Bullet For My Valentine: Spitting Venom
Welsh face-melters Bullet For My Valentine have officially announced their return to our shores with a headline tour in belated celebration of their Australian #1 album, Venom. Frontman and resident shredder Matt Tuck discusses cancelled music festivals, Lemmy, and why after a decade the band is taking a stripped back approach to heavy metal.
Bullet For My Valentine were set to play what would have been this year’s instalment of Soundwave. We were all pretty weirded out over here following the saga that led to its demise. How did you guys take the news?
It was a situation we were told could possibly happen even before we were confirmed so it didn’t come as a surprise, but we we’re gutted, y’know? The last time we came out was for Soundwave, then we didn’t make it on a headline run after that either, and then this got cancelled. It just seemed like we were never gonna get to come over. But thankfully, third time lucky, we’ve managed to to get some shows booked, so we’re happy!
Logistical nightmares aside, it seems the chips have stacked up pretty well for you lot.
Yeah! It’s actually our first #1 album we’ve ever had as well, so it really means a lot to us. Having Soundwave pulled away kind of felt like a kick in the nuts because we were looking forward to having a bit of a glory run with you guys [laughs]! It was not meant to be, but we’ve managed to get some stuff together. These are going to be some special shows for us! We can’t wait to come over, do what we do, and play those songs that have obviously connected with Australian fans.
“I was on the verge of losing it all; that’s kind of when my eyes opened and I changed massively as a person, professional musician, singer and songwriter.”
For a bunch of said Australian fans who have maybe never had the opportunity to see the band play outside of a festival setting, or at all, what can the unwitting expect from the full-scale Bullet extravaganza?
Just everything you’d want out of a metal show really! We love what we do, and the performance side of it is something that we’re very proud of and have evolved massively over the last 10 years as a live band. I think we can hold our own against any band in the world now. It’s going to be a kick-arse performance! A showcase of everything we’ve done over the last 12 years. I think the venues we’re playing aren’t the biggest, so we’re not gonna be able to bring a lot of pyro and production and stuff like that, but at the same time, that gives us an opportunity to connect with our fans and play live music, without a ton of extras going on, which is great! We did it in the UK as well last year when we did our headline run. We stripped everything back and went back into club venues which we haven’t done since The Poison (2005). It just came across really well and was something that we really enjoyed. It’ll be the same kind of vibe in Australia. Kind of a simple show, but a showcase of what we do best as a live band, and everything we’ve done from day one until the day we arrive!
You mentioned in interviews prior to its release that Venom was going to be a bit of a nod to your early days. You can totally hear shades of The Poison or Scream, Aim, Fire creep in throughout the album. Given how cherished those older records are by longtime followers, was it an “Alright boys, let’s make one for the team!” type deal, or just four dudes with a dire urge to fuckin’ shred like the old days?
It was both really [laughs]! I think it’s something that we felt we needed to do. We’ve been very lucky in our career that we went from kind of zeroes to heroes overnight. From playing 100-capacity clubs to like, a Brixton Academy in London which is 5,000, on our first record! Since then it’s gone from Brixton, to Hammersmith Apollo and then Wembley Arena, which we’ve done twice now. We felt like we really couldn’t do it to the next level again, so we thought, well, let’s just strip it back and take inspiration from bands like Faith No More, and even bands that aren’t in our world, like Kasabian. These bands who can go from arenas to clubs and just do things that are different! We just found that more appealing than doing the same old shit, y’know? Let’s do something completely different. Let’s take the show back into the clubs, and let’s do something that we haven’t done for a long time, and that’s what we did.
Despite digging up some old bones from those formative albums, these songs still seem far more optimistic. Tell me about Matt Tuck in 2016 and how he’s different to the Matt Tuck of 2005. He just seems like a more optimistic fellow these days!
I think, essentially, I’m still the same person. I still have the same morals and the same personality, but I’m just very much aware of how the music industry works, about songwriting, performing live, taking it seriously as a profession and stuff like that. So, in 2005 I was exactly the same guy, just kinda naive about what it takes to make something of yourself. I think a lot of luck was involved in our band. Since we’ve been given this opportunity, I’ve switched everything around about how I conduct myself on and off the stage. I take it seriously! I almost lost my voice completely during Scream, Aim, Fire with tonsillectomies and stuff, and I think that was the turning point for me where I stopped drinking heavily, stopped smoking, and I just wanted to be the best person I could be. I kind of got lost in the moment with being given the keys to the world [laughs]! It was just a natural learning process really, from being in my early 20s not having any knowledge of what it took to get there. I was on the verge of losing it all; that’s kind of when my eyes opened and I changed massively as a person, professional musician, singer and songwriter. It’s all just about working and getting better and better as we go along.
“Having Soundwave pulled away kind of felt like a kick in the nuts because we were looking forward to having a bit of a glory run with you guys.”
One of the bonus tracks on the German release of Venom is your take on the Motörhead classic, “Ace Of Spades”. As a part of the British heavy metal community, how did Lemmy’s passing hit you, and what sort of influence did the late legend and his music have on your approach to rock’n’roll?
Losing someone like Lemmy was a massive loss to the metal world, from the days of old up to now. He had a massive influence on bands like Metallica, which then influenced me, so there’s a whole knock on effect of what he did for the metal community. If he didn’t do what he did, I probably wouldn’t do I do, y’know? Motörhead was a bit before my time and and it was a bit more punk rock to me. But like I said, inadvertently, if it wasn’t for Lemmy, hundreds and thousands of band across the world wouldn’t do what they do. So he is a massive influence and a leading figure in the heavy metal community, and to lose someone like that is a massive deal, y’know?
Five albums and a decade deep, do you see your band leaving behind a legacy like the bands that made you sell your soul to heavy metal?
I think we’ve been lucky enough to have that influence on musicians that are coming up beneath us I guess, especially the younger bands that are breaking through now. Because we’ve been around for nearly 12 years and five albums, we get to tour a lot. We see a lot of young bands on tour, and forget how long we’ve been doing it, and what an influence we might have on people. We just do our thing, we don’t really think about that kind of stuff, but whether it be at a festival, or maybe like an award ceremony where there’s a bunch of people you don’t really get to see, every younger band that we meet want to come up and hang out and tell us about their experience. That The Poison was their first metal album that they bought when they were like 12 years old, or if it wasn’t for us they wouldn’t be in a band. That happens a lot man. I think we’ve made an impact on the heavy metal world, which is an amazing feeling!
Bullet For My Valentine / Atreyu / Cane Hill
Thu Oct 20th – Metro City, Perth (18+)
Fri Oct 21st – HQ, Adelaide (18+)
Tue Oct 25th – 170 Russell, Melbourne (18+)
Thu Oct 27th – Big Top, Sydney (Lic A/A)
Fri Oct 28th – Eatons Hill, Brisbane (Lic A/A)