Bullet For My Valentine Talks "Temper Temper"
Mon, 04 Mar 2013 10:44:57
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The only way to last in heavy metal is to evolve. If you don't, you'll get trampled underfoot of the ever-changing musical zeitgeist faster than a blast beat. That's been one of the most marvelous things about Bullet for My Valentine. They've never stagnated. They continue to challenge themselves and forge ahead every time they drop a new record. Temper Temper proudly and staunchly upholds that tradition. It's a fierce, focused, and fiery collection of hard-hitting songs illuminating just how tight and tough Bullet for My Valentine have become. It's not only of the year's best metal records; it's their best yet…
In this exclusive interview with ARTISTdirect.com editor in chief Rick Florino, Bullet for My Valentine singer Matt Tuck talks Temper Temper and so much more.
Was your vision for Temper Temper clear from the beginning?
Yeah, we always wanted it to flow like it did so we were aware of writing in a way that was spontaneous. It was a fresh way of doing things. We did want to make a complete album. Each song individually had to be an amazing song, but even more importantly, the album had to sit as one piece of work together as a unit. We wrote a lot of other songs as well. They were great individually, but they never made it on the album just because when we put them in the album they didn't fit very well. It was always a conscious decision to write great songs individually but also focus on the album as a whole.
Has the process of composing songs changed? These tracks hit harder.
It was a conscious effort for us to do things differently in the songwriting process. One of the main ideas was slowing things down. Automatically, as soon as we did that, it was a bit of a struggle for us. It was odd slowing things down. It felt a bit uncomfortable to play, which is odd. You'd think the faster things are, the more uncomfortable they'd be. It was actually the reverse. As soon as we came to grips with everything and did the first few songs of the album, it was all good.
When you slow things, they get even heavier.
That was the main point in slowing it down. It wasn't to make the album more accessible, it was to make it heavier, bigger, and fatter. It was a conscious effort that definitely paid off. For us, the longer we've lived with it, it gets better and better. As we've been in rehearsals for three weeks now, it makes the experience of playing the songs far more enjoyable as well. Everything's a bit thrash-y and quick, which is great live. We're seeing the benefit of slowing things down in the bigger picture.
When did the idea of writing about anger come about?
It was happening naturally. It wasn't anything I intended to do. After everything was done and I lived with it for a while, we had to come up with a name. I thought, "What does the album sound like to me?" Temper Temper summed up the vibe of the record. It's a very angry record. Lyrically, it's definitely the angriest and most real stuff I've ever written about. I wasn't aware of what I was writing, but it almost came out like a concept record. All of the album is coming from that emotion. "Breaking Point" says it all really. "Riot" is about aggression. "Livin' Life (On the Edge of a Knife)" is about living life too hard, partying, and being on the verge of killing yourself. It's quite an intense record. Temper Temper sums it up. I wasn't aware of what I was doing until it was done.
What are some of your favorite lyrics?
There are a couple that stand out for me because they're so from the heart like "Livin' Life (On the Edge of a Knife)". Putting that kind of stuff in writing is something I haven't really done. To getting something like that out on the table is not a nice thing, but it was almost therapeutic. Those songs mean something, and they become a bit more special.
Where did "Dead to the World" come from?
That was co-written with Chris Jericho. He came up with the main concept. I was struggling a bit to write it. It was one of the last songs we wrote. It reminded me of an old school metal style very much like a Metallica track from Ride the Lightning. It's very heavy and melodic, but ballad-y at the end. I thought, "Who do I know that grew up in that era and loves that kind of music?" Chris was an obvious choice so I called him up. We've been friends for quite a while. I asked, "Would you like to help write this track?" He got the ball rolling with the verses. I put on the big anthemic outro. It's a beautiful saying, but it's very sinister. It's a double entendre title.
What about "Saints & Sinners"?
We tried to spice things up. We didn't want to stick to our old formulas and ways of writing. It's something I've never done before. It's a bit more tongue-in-cheek, but the meaning is serious. There are good people and bad people in the world. Life is what you make of it, but we're all ultimately going to the same place at the end of the day. It's about making the most of life but appreciating that it can be a fucked up place.
What would be the cinematic equivalent of Temper Temper?
Maybe it'd be something that has to deal with anger and anger management like a Rocky movie that's very aggressive but ultimately it's controlled. I'd think of an uplifting sporty film.
Maybe Fight Club?
Yeah, there you go! Fight Club would be perfect. That sums it up beautifully.
What's the first thing that comes to mind when you think of The Poison now?
Just craziness! I haven't listened to it in a long time. When I think of that album, it was the most exciting time in our lives. We've become a lot bigger and more successful since that album, but I don't think anything will ever beat the feeling of when that album came out and did what it did for us in the sense of success and being pushed to the top of the tree. It was crazy. It brings back bad memories too because I was pushed to the point of crazy physical and mental fatigue. It was an absolute whirlwind of good and bad memories—most good though. It was a special time in my and the boys' lives. Those two-and-a-half years will never be topped. They were very special moments.
What's your favorite Bullet for My Valentine song?