Bullet For My Valentine

author PP date 09/08/06

On Wednesday, the 14th of December, our scribe Mikkel Schläger (MS) went to Vega to have a chat with Bullet For My Valentine, currently one of the most hyped bands around in the UK. They've just released their debut album "The Poison" on Sony records. The band is from Wales, and consists of Matthew Tuck on guitar and vocals, Michael 'Padge' Padget also on guitar and vocals, Jason 'Jay' James on bass and vocals, and Michael 'Moose' Thomas on the drums. Mikkel sat down backstage in Vega with bassist Jay to talk about how horrible it is to tour the US as a small band, and the bands' future plans. Some interesting things about their relationship with Sony and a new album are revealed in the interview, so read on to find out more.

RF.net: So how's it going?

Jay: It's going great!

RF.net: The tour going good?

Jay: Yeah, we've been on tour now for like seven weeks, so we're all a bit tired but... yeah it's going great.

RF.net: People tend to categorize you guys as Metalcore. Is this an accurate label, or how would you categorize your sound yourself?

Jay: I think we're Metal. I'm not sure, don't know how to put it, I think we just bring metal back, you know. So I'd say we're just Metal... Rock Metal.

RF.net: Is there a hidden story about Valentine's Day for you guys? Since you're named after it, and the release date of your EP was on Valentine's Day in the US, and you played a special Valentine's Day show in the UK this year, which actually one of our writers attended. So what's the story about that?

Jay: Well, being as our name is Bullet For My Valentine, it kind of worked you know. Cause of Valentine's Day, we thought...

RF.net: Why are you called Bullet For My Valentine?

Jay: The reason why we're called Bullet For My Valentine is, uhm... basically the lyrics to our songs. They're like evil twisted love songs, so Bullet For My Valentine kind of represents what the lyrics are about...

RF.net: So you took the name after the lyrics?

Jay: Yeah, because we'd already written some songs and the lyrics, so we needed something that incorporated that as well, so the name just fit completely perfectly.

RF.net: Okay. Let me ask you something; Why are you playing in Denmark? You're playing 2 shows here right?

Jay: Mhmm.

RF.net: Because small bands and 'scene' bands such as yourself usually skip Denmark and maybe play one show in Sweden and Norway.

Jay: Well, we like to play everywhere that we can. Basically we've noticed that if we go to the places where not all bands go to, then people appreciate it more. So we figure if we go to the places which don't get many bands or shows, then people come to the shows and they'll be very grateful that we show up in their places. I think every band should go to the places they can go, you know? They should make the effort.

RF.net: So how does it feel... you know, you've become like superstars over in the UK almost.

Jay: It feels amazing! It's like, yeah, we were trying to make it for like 8 years in different bands back home, and for 8 years nothing, we didn't get anywhere. And suddenly we played a few shows in London, and suddenly we have like 5 or 6 record companies arguing over us. It was amazing. So from nothing straight to there [raises hand in the air]. It's like, it's been one hell of a ride. Our feet haven't touched the floor for like half... well, within a year we were like from here to here [hand motions in the air]. And we're still going, so...

RF.net: So how does it feel like coming to Denmark and all the small countries where not so many people know you as well as in the UK?

Jay: Well that's cool because uhm, if you take the UK for instance, when we first started it was really small clubs. Not many people come in, some people saying "get off!", you know. In a couple of months we kept on doing it, kept on doing it. Suddenly now we're playing in front of 5.000 people, and everyone's cheering for us. So basically we just gotta do the same in every other different country. Just start again basically, and try to get the loyal fans that we've got back home here too.

RF.net: So how's that going so far?

Jay: It's going great. We've had some ups and down shows you know, in The States we played some places which were kind of out of the way, and not many bands go to...

RF.net: Yeah, you played like 22 shows in 23 days right?

Jay: Yeah.

RF.net: How was that?

Jay: That was cool. It was pretty hard due to that fact that these were really small clubs. They didn't have no dressing rooms, nothing like that, and it was really cold places. So we had to like get changed on the bus - thankfully we had a bus - and we'd go straight into venue, wait the hallway, freezing, take our jackets off, go on stage, play in front of like 20 people which were just standing there like this [crosses arms]. You know? And then get our jackets back on and run back to the bus. But that was the off days. There were some good days, like about 2- or 300 would turn up, and they'd know us. So then we'd had some... you know?

RF.net: It depends on where in the country?

