Camden Rocks preview: Bullet For My Valentine

Thousands of London shoppers are set to have their faces melted by riffs as Camden Rocks is set to take over 20 venues around the area.

This year’s line-up features While She Sleeps…And You Will Know Us By The Trail of Dead, Ginger Wildheart, Glen Matlock, The Dictators NYC, Heavens Basement, Black Spiders, Dinosaur Pile-Up, Richie Ramone, Feed The Rhino and more. Bullet For My Valentine will headline the Electric Ballroom, so we caught up with frontman Matt Tuck to find out about their forthcoming album Venom, their recent line-up change and what the future holds for the band…

**Your headline appearance at Camden Rocks has been a closely guarded secret for months: excited to be back for your first gig of 2015? **Matt Tuck: “Very excited to be back, yes. It’s been over a year since we last played live so we’re eager to get the show back on the road.”

**You’ve have been in the studio for much of 2015, recording Bullet’s forthcoming fifth album, which you recently described as “a monster.” Care to tell us a little more about it? **“We spent a lot of 2014 writing it and started the recording process on February 1 at Metropolis Studios in London, and wrapped up around mid-April. It is absolutely a monster, we’ve never been happier with the way a record has turned out and it’s a huge step up from all our previous records on every level. We’re very happy with it.”

**It’s been ten years now since the release of ‘The Poison’ pushed you to the forefront of the British metal scene: what do you remember of that time, with all the excitement that surrounded the album? **“That whole time in our career was an absolute whirlwind of crazy shit. We went from being four friends from the Welsh valleys chasing a dream, to one of the biggest metal bands in the world. It all happened very, very quickly so there was no real time to take it in – in 2006 alone we toured with Iron Maiden, Metallica, Guns N Roses and were headlining venues like Brixton Academy. It was mental but the best time ever… unforgettable.”

Like every other UK band, you’ve played in Camden a number of times in your career: what was Bullet’s most memorable Camden show ever? “I think the most memorable would be in late 2003 when we played the Barfly supporting Stampin’ Ground. That was the night that the A & R guys from the record labels started to sniff around. That night was the start of everything really – we ended up turning offers away there was such a feeding frenzy to sign the band. Good job we showed up that night!”

Your last UK headline gig was at the 10,000 capacity Wembley Arena, so the chance to see you at the Electric Ballroom is quite a treat for fans: what can we expect? “I think we’re gonna take a more punk rock approach to the show, no fancy bells and whistles just four guys smashing out on stage and having a good time. It’s always amazing to go back to the smaller no frills shows, feels a lot more raw and intense – we love that.”

You parted company with your long-term bassist Jay James last year, so tell us about his replacement… “A guy called Jamie Mathias. He used to front a band called Revoker but they parted ways a while ago. We held a couple of auditions with a select group of guys and Jamie was just spot on. He’s Welsh too so that’s a massive plus for us – we’re a bit weird see!”

Welsh rock music is well represented on the Camden Rocks bill with the likes of Funeral For A Friend and Skindred also appearing: could you give us a tip on some upcoming Welsh bands who might be the new Ones To Watch in 2015 and beyond? “At the moment I’m not sure, no. It hasn’t been the best time for Welsh bands of late, a lot of them seem to be throwing in the towel which sucks, but you gotta do what you gotta do.”

Back to Bullet then: what’s the game plan for you guys in the months following Camden Rocks? “After this show, we have a very busy couple of years ahead. Most of it involves touring the planet which is great as it’s what we love to do, so we can’t wait to get started. It gets pretty intense and not everyone is built for the work load but it’s where we thrive. We like to be busy, so to be on the road for month after month is all good!”

Describe the current BFMV mind-set in five words. “Focused, motivated, savage, mature, unstoppable.”

Bullet For My Valentine headline the Electric Ballroom on May 30 at 9.15pm. For full stage times and information on Camden Rocks, click here.

Paul Brannigan
Contributing Editor, Louder

A music writer since 1993, formerly Editor of Kerrang! and Planet Rock magazine (RIP), Paul Brannigan is a Contributing Editor to Louder. Having previously written books on Lemmy, Dave Grohl (the Sunday Times best-seller This Is A Call) and Metallica (Birth School Metallica Death, co-authored with Ian Winwood), his Eddie Van Halen biography (Eruption in the UK, Unchained in the US) emerged in 2021. He has written for Rolling Stone, Mojo and Q, hung out with Fugazi at Dischord House, flown on Ozzy Osbourne's private jet, played Angus Young's Gibson SG, and interviewed everyone from Aerosmith and Beastie Boys to Young Gods and ZZ Top. Born in the North of Ireland, Brannigan lives in North London and supports The Arsenal.