No More Silence: Q&A with Buddy Nielsen of Senses Fail

There would soon come a time when all of the original Senses Fail members, other than vocalist Buddy Nielsen, would disappear. The financial market would crash, leaving the music industry as it was in shambles, and Nielsen would have to make the decision of whether to carry on. What would ultimately keep him going, despite constant lineup changes, would be his dedication to honest and genuine music.

NIELSEN: Life Is Not A Waiting Room came out about a week after the financial market crashed in 2008. Things really started changing musically around then, as far as money bands make, because of the internet and music sales and record sales. So you started to see this dramatic shift of, “Oh, this is kind of all gonna fall apart.”

ZABLOCKI: Things had sort of slowed down, I was burnt out, and the music industry in its original form was just imploding. I didn’t want to be 30 and looking for an entry-level job.

NIELSEN: I’m pretty sure some of it had to do with me. I’m pretty sure some of it had to do with, you know, 10 years from now where is he gonna be? Is this band financially stable for him? Is he gonna be able to grow old and play in Senses Fail? The reality is, no.

TRAPP: I just kind of felt like it was time to move on.

MILLER: I wish the guys the best and I’m happy that Buddy kept it going and I’m glad that I was a part of it.

ZABLOCKI: We didn’t follow any trends. We just stuck with what we liked. That’s not always gonna be the most popular at times when the trends change, but they come back. If you listen to all the albums, it’s the same band throughout all of them. We very easily could have gone with the trends, but it just doesn’t feel good. You feel like a sham. At no time throughout my career with the band did I really care to write a song just because I thought it would be popular.

TRAPP: We never went so heavy in any one direction musically. We were never a straight pop-punk band, never a straight hardcore or screamo band. We rode the line in the middle and were able to dip our feet here and there, which plays into the thing of each record being a little bit different.

In honor of 15 years of Senses Fail, the band will release a new acoustic EP called In Your Absence via Pure Noise Records March 3. While some may say Senses Fail died when the screamo wave of the mid-2000s ended, there are several impressive records beyond Let It Enfold You and Still Searching —The Fire (2010), Renacer (2013) and Pull The Thorns From Your Heart (2015)—and a continually passionate spirit that lives on. If you haven’t kept up with this band throughout all of their 15 years, it’s not too late to catch up on some Senses Fail history. The initial screamo wave they launched may have passed, but years of transformation and courage have carried Senses Fail through time. Besides, the pendulum always swings. Don’t put the return of screamo too far out of your mind…

“When you like Senses Fail, you’re sort of believing in a version of the world.”

NIELSEN: We might lose fans because of what we believe and what we say and because we change our style of music, but we might gain fans as well. You can buy into the idea of Senses Fail of being more than just a band. When you like Senses Fail, you’re sort of believing in a version of the world. I know that sounds a little bit lofty. I also think that it’s important for bands to always change and be true to whatever they wanna do because if you’re not making music that’s honest, I don’t think people are gonna like it. I don’t want to live a life where I have secrets. When you’re making music, if you’re not willing to dig into what is there, how are you ever going to make something that’s meaningful? If there are parts of you that you’re unwilling to touch because you’re too afraid of how people will view it, then you’re never really going to make anything meaningful.

It’s my identity, really. I don’t think there’s really much separation between who I am and Senses Fail. It’s pretty much an autobiography of my life and what I’ve done since I was 18 years old. It’s been financially supportive and it’s been financially draining. I just need to make music. Whether I like it or not, this is what I’m supposed to do with my life. ALT

Senses Fail will embark on their 15-year anniversary tour this month where they will play Still Searching in full. Tickets and dates available here.