Interview: Bullet For My ValentineWritten by Kenny Leys
When we at RMP heard we could interview long-time Graspop legends Bullet For My Valentine, we were more than eager to wait in line! After entering the calamity of the artist lounge and a short wait later, we sat down with guitar player Michael ‘Padge’ Paget and brand new bass player, Jamie Mathias to talk about their latest release “Venom”, life on the road and the Bullet For My Valentine-app.
- First of all, welcome to Belgium! This will be the sixth time you’ll perform at Graspop. Are you excited to play here again?
Padge: Yeah, definitely! It’s actually our last show of this little run that we’ve done so we get to go home tomorrow but all guns blazing, we’re going to smash it today!
- Are there any memories of your previous shows on Graspop you want to share with us?
Jamie: This is actually my second time playing here. I played here already with my previous band, Revoker about five years ago. I think we played in the Marquee and it was absolutely crazy! It’s just such an amazing festival. Yeah, it’s very well-organised, there’s a killer line-up and the fans are just crazy! So I’m super excited to be playing here again!
- Are there any bands you want to check out this weekend?
J: And Slayer!
P: We want to watch Killswitch (Engage, red.) too if we get time to watch them. But yeah, definitely Testament and Slayer. Today it’ll be like Testament, us and then Slayer so it’ll be a metal sandwich of some sort.
J: A heavy metal sandwich, yes!
- You are on a very long tour this year until I, believe December. Isn’t it hard to be on the road for so long and just keep the spirit up and the energy level high?
P: Yeah, we’re on the road since July last year.
J: It does get tough being on the road for so months on end without going home. We sometimes get weathered down a bit but we just get through it.
P: It indeed does get tough, you know, especially for the guys who have kids. We miss like our girlfriends, our families. It does get tough but you just got to do what you go to do. I mean, you know, you just sign that dotted line and you’ve got to go full power.
- Almost a year ago you released “Venom”, your fifth studio album. How has the response been this last year?
J: It’s been so well received. I think “Venom” has been our most popular album to date.
P: Although “The Poison” did wonderful things for us and has catapulted us, you know launched our career as such, but “Venom” has been our most popular record and it’s done really well. So as a band, what more can you ask for? I mean, it’s a great album and the fans are really receiving it well.
J: You really see it on the shows we do like the festivals and such. It really reflects on that, you know. If you release a good album, then you can see the potential a good album could have on your live shows and stuff. There’s way more people than with our last album.
- Almost every song on the album starts with a bang, like a scream or a guitar solo. Was this the intention or has it just grown organically?
P: We just wanted to release a front to back slamming album, we wanted no album fillers. We spent a lot of time on pre-production, just to make sure everything was just slamming on the album. Our real intention was to release a balls-on heavy metal record and I think we succeeded.
- One of the songs on the new album is “Army Of Noise” which I think is about camaraderie at shows. How does it feel to stand before this army of noise when you’re performing and playing this song? How does it feel to really feel the relationship between the band and the crowd?
J: When we played it in Japan a couple of months ago when we did “Venom” from the front ‘til the back, it really captured that. We got so much energy from the crowd. Once you can capture that live, it doesn’t get any better than that, does it?
P: Yeah, there’s no better feeling and it’s very rewarding for us as a musician or an artist. It’s like the best drug ever.
J: Everyone’s coming to have a good time and for me, to let loose… You know, everyone has a lot of shit in their lives, difficult things going on and stuff and you come to a live show and just let it all out for 40 minutes to one hour while watching a band. You just let all your shit go on, just to have a good time. And that what metal is about!
- A couple of months before the release, Jay left the band. Luckily you found a new bass player in Jamie (ex-Revoker). How did you end up with this beast of a bassist?
J: Well, me and Padge, we’ve known each other for a few years now. We did a few songs in Padge’s studio in the last five years so we got to know each other really well and… It was just one of those phone calls really. They were obviously looking for a new bass player and I was previously out, doing another job, I wasn’t in a band so they asked me to audition, I’ve done it and I got the job [laughs]!
P: We were struggling to think of somebody who could replace Jay and we tried to make the right choice for the band, you know. Me and Moose (drums, red.), we were just thinking one day over a beer and he was like “Well, Padge, who could we ask?” and I was like “I know this one guy,” and Jaime just sprang into my mind. So I asked him to do an audition and he was like “Fuck ay!” [laughs].
J: I was working on a night shift in this car place where I used to work. It was 11 o’ clock at night and had a text and I really couldn’t fucking wait to go [laughs]!
- That you love your fans and the fans love you is an understatement. Now there’s even a Bullet For My Valentine-app. Could you tell us more about this?
P: With modern technology and all the different social media… I think we just wanted to combine all that and for us it’s a way to connect with our fans directly. Of course, we’ll still use Facebook and all!
J: Yeah, it’s some sort of platform to keep in touch with the fans. All of us has their own personal accounts on it so we could talk to fans, keep you up-to-date about what we’re doing on the road and you can buy merch of it, follow livestreams and watch exclusive content as well. There’s a bunch of stuff you can do and the fans can interact with each other as well because I think that’s very important because they’re the army of noise.
- You also wrote “Forever And Always” from the “Scream Aim Fire album” to thank the fans and let them know you guys will be there playing for them. Is this right or is there another story behind the song?
P: I’m not quite sure how the lyrics go because Matt (Tuck, vocals, red.) wrote them. I’m not sure it’s about the fans or about a girl. But we’ll just leave that in the middle because it could probably go about both, you know.
J: Yeah, it’s about missing people and, I don’t know, just the connection between loved ones whether they’re fans, girlfriends, wives, boyfriends, dogs, cats, whatever.
- Are there already plans for a new album?
P: We have just signed a new deal, however we’re hoping to release some new material by the end of the year. If or when we get some downtime to actually go into a studio but there is a plan forming to maybe release an EP.
J: We’ll see. Our schedule is just so busy at the moment, we’re just not getting enough time to actually get together and write material.
P: You can write on the road but I think when you’re on the road for so long it’s kind of hard to get inspired to write just anything.
- So is it more difficult to write songs on the road than at home?
J: I think so, yes. I can write on the road but I think I write better when I’ve had some time off, cleared my head. For me that is how you get the best material. It’s not like trying to force something out.
P: Yeah, that does work sometimes but most of the time it doesn’t.
- Thank you very much for the interview. Do you have any last words for our readers?
P: Thanks for all the support of the years. We will be back by the end of November. Come to a show near you and –
J: – keep rocking! See you soon!