Bullet For My Valentine: 'We're Not Afraid To Try Different Things'

Bullet For My Valentine's main man Matt Tuck discussed touring, the direction of the band's music and his approach to guitar.

Bullet For My Valentine: 'We're Not Afraid To Try Different Things'
48
Welsh metal-core band Bullet For My Valentine have spent most of the past few years taking over the world with massive UK, European, U.S. and worldwide tours, sharing the stage with Guns N Roses, Metallica, and Iron Maiden, playing the main stage at just about every rock festival on the planet, and seeing their 2006 debut album The Poison sell more than one million copies worldwide. Their highly anticipated sophomore album - Scream Aim Fire - and again produced by Colin Richardson (Machine Head, Funeral For A Friend) - was released about a year ago, and has garnered the band further critical acclaim and success. The band soon winds up their world tour in support of their latest album and in late January, the band undertook an Australian jaunt as part of the annual Big Day Out festival. On one of the hottest days in Australian history, main man Matt Tuck sat down with Joe Matera in Melbourne to discuss touring, the direction of the band's music and his approach to guitar. UG: You're currently in Australia for the annual Big Day Out tour festival. How has it been going for you? Matt Tuck: Yeah the Big Day has been really good and a bit of a laugh. Though it's been hot down here, it has been very much so, stress and trouble free. How does this Australian festival compare to some of the overseas ones you've undertaken? Performance wise it is pretty much the same vibe. But, like I said, it is a lot hotter [weather] and a bit more, quieter in the backstage area. Over in the UK for example, we have a huge backstage area for all our guests and stuff like that. Here in Australia, because there are not as many guests backstage, there is also a lack of groupies too. And that is the only downside to it all.[laughs] And it is something that we're used to at all the other overseas festivals. While on the topic of touring, what have been some of your most prized tour moments for you personally? There are too many to mention. But the main thing is being able to do our headlining shows for the last four years. That has been fantastic. To tour the world and be playing to thousands of people every night on our own shows has been amazing. That is the main highlight for me.
"I'm into the more melodic, sweeter kind of slower solos."
Your November 15th, 2008 performance at Alexandra Palace in London was filmed for an upcoming live DVD. Yeah we actually filmed three shows in all. We filmed one in California, that show you mentioned in London, and one in Munich. We filmed all those three shows so we could put them all together on the one DVD. So rather than have the one live show, we're going to have three of them on there. We expect the DVD to be out sometime in the coming summer. When out on the road do you still practice and jam on things? Sometimes but it is very much something that is a home thing, a personal life thing. But there are times when we may do the occasional jam. Do you prefer the road of the studio? I like both. We all respect each other but when we're off the road we like to spend it with loved ones and family. It is nice to have that peace and quiet and, not only from the boys, but also from the crowds, the people and the media. It is nice to be on your own for a couple weeks. One of the bonus tracks on Scream Aim Fire is an acoustic tinged number titled Road To Nowhere. Does the acoustic guitar play a major part in the songwriting process? It used to. A lot of the stuff on the EPs and The Poison came from acoustic guitar. Scream Aim Fire was written more on the electric guitar as we were on tour so we were jamming the songs in dressing rooms and the like. But I really love playing acoustic as it is so inspiring for me. I love it more so than playing the electric guitar. So do you think maybe in future we could see an acoustic solo album from you? I don't know, maybe. A majority of my songs do translate really well to a stripped down form and with many of the songs, we have versions of them acoustically. So who knows, but I'd love to someday. How does your live gear differ from your studio setup? On the first album we hired stuff out but it was the same stuff we're using now anyway. On Scream Aim Fire I actually used my actual live head but we had to go through about 12 different cabinets to eventually find a good one! As for guitars, the album has my Les Pauls and a Tube Screamer and that's it. Live, I'm using a Roland JC120 for the clean sounds and a Peavey for my dirty sounds. And I take four guitars with me out on tour; a Zakk Wylde Les Paul, two of my Jackson signature models and a Jackson Randy Rhoads model. The band has had its share of critics, and since moving in a more accessible direction, it has made you easier targets from them. How have you learnt to deal with that side of the industry? I've never been bothered by it. We just write music for us first and foremost and if people like it, then that is cool. And obviously millions of people do! And we're not going to change what we do because people may think it is cool or un-cool. We just write music and if we think it is good, we put it on a CD. The decision to write more in major keys on Scream Aim Fire has made the songs sound, for want of a better word, much pop-ier. Was that a conscious decision or a natural progression? I think it is a natural thing because if a song is in a major key, it is immediately going to be more uplifting and happier sounding. But we're not afraid to try different things and if the song is good enough in a major key, then it will be put on the album. We are focusing more towards the vocals these days because it is the most important part of the song really regardless if you're in a metal band or a jazz band or whatever. The vocal is what people sing along to and what sells records and not shredding.