Jay: Some of the more populated parts like New York and stuff, they knew us. The closer to home we got... the further, I think, south we went, closer to home, they knew more of us. This being the same in Germany and Sweden, as we've been go through some places rammed with people, and then you get places like last night, where only like 40 or 50 people turn up.

RF.net: That was in Gothenburg right?

Jay: Mhmm. But then 30-40 people, they loved it, and they had a really good time.

RF.net: About that show. Gothenburg is like the "Metal Capital" of the world. Heavy Metal. It's got the Gothenburg scene bands like In Flames, and I know your favourite bands include Metallica, Slayer and Iron Maiden and stuff like that, so how do you feel about Gothenburg Metal bands like In Flames, Dark Tranquillity, Arch Enemy?

Jay: They're cool. I love Arch Enemy, and In Flames are awesome. Uhm yeah, we hopefully... perhaps one day do a show with Arch Enemy perhaps, hopefully, you know?. But yeah, I think they're awesome, what they're doing. They've got loads of riffs. They're really busy and they're really good strong bands man. Yeah, we dig 'em.

RF.net: So how does it feel performing in the "Metal Capital" of the World?

Jay: It felt great man.

RF.net: What was it like being there? Did you feel anything about the whole Capital thing?

Jay: It felt cool, we felt proud to be in a place that so Metal and everything. Yeah, we just thought it was great.

RF.net: Can you name the best show you've ever done?

Jay: The best show I've ever done?

RF.net: Yeah, or just a very good show?

Jay: A very good show... I think that my personal best ever time on stage was Reading Rock Festival this year in England. We opened up for Iron Maiden, and it was in front of I don't know how many... thousands and thousands of people. I've got a picture on my labtop, I can show you if you want to?

RF.net: Yeah. That'd be cool.

Jay: And it was like for eight years we going to this festival, and we'd be down in the crowd, and be like "one day man, we're gonna do it". And this summer was that day, and it was just like... wow man. My heart was beating, and I went out and accomplished my dream man.

RF.net: How did you feel right before that show?

Jay: [laughs] I almost shit myself! Really really nervous, you know?

RF.net: So how about the worst show you've ever done?

Jay: Worst show... Okay... it was probably when... when we first starting out, before we... we were just about to get signed. We knew that we were gonna get signed, and we were on this tour with Anthrax and Hatebreed. And we went up on stage, we were first on, and the crowd were just there to see Hatebreed and Anthrax. They didn't give a fuck who we were. And because we are Welsh... they hadn't heard us... they started saying we sound like The Lostprophets, just 'cause we're from Wales. So a couple of people in the club were going "Prophets get off!", you know, and we were like "Fuck you man!". But like, after the show, everybody would clap. Everybody was like "good work". So it was kind of empty words, you know? So that was kind of the worst show really.

RF.net: Okay, nothing where you've been boo'ed totally off the stage?

Jay: No, we've never completely been boo'ed off. There's been some shows with the odd person in the back going "get off". But that was completely before we released anything. Before we... like, it was our second tour I think. So people were still trying to get used to us. And there was another time, this year actually in Scotland. Nobody boo'ed, they were all there for us. Complete sold out venue, 5-600 people all there for us, having a really good time. But I didn't get no sleep because of the travel. So the next day I was like [spinning out?] and stuff, and I personally had a bad show. The rest of the band were fine, but I was like dropping notes out because I was so tired. So after that show I just went to sleep.

RF.net: Can you describe the craziest thing that has ever happened to you while you were on stage?

Jay: The craziest thing...

RF.net: Yeah, a crazy anecdote... you must have something.

Jay: What you mean like...

RF.net: Like some dude throwing stuff at you, or jumping on stage doing shit. Whatever.

Jay: The craziest thing, uhm, we've done a bar flight tour in London, through all the bars in the UK, and it was a grand tour, and it was just before we got really big. So these places were rammed, right? And it was a small stage and it was fucking packed, and there was no barrier. And we were playing heavy like we normally do, going for it, and it was people crowdsurfing, there were no fucking bouncer, nothing. They were coming over, landing on Matt, on all his pedals, landing on the drum kit, landing on me. It was crazy. People tearing stuff off my belt, ripping things off me, clothes and stuff, trying to fucking pull my jeans. We had to stop the show, all the crowd came onto the stage and nicked my microphone, fucking nicked things off me. Mark, our tour manager was going "get off the stage, get off the stage!" [someone] had to come in, push everyone back, and we stopped the show. And there's another thing. There's a venue called Nottingham Rock City in London. We played a show there with Funeral For A Friend. Uhm, not sure how many, I think it was a couple of thousand, and half way through the first song, "Hand Of Blood", lights came on, power was cut. They actually broke the barrier. There was a fucking barrier, and the kids went so crazy the barrier collapsed, and everyone was falling on top of eachother [incomprehensible], the guards had to push them all back, pick up these kids that were hurt, and we were like "oh fuck", and we had to stop the show.

