Welsh heavy-metal band Bullet for My Valentine has been around for what seems like forever. Formed in 1998, they released their fifth record in 10 years — “Venom” — in 2015. The band is currently on tour and will be through the end of 2016. They will perform at the Fillmore Silver Spring on March 1. The Hoya sat down with lead singer and guitarist Matt Tuck two weeks ago to talk about his musical beginnings, the band’s latest album and its current tour.
You started in music playing covers of Metallica and Nirvana songs. What made you start writing and performing your own music?
I’ve just been creative. Growing up listening to music and being in a band with your friends, once you start that kind of life when you play cover of songs of your favorite band, you just get to a certain level, for us anyways, where stuff starts more creatively and you start writing your own riffs on the guitar and put chord sequences together, and dabble in writing lyrics. It is something that just came naturally once we were able to play songs as a band, just to step into that more creative side of writing our own music.
Let’s talk about your latest album. Why did you choose the name “Venom?”
We always like to name our albums after a song that is on the record. “Venom” was something we just thought was very catchy, snappy. It had a “V” in it, which we wanted to incorporate into our artwork. This is our fifth album, which is the “V” Roman numeral, “V” for “Venom,” for Bullet for My Valentine.
“You Want a Battle? (Here’s a War)” is one of the most popular songs off the new record. What was the inspiration behind the song?
The inspiration behind it lyrically was just letting people know what it was like for me growing up where I did, in school and being a victim of bullying. The song is very dark and it’s a song about feeling like s–t for no reason, and then eventually finding that strength mentally and physically to eventually stand up for yourself and make something positive out of it.
“Venom” sounds like your most aggressive and darkest album yet. Do you feel as if your music is going in a different direction compared to your previous work, or just evolving?
We are evolving all the time from album to album. Our song-writing is always getting better and better. This time around we really wanted to make something of a statement metal record. We have always dabbled in certain different genres — metal and hard rock. Metal is what we were always known for. This time around we wanted to show people that when we want to be, we can be a proper heavy metal band. This time around we wanted to capture something that fit that criteria of aggressive and exciting.
What other artists and bands have influenced you musically?
It’s still the same stuff that was inspiring us when we were growing up; they are still the bands that we listen to today. … Metallica, Pantera, Slayer, even the lighter kind of hair metal stuff. … Mötley Crüe, Def Leppard. It is the stuff that is considered classic rock nowadays, but that is the stuff we grew up listening too, and that is how we got our sound, that aggressive heavy metal sound.
What is the first album you ever bought?
It was two in the same day. And it was Metallica’s “Black Album,” and the other was from a band named Shock the Messiah.
What’s the last song you listened to on your iPod?
I think it is going to be one of our tracks if I am very, very honest. The last song I listened to was “Worthless” by Bullet for My Valentine.
Do you have a favorite venue to play?
One favorite venue? No. We have been fortunate enough to tour the world numerous times and play lots of amazing venues. To pick one, that would be really super hard. I can tell you the most unique we have played was on the Slipknot tour last summer, and it was the Red Rock Amphitheater.
You are currently on tour. What can fans expect from your live shows?
Just a showcase of everything from Bullet for My Valentine from day one to right now. A band that’s on fire live. We have been doing this for a long time; we always work super hard on our live shows to make it the best it can be. It’s just a kick-ass heavy metal show with a ten-year career encompassed in an hour and a half. We brought along self-contained state-of-the-art lights and rig on this tour so it looks amazing as well, which is something we haven’t done before. We always kept it quite simple. It’s loud, it’s heavy, it’s bright and it’s pretty cool. We are really proud of this one.
Your latest album “Venom” has been out since last summer. What is next for Bullet for My Valentine?
Just more touring really. Our touring schedule is booked up from now until the 10th of December, so it is just more of the same really. We hope to get new music out by the end of the year if we get a chance to get into the studio and do some fun tracks. We just want to go into the studio and write some songs, feed the fans and do something fun.