Senses Fail performing at Warped Tour in 2009
|Origin||Ridgewood, New Jersey, U.S.|
Senses Fail is an American post-hardcore band that formed in Ridgewood, New Jersey, United States, in 2001. Formed by vocalist James "Buddy" Nielsen, drummer Dan Trapp, guitarists Garrett Zablocki and Dave Miller, and bassist James Gill (replaced by Mike Glita shortly after); the band has seen many lineup changes, with Nielsen being the only consistent member.
The lineup currently consists of Nielsen, bassist/guitarist Gavin Caswell and drummer Steve Carey, together with bassist Greg Styliades and guitarist Jason Milbank.
The band has released seven studio albums, Let It Enfold You, Still Searching, Life Is Not a Waiting Room, The Fire, Renacer, Pull the Thorns from Your Heart and If There Is Light, It Will Find You. In addition, the band has two EPs, From the Depths of Dreams and In Your Absence.
Formation and From the Depths of Dreams EP (2001–2003)
Senses Fail's beginnings started in October 2001 after Nielsen posted an advertisement on the Internet to recruit members for the band. The advertisement attracted attention from Garrett Zablocki, who then began writing with Nielsen. Later Zablocki contacted Dave Miller to join the band who also brought along his friend, James Gill. After a short time with another drummer the band came across Dan Trapp, who was only 14-years-old at the time. Before the band signed to Drive-Thru Records, James Gill was kicked out of the band due to irreconcilable differences; he was replaced by former Tokyo Rose drummer Mike Glita.
Nielsen explained the band name, stating: "In Hinduism, they believe that being alive is hell, and the only way to reach Nirvana is to ultimately have no attachments to anything. So, people go out and live in the middle of the woods and they don't eat and don't drink. They just meditate because they've reached such a high level where they're not attached to love, relationships or anything. And if you want to reach the highest level of being and see God, you have to have all your senses fail."
Building a local fan base by playing any gig they could find from skate parks and clubs to churches, they soon entered the studio and started to record. Their first release, From the Depths of Dreams, was a six-track EP that was originally released on ECA Records on August 16, 2002. It originally started as two three-song demo CDs, but was later joined together to make one release by producer John Naclerio. The independent release did very well and caught the attention of some record labels. They signed to Drive-Thru Records, and reissued their EP on April 29, 2003 with two extra tracks, remastering, and new cover art. The b-side "Bastard Son" was also recorded during this time. The release saw much success, and sold enough copies to peak at No. 144 on the Billboard chart. In support of the EP, Senses Fail toured with such bands as The Used, Millencolin, The Starting Line, and Drive-Thru labelmates Finch.
Let It Enfold You (2004–2005)
Senses Fail started working on their debut album, Let It Enfold You in April 2003. During this time, lead singer and songwriter Buddy Nielsen was 18–19 years old. They worked with producer Steve Evetts (Saves the Day, A Static Lullaby, Every Time I Die) on their new label Vagrant Records. The lyrics were derived from a wide variety of sources. The title of the album was taken from a poem written by Charles Bukowski, the song "Irony of Dying on Your Birthday" is about the work of mythologist Joseph Campbell, and parts of the song "Slow Dance" include lines of the Dao De Jing. Nielsen stated that, "We just love making music and writing good songs. I feel like I've got a lot more to say and we've got a lot more to contribute. But even if things ended tomorrow, we've gotten 10 times further than we ever expected to get and that makes us feel like we've succeeded regardless of what happens from here on." Let It Enfold You was released on September 7, 2004 on Vagrant and Drive Thru Records. The album was certified gold by the RIAA, and has sold over 600,000 copies worldwide.
Let It Enfold You saw the release of two singles: "Buried a Lie" and "Rum Is for Drinking, Not for Burning." The music video for "Buried a Lie" was filmed on the set of the soap opera Guiding Light. Nielsen's mother, who shot the video, used to act in the show. The release of the video started attracting mainstream success for the band. During this period, Senses Fail were featured in magazines such as Kerrang!, Rolling Stone, Spin and appeared on the cover of Alternative Press.
