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Bullet For My Valentine’s Rider


What’s it like to play arenas in front of thousands of screaming kids?

That’s what Welsh metallers Bullet For My Valentine do. They were in Ireland last week for a handful of gigs, where we had a chat with amiable and down to earth frontman Matthew Tuck.

He’s sound. And he doesn’t take things too seriously. Which was just as well, because we laughed out loud when we found out the contents of BFMV’s rather polite rider.

***

So it was the first night of the tour last night – how’d it go?

It was the first show of the tour, so historically the first show… it takes a while to really get into it. We havent done a show for two weeks now, so even that little amount of time off really does affect the feel of things. But other than us feeling that way it was fantastic.

We got really good feedback online, I was just checking this morning, so… job done!

The new album seems to have a bit more energy about it.

Yeah, we just wanted to do something that was exciting. Coming off the back of the last one it was the right direction to go. We wanted to make something that was edgier, thrashier and a bit more exciting. Those were the key things that we were looking for really.

You’re filling huge venues now. How heavy are you guys allowed to be, and are you ever leaned on to sweeten up your music?

I think this album is the perfect balance. We’re a heavy band but we have a lot of melodic and dynamic elements in the music. That’s kind of frowned upon by the more traditional metal bands, but it’s just something we’ve always done.

We dont get leaned on in any way, you know, our label and everyone lets us do what we want to do, which is great. We know what we’re good at and that’s what we want to exploit this time round.

How big is the current tour?

I’d have to look at my laminate, but it’s pretty big. We’ve just come off the back of a ten week run in South America, Canada and North America as well with Slipknot.

How did that go?

It was fantastic. A great experience to be on a tour with a band like Slipknot – they’re probably the biggest, well one of the biggest metal bands on the planet, so to go on a national tour with those guys was awesome.

You’ve gotten used to a life on the road. What do you find most challenging about it?

These days, since me and Charlotte, my wife, had our little one in 2010, that’s what’s made it different or harder this time. Being away from your family, your wife and your kid. That’s what pulls on the heart strings. Since everyone’s got families and has gotten a bit older now it definitely makes it a bit more challenging emotionally.

But apart from that everything’s ok, we’ve been doing this a while now and we’re very experienced at dealing with things on the road. But being away from your loved ones never gets easier, you know.

I guess the first few times you play arenas the family come to cheer you on… but then it becomes the new normal.

Yeah. You have to pinch yourself sometimes to get a reality check on how cool what we do is, but there are many times when it does feel like a ball-ache, all the travelling and the home sickness and the fatigue physically and mentally, it does take its toll on a person.

You do really need to step back and have down time at regular intervals otherwise you do start to go a bit crazy.

To people that have never toured at that scale – all of us, basically – what’s that camaraderie like?

It’s good. The crew and the team we work with are very much in that realm of family and friends as well now. Some members of our crew have been with us over ten years now, so we’ve grown up together. They’ve experienced everything we have on a professional level and they’ve been part of the rise of this band, they’ve done it with us.

Even some of the crew have moved to Wales to be around us on our down time. Our Michael (Paget) was best man at Kev our guitar tech’s wedding. It’s nice because you really do need each other, especially in the times when you need to pick each other up when you’re down.

Another element of big stadium life on the road is the famous rider. Did you ever go nuts with your riders?

Not nuts as in anything weird or extravagent, but there used to be a ton of booze that would be on the rider in our earlier days when we’d be at our peak of partying.

Apart from that, normal stuff. In fact I’m just looking at our rider now and its very boring. Left to right we’ve got about 40 bottles of water, some shower gel, shampoo, pitta bread, baguettes, coconut water, a Nutri Bullet machine, fruit and veg, some plates, Berocca, some cucumber and a kettle.

That’s disgraceful.

It didnt look like this 8 years ago, believe me. It was a very different scene.

What about the supports, you have Coldrain out?

Yeah, they’ve got the hardest job of the tour, opening up. We did it as well with big bands, and it was always our opportunity to put our stamp on the crowd and go home with those people being a fan.

Coldrain have gone down really well and While She Sleeps had a great show with everyone singing their songs, moshing and crowd surfing, so it’s a good lineup.

What would you say to more cynical heads about ‘Venom’ and why they might want to give it a spin?

Metal can be a very cliquey community, and we’re very aware of that because of the crap and slanging we’ve gotten since day 1. You get a lot of love, but you get a lot of shit as well. We grew up on traditional metal bands as well – Metallica, Slayer, Pantera, Machine Head, Sepultura that era through the 90s where bands became not mainstream as such, but where they were selling out big rooms, arenas – but music evolves and musicians evolve.

Trying to be different is what makes things evolve, and it’s about moving with those times. Just stick it on and have a listen. If you dont like it you dont like it, but at least give it a go.

Those bands made careers of selling millions in physical products though – how is it for you?

It’s going well. I think people are starting to stay away from the illegal downloading because of how convenient legal downloading has become.

It costs so little. You can pay ten pound a month and listen to whatever you want, it’s ridiculously cheap. OK so its not something that benefits the artist financially at all, but at least it does combat the illegal downloading somewhat.

We’re just trying to make our records sound amazing and when you get a shitty ripped copy, you’re not actually listening to what you should be listening to. We dont really look at anything regarding the sales any more.

That first week when an album comes out, that’s really important and it guages where the band is at. After that, couldn’t give a shit. It’s not something we focus on, because live touring is where we put our effort in, and that’s how we make a living these days. We dont really get paid at all from records. It just doesn’t happen.

Earl Grey ::: 05/10/15



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