The Jordan Buckley Interview: Exclusive
Jordan Buckley has changed the course of underground metal forever. Widely recognized as one-half of Buffalo’s favorite guitar duo in metallic hardcore group Every Time I Die, Buckley and his guitar work (along with partner-in-crime, Andy Williams) seamlessly fuse elements of Southern Rock, Punk, Metal, and Hardcore – consistently pushing the boundaries of extreme music with each new album. Having seen four full-length releases on Ferret Recordings and latest work, New Junk Aesthetic on legendary label Epitaph, Every Time I Die have wowed fans and critics alike for over a decade strong.
As most fans know; it’s a family thang with ETID. Jordan’s older brother Keith Buckley supplies brilliantly crafted lyrics to accompany the always timely and edgy musical offerings from the band that have left most of their musical peers in the dust. After 13 years of writing, recording, and touring, Jordan Buckley has silently been refining one of his first artistic endeavors: hand-drawing. Over the course of the past year, Jordan has been keeping his fans up-to-date with visual offerings through his blog; JordanBucklyeMadeThis.com and is now gearing up to launch his own clothing line; Jordan Buckley World Wide. Blow The Scene Editor-in-chief, Joshua T. Cohen was fortunate enough to catch up with Jordan Buckley for an exclusive interview as he discusses his current projects, artistic processes, and inspirations.
Joshua T. Cohen: Most of our readers are familiar with your work as half of the charismatic guitar-duo supplying the Every Time I Die shred factor. It’s safe to say your guitar riffs speak with an attitude and timeliness that reflects your personality and wit. College professors often refer to this as “using one’s artistic voice.” It seems you were able to establish a distinctive “voice” on guitar early in your musical career with Every Time I Die. Your musicianship really stands out with a refreshing feel rather than following trends. Much of the artwork you have posted over the past year via your Websites also has a very distinctive feel. Is the use of this unique “voice” in your artwork a conscious decision when you sit down to create a piece?
Jordan Buckley: First off, thank you for the kind words! That intro made me feel like I am accomplishing something that I never really put into words, but you nailed it! When I create artwork, my goal is to astonish. Others AND myself. “Standing out” isn’t enough, because “standing out” doesn’t say anything about quality, so something could stand out and be horrendous. But when you’re goal is to astonish, you will 100% of the time force yourself to be creative and original. And thus, create your own artistic voice.
Joshua: How long did it take you to become confident with your art as unique contributions to the art world?
Jordan Buckley: Well, I’m unsure how much of a role I have in the art world, but it took a long time before i was satisfied with my work to the point where I even wanted people to see it. People in my high school and college art classes were the only people that saw it, in the same way that the people in the recording studio will be the only people to hear one of my riffs. If I created it, then that sucker isn’t getting let out into the world until it has my stamp of approval on it. And maybe that particular stamp doesn’t mean shit to anyone but me, but that’s the process I’m rollin with!
Joshua: Can you touch on some of your artistic influences that helped you create this unique “voice” as an artist?
Jordan Buckley: Lately, I’m finding inspiration everywhere. Living in California now makes it so easy to get out and see work from my favorite artists with my own eyes. But originally, my passion came from comic books. A comic book to a kid with an imagination is like an action movie to a kid without one. Then once I got to college, I can honestly say that a trip to an Alan E Cober exhibit at my university changed exactly how i would create things
Joshua: Your artwork has quite a range of medium. You’ve worked with everything from gigantic tour backdrops,custom drawn sneakers, to digital media. Do you have a favorite medium for your art? How important is to you to experiment with new mediums in your work?
Jordan Buckley: Well experimenting was important to me because it’s how I found out what I loved and what i was good at, and it also made me realize that I hated computer art! I took all the computer art classes and was almost, straight up forced out of an illustration major. But I was passionate about using my hands and pens and paper, and I believed in myself. That’s what I use today but keep in mind, it took years and years and years of trying everything before I locked in… and I’m STILL not done trying new things.
Jordan Buckley: JordanBuckleyWorldWide.com is gearing up for a launch. Can you tell us what we can expect from Jordan Buckley World Wide in regards to the launch and down the road? Say 3 years from now? Is this something you see taking up more and more of your time as an artist?
Jordan Buckley: As far as the launch goes, you can expect about 12 designs, all created and drawn by myself, without any text, on shirts that I studied and put through the tests to ensure complete comfort. Personally, I’m sick of looking like an advertisement. I think people want to have super sweet shit on their clothes without representing or being the spokesperson for a brand. Sometimes people just want to wear a cool shirt and that’s that. I am here to help you do that. It’s no gimmick, it’s something I truly believe in, so I see it being a passion of mine far past 3 years. People will always want comfortable clothes with sweet drawings on them. They have for decades so I don’t see that stopping anytime soon.
Joshua: Artists are often times very selective concerning the other artists he or she will collaborate with. Andy Warhol for example only collaborated with Jean-Michel Basquiat and Jamie Wyeth throughout his prolific career at The Factory. Many in the art world saw this as an odd paring b/c of the vastly different medium preferences and social backgrounds. I’ve noticed that you have joined forced with Sons of Nero and Draw Ltd. for different art projects. Do you enjoy collaborating with other artists? Do you seek out artists who are similar stylistically or do you prefer to work with artists who bring something different to the table?