The band toured extensively in support of the release. They were added to Warped Tour in 2004, 2005, and 2006, and 2009, and played on the main stage for the 2005 and 2006 editions of the tour. They were also included on the first Taste of Chaos tour in 2005 with such notable acts as The Used, My Chemical Romance, and Killswitch Engage. They also headlined a few tours of their own during this time with The Early November from Drive Thru and Emanuel from Vagrant.
The album was reissued in November 2005 with bonus tracks and new album art. In addition to the original track listing, it featured acoustic versions of songs from the album, an unreleased track, and a cover of the Suicidal Tendencies song "Institutionalized."
In 2005, the band's web site announced the departure, by mutual agreement, of guitarist Dave Miller. He was replaced by Heath Saraceno, previously the guitarist and vocalist of the band Midtown. Miller started his own record label called DMI (Dave Miller Industries) in September 2006.
Still Searching (2006–2007)
After taking a break from touring, and acquiring a new lineup, Senses Fail began to write their second studio album. The new album, titled Still Searching was produced by Brian McTernan (Thrice, Cave In) and mixed by Chris Lord-Alge. This album eased up on the aggression on previous albums and showed more emotion. On the subject of the new songs, Nielsen explained, "I like my lyrics to be open to interpretation, but I didn’t want to paint pictures of things no one was going to understand; I want our fans to be able to relate. At some point, we all start examining our lives. If you don’t, there’s something wrong with you."
In support of the new album, the band toured on the Taste of Chaos again. In 2006 they toured with the Taste of Chaos International, and in 2007 Senses Fail returned to North America for the 2007 Taste of Chaos tour. In the summer of 2007 they also participated in a few dates of the Zumiez Couch Tour alongside From Autumn to Ashes. They headlined in late 2006 with Saosin and Bleeding Through as supporters. On October 5, 2007, Senses Fail began a 33-city co-headlining tour with New Found Glory which started in Las Vegas, Nevada. Also on the tour was Set Your Goals. The tour ended on November 24, 2007 in San Diego, California.
On November 13, 2007, Senses Fail released a deluxe version of Still Searching, which featured new art, behind-the-scenes DVD featuring footage from the band's headlining tour last fall, two new songs, three b-sides, and a cover of The Cranberries' song "Salvation."
On December 8, 2007, bassist Mike Glita left the band to pursue his side project Knights In Paris. Jason Black joined as a temporary replacement, though he later became a permanent member.
Life Is Not a Waiting Room (2008–2009)
Their album Life Is Not a Waiting Room was released on October 7, 2008 through Vagrant, and began a nationwide tour the day after. On November 21, Senses Fail did an online interview with Ultimate Guitar, talking about the evolution of the band, their new bassist and the album.
On June 30, 2009, it was announced that guitarist Heath Saraceno would be leaving the band after the 2009 Warped Tour, stating: "I've shared many great times with these guys over the past four years or so. We've made two records I'm very proud of, toured the world and the States countless times, and I've made friends with people I would not have met otherwise. These guys from Jersey (and Atlanta by way of Florida) have turned into some of my closest friends, and I will miss seeing them as often as I've been able to." He was replaced by Zack Roach.
The Fire (2010)
The band began recording their new album, titled The Fire, at Salad Days Studio with Brian McTernan in June 2010 hoping to release later that year. The Fire was released in the UK on October 25, 2010 through Hassle Records and elsewhere on October 26 through Vagrant Records to generally positive reviews. The album does not feature Zack Roach on guitar, replacing Heath Saraceno after leaving in 2009, but instead has Garrett Zablocki playing both guitar roles. In February 2011, Garrett Zablocki left the band to attend college; however, he will be composing music for various films and videos.
Follow Your Bliss: The Best of Senses Fail (2012)
On July 13, 2011, Senses Fail posted "We are hanging writing new songs and practicing for the shows this weekend." on their Facebook page, and posted pictures via Twitter and Instagram of them in the studio.
