Bullet For My Valentine

author TL date 21/02/08

When Bullet For My Valentine guested Denmark for the third time in the band's history it was not only with a much debated new album under their belt, but also with an air of being much debated in general. Having shot straight to the stars and a deal with Sony BMG, touring with bands like Iron Maiden and Guns 'N Roses with only their debut released, not everyone thought the Welsh dudes quite deserved everything that's been coming their way. So naturally I went to grab a hold of guitarist Michael 'Padge' Paget to find out how things are currently looking from the band's own point of view:

RF.net: Just to start things off, tell me how things are going in Bullet For My Valentine.
Padge: Pretty good. The tour's been sold out so far and we're happy to be back in Denmark. Only problem is that our bus just broke down, and we don't really know what to do about it, so we may be stuck in Denmark for a few days.

RF.net: You probably get asked this question in some form in every interview, but we'd like to ask it anyway, the one about Matt's voice. "Scream Aim Fire" has a lot less screaming than "The Poison" had. Is that because of problems with his voice and does this mean that future albums will have less aggresive vocals? What's the status on his voice and his health right now?
Padge: No, Matt went in for the operation and had his tonsils taken out and when he recovered from that he had to re-train himself in how to sing, because he couldn't do it the same way as he was used to. That's the main reason for it really, that he's still trying to re-train his voice because it physically wouldn't do the same things anymore. That doesn't rule out that things could get better and that there still could be more screaming on the next album.

RF.net: So you're on Sony at the moment, and we'd like to ask you about your experiences with being on a major compared to being on a smaller label, considering all the stories about the problems coming from deal with a major label.
Padge: Well we're signed to a man within Sony BMG who has his own label within that company, and this deal we have with him is probably the only deal in the world where we get full artistic freedom. Maybe to get a song on radio they'll take out a couple of screams and make a softer version like that, or they change a couple of words that might be too violent but as far as the music is concerned they don't really touch anything. They totally trust us and we totally trust them and I know why a lot of people talk about these things when it comes to big labels but we really haven't had a bad experience with them yet.

RF.net: When you released "The Poison" you were kind of on the forefront of the whole melodic metal/metalcore explosion that's been going on for the past couple of years - and what you did back then seemed really new and fresh. Now however it seems there's a lot of bands out there sounding more than a little like you, so did you feel any pressure, writing the new album, in having to distance yourself from the competition?
Padge: No. Honestly we just went in with our ideas for a recording session and we just approached it as we would have done with any album really. You know we recorded the songs that we had and chose the best ones, and that's honestly how we did it. We didn't go in with any thoughts about going in this or that direction we just went in and did what we do. Didn't really think too much about it.

RF.net: On the new album there are a lot of songs that seem to be heavier/harder/more metal, than your previous songs, but then there's also songs like "Hearts Burst Into Fire", that are almost even more melodic than the old stuff - Where you aware of this contrast and what are your thoughts on it?
Padge: Well as a band we just like to have both flavours and more musical colours you know. So that the album isn't just metal or something. I think that's how we all have like albums by other artists so that's what we wanted. I mean you can do a 100 miles per hour thrash record that just goes "ARRRRGH" for the whole record and then stops, and that's cool for people who're into that sort of thing but as a band we just want to appeal to a broader spectrum of fans, so we try to include more melody in the mix to make the songs stronger.

RF.net: Do you ever feel that you're kind of trapped between the die hard metal fans that think you're not hard enough and the more ordinary rock fans that think you're a bit too metal?
Padge: I think we'll always be a trapped band in that way, especially if you're commercially successful then there's always going to be people trying to knock you down, and we're totally aware of that, especially with this second release where there's bound to be even more of them. I just don't think we feel caught because we just play the kind of music we like, be it heavy metal or softer stuff and then people can think what they like.

