Australia to become oversaturated,” he explains. “Firstly for the amount of people there, there are really only five big places you can play, and how much it costs – it’s not cheap to go to a show of an international band – so you really have to space out your timing. Or you’re asking your fans to come and pay $65 to come and see you twice a year, it’s too much.”
Coming up towards the 20-year mark as a band, Senses Fail are experiencing a truly golden period in their career: “I will look back and remember this time in the band’s career as a very fond, successful and happy time,” Nielsen enthuses.
“You just never know what’s going to happen,” he continues. “You put out a record and you give up control of everything. All your control is in the making of it, and then you put it out into the world and hope that people love it. And that’s exactly what happened with the last record, so you really can’t ask for anything more than that.
“I’ve got my daughter now – life is good at the moment.”