Closing Download’s Pilot festival on the Sunday are Welsh metal four-piece Bullet For My Valentine. Regular Downloaders, Bullet have played the festival a staggering eight times, including notable sub-headline sets in 2011, 2013, and 2018.
Six studio albums deep and one on the way, Bullet are constantly reinventing their sound whilst miraculously staying true to themselves. This winter sees the group drop their self-titled seventh studio album, and after the success of their lead single ‘Knives’ expectations are high.
We spoke with frontman and guitarist Matthew Tuck on the Sunday of Download Pilot to talk all things live music and their latest…
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How does it feel to be back on Download grounds?
It feels amazing, it was 2018 since we last played. There’s always good vibes when we come here, we have a lot of history with this festival, so it always feels good to be back.
How does this festival differ to the first time you played Download?
Well, I’ve literally just got here, so I haven’t got the scope of the land just yet, but obviously it’s more of a unique version, with it being reduced capacity. But that’s really it, I guess there’s no international bands either. But from what I’ve heard from friends and people who’ve been here all weekend, the vibes have been incredible. People are enjoying life right now, and they need that.
Have you done anything to try and prepare for the audience and the show?
No, we’re just going to carry on and do what we do, and maybe just try and enjoy it more, as it’s a special event – we are very honoured to be asked to headline and close a festival. I’m excited but I’m just trying to enjoy the moment. Even though I’ve just walked onto site, and I can hear music, and see people, my heads not quite there. I think once I’m on stage, then it’ll be show time and the butterflies will start to kick in.
You are working on releasing a new self-titled album, was this a lockdown creation?
Yeah, the writing started pre-lockdown, we started around October 2019, and then it stop-started for the first quarter of last year. Around July time when the situation began to ease a bit, Carl our producer and I cracked on with finishing the writing and demoing phase. We then took a month off to live with it, once we were happy, we started recording in October through to Christmas, then had it mixed and mastered by February.
It has been good, it stopped for a while last year but apart from that it was a good experience. It didn’t affect too much in our world thankfully as we didn’t have any touring booked for 2020, we had taken it off so we could focus on recording for this album.
How would you describe the recording process?
A little bit staggered in comparison to usual, but all good, nonetheless. It gave us a lot more time to focus on it rather than trying to rush it for the sake of running tours or doing festivals. It became clear around April last year that touring wasn’t going to happen any time soon, so it gave us that opportunity to sit with it, live with it, demo it and enjoy it. Because we would’ve done it in less time if the world was normal, so it actually benefited the record immensely to be able to make sure we had what we wanted. Even though the songs were recorded by December, we wrote another two songs in January, so we went back to the studio in February to record those two songs, one of which is going to be a future single.
What was the idea behind the artwork of this album?
We wanted to create something simple, something that people could draw at school or have tattooed. We’ve actually worked with a creative director on this album, who we’ve never worked with before; her name is Fiona Garden, she’s done a recent project on a Rag’n’Bone Man campaign.
How are you feeling about making the transition from months away from live to suddenly playing back-to-back shows?
I’m looking forward to it, it’s going to be good. I think we’ve had the luxury of seeing how the world played out before we put the tour out, and we’re quite confident things will be okay by November this year. Events like this are proving to be very successful, so I can’t see why our tour won’t happen. We definitely want to put it more towards the end of the year though, it’s a good-sized tour, we’re not overplaying, and are playing nice big rooms. We also have a couple of places we haven’t before like Hull, I’m definitely looking forward to it!
And lastly, you recently released dropped your new single, ‘Knives,’ as the lead single of this album, what are some tips on bringing out go-to Bullet songs that are also innovative? How do you make sure to keep your OG fans satisfied, whilst bringing fresh material to the table?
I think it always comes right from my heart, from album-to-album things change but the DNA is always there and I think that’s important. As long as it’s heavy and melodic, that’s as simple as it gets for me, I always go with my gut. ‘Gravity’ was probably the curveball three or four years ago, but it still had the same DNA, it’s just a different record. Every album is just a moment in time and this, and ‘Knives’ is now.
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Words: Laviea Thomas
Photo Credit: Fiona Garden
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