"We just write music for us first and foremost and if people like it, then that is cool."
How do you go about getting capturing your tones in the studio? I leave that up all to our producer Colin Richardson who is so anal about it all. He has his own certain techniques that he has used with the bands he's worked with, so he has his own formula. It is great working with him. But getting going is the hardest thing and most frustrating part because he is so anal about tone, everything from the drums to the guitars. He will spend a few weeks getting everything set up before we even start recording just to find the sweetest tone and stuff. But once that is done, it becomes easy and we just fly through the takes. He actually spent four days just getting a snare drum sound on this album! Our drum tech was loosing his mind as he had to keep changing the drum head every time as he had to have ten different snares and ten different skins per snare and per mike positions. So it must have been a very lengthy process? That album from start to finish took about ten months. But there were a few months break in the middle of it because I had vocal problems and stuff. But it took about eight to nine weeks if you counted the actual days we actually worked and got recording done. Is your approach to soloing pre-planned, improvised or a little of both? It is a bit of both. It will start off improvised. For me personally, I'm into the more melodic, sweeter kind of slower solos. And being a vocalist I think that is where I get it from. I just hear a melody more than anything else. So I leave all the shredding stuff up to Padge these days. You have some incredible dual guitar work on the new record, particular on the track Waking The Demon. How did you and Padge work out your respective parts? It just starts off as a piece of music and then we decide if we want to have the harmony part just to uplift it and make it more of a meal out of it. We just sit down and work it out. It is not a complicated thing really. It is always more of a major thing now. We're not into that medieval Viking harmony stuff, it is definitely more uplifting, like the Thin Lizzy, sweeter sound than anything else. When it comes to your musical influences who are they? It is mainly metal stuff like Metallica, Zakk Wylde, Rich Ward from Stuck Mojo, and Dimebag. In closing, have you started working on ideas for the next album? We've got some bits and pieces and got some good guitar stuff happening but it is still really early days. We haven't had time to even hit the studio to demo any of them. It is all in my head at the moment. But we do have some really sweet things coming Interview by Joe Matera Ultimate-Guitar.Com 2009

175 comments sorted by best / new / date

comments policy
    Zyph73
    Hmm, kinda interesting interview. The comments is where it all goes to hell though. It's funny how people feel so strongly about their hate of the band that they feel the need to criticize them. Does a lot of people saying they're bad mean they are? I just find all the raving about how bad they are kinda pointless. Alas, the glory of the Internet.
    ytse Jammer
    dark_rider92 wrote: best metal band to come out in the last 5 years, hands down...
    You can't be serious? theyre Okish in a listen to once in a while but meh.
    reaper_x
    pavey wrote: reaper_x wrote: I leave that up all to our producer Colin Richardson who is so anal about it all. He has his own certain techniques that he has used with the bands hes worked with, so he has his own formula. It is great working with him. But getting going is the hardest thing and most frustrating part because he is so anal about tone, everything from the drums to the guitars. Wow, he must love anal. Wow, you couldn't be any more immature. leave the internet for the big boys, it can be a scary place... especially with people thinking abusing a band on a prodominently child-aged community website is going to make a difference to 1. What people think of the band 2. What music the band plays Fuck, anyone bad mouthing a band anywhere - especially the internet - needs to do some deep soul searching... and possibly find a new hobby, cos this one sucks!
