After being named Best British Newcomer
by Kerrang and earning the Metal Hammer Golden God Award, you might think that Bullet For My Valentine
would be feeling fairly confident going into its 2nd full-length release, Scream Aim Fire
But even with all of the accolades received since 2005's The Poison, guitarist Michael Padge Padget
said that his band has often been the target of criticism. And talk about hitting them where it hurts - apparently some have claimed that the band is more emo than metal. For a quartet with strong metal influences, being told you're closer to Fall Out Boy's genre than Metallica's is not an easy pill to swallow.
But despite all of the jabs, Padge has reason to be feeling good right about now. Aside from landing a coveted slot on the successful Taste Of Chaos Tour, Padge is also premiering 2 new custom ESP
models this year. The MP-600 and the Michael Padget V are directly inspired from Dave Mustaine's DV8 model, but they now have Padge's own graphic interpretation. When Padge
talked with Ultimate-Guitar
, he said that he was blown away by being endorsed by ESP, let alone creating his own models. So how does the MP-600 and MP V sound? Well, Padge had not actually played his new ESPs at the time of the interview, but he was counting down the minutes until he could bring them onstage.
UG: You spent a good deal of time touring in support of The Poison. Did you write the bulk of material from Scream Aim Fire during that tour?
Maybe a third of the songs' riffs and ideas and random stuff came on the road. Another third or maybe half was completed in a real studio in London. We wrote 6 track in London, so that was the majority. The rest of it was kind of written on the road from playing around, past and present.
I recall reading a quote from Matt stating that the band wanted to be more metal all the way across the board. Did you approach the album in the same way?
I think so, yeah. I think a few bodies wouldn't agree, and those sorts of things do kind of get to you and gets under your skin slightly. You just kind of want to prove them sort of wrong and prove that we are metal in a way. We just wanted to write a harder record.
Do you get pretty fired up when you hear negative comments?
Yeah! We've had our fair share of really, really bad and cruel gigs. There's no need in moaning about it, and we just kind of get on with it. It does kind of lead to thicker skin. At the end of the day, we are quite a new band and we've only put our 2nd full-length album. We've had to learn quite a bit in the last few years.
Considering that you are in a fairly new band, it's pretty impressive that you have 2 custom ESP models already.
When ESP approached me, I was totally blown away. We're new to this sort of thing. For someone to say they want to put your name on a guitar, that's just ridiculous for a young guy from Wales! I'm still totally blown away. I've seen it in photos, but I haven't actually played on it yet. My guitar tech is saying tomorrow.
What kind of specifications did you ask for on your ESPs?
Because ESP had given me the endorsement, they have given me loads of guitars and I've been able to check out a lot of guitars. I was able to find out what I sort of like and what is comfortable to my style of playing. They had given me the DV8 Dave Mustaine, I believe. I think that was about a year and a half ago, and I just kind of jammed with that ever since. It was just really comfortable to play, fully equipped with EMGs as well. It's a flying V, which is totally metal. I just kind of stuck with that one.
It was amazing that they approached me because they had said that Dave had left, and they wanted to offer me that sort of model. So the work was kind of done, but it was kind of wiping Dave's graphics off it and adding my own touches to it.
Was Megadeth a big influence for you?
Yeah, I would say in the last 3 or 4 years. Especially the older stuff - the older stuff tends to be my cup of tea more than the newer stuff. But back in the day, I wouldn't say that I was a big Megadeth fan. I was more of a Metallica fan back years ago.
You have some incredible dual guitar work on the new record, particular on Waking The Demon. How did you and Matt work out the parts on that track?
I believe on that one, we were searching for a really heavy track for the album. Matt sort of came up with this really hardcore, downpicking shreddy riff. It actually took me a couple weeks to get my downpicking up to speed! It was interesting because it was a challenge as well. That song was kind of born from that riff. We kind of worked on a load of harmonies, which come in late in the song. Matt adds in the lyrics once everyone is happy with the music.
Is Waking The Demon the primary song that you've had to downpick on?
It was really that one riff in particular. It is just furious downpicking.
The new record marks the 2nd time you've worked with producer Colin Richardson. What is it about him that has worked so well with the band?
Ultimately, it was Burn My Eyes by Machine Head that totally blew everyone in the band away years ago when they released that album. The production just sort of blew our minds. We're all big fans of Colin's work and we have been for years. When we actually landed a deal, he was kind of the obvious choice - our only sort of choice. He was well within our range, so that was kind of cool. He came in and he's pretty much stuck with us ever since. He did The Poison, and he's now done Scream Aim Fire. He's like the 5th member of the band. He really nails it and he knows exactly what we're after. He doesn't mess with anything, which is great.
So he never offered advice on the actual songwriting or arrangements?
No, as far as production is concerned, there is always one of the band there monitoring it. But Colin would never do anything before asking us first. He's more of a real producer, and he saves the effects more for vocals.
Did you try out any new guitars or amps on Scream Aim Fire?
We used a Bogner on this album, which is pretty cool. We used a Bogner on one side of the rhythm guitars, and that worked out well. We used a different guitar, too. I think the main guitar was an ESP Eclipse during The Poison, but this time around was a Gibson Les Paul Raw Power with EMGs. That was like the main tracking guitar. I did all my solos on that, too, because we couldn't find another guitar to beat that tone.
I had no idea that you played Les Pauls.
Only in the studio!
Do you think you'll take the Bogner on the road?
Maybe. We haven't actually played them live, so there is always a possibility. We were lucky enough to keep the one that we used in the studio, so maybe. At the moment, I'm with Mesa. Maybe, I can't say.
There is some really nice acoustic work on the song Say Goodnight. Did you and Matt share acoustic duties on the album?
No. I think Matt is really big fan of the acoustic. I'm definitely an electric guy! I let Matt get on with his creativity, so to speak. He's really good. He's got a great rhythm to him.
I understand that you made 2 videos for Scream Aim Fire, but the first one ended up being scrapped. What happened?
The original concept was to do a war video. There wasn't a tiny budget, but it was a small budget. It wasn't enough to reach the other war videos that have been released by other bands. My Chemical Romance released a big one, and Green Day released a big one. They spent millions of dollars doing their videos. Our budget was just so tiny that we couldn't really compare to these other videos. We just decided to go with something a little bit more real and raw, I guess.
Do you ever get nervous when your album is about to be released?
No, I just go with the flow. We're just going to have a little drink with the crew tonight. We'll all get together before the tour starts. The album is released, but it's been so long waiting for it to be released that we're just so happy for it to be out there now.
Do you thrive being on the road?
I do, yeah. But it is tough because we're all human and we've got lives back at home, families, friends. It does get hard, but once you're away you just sort of go with the flow. You're among friends, so you feel safe and confident anyway.
Will one of the new ESPs be the main guitar you use on the tour?
Yeah. I've been informed that it's arriving tomorrow, so it's going to make the whole tour. It's great because we have a video shoot on Friday. I can't wait. It looked really good in the photos at NAMM. It looked brilliant.
Do you look forward to multi-bill tours like Taste Of Chaos?
Yeah, it's going to be amazing. We've probably got the best slot of the whole tour. We should be offstage technically by 8 or 9 o'clock, so expect the band to be drunk by then! We get to watch 2 bands, and it's going to be good. It's going to be 2 months of partying.
Expect some of the crew from Ultimate-Guitar to make an appearance at a few of the dates.
Yeah, Ultimate-Guitar.com - I use Ultimate-Guitar! I've got it as a bookmark in my computer!
Interview by Amy Kelly
|Stream the entire "Scream Aim Fire" album on the band's UG Profile.