Welsh metal lords Bullet For My Valentine have been making news for all the right reasons downunder in the last week having been the first act confirmed for Soundwave 2016 and earning rave reviews for their fifth full-length record Venom, a record they have openly stated they expect to become known as a landmark release in their career trajectory, the record that solidifies their place among the metal gods they idolised.
Such grandiose projections should seem preposterous, but coming from Bullet For My Valentine, a band that has been exceeding outside expectations since 1998, it only seems natural. Having boosted in profile with the release of every album, the band has sold over five million records, notching up a run of festival, headline and support slot runs and earning the respect and acclaim of a list of metal titans that would make even the staunchest old schooler raise the metal horns in approval.
These Bridgend metal lifers have never been content treading water and if the music on Venom is anything to go by, they’re not about to start settling now. The heaviest, angriest and most expansive record Bullet For My Valentine have released since 2008’s Scream, Aim, Fire, Venom is a metal masterclass, a musical molotov cocktail ready to be unleashed on sweaty mosh pits worldwide.
Literally minutes after warming the stage for Slipknot on the mammoth Summer’s Last Stand tour, the ever excitable guitar slinging frontman Matt Tuck spoke with Music Feeds about all things, Venom, partying, metal and ‘stayin’ alive’.
UPDATE 17/12/15 5.50pm: Soundwave 2016 has been officially cancelled.
Watch: Bullet For My Valentine – Army of Noise
Music Feeds: You’ve been making news down under for all the right reasons in the last few days having been announced as the first band officially confirmed for Soundwave, are you hyped to be coming back down under?
Matt Tuck: Yeah man, it’s something we haven’t done for a few years. We didn’t get a chance to do a headline run on the last cycle so we are very happy to come back. We’ve got the new album under our belt, the band is freaking out it’s the strongest response to a record we’ve ever had, it’s awesome, very exciting and we’re psyched to be coming back to Australia.
MF: It’s the third time you’ve played the festival, what is it that specifically appeals to you about Soundwave?
MT: Everything. It’s a good vibe. We love coming to Australia, the country is amazing, the people are fucking nuts and the shows are amazing. It’s a great combination to have people who really like to party and people who fucking love heavy music, the sun is shining and everyone’s there to rock out and have a good time.
It doesn’t matter where you are in the world, that combination is just the best thing in the world. It just connects, it’s a great place to be.
MF: Your new album Venom also just dropped and the response so far seems to be a positive one, how are you finding the feedback?
MT: It’s been amazing. I can’t remember it ever being this positive for an album launch that we’ve ever done. I don’t know what it is about it, I guess we just nailed it this time around. People are completely loving it front to back which is very rare. To have such a positive is amazing. We know we’ve got a good one. The response has been incredible.
Watch: Bullet For My Valentine – Soundwave 2016 Greeting
MF: It’s definitely one the heaviest records you’ve released, was that a conscious decision to return with a more aggressive sound?
MT: Yeah! That’s exactly what we wanted to do. We kind of had a sit down and said where we wanted to go with this album. Because the last record Temper Temper didn’t seem to connect with our fans as well, so we were like, “shit, let’s not do that again.” So it was just kind of like analysing who we are what we’re mint at and then just going in and fucking killing it.
MF: Thematically it seems to hark back to darker times in your lives, did anything in particular happen with the band that impacted the writing process from a lyrical perspective?
MT: Nah, I kind of had to dig deep to conjure that vibe. It was a challenge to come up with stuff that was dark but at the same time heartfelt and real so I had to dig deep into some of the darker times in my life and just kind of pour it back out in to the music which is something I haven’t done for a while.
It’s not the easiest path to go down but we feel it was definitely worth it, because the record has come out sounding the way it has.
MF: You parted ways with long-time bassist Jay James a little while back, replacing him with Jamie Mathias, how have you found the transition?
MT: It’s been really easy actually because of who Jamie is. We had the pick of any one around the world but Jamie just did what we needed him to do, we connected well on a personal level. He’s literally from our home town pretty much so it made the transition a lot more natural for us and made it a lot easier to come to terms with.