    Dude, I actually like BFMV. But that just made me laugh. LOL.
    nick_kcin
    Wow, he must love anal
    hahahahaha! I've done some deep soul searching and it turns out I don't have one so **** bullet for my gayentine! valengay? I don't know, nothing offensive rhymes with valentine. anyway I don't really like these guys they're pretty talented but a lot about image and when you're in a mainstream metalcore band and say shit like "people are biggin up (sic) our new album more than Metallica's" you're basically begging to be crucified by just about any metal fan on earth
    ReeseKillsHIV
    I love how this tiny percentage of music fandom tries to separate METALcore from metal music entirely, as if it really matters. That's like trying to separate alt. rock from rock. Makes a load of sense, that does.
    nick_kcin
    I love how this tiny percentage of music fandom tries to separate METALcore from metal music entirely, as if it really matters
    if that was directed at me then yes I agree entirely its just that metalcore isn't exactly the most respected genre whereas metallica must be about the most respected metal band on earth
    Sober_god
    Wow thank you matt all this years i thought i like metal because of the guitar but its the "vocals that sells records". Lost all my respect for this band.
    Higgzy
    Sober_god wrote: Wow thank you matt all this years i thought i like metal because of the guitar but its the "vocals that sells records". Lost all my respect for this band.
    Wow, your standards are quite high aren't they, you jerk. Matt seems well nice Make another album already!
    guitar_shredda*
    lol people on this site are real douche bags seriously. i have never read so much crap in my whole life. WHY are people coming onto the pages and dissing bands they dont listen to, thats about the most ****ing idiotic and childish thing i have ever seen. bfmv is out there every night performing for thousands of fans like me and others who love their stuff unlike most of the people on this site who probably cant even play an instrument and probably dont have the brain capacity to ever learn.when your able to say you perform everynight at the biggest metal fests in the world and youve sold over a million records then you can come talk shit here. ps....rob flynn who is probably the most metal guy ever actually said he LOVES scream aim fire AND prefers it to triviums shogun album(shogun was a good album though!)oh and dont forget metallica love these guys as well.
    Xpl0de
    best band ever, i'm kicking myself for missing the Aussie show. hehe anal
    DimeLvR
    BFMV is the metal blink 182, Though most EMOcore bands are in the same pile of crap to me. Want real talent listen to Opeth at least they can come up with something that really hasnt been done since King Crimson.
    led,rainsong
    i like them a lot ive heard all their songs i could find and i realized i don't really get bored of them except the ones i really liked at first it's funny because the ones that i liked at first are all the major ones and now i skip them when my ipod gets to them a new album would KILL!
    Amuro Jay
    DimeLvR wrote: BFMV is the metal blink 182, Though most EMOcore bands are in the same pile of crap to me. Want real talent listen to Opeth at least they can come up with something that really hasnt been done since King Crimson.
    Who really cares that much about talent? That's like saying you'd rather listen to Petrucci solo all day rather than hear a catchy song. Don't get me wrong, Opeth are far more skilled than Bullet, but that doesn't justify a comparison, nor does it justify bashing a band. That's like saying "every band that isn't as good as Opeth is crap"
    Rock O` Mainiac
    Bullet for my valentine are just ****ing Awesome. I wich i had the oppertunety to watch theme live
    The_Rev_08
    Wow.... I really can't believe that people r coming on here and hating on this band. If u don't like the band, then stay the **** off the site!! But as far as the interview goes, Matt seems like a really cool guy. They r amazing live and they write really good songs. Very excited for the new album whenever it comes out.
    Vedicardi
    The vocal is what people sing along to and what sells records
    WOW SCREW YOU
    BFMV_Rocks001
    WWWWWOOOOOWWWWW.these guys are the best band in the whole universe. matt tuck and micael padget have the best and uniqe scream, Even Serge Tankian has a reallu uniqe voice. well BFMV have the best solos, Waking the demon, Scream aim Fire, eye of the storm, Even the soft songs have bad ass solos, like hearts burst into fire, curses, but i really didnt like Forever And alwaays cause it repeats , but still it was ok.Peace and love 2 BFMV..... Bullet for my valentine are the best in the whole WWWWWOOOOORRRRRLLLLLDDDDD!!!!!