RF.net: Did you get to continue?

Jay: We couldn't, because by the time they fixed the barrier, our show time was up. So we said "sorry, we can't play now", and they started going crazy, started rioting, throwing things at people, fighting. So the manager came up and said "okay, Bullet will do a show on their own after the show, downstairs in the basement". So we got our own show after it all finished, and we had about 500 kids heading straight down there straight away... from the venue, or they would have started rioting. I was crazy. So I think that's about the most craziest thing that's happened.

RF.net: Cool. How is it like touring in the US compared to Europe? Like in general?

Jay: In general it was a lot more uncomfortable I think... 'cause it was longer drives. But there's pretty big drives in Europe too, especially travelling through Germany to here, you know, it's like two days on the bus, just constant travel. But in America there's some really really big travel days, and you're just confined to a bus for days and days on end, just waiting to get to a venue, and then when you get to the next venue, there's no parking, there's no dressing room. But that's because we were doing small shows. Hopefully next time, when we go back we'll have bigger venues, and we'll get treated better. I think we get treated a lot better in Europe than in The States.

RF.net: I'm sure you will get treated better next time. How does a typical 24 hour period look like in the touring life of Bullet For My Valentine? Like, from when you get up, 'till you go to sleep.

Jay: Well normally... like to day for instance, I got up at about 12, [?], load in, we have a shower, have something to eat. Then we soundcheck, then we wait to play, wait 'till all the support bands played. Then we play, and then depending on where we have to go the next day - if it's a long drive we leave straight away. And then we drink. We normally drink every night, untill about 4 or 5 in the morning [laughs]. And then we wake up with a hangover like today. I've got a hangover today. I drank too much whiskey last night... and that's basically every night, yeah. We drink, get drunk, go to sleep, wake up, play, drink, get drunk, go to sleep, get up...

RF.net: That's great. So are you enjoying it?

Jay: Yeah man, we're having a great time, 'cause we're all such close friends, you know, we're like brothers now. It's like, we grew up together from a very small age in school. So we've known eachother all our lives anyway. So to be on the road together, and kind of living together is cool. We just get on so well. So we're having a really good time man.

RF.net: I wanna talk about your new album a bit. The poison.

Jay: Okay.

RF.net: I must be correct in presuming that you're very satisfied with it?

Jay: Yes, very.

RF.net: Can you describe how you feel about it?

Jay: Uhm, I feel very proud about it, you know? It took us a long time to record the album due to a few things went wrong, you know? I went through 11 basses to find the right sound, you know? So, yeah we spent so much time on it, and we listen to it now, it's like we don't think it could be any better. Every single song we put 110% into, so we are very proud of it yeah, and we're glad that it's doing so well.

RF.net: What's your favourite song from the album?

Jay: My favourite song is "4 Words To Choke Upon". Because it means so much to us. The 4 words are "Look at me now". So when we were trying to make it, when we were young and stuff, and everybody was saying "you're never gonna do it, get a job, stop playing music", you know? People saying "you're nothing, you're never gonna be good enough"... Look at me now. It just means so much to us.

RF.net: You did a video for that song, didn't you?

Jay: Mhmm. we done it in London... On Valentines Day when we released our EP.

RF.net: Okay, but don't you have to listen to the song a thousand times when you're doing the video? Don't you get tired of it?

Jay: No. It's just such an aggressive song, and I just love it. Like, I never get tired of listening to Iron Maiden, and I never get tired of listening to Pantera, you know? They're just strong songs, and I don't think I'll ever get tired of it.

RF.net: Is there any hidden meaning with the room number 409? Since your song is called "Room 409"?

Jay: I don't think there's any hidden meaning to it, but it's uhm... in the song... it's about a girl caught in room 409 with somebody else. It's like you find your girlfriend in Room 409, and she's doing it with somebody else, and you just go crazy. So that's basically what it means.

RF.net: There's no personal meaning about it?

Jay: No, I don't think so. You'll have to ask Matt for that one, 'cause he wrote the lyrics, but I don't think there is, actually.

RF.net: Okay, uhm, I guess we already covered this, but if you could go back and change something about the album, what would that be? If you could... anything, like a small detail?