The band then released The Fire on vinyl through Mightier Than Sword Records.
Senses Fail played again on the 2012 Vans Warped Tour. They released a greatest hits album entitled Follow Your Bliss: The Best of Senses Fail which featured music from all of their previous albums and came with an added four-track EP of new songs. The album was released on June 19, 2012 in a double-CD package and it is limited to 10,000 copies.[needs update]
On June 15, they released "War Paint" from their Greatest Hits album.
On November 13, 2012, Senses Fail posted on their Facebook page that "We begin recording our fifth full-length album this week in Los Angeles, California. We will be working with producer Shaun Lopez (Far, Deftones) at The Airport Studio and Red Bull Studio. The recording is expected to wrap up in mid-December with a Spring 2013 release planned." The resulting album, Renacer, was released on March 26, 2013. On February 4, 2013 the first single, "Mi Amor" was released,along with pre-orders for the album. On March 1, 2013 a second single was released, "The Path."
The band played at the UK Slam Dunk Festival in May 2013.
The music video for "Between the Mountains and the Sea" was released on August 2, 2013
It was announced on June 2, 2014 via the band's Facebook page that Senses Fail would be doing a 10th Anniversary tour playing their record "Let It Enfold You" from start to finish and that ex-Poison the Well, current Big Black Delta live drummer, Chris Hornbrook would be replacing long time drummer, Dan Trapp.
Pull the Thorns from Your Heart, touring replacements, side projects (2014–2016)
In 2014, on their tumblr blog the band announced they signed to Pure Noise Records. Senses Fail would enter the studio in November to start recording their next full-length album which was scheduled to be released in summer 2015. It was later announced that the album would be titled Pull the Thorns from Your Heart.
On February 2, 2015, the band released a tease of their split EP on their Facebook. The EP was released on March 3, 2015. Pull the Thorns from Your Heart was released on June 30, 2015. The touring cycle for the record kicked off by playing the entirety of the 2015 Vans Warped Tour. The band then embarked on a winter co-headlining tour with Silverstein. On this tour, guitarist Matt Smith was absent due to the birth of his first child. Greg Styliades, who had previously toured with the band after Zack Roach returned home for the birth of his child, performed with the band on this tour. At this time, the band was classified by AbsolutePunk as screamo and "alternative".
On May 17, 2016, frontman Buddy Nielsen announced that he had formed a new band called Speak The Truth... Even If Your Voice shakes. The band also includes drummer Alex Pappas and guitarists Alex "Grizz" Linares and Daniel Wonacott, all formerly of the band Finch. They released their debut, self-titled 7" on November 4, 2016 via Bad Timing Records. The release features the songs Crash My Car and Go For The Throat. Senses Fail bassist Gavin Caswell was later recruited to play bass at the outfits first ever live performance.
In 2016, the band performed at the recently revived Taste of Chaos festival in San Bernardino, California. After returning as a single day festival in 2015, Taste of Chaos returned as a full United States tour in 2016, culminating in the festival date. The festival took place on July 16, and also featured performances from The Starting Line, The Get Up Kids, and Quicksand, as well as 2016 Taste of Chaos full tour acts Saosin, Taking Back Sunday, and Dashboard Confessional.
The future of the band was left uncertain after it was revealed that guitarists Zack Roach and Matt Smith would no longer be touring with the band, with both choosing to focus on their families after the recent births of their children. Despite almost breaking up, the band took the rest of the summer of 2016 off to regroup. In late 2016, the band supported Sum 41 on their "Don't Call it a Sum Back" full United States tour. Bassist Gavin Caswell took over rhythm guitar duties live, with Styliades returning on bass guitar, and Jason Milbank filling the role of lead guitarist.
In Your Absence, Quince Años Tour and If There Is Light, It Will Find You (2016–present)
On November 15, 2016, the band announced that in celebration of its upcoming fifteenth anniversary, they would be embarking on the Quince Años Tour in March and April 2017, with support from Counterparts, Movements, and Like Pacific. To commemorate the event, the band performed its 2006 album Still Searching in full, alongside a collection of career spanning songs.