    synyster rev
    saw u guys at the hifi bar in melbourne last week and we would love to go backstage with u wtf is with that im gonna have to fly to the uk to see u next time..
    diesiraex
    O.K... So, if they r sellouts then y do I nevr hear them on the, oh, what is it called again--RADIO? I'll admit they arent metal but hey, they're better than me so they have earned my respect. Feel free to flame, that's usually what happens here, no?
    ben&harry
    "We are focusing more towards the vocals these days because it is the most important part of the song" :O show guitar some respect
    Holy-Diver
    trendkill- wrote: guitartiger wrote: rly wanna c these guys on the mayhem festival, itll b awesome no slayer will be awesome at mayhem
    along with CC and Behemoth i would not go if it were just BFMV and Trivium ugh
    IfDaysEnd
    5_Strings wrote: is it just me or he really sounds a little irogant ?
    if you meant arrogant, then no, it's not just you he does sound arrogant
    apimpinsnoman
    zacharydak wrote: Settle down, friends. They can make albums purely for making money, I have nothing against that. I just won't listen to it, or preach to any one else what my principles are. Music is about making your own principles, not forcing them on others.
    +1 music is an art form, and to each their own on judging it. just because you dont like it doesnt mean its pussy, gay, or bad.
    ismellfunny13
    apimpinsnoman wrote: zacharydak wrote: Settle down, friends. They can make albums purely for making money, I have nothing against that. I just won't listen to it, or preach to any one else what my principles are. Music is about making your own principles, not forcing them on others. +1 music is an art form, and to each their own on judging it. just because you dont like it doesnt mean its pussy, gay, or bad.
    agree no music is bad everyone has different opinions
    Upon_Belail
    Mediocre band, nothing special, but there's much much better out there i guess they're kinda like trivium if you look at their progression even though i don't really care for either band but trivium is much better than this band.
    darkslde91
    apimpinsnoman wrote: zacharydak wrote: Settle down, friends. They can make albums purely for making money, I have nothing against that. I just won't listen to it, or preach to any one else what my principles are. Music is about making your own principles, not forcing them on others. +1 music is an art form, and to each their own on judging it. just because you dont like it doesnt mean its pussy, gay, or bad.
    well then its official Bullet is a pussy, gay,bad band. and so are the lame fans :]
    zacharydak
    darkslde91 wrote: well then its official Bullet is a pussy, gay,bad band. and so are the lame fans :]
    The problem with the music industry isn't the quality of the bands, it's the baffoonish opinions of elitists such as yourself. Personally, I will never give BFMV the light of day. But by all means they are allowed to release what they like, and their fan's are allowed to like them. And certainly shouldn't have to answer to internet tough guys.
    Holy-Diver
    ExtremeMetalFTW wrote: ready2breakdown wrote: "The vocal is what people sing along to and what sells records and not shredding." Thus proving they ONLY care about selling records. I'm sorry Bullet, but I can't listen to you guys anymore. The first CD was great, but you guys pulled a Trivium(but at least their instrumentals were still good). You're even more pop-sensible than the first CD(which was pushing it). So take your happy-go-lucky "metal" and keep those 13-year old kids happy, because you're the most metal band ever to them. Trivium's "The Crusade" is more metal than their previous releases. They went from metalcore to a more traditional metal sound. BFMV is metalcore, not metal. Whether it's good or not doesn't depend on that, although they do kinda suck.
    HEY THe Crusade was a poor metallica tribute by a metalcore band
    pavey
    reaper_x wrote: I leave that up all to our producer Colin Richardson who is so anal about it all. He has his own certain techniques that he has used with the bands hes worked with, so he has his own formula. It is great working with him. But getting going is the hardest thing and most frustrating part because he is so anal about tone, everything from the drums to the guitars. Wow, he must love anal.
    Wow, you couldn't be any more immature. leave the internet for the big boys, it can be a scary place... especially with people thinking abusing a band on a prodominently child-aged community website is going to make a difference to 1. What people think of the band 2. What music the band plays Fuck, anyone bad mouthing a band anywhere - especially the internet - needs to do some deep soul searching... and possibly find a new hobby, cos this one sucks!