Jay: If I could change anything, uhm, if I could I'd change some part of the process of making the album. There was a time when we had to go to Canada, to record 4 singles with a different producer called "GG-Garth". I don't know if you've heard of him, but Sony asked us to go just to try something new, and we didn't want to. We wanted to stay with the current sound. So we done it anyway. So we went over there, and it turned out he completely trashed the songs, didn't do any justice for them. So it was a complete waste of time. It was a month out of our lives, and none of us needed to, you know, to actually go through it. We came back and listened to the songs, and we were devastated. We were like "Oh my god". So we had to redo all the songs, and it took an extra 2 months on top on our recording time. So, when it should have taken about a month and a half to do, perhaps 2 months, it actually took us 5 months in the end, so... yeah, that's probably what I'd change about it.

RF.net: But you're totally...

Jay: Totally happy with the album, yeah. Totally happy.

RF.net: When you have to write new stuff, what do you do? Do you like, lock yourselves in a room, and write and write until it's done, or do you come up with stuff over longer periods of time, and put it all together later?

Jay: It just happens man. We have practice, and then, you know, Matt will say like "listen to this". And then Padge will go "cool", he'll play something, Moose'll do a beat, and it just starts coming up. We never force it. If we try and work to hard... let's say we get half way through a song, and we can't think of the next part, we never spend too much longer, you know... we won't spend all day trying and trying and trying, because then you're just forcing it. So we leave that, and come back later, and start a new one. So then when we get some other riff and we think, woah, that fits the first song. So then go back, bring that back out and finish it. So we never try and try and try, we just let it happen.

RF.net: You never just sit down and say; "now we have to write a riff", and then do that?

Jay: That happens, during a song, say like you know, sometimes we go through a song. If we get stuck, then we turn down, Padge and Matt will sit down, and they'll think about it. But not for too long. If nothing's coming and it's been like an hour or 2, then we just leave it, and we just wait for something to come. We never try and force things, you know?

RF.net: So what about the lyrics? Do you write the lyrics for an already written tune, or vice versa?

Jay: Yeah, we always write the music first. And then Matt will fit the lyrics to it. So we get all the riffs done, all the song done, everything.

RF.net: In order too? Or do you have like just the riffs?

Jay: We'll have the whole complete song finished, you know? But just demo. As soon the song is done, we play it back, and then Matt will think about what it's about, and then he'll get inspiration off the riffs, and then he'll write the lyrics to it, and sing to it.

RF.net: How long have you played together as a band?

Jay: That would be 2 years. Previously I was in a different band on my own. These guys were in a different band called "Jeff killed John". And they had a different bassist, and we were in bands there for 8 years. So overall we've all played about 10 years. 2 years with us 4, 'cause I joined them, because their bass player left.

RF.net: So what about the future? Other than the Japan tour, what does the next year include for you guys?

Jay: Well, we go for christmas now, we have 2 weeks home. January we go to Japan for like about a week. Then we come back, we do a UK grand tour, where we're gonna be playing Brixton Academy, which is 5.000 people which will be the biggest show we've done so far. Then we go to Germany for like a week or 2. Then we come home half way through febuary, we start writing the next album, which we've already got 4 songs for already written. Then in march, april and may we're going back to The States. And then it's the festivals, june... all the festivals, the UK festivals, german festivals, hopefully the swedish festivals. So up untill then it's all completely booked up more or less to august.

RF.net: You think you might come to the Roskilde Festival?

Jay: Hopefully yeah, yeah. If we get invited, or... yeah, we're gonna try and play as many places and as much as we can.

RF.net: Okay, what can we expect from your next album?

Jay: I think it's gonna be better than this one. Yeah, well we've started writing... I can tell you that we've got like 3, nearly 4 songs now, and the riffs... they're still there. I think they're even better now, you know? It's much more riff orientated, all the stops are there, there's no lyrics as of yet, because we like to write the songs, and then put lyrics to as I said. But they sound amazing, so I think we're gonna... well we're gonna have to beat this album. So the next one's gonna be better.

RF.net: Do you have any idea when it's gonna be out?

Jay: The next one?

RF.net: Yeah.

Jay: No... no, we haven't even thought of going to record it yet. I'd probably say... either late next year, or early 2007. So not for another year I suppose, we're gonna tour the ass off this album first. And then we're gonna record the next one.

RF.net: Okay great. So what's your oppinion on the other main welsh bands Lostprophets and Funeral For A Friend?

Jay: My personal oppinion?

RF.net: Yeah.