RF.net: Can you describe to us the differences between your old and your new album, seen from your own point of view?
Padge: There's way more solos from my perspective. I think there's a solo in every song on the new album if there isn't two! It's just a lot harder I think and the tempos are being played around with. I think the musicianship is just better and I don't think we could've achieved what we did on "Scream Aim Fire" when we did "The Poison" at all. I just don't think we could've played it, because these four years of touring have made us into better musicians.

RF.net: Do you think then that the differences are mostly technical? What about from a songwriting perspective?

Padge: No I think that there's also been much more inspiration for lyrics. Matt has had a whole lot more experiences to write from, as opposed to on "The Poison" where it was mostly cruel and sort of creepy lovesongs, because those were the kind of experiences he had to write from. Now, seeing what he's seen and doing what he's done over the past three years have given him a lot more to write about.

RF.net: "Scream Aim Fire" has so far gathered some pretty mixed reviews. Some places very good and some very bad. What are your feelings about all the negative reviews it's been getting?
Padge: Erhm.. I did read reviews on the net at some point but I spoke to the boys and they told me "Look, stop reading them man because you'll feel like shit", because those boys know how I am. You get depressed so either only read the positive stuff or don't read any of it you know. All the people who don't like the bands won't be at the shows anyway so there's no need for us to give a fuck about them. Just worry about who's there that's all.

RF.net: That holds true for many situations, but then you have played to many pretty sceptic audiences, thinking about when you've played with Iron Maiden and Guns 'N Roses. What went through your mind when you were playing to thousands of people booing at you or throwing stuff at you or generally giving you a hard time?
Padge: Well normally what was going through my mind was "I can't wait to get off stage". But we had to do it because I mean.. We were on tour with Iron Maiden in North America, playing big arenas and stuff. So you've got to weigh your pros and cons, you're on stage with Iron Maiden and these people down front don't like you, but what about the rest of them? You gotta' crack on with the show man. It is a little soul destroying but at the end of the day it's stupid to mind those hundred people booing down front when there's thousands more who enjoyed the shows. I don't think any of us can say that the tour didn't help our career in any way so.

RF.net: In a recent interview in Kerrang you revealed that before you wrote the title track for "Scream Aim Fire", you'd actually written almost an entire album's worth of material which you then scrapped in order to write more songs like "Scream Aim Fire". Obviously we've all heard the new record by now, so the fans are probably already starting to get curious as to what's going to happen to the songs you scrapped? Do you any plans to make them available as a b side or something?
Padge: I think one or two may become b-sides but I think it's a bit exaggerated to say there was a full album worth of songs. There was 6 or 7 songs you know, and maybe one or two of them'll get used, but for the most of them we just felt more like stepping it up a little bit from "The Poison" because they were a bit too much of a "Poison 2" sort of thing. So it was kind of like the back end of that album and we needed out of that, and then we played "Scream Aim Fire" and that's what separated it for us. That's kind of what we needed to move on, so there was a reason for it, but yeah maybe one or two will come out. I'm sure they'll get leaked somewhere.. Haha..

RF.net: What are your plans for the immediate future after this tour? Will you be doing festivals over the summer?
Padge: Yeah we're working Scandinavia for a few days and then we go straight to America to shoot another video and play a TV Show called "Jimmy Kimmel Live". Then we do the North American leg of Taste Of Chaos with Avenged Sevenfold and Atreyu. Then we get 6 days off back home and then we go straight to Australia and then New Zealand and Japan. Then we'll hit some of the summer festivals in Europe and Brittain and so. Then I think we're heading back to America for a tour and then we come back to headline a European tour again and then we'll probably be starting to think about a new album after that.

RF.net: Can you put some names to any of the summer festivals yet?

Padge: I can't put names on anything yet, but I'm guessing it's going to be the majority of them.

RF.net: Heard anything from Roskilde maybe?

Padge: Well after last time I'm sure we'll be back there soon you know.

RF.net: That was all I had for you so now all that's left is to leave the last words to you if you have any shoutout to our readers:
Padge: Deepest thanks to all our fans who put us where we are because we couldn't do this without you guys, aaaand go pick up a copy of Scream Aim Fire!

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