Bullet for My Valentine’s Matt Tuck: ‘Venom’ Is ‘The Strongest Album We’ve Done’
Matt Tuck recently spoke with Full Metal Jackie for her weekend radio show. She caught up with the Bullet for My Valentine frontman to talk about the group’s new effort Venom, which Tuck says is their “strongest album” to date. Tuck also talks about the band’s new bass player, their tour plans and more. Check out the interview below.
The new Bullet for My Valentine record Venom is coming out on Aug. 14. So many of your influences are classic bands that have been around for a long time. What makes music timeless to you and are you conscious of trying to make your music timeless?
Yeah, I think growing up with the type of bands that I loved, the types of bands that are still going strong. I think it’s just something I’ve always subconsciously tried to do. Just to write music that I feel will stand the test of time. Sometimes I feel like that’s what I do on this album, sometimes I don’t. I think on this new album especially we’ve done something a little bit special, for some reason. I don’t know why, if feels special for some reason. It’s the strongest album we’ve done. Hopefully it is a record like that, like many people regard our first album. I think this one is a little bit more in keeping of that and it has a little bit more of that timeless feel. Hopefully we’ve done what we needed to do.
Your new bass player, Jamie Mathias, is also a real good singer. What changes most for you having another voice to compliment or contrast your singing?
I don’t know, really. It’s just nice to have someone on board who is a legitimate singer. It’s something that enhances my vocal ability. It’s something that complements it when we do the live stuff like harmonies and backing vocals. It’s just made me enjoy what I do a bit more now, for some reason. When he sings and does his backup vocal parts and it sounds strong, it just makes me feel like I’ve got to up my game and be as good, if not better, which hopefully I am as the lead singer. It just makes me want to be a really good singer. It’s inspiring to hear someone singing on our songs, who has such an amazing voice. It’s a really cool thing to hear.
“You Want a Battle (Here’s a War)” is a tune that addresses bullying, something you experienced as a kid. How much of the forcefulness of your music continues to be reactionary to memories of being put down?
Up until recently it wasn’t very apparent at all, really. I think the last couple of albums… the team has been let down slightly in having real content which has an emotional connection with myself, you know? I think this time around we wanted to make a lot more of an aggressive record. We wanted to make it heavier and darker than we’ve ever done before. I think a big part in making that come to reality was having lyrical content, which was emotionally challenging for me. So, revisiting places that weren’t so good when I was growing up. Like my early teens and coming through young adulthood, stuff like that. Just being picked on and not taken seriously.
As soon as I got into that headspace it was kind of easy, getting there was not so easy just because how my life has turned out and how I am as a person and very content and happy with my life. To revisit those places was a bit more challenging than it sounds, but as soon as I got the core themes and started to get my head back into the space of writing tuff that had emotional impact on me growing up and getting back into that world, it was a very rewarding experience. And as soon as I got a couple of the key songs out, it was quite easy.
Venom is a very angry and aggressive album. When you’re making that kind of music, how do you safeguard yourself from slipping fully into that mindset?
We just wanted to keep it who we were. We didn’t want it to be over the top in any respect, musically, lyrically or vocally. We always wanted it to sound like a Bullet record, we just wanted it to be dark and aggressive. So we know our limitations and identity and how we need and should sound. It wasn’t too hard to keep things reigned in. I think the balance we got between the energy, the aggressiveness and darkness of lyrical content and the way the melodies are, I think we got the balance just right because it still sounds like us. But it’s definitely the most aggressive and darkest sounding record we’ve ever done. So it wasn’t an easy place to get to. It took a lot of writing, demoing and scrapping.
A lot of effort went into the way the album is, which on the last album was the complete opposite. We didn’t do any pre writing, production or anything. So I think the difference between the last two albums are massive. I think it’s because of that, really, just the amount of time we spent writing this record and thinking about it rather than just doing it. It was quite a challenging process and quite long-winded, but I think now that we’ve done that and put that effort in, the album speaks for itself. It’s the strongest thing we’ve ever done by a mile.
What’s the biggest difference between what you initially envisioned and how Venom ultimately turned out?
It actually turned out exactly how we wanted it do. Like I said, it took a while to get there just because we had such a clear vision this time around in how we wanted it to sound and how we wanted it to feel, more importantly. We wanted people to connect with it and people to feel something again, whether it was angry, upset or whatever. It was just something we thought was lacking on the last album, just energy. Having the concept of trying to make an aggressive record, making it very dark, having lyrical content which touches a nerve with me initially and hopefully a lot of people. As soon as we have those kinds of parameters, that’s the road we went down. It did take a lot of writing and scrapping, again, but the album actually turned out exactly how we wanted it to, which was kind of a nice reward at the end of it.
You’re out with Slipknot and Lamb of God all summer long in North America. What are your plans beyond the summer?
We have quite extensive worldwide touring really, we’ve got already on sale a big U.K./European headline run. That’s pretty much sold out, which is great. We’ve got Ozzfest in Japan coming up in November. There’s just loads of stuff behind the scenes. We’ve got a headline run coming up in the States next year, which is currently being routed as well, which is great. Obviously festival season next year for Europe is already being worked out, so just massive extensive touring. It’s always a challenging but very enjoyable time for a band when they embark upon a new cycle, it’s quite daunting but as soon as you get going it’s the best thing in the world. We’re very excited, can’t wait to get going.
Many thanks to Matt Tuck for the interview. Bullet for My Valentine will release Venom on Aug. 14. Fans can pre-order the effort at iTunes and on the band’s website in various bundles here. Check out all their tour dates at this location.
Watch Bullet for My Valentine’s ‘You Want a Battle (Here’s a War)’ Video
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