Bullet For My Valentine

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Bullet For My Valentine

These days it seems that the Welsh hard-core heavyweights have a lot to smile about. Their fifth studio album Venom debuted at #1 on the ARIA charts; they were chosen as an early drawcard for Soundwave 2016; they’ve successfully introduced a new bass player into the mix; and they’re currently on a sold-out stadium tour of North American supporting Slipknot, alongside Lamb of God and Motionless In White. So it came as no big surprise that front man Matt Tuck was in high spirits backstage when he called in for a quick chat.
“Ah man, we literally just came off stage!” he beams. “Slipknot are about to go on, so now we’re just going to be hanging out,” he adds before apologising for the noise. Everything is buzzing around him – I can hear people laughing and joking in the background. I guess life is bitter sweet when your band has one of the biggest albums in the world right now. “Oh it’s amazing! Number one in Australia is not something we expected – we’re over the moon.”
Venom has broken all expectations. “Last time I checked we were top in eight countries! We listened to our fans and learned a lot – and it feels like now it’s paying off.”
From all accounts it’s been a tough few years for the band. Coming off the massive success of their first three albums (The Poison 2005, Scream Aim Fire 2008 and Fever 2010), 2013’s Temper Temper received a lukewarm reception, so tensions that had been brewing within the four-piece reached boiling point and lead to the departure of long time bass player Jason James.
Although this perceived setback couldn’t have come at a worse time, Tuck was determined to continue what he’d started, as early material from Venom had already been leaked on the internet. He’s known endearingly as ‘The General’ by his band mates, Michael ‘Padge’ Paget (guitars) and Michael ‘Moose’ Thomas (drums), because of his work ethic.
“I’m a bit of a control freak really,” he smiles. Tuck says he threw himself into the work. “Whenever we make an album I like to be there from start ’till finish. I write the lyrics and track all the rhythm guitars – and I played all the bass this record. I don’t mind taking the work on my shoulders because I have such a clear vision of what our sound should be like – I don’t like anyone else taking over.
“That was the reason why we wanted to go back with Colin [Richardson] as our co-producer. We had the luxury of picking anyone we wanted in the world, but worked with him on our first two albums,” Tuck explains.
“We actually did a trip to LA in January and we sat down with five or six big-hitting celebrity producers who all wanted the gig – but we didn’t want anybody having an opinion on what we should be doing, you know? We knew what we should be doing, so we picked up the phone and called him and then we got Carl Brown on board and it was perfect. Actually when we first listened to the finished album from beginning to end there was a moment when everyone looked at each other and had a little giggle because I think that’s when we knew we’d done something special.”
With the addition of Jamie Mathias (formally of Revoker) on bass, Bullet for My Valentine will be at full force when they touch down in Australia this summer.
“I think the main reason that it’s been so seamless is that we managed to find a Welsh guy to do the job!” Tuck laughs.
“Mainly because we had the same upbringing from the same area of town, so we sound the same and it works well for the backing vocals. He brings an exciting dynamic to the live show that people have picked up on straight away, and behind the scenes with the four of us it’s been great – as smooth as we could have hoped for. We know people are going to be anticipating something big, so we’ll definitely be bringing our A-game and giving everything we have and then some for these shows.”
Written by Natalie Rogers
When & Where: Soundwave, Melbourne – January 26