On the same day, the band announced the release of their long teased acoustic EP, In Your Absence. It features 3 brand new songs recorded and produced by Beau Burchell, alongside acoustic renditions of "Lost and Found" from Still Searching, and "Family Tradition" from Life Is Not A Waiting Room recorded and produced by Kyle Black. A music video was released for the lead single, "Jets to Peru", on January 26, 2017. The EP released on March 3, 2017 alongside the beginning of the Quince Años Tour.
The band entered the studio with Saosin guitarist Beau Burchell, who also handled recording duties on In Your Absence, to begin recording their seventh full-length album on June 27, 2017, to be titled If There Is Light, It Will Find You. Nielsen commented that the album would feature a style more akin to earlier releases, such as Let It Enfold You. The album will be written entirely by Nielsen.
On August 2, it was revealed that former drummer Dan Trapp would be performing drums on the album, although current drummer Chris Hornbrook would still be performing and touring with the band. However, on January 8, 2018, Hornbrook announced his departure from the band. Hornbrook had been touring with Dhani Harrison during the recording sessions. On February 1, 2018, Steve Carey of The Color Morale was announced as the band's new drummer, following the announcement that The Color Morale would be entering a hiatus.
On November 30, the lead single "Double Cross" was released. A second single, "Gold Jacket, Green Jacket..." was released on January 11, 2018. On February 1, 2018, a third single, "New Jersey Makes, the World Takes" was released. The album was released on February 16, 2018.
On August 29, a re-recorded version of 2004's "Bastard Son" was released with a video, and the band announced the release date of a "reimagined" From the Depths of Dreams" EP on September 6, 2019.
On October 30th, 2020, two Misfits covers were released as part of a split covers EP with the band Saves The Day titled “Through Being Ghoul”
On November 25th, 2020, the band released an EP titled “Christmas Has Been Canceled Due to Lack of Hustle” which features two songs, a cover of Saturday Night Live’s ‘I Wish It Was Christmas Today’ and ‘Donde Esta Santa Clause’.
Musical style and influences
Senses Fail has been described as post-hardcore, emo, screamo, metalcore, pop punk, hardcore punk, and punk rock. Senses Fail have cited Jimmy Eat World, The Get Up Kids, The Promise Ring, Appleseed Cast, Saves the Day, Thursday, The Casket Lottery, Lifetime, and Deftones as their influences.
- James "Buddy" Nielsen – lead vocals, piano, programming (2002–present)
- Gavin Caswell – guitars, backing vocals (2016–present); bass guitar (2013–2016)
- Greg Styliades - bass guitar (2016–present); guitars (2015)
- Jason Milbank - guitars, backing vocals (2016–present)
- Steve Carey - drums (2018–present) (also in The Color Morale)
- Garrett Zablocki – guitars, backing vocals (2002–2011)
- Dan Trapp – drums, percussion (2002–2014)
- Mike Glita – bass guitar, backing screamed vocals (2002–2008)
- Dave Miller – guitars (2002–2005)
- Heath Saraceno – guitars, backing vocals (2005–2009) (also of Midtown)
- Jason Black – bass guitar (2008–2012) (also of Hot Water Music)
- Zack Roach – guitars, backing vocals (2009–2016)
- Matt Smith – guitars, backing vocals (2011–2016) (also of Strike Anywhere)
- Chris Hornbrook – drums (2014–2018) (also of Poison The Well)
- James Gill – bass guitar (2002)
- Etay Pisano – guitars (2009–2010)
- Jeremy Comitas – bass guitar, backing vocals (2012)
- Studio albums
- Let It Enfold You (2004)
- Still Searching (2006)
- Life Is Not a Waiting Room (2008)
- The Fire (2010)
- Renacer (2013)
- Pull the Thorns from Your Heart (2015)
- If There Is Light, It Will Find You (2018)
- What The Thunder Said, Hell Is In Your Head (2020)
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