We’ve never experienced anything like this before and it was obviously scary but because of who he is and what he’s about it has worked out better than we could have hoped.
Listen: Bullet For My Valentine – You Want A Battle?
MF: Having been around since 1998 and played every major festival, toured with all your idols and done countless world tours as headliners, you could be forgiven for getting a little jaded or underwhelmed by it all at times, has having a new guy around helped to refresh the vibe while you’re on the road? Most of these experiences are a first for him.
MT: Yeah that’s exactly what it’s done. He’s obviously got a few years of experiences behind him, when he was a lot younger he had a taste of it when he was in Revoker so he knows what it’s like to love something and then lose it. He’s very passionate and very excited that he got in to one of the biggest metal bands in the world and now he’s on tour with Slipknot, straight away, which is what we’re doing right now. It’s made it exciting again for everyone because we are experiencing it with him. It’s cool.
MF: You’ve stated that you want to be a festival headliner in the vein of a Metallica or Iron Maiden, is that something that keeps you motivated? How close do you think you are to that goal?
MT: I’d love to think so. We kind of had a taste of doing those big headline festivals last year. They’re amazing and I think that’s actually when we are at our best because of the songs we have and the kind of band we are. Having a full on production and having a long set just really meshes well with our sound.
We are ready for it and I think Venom is definitely the album to take us there. The promoters in charge of us want to put us on as headliners of some pretty big festivals coming up and we’ve definitely done our time we’ve definitely paid our dues and now we’ve got that record that can take us over the top, so bring it on, we’re ready to go.
MF: One way that BFMV have always been on top of the metal world is in your party game, are you still able to hold up your end in that regard these days, you are getting long in the tooth after all.
MT: We don’t do it as much as we used to just because of the schedule we have these days it’s really hard core and we have a responsibility when we play in front of a crowd so we don’t really want to be going on stage and puking up shit. But when that does happen you better fucking run if you aren’t having a good time, because shits going to get wild!
We’re actually about to head out and party with Slipknot when their set finishes, so I’d say it is about to get wild pretty soon.
MF: Corey from Slipknot has been rather outspoken of late about the state of the music world, as metal lifers, how do you feel the scene is positioned at the moment? Anything you like or dislike in particular?
MT: I don’t think I have an opinion on it. I only kind of concentrate on what we’re doing and how we see it from our point of view. I think heavy metal is a massive force in the music industry, we have the most loyal fan base in the world. At the moment we’re on this tour with Slipknot and Lamb of God and there’s 20,000 people a night losing their minds, so it’s awesome.
People fucking love heavy metal. It’s very diverse, there’s always new genres and styles and bands breaking through, but it’s cool, I don’t have anything negative to say about it.
MF: I know you’ve toured with and are friends with the cross-media and wrestling superstar Chris Jericho, if, like Chris’s character you had an entrance theme play when you entered a room what would you like it to be?
MT: As my entrance theme?
MF: Yeah, whenever you walk in a room or a bar or a café in the morning, that song started playing and people were instantly aware of your presence.
MT: Fuck man, that’s a tough one, I’ll have to give it some intense consideration (long pause).
Oh I know, it’d have to be Stayin’ Alive by the Bee Gees! That’s the ultimate strutting song ever written. So yeah people would know they were in the presence of the man and they’d better get ready to have their world rocked when that jam started playing.
MF: A mate of mine wants to know what percentage of your shirts are muscle tees or cut-offs, you guys always seem to have that ‘suns out, guns out’ approach even when there’s no sun!
MT: Ha ha ha, that’s definitely a fair call, at the moment though I’d say it’s 50/50 man, I can currently confirm that I’m wearing a shirt with sleeves, so you can tell your mate it does happen, just not ever really in our photos.
MF: That brings us to the end of our time pretty much man, so was there anything else you wanted to say to your fans in Australia before you go?
MT: Thanks for the continued support, we’ve always had such great and dedicated fans in Australia and we always have a blast playing there. So look the fuck out because the Bullet boys are coming back to town and we mean fucking business.
Watch: Bullet For My Valentine – No Way Out (Lyric Video)