The oral history as told by Buddy Nielsen



Buddy Nielsen has always been painfully honest. Whether he’s throwing down against industry vermin or discussing his own personal horror stories, the lead singer for Senses Fail always delivers.

Call it “transparency” or call it “ownership of a mouth that needs shut,” Nielsen is keen to set records straight, even when he looks like the fool with the self-fulfilling prophecy. He stopped by the APTV studio to discuss Senses Fail’s history, specifically and honestly.

Read more: Can you match the Senses Fail lyrics to the ‘Let It Enfold You’ track?

“After Let It Enfold You came the loss of freedom for me,” Nielsen says, reflecting on his band’s most iridescent release. “I don’t know if I ever got that back. At times at certain record cycles, there’s that not needing to live up to an expectation [feeling]. Once you’ve had success as an artist, it’s really impossible to defy the level of expectation or to recreate or to do any of the things you can do to have the success.”

In this candid chat with APTV’s Bobby Makar, Nielsen dives into the very early days of the band. He discusses his worldview as a punk in pre-9/11 America, from being in high school and trying to apply to college to trying to solidify a lineup at the same time. He talks about writing the one song that epitomizes what he wanted the band to be all about. (“It was this dark, sad, poppy thing—but it wasn’t like Alkaline Trio.”)

Nielsen is quick to disassemble the myths surrounding his band’s rise to notoriety. It was too early for a lot of social media platforms to kick in; Senses Fail weren’t getting radio play, and MTV still eluded them (“We were getting Fuse…”). But to his credit, Nielsen embraced his naivete more than his ego. “At that time in my life, I was just enjoying the innocence of performing music and traveling around the country,” he says. “There was no expectation. And that’s the most beautiful time in an artist’s existence. After that tour, everything changed.” 

Later on in the clip, Nielsen discusses what Senses Fail’s next moves are, culminating in the big goal. At the top of that list, though, is making sure he enjoys what’s happening. “I have to be happy with what I’m doing, and our fans need to be happy,” he adds. “I’m just trying to maintain what we have.”

Buddy Nielsen is one of the last honest men in the music scene. But don’t take our word for it: Point and click, friends.



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