Jordan Buckley: Well as i mentioned, I hate using the computer to create art. But let’s face facts here: It’s necessary! So when the time comes that I need a drawing of mine to be colored digitally or I need my drawings represented on the web, it’s important to know your weaknesses and be able to hire help. And being the possessive psycho that I am, I need to be confident in who is helping me. This is another thing that has taken years to get in the groove. Handing your work to another artist is like sending your kids off to school! It’s scary! And you want to get it back better than when you sent it off! Aaron at Sons Of Nero and Jordan at Draw Limited knock it out of the park whenever I call on them, and i am excited to be able to work with such inspirational young men.
Joshua: It is not altogether uncommon to see artists that display a wide-spectrum of talent, whether it be a combination of visual and musical, written word, etc. Even within the confines of extreme music, there have been successful crossovers with musicians who are now synonymous with both their art and music contributions. Jacob Bannon of Converge & Deathwishinc (who as it happens worked on the artwork for ETID’s Hot Damn!) is definitely someone who comes to mind. Do you look at other artist/musicians such as Bannon and draw from their experiences as you plan for the future?
Jordan Buckley: Well I am in great company if anyone chooses to compare my path to that of Jacob Bannon’s. And I have been an admirer of his for a while. For me, I feel that it is important to strike while the iron is hot. Unfortunately for my obsessive personality, I feel like the iron is ALWAYS hot. I meet more bands and promoters and clothing companies and record labels that need art work than a college degree could EVER throw at me. And there i was… sitting on a history of drawing for over 15 years! Perfect storm for someone as ambitious as myself. When I’m 40, am I gonna wish I used my talents and resources when I had the chance, or will drinking 6 nights a week and living in a fog be something I’ll be proud of? I assumed that I would eventually regret the latter and decided to inspire kids who happened to like my band visually and creatively.
Joshua: It seems as though there is no shortage of up-and-coming acts that would rather borrow other artists’ ideas rather than create with a unique voice as both you and Bannon have done. Are you concerned that your art will be ripped off and replicated as Bannon’s Jane Doe artwork has over the past decade? Are you already starting to see other bands emulate your techniques? Does this even concern you?
Jordan Buckley: I’m happy to say that the amount of work I put into both is something that most would find difficult to duplicate. And if they do, god bless em. If you want to copy what ETID does, then have fun touring 10 months out of the year for 10 years, with people you still think are hilarious after seeing them every second of every day. Oh yea, and write and record 5 kick ass full lengths while doing it. That equation isn’t very easy to recreate. Most people don’t make it past the 3rd year of making no money and never being home. And as far as my art goes… cool, if you want to draw tiny, stupid lines over and over for 20 hours straight, then rip up what you’ve made simply because you don’t think it’s perfect, then do it all over again just so you can have a finished drawing that you are proud enough of to upload onto the internet and never use anywhere else… then have fun. It’s fun for me! But is it fun for you?
Joshua: You have been very public about the fact that you dropped out of art school to pursue Every Time I Die as a full-time endeavor. Do you ever regret this decision? I know there are probably thousands upon thousands of aspiring artists who are either about to start art school or are debating on whether or not continue the scholastic route. What advice would give aspiring artists whether they be musicians and/or visual artists?
Jordan Buckley: “Don’t let school get in the way of your education“. But what worked for me might not work for you. Life is not the cards you are dealt, it how you play them. There is no formula and when it comes to art their never will be. If you believe in what you do, then you’ll always be able to do it in one way or another, whether it’s what you do to pay the bills or what you do once you clock out!
Joshua: When you put the pen down and you’re all done shreddin’ the git, what do you enjoy doing? Some artists spend their spare time doing yoga or expanding the cranium with herbal enhancements, reading, exercising etc.. Others are socially active in their communities… How does your daily schedule influence your creative endeavors?
Jordan Buckley: Yoga is the jam! Exercise is a must! and to talk about California again, it’s just so must easier to stay healthy and active there. Bike rides, beach, bocci ball, so many activities! One of these days I’m going to try and learn to relax, but until then i just don’t like sitting still.
Joshua: How do you see your artwork and guitar playing developing in the coming months and years?
Jordan Buckley: All of my free time has gone into Jordan Buckley World Wide. So once it launches I would honestly love to find an equal balance between art and music. It’s way too rare that I meditate at home by picking up the guitar, because every free minute I have, I have been picking up the pens! So i need to change that for sure.
Joshua: Are you looking to intertwine your musical and artistic efforts more and more? Any art/music shows lined-up where fans can catch ETID and snag some prints at the merch booth?
Jordan Buckley: Well thanks to Hero Design we now have intertwined the 2 nicely. I draw something, Hero turns it into a 100 limited screen printed ETID posters, and we sell them at the merch booth! I will use my artwork for ETID as long as the guys will let me! They have been such great supporters so far and it’s been fun as frig. I hope it intertwines as long as the band is alive and kicking, which I hope is forever!
Jordan Buckley’s Websites:
Images and Drawings Courtesy of Jordan Buckley and Jordan Buckley Made This!
Banner Photo Courtesy Enbee
Live Images Courtesy of EVERY TIME I DIE
Jordan Buckley Mid-Air Live Shot – Courtesy of Gary Copeland – Kinofistpix
Interview by Joshua T. Cohen