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Best Of British: Bullet For My Valentine Out To Rule UK Arenas

Thursday, 28 November 2013 Written by Alec Chillingworth

December’s almost here. The nights are drawing in, and something wicked this way comes. Bullet For My Valentine are preparing to take their phenomenally successful brand of metal out on the road once again, with Asking Alexandria and Young Guns in tow.

The band are currently hard at work on their fifth album, the follow up to ‘Temper Temper’, and recently rolled out a new track, Raising Hell, that hinted at a return to their roots.

Given that their forthcoming arena trek will inevitably sell out, I didn't feel all that bad about adding a few cans of Red Bull to their tab when I arrived at their label’s spacious central London offices. But, before taking a sip from my second can, I was ushered in to discuss the monolithic tour with the entertaining, welcoming duo of Bullet frontman Matt Tuck and Young Guns vocalist Gus Wood.

This tour is huge. Massive venues and bill, and it's all British. How did this come about?

Matt: We took Young Guns to the States and finished that in April and May, and we were just really impressed with the way they were personally. We bonded really quickly, we became good friends. They're a great live band, and we just said: “We're doing this tour in December, you wanna be a part of it?” And we have the same management so it was pretty easy, no drama, y'know?

We've always wanted to do an entirely British bill, which we've never done. That sounds outrageous, but it's just never happened. I mean, we were looking for another British band who were doing well for themselves, a hot ticket, really. Asking Alexandria recently sold out Brixton Academy and they're doing really well in the States too. We crossed paths in America and we asked and they said yes. It was just word of mouth and asking if people were available, really.

Gus, in comparison to the other two bands, you stick out the most. At metal gigs, you usually get the 'That's Not Metal!' crew who hate anything without screaming in it. How do you plan on changing these people's minds?

Gus: Well yeah, we're the lightest of the three bands. We all grew up listening to loads of stuff; I still listen to everything from Rihanna to Meshuggah, y'know? Fear Factory were my favourite band when I was 15, and as I've gotten older, my tastes have broadened. I've always retained a love for heavy music, and the other guys are the same. We write melodic rock, and always end up playing really varied bills. It's never changed, and I always find myself saying: “Fucking hell, this is going to be hard work.”

But over the years I've been proven wrong time and time again. Maybe it's because we come from a heavier background that we seem to appeal to those types of audiences, but we just put on a good show and people respond to that. We're just stoked to be on the road with two bands we love so much. It's an all British bill playing Wembley Arena. That's quite a weird thing, and we're honoured to play it. We could've been told we'd be bottled every night and we'd still have done it.

Matt, Bullet For My Valentine are an arena band. You played arenas on the 'Fever' tour, then stepped down to Academies earlier this year, then you're heading back to arenas in December. Was it a conscious decision to do all this jumping about?

Matt: It was more of a strategy thing, really. We knew we were going to do arena shows and we didn't want to do it pre-Download Festival, so we thought we'd just underplay the gigs, sell them out and just make sure everyone had a good time. It's a bit of a politics thing, like sometimes promoters don't want you doing the big stuff before festivals. So we were just like: “Fine, let's do the 3,000 capacity rooms for a bit.” You still get great shows anyway.

The arena show comes hand-in-hand with arena production. Any ideas in mind?

Matt: Yes. Oh yes. We had a meeting with Jon, our production guy, and we've just been sketching stuff down and asking him: “Can you make this happen?” Then he'll come back with the proper 3D thing, which I've got on my phone, actually. Then he just says: “This will cost you so much, here's an alternative version that's cheaper, this is a bigger one that'll cost you a shit-ton of money.” And that's that, really. Then we just pull the trigger!

Gus: We'll do what we can. We've had a really weird career so far, we always leapfrog between big and small venues. Once we won a competition to support Bon Jovi at the O2 Arena, the next week we're playing to two hundred people. We recently supported Bullet in America, and I'm not really worried about these winter shows because it worked perfectly fine over there. As long as you connect with people, you're fine. We haven't got a lot of money, but we'll do what we can, we'll play some songs from the new record, it's gonna be great.

Can you shed any light on Bullet’s plans, Matt?

Matt: What we've got so far, it's all based around a lighting structure this time rather than a stage set, which is something we've never done before. But we did a show supporting the Prodigy in Russia or something, and they just had this crazy lighting rig, and I was just like: “Wow, we've never done anything like this.” We just have lights at the back, and don't get me wrong, we make a decent show of it, but we just got inspired so I drew a little picture and we took it from there.

What's the best band you've been on tour with and why?

Matt: It depends. On one end of the spectrum, it's probably Metallica because, well, it's Metallica. They're the reason why I picked up a guitar, so playing with them was like a childhood dream come true. On a more bro-down level, I'd say a band like Young Guns. We just hit it off with them, and it's nice to meet people in a band who are just insanely humble. I mean, you meet nice people in bands anyway, but you also meet a lot who are kinda dicks, but Young Guns were just really cool.

Gus: Going on tour with Bullet in America was awesome, because it was such a lesson in consummate professionalism and showmanship, night after night. I learned a lot from that. We've played with All Time Low, Australian hardcore bands, we've done everything. But what I respond to is a band who love what they do.

Pound for pound, what animal could beat a honey badger in a fight?

Gus: I've heard of this animal so many fucking times! It's like a sort of ugly koala, yeah? Right. It's gotta be something like a rhino, hasn't it? It could just skewer it, or the sheer bulk of the rhino could just whack it down. I'm a little uneducated in regards to the honey badger, but I'd say a rhino.

Matt: I've never heard of the honey badger! Is this a trick? An ant. Pound for pound, the ant would be the strongest animal on the planet; it can lift stuff like 60 times its weight! So the ant would just destroy it. Maybe not in a violent attack, but the ant would just pick it up and throw it off a cliff.

Bullet For My Valentine UK & Ireland Tour Dates are as follows

Sun December 01 2013 - MANCHESTER Phones 4u Arena
Mon December 02 2013 - GLASGOW The Hydro
Tue December 03 2013 - BIRMINGHAM NIA
Thu December 05 2013 - LONDON Wembley Arena
Fri December 06 2013 - CARDIFF Motorpoint Arena Cardiff

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