    Somnambulance
    Bullet For My Valentine sounds as "emo" as Avenged Sevenfold. You can interpret that sentence any way you'd like.
    korn_dawg
    Somnambulance wrote: Bullet For My Valentine sounds as "emo" as Avenged Sevenfold. You can interpret that sentence any way you'd like.
    Somnambulance wrote: Bullet For My Valentine sounds as "emo" as Avenged Sevenfold. You can interpret that sentence any way you'd like.
    Yes. +1
    reaper_x
    korn_dawg wrote: Somnambulance wrote: Bullet For My Valentine sounds as "emo" as Avenged Sevenfold. You can interpret that sentence any way you'd like.Somnambulance wrote: Bullet For My Valentine sounds as "emo" as Avenged Sevenfold. You can interpret that sentence any way you'd like. Yes. +1
    No. -1
    reaper_x
    I leave that up all to our producer Colin Richardson who is so anal about it all. He has his own certain techniques that he has used with the bands hes worked with, so he has his own formula. It is great working with him. But getting going is the hardest thing and most frustrating part because he is so anal about tone, everything from the drums to the guitars. Wow, he must love anal .
    metalcoremax87
    i liked their first ep and the poison way better than the newest album... but i still dig "waking the demon" quite a bit
    AidanTDR
    ready2breakdown wrote: "The vocal is what people sing along to and what sells records and not shredding." Thus proving they ONLY care about selling records. I'm sorry Bullet, but I can't listen to you guys anymore. The first CD was great, but you guys pulled a Trivium(but at least their instrumentals were still good). You're even more pop-sensible than the first CD(which was pushing it). So take your happy-go-lucky "metal" and keep those 13-year old kids happy, because you're the most metal band ever to them.
    who gives a crap about what genre it is?!?!! if its good music listen to it, if you don't like it then don't, just don't whine about it either. although i will say scream aim fire wasn't nearly as good as the poison, a lot of people do like it, so leave them at it.
    bulldog03
    these guys opened for maiden and sucked the bag, everyone booed and threw water bottles at them
    Fishman214
    ismellfunny13 wrote: JayPresto wrote: man this band is so queer, girl metal if you don't like em then why come in and say shit about them if you got nothing nice to say SHUT THE FUCK UP!
    You, my friend, have just been verbally bitchslapped.
    sgwielder
    Adam124 wrote: metalh3ad88 wrote: bfmv sucks all their songs sound the same and they ruined creeping death when they covered it. that alone makes me hate them. thers also the fact that they hav no talent. but its mostly because they ruined creeping death. Typical metallica fanboy..Seriously just think for ONE second. How is it possible that a band with "no talent" can become one of the greatest metal bands to come out of the uk. And dont give me your shit "cause nooob 13 year olds listen to them" cause it isn't ****ing true. How about you create a band that sells millions of records and has one of the best live shows you've ever seen. When you've done that come back to me but until then...screw you.
    Come back to *you*? Have you done it matey? Sorry, the troll in me couldn't resist.
    asmeister
    I guess they could try NOT sucking dick for the next album, that'd be a new one to try
    ShadesOfNight
    im goin to go right ahead and guess im the oldest one to have visited this page yet? yeh, thought so. So i wont bother tellin you fags to grow up coz you have many years left in line to do that. I cant be a hypocrite, but if i was to go by any of your standards i would say "Opeth suck bollocks, Metallica suck as of the last album, Trivium suck, and any death metal bands you people label as the only metal; SUCKS!" but i wont do that, I'll just act my age and say I prefer BFMV a lot more than those bands. And ^asmeister^, hows about your just jealous coz you want that dick to suck? hmm? gtfo
    royalewcheese35
    First time i heard of them was live on the avenged sevenfold tour. They sounded really good live and put on a good show (better than atreyu at least). Then I got a hold of some of their music as mp3s, and they weren't as good as when i heard them live, just mediocre. dunno why. But they're an ok band.
    Bonorly
    Seems like a down to earth guy, it solidifies my liking of the band