Jay: I love Funeral For A Friend. They're amazing, they're really good friends, I mean, they took us out on tour in the UK, put us in front of some big crowds, and we're really grateful and thankful for that. We think that they're great people. The Lostprophets, uhm, I don't really know them as people. I don't really dig their music myself. I like their first album, but then they went a bit too soft for my liking, you know? And they've just gone "America" on me and stuff, so I don't really like that [laughs]... myself. But who knows, you know?

RF.net: They both released excellent debut albums, right? On major labels. But however both band's second albums sounded like they were toned down for the masses.

Jay: Yeah. They chilled right out.

RF.net: Yeah. So how much influence does the label have over your songwriting, recording and producing?

Jay: To be honest with you, none. They let us do whatever we want, which we think is amazing. That's why we chose to go with Sony. Because when we were like... thinking of what deal to go with, you know Roadrunner or Sony or whatever, we asked them what it involved, and Sony said "we'll let you do whatever you want", because they liked what we were doing, they didn't wanna change anything about us, and they haven't. So they just let us do whatever we want, really. They only asked for one thing, and that was for "Hit The Floor" to be on the album. That's what they wanted.

RF.net: Okay. It's a good song.

Jay: Mhmm. that's the only song they... that's how we got signed, with that song. They listened to that song, and they just loved it. So that's what they asked, we had to put that song on there, and then we could do whatever we wanted, and we have.

RF.net: You don't think they'll change anything in the future?

Jay: I don't think so. I think they like what we're doing. To be honest with you I think it's working. You know? They like what we're about, so... I don't think they wanna change us, because I think they see us as a change in Metal. We're a good team. Everyone that works for us, and we work for them, and it's awesome.

RF.net: Okay, something different: What's you oppinion on people downloading songs illegally off the Internet?

Jay: I'm totally against it. Because uhm... how the hell are we gonna sell a record, you know? I don't think it should be... uhm, legal downloads like from a website, I'm all for it, but people that steal songs, and steal music. I'm not digging that, because it's basically gonna be the end of the music business in the long run, if everybody's doing that, you know?

RF.net: You don't think it promotes small bands better?

Jay: Yeah, it does... Obviously it promotes. But noone's gonna be able to make any money on anything. It's good in a way and it's bad in a way, you know?

RF.net: So if people download an album and listen to it, and if they like it, they go buy it?

Jay: But would they buy it though? If they already downloaded it?

RF.net: I think so. I do it myself. If I don't like an album, I don't want to waste money on it.

Jay: Yeah, I suppose so. Suppose you can get a few tastes. Yeah. I like it like that. Suppose it's okay then.

RF.net: Can you name the best show that you've ever seen by another band?

Jay: Hmm. It'd probably be Iron Maiden I think. Either Iron Maiden or Metallica, funny enough [laughs]. But I seen Iron Maiden... how many years ago, it was about 6 years ago, or 7 years ago. And they had like fire on stage, and a big massive blow up Eddie doll, and he was walking down the stage. Bruce Dickinson came in on a fucking zip line, you know what i mean? He landed on the stage with a big flag, you know? It was like, wow! It was mesmerizing. And then Metallica in 1997, I seen them, and that was cool, they had snipers coming up on stage and stuff for "One", and bombs going off, explotions. I think that's what it's all about if you're gonna put a show on, if you wanna put a show on. And I can't wait untill we do this tour back home in january. We're gonna have fireworks, and we're gonna have fucking loads of pyrotechnics on stage, and we're gonna put on a show, you know? So I can't wait untill we're big enough to do that everywhere. Give people what they want man.

RF.net: Looking forward to it. Uhm, I've got some weird questions here for you.

Jay: Okay.

RF.net: Now that you're in Denmark, have you ever had a danish? [Jay looks puzzled] It's like these small cakes...

Jay: I haven't no. I just woke up and went out for a kebab. But I'm sure I'm gonna try one before the day is out.

RF.net: Okay, last question I've got for you: If you could be an animal for a day, what would it be?

Jay: An animal?

RF.net: Yeah, any animal.

Jay: Hmm. I'd probably be a bird, to see what it's like to fly. Either that or a lion. [laughs]

RF.net: [laughs]Yeah? Why?

Jay: Uhm, I don't know, so I could hunt other animals and tear them to shreds [both laugh].

RF.net: Okay, that's cool. That's all I've got. Thanks!

Jay: Awesome man, thanks! Are you going to be at the show tonight?

RF.net: Yeah, of course I am.

Jay: Cool.

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