It’s been over six years since the last Bullet For My Valentine headlining tour in Australia. That’s four whole Prime Ministers ago, people! Either way, their next tour is coming up really soon and so I had a chat with frontman Matt Tuck to see just how keen he was to come back.
Hi Matt, how are you?
Yeah, I’m good man, just enjoying a summers day here in London!
Nice. ‘Venom’ has been out for almost a year already, how do you feel it’s been received by your fanbase?
Brilliant. It’s gone down amazing, we knew we’d written something really good so to have that feedback from our fanbase and to have critical acclaim is brilliant as well. It’s been the most successful album as far as chart positions go worldwide, so job well done!
Was there a conscious effort made during songwriting to change the overall feel of this album in comparison to ‘Temper Temper’?
When we went in to record the album it’d already been demoed, so by the time we got to the studio we knew we had a far more dark and sinister record than the last one. The three things we were looking for were to make it exciting, heavy and dark. Those three elements were something we tried to find on every song. We knew we had a more dark and ominous record and we tried to continue writing in that way.
It’s also the first you guys have done with Jamie on bass, what do you think he’s brought to the band?
He’s a great young dude and he’s from Wales. We get on really well and have a great history with him. He’s a guitarist and vocalist, now he plays bass, so he has a lot of strings to his bow which is fantastic. He’s brought a new lease on life and energy to the band which is brilliant. We’re yet to write anything with him as we hired him after we recorded Venom, so we haven’t worked with him in the studio yet.
What songs have you noticed going over really well live?
Everything we’ve played. We played the full album when we played in Japan because that’s how confident we were with it, and it went down a storm! We’d seen bands do that and it hadn’t gone so well so it was a bit of a risk but we were very confident with those songs. We’ve opened with No Way Out at every show so far is going great, and Venom is a crowd favourite as well because of all the singalongs. Everything’s being going great man and we’ve showcased every song from the record, and not once have we thought “let’s not play that one again”. We’re actually struggling to choose which ones to put in because we could play them all if we wanted to!
The big news from the band recently was that you will be playing ‘The Poison’ in full this December. Why did you guys decide now was the time to celebrate that album?
We didn’t want Venom clashing with any special The Poison anniversary releases or shows. We actually missed the anniversary of it because Venom was just about to drop and we didn’t want to take anything away from it. We always knew that we wanted to do something special and celebrate it in some way, and we thought that the UK at the end of the run in the venues we played back on that album cycle would be the perfect place to do it. We put the second night on sale and it’s pretty much sold out. It’s something that the fans are excited about.
It’s definitely exciting. Fittingly, my first experience with the band was the ‘Live At Brixton’ DVD which was from that era.
Wicked! Moments like that are fantastic. To be here over 10 years later and to go back to that venue at the end of the run is like coming full circle. They’re going to be very special shows and we can’t wait.
There’s definitely a lot of fans that say it’s the band’s strongest work in their opinion despite the fact that you’ve released four more albums since then. Personally, how do you feel about it in comparison to your later work?
For me, it’s third. I think Venom and Fever are far stronger records as far as songwriting goes. But there is something magical about a band’s first record, I don’t know what it is and it’s not my opinion, it’s how other people feel about it. Some people think it’s our best album and they can have that opinion, that’s great, but from my point of view and being involved in the writing and recording process I think Venom and Fever are stronger albums. I think it’s a great record but it’s not my favourite.
That’s fair enough! I think it’s because it came out at a certain time and it struck a chord with people.
Exactly. It’s all about timing, and for whatever reason, our band was that band. It just blew up worldwide and it’s the best-selling album we’ve ever had, but again that was in 2005 when you could still sell a few records. It’s strange because our latest album is our highest charting and it’s sold the least!
It’s only a couple of months until you come back to Australia for the first time in a while, and you’ve got Atreyu and Cane Hill on the bill as well. Are you excited to come back here on your own headlining run?
Yeah, more than excited! It’s not something we’ve done since 2010 on Fever. We managed to get in a little stint on Soundwave 2013, but our headliner after that didn’t work out because we were getting a bit shafted by promoters and stuff. Thankfully we’ve managed to get availability and we’re excited to come back and celebrate our number one record with our Australian fans. Our last headline run was over 6 years ago so we’re excited to get back.
Are there any Australian bands that you frequently listen to?
The two that instantly come to mind are Silverchair and Parkway Drive. We used to play Tomorrow and Israel Son in Bullet all the time as kids. Parkway Drive are doing really well worldwide and for a band as heavy as them to do that is great.
Is there any chance we’ll see Axewound doing a second album?
It’s on the backburner because of Bullet just being the beast it is, really. To write, record and tour an album is a three-year cycle, and by the time you get to the end of it, people are knocking on your door like “hey let’s write another record!”. So I’d love to do something, and Jason (Bowld, Axewound drummer) is on tour with us at the moment filling in for Moose so there’s always time to write stuff, but Bullet demands so much time. I would never say never and I would love to do something at some point, but finding that down time to squeeze it in is really hard.
This is more of a personal question from my end and the only gear related one. You’ve been associated with V shaped guitars like the Jackson Randy Rhoads, your signature BC Rich and now a really nice Kirk Hammett Custom Shop model. I’ve been playing for 10 years now and you definitely played a part in me owning a couple of those, so what is it that you personally like about that style of guitar?
It’s mainly a comfort thing because of the way I sing and stand, like if I use a normal shaped guitar like a Les Paul or an Ibanez RG, I don’t know how to stand! I grew up playing the Jackson RR5 standing up and playing like that. I feel alien and I don’t know what my legs are doing if there’s not a V there! So it’s not really a sound or playability thing, it’s more to do with the comfort side of things.
Bullet For My Valentine are touring Oz with Atreyu (yay!) and Cane Hill (nay) in October. Dates and info here.