By Alex Sievers
Bullet For My Valentine (BFMV) will be hitting our shores with the always kick ass Atreyu, and the dark metalcore newcomers, Cane Hill this October. Alex Sievers spoke with vocalist/guitarist Matt Tuck just as the news broke that these two were touring together Down Under. Now, if you’re new to this whole ‘music thing’, let me catch you up. Atreyu and BFMV started gaining their first big successes around the same time (2004 and 2005, respectively) and the way Tuck sees it, the two bands are basically brothers in arms.
“We’ve known those guys since 2004. We have a lot in common, from our age and the music that we play, and we definitely feel like they are a family. As the years have gone on and with this kind of music changing and how it has been getting older, we really feel like a family with those guys.”
For those unaware, Atreyu actually went on hiatus in 2011 and (thankfully) returned in late 2014 with a bang. So I was curious to know if BFMV have ever considered taking a few years off for a hiatus or perhaps undertake the big one – breaking up. Tuck says that slowing down or quitting hasn’t been an option for the band.
“We don’t like to rush things. We only do what we want to do, and we haven’t felt we are at the stage where we need to go away for a bit or take a break. After spending (time) off writing and recording, we are always itching to get back at it. Of course that does happen to a lot of bands, though. But we’re touring Venom right now obviously and its happy days.”
Since their debut album, The Poison, there has consistently been a two or three-year gap between each of their records, meaning that each album gets its full time in the spotlight. Tuck agrees with this sentiment and states that he is grateful the band has the pull and the strength to sustain those kinds of schedules; “We’re very grateful that we became a big band so early in our career so that to do a proper touring schedule takes a long while, and then there are the breaks in between. So it’s always a two or three-year cycle for us and our records”
Prior to this interview, I showed the band’s music to my girlfriend and she said that BMFV reminded her a lot of Metallica in their sound and look. While I think we can all agree there are some big similarities between the two, one has been in the game A LOT longer than the other (no medals for picking who) but I’ve always seen BFMV as a long time player in the metal world.
I was not alone in this thought.
“Longevity for us has always been the focus. We’ve never been a ‘cool’ or a trendy band and we were not the best-looking band going, but what matters is the music and if that connects to people. That’s what we do at the end of the day – we are a band after all.”
BFMV will be soon touring with Asking Alexandria and I’ve seen and heard both bands get roped in with acts like Avenged Sevenfold and Five Finger Death Punch as being ‘entry level metal’ – something that snobby metal elitists like to use to belittle listeners who prefer those bands and that particular style of metal. Tuck definitely some thoughts on this.
“I think that the proof of the pudding is in the eating of it. I mean, we’ve been a professional band for 12 years, had five successful albums, sold over 5 million, toured with greats, and I just don’t think that is classed as an ‘entry level band.’ We don’t have to be the most technical band to be the biggest, you know? Metallica didn’t need to do that, Linkin Park didn’t do that, Avenged didn’t do that and we don’t feel we need to.” He continues, “The snobby element of the metal community thinking that we aren’t a metal band is just nonsense, that’s just internet bullshit we don’t listen to anymore”.
Now, the key word there was ‘anymore’, as the band used to listen to those comments but they thickened up their skin when they were seeing the actual tangible results of their hard work. “Oh, it’s funny, we used to pay attention to all of that back in the Poison/Scream Aim Fire days, and we took it all very personally. But we were selling lots of records and we were starting to headline arenas, and we thought “Hang on, these people are just talking shit and they don’t matter,” laughs the singer.
That success is of course down to people across the world resonating with the band’s music, and like any sane band out there, these guys are all about their fans. Apart from the official Slayer and Suicide Silence IOS phone app, there aren’t really a lot of bands having their own phone apps these days, but BFMV do, and their fans have really jumped on it since its release. This is really about keeping a central hub for any and all things Bullet For My Valentine, which when you think about, is a pretty savvy thing to have nowadays.
“Disciple Media approached us about making the app, and we thought that for genuine fans of the band, who have all of the social media platforms, why don’t we have it all in one place. So we can put out tour updates, sell merch and tickets, live streams and so on. Basically, we can control it all”, Tuck explains. He adds, “It’s been an amazing success so far as we have had so many subscribers already.”
Avenues like this are the kind of things that bands need to capitalize on, and not just from a business or revenue perspective. The social media platforms we have today may not be here in a few years and having a readily available phone app could do wonders down the road. Tuck agrees with me on this and says that they are making up for it now as they missed the boat when Facebook, Twitter and Instagram first took off.
“We’ve always been late to the party, as we only setup a Facebook and a Twitter account a few years ago. But I think now we are way ahead of the game on this one. It feels really good to have this one stop place for all Bullet fans to talk with one another, and we have this great community forming.”
And just like their comradery with Atreyu, Bullet are all about their fans and the community that their music undeniably creates. See you in October, lads.
Bullet For My Valentine + Atreyu + Cane Hill: Tour Dates 2016
20 October – Metro City, Perth (18+)
21 October – HQ, Adelaide (18+)
25 October – 170 Russell, Melbourne (18+)
27 October – Big Top, Sydney (Lic/AA)
28 October – Eatons Hill, Brisbane (Lic/AA)
Tickets on sale HERE from 18 April 2016.