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A few weeks before the release of Bullet For My Valentine‘s new self titled album, RockUrLife was able to talk to founding member and guitar player Padge. He gives us here a big retrospective of the last years of Bullet For My Valentine and what led to this album which promises to be more violent and fierce than ever!

Let’s start simple. How are you?

Michael “Padge” Paget (guitar): I’m fine thanks! Crazy years recently!

The release of Bullet For My Valentine has been postponed for a few weeks. Can you explain why?

Padge: Much of it because of the COVID, especially in the UK here. But in general I think that the industry, and not only with us, is going through a very difficult period whether it is the manufacture, as everything has stopped for almost two years. So it gave everyone a lot of time to write. And even with that, some bands, including some I’m involved with, didn’t have time to deliver their albums on time. I also think a lot of people decided to release albums at the same time. We have the main reason which is the COVID and the factory issues but it’s only two weeks left, it’s not the end of the world. It could have been a year! (laughs)

Regarding the album, you said it would be the heaviest and hardest you ever did. Is it because you thought the last one was “too soft”?

Padge: No, not at all! We just worked on some music, some of it was really heavy, some less, between riffs and breakdowns. I think Matt (ed. Tuck, vocals) was just in another place in his head when we built this album. Even the lyrics are somewhere else in his mind and it came out like that. It was certainly less heavy than this one, but it was a different time, in a different state of mind and a different album. He clearly gave us the way on what we could do on the next one, he really benefited us. I think we’ve written worse albums in the past. It wasn’t my favorite album, but it was a solid album that still serves us as a band today.

Talking about that, you and Matt said that if you do some of your previous records today it would be a lot different. Does that mean that you are not happy with these records and are you fully satisfied with the one that is going to be released?

Padge: I think Bullet For My Valentine, the album (laughs) was done the right way, apart from the lockdowns situations and the stuff around that made it a bit more complicated, but fortunatly we have found a way, not really bypassed, because the United Kingdom is quite small, with few borders, but like the different countries of the Kingdom with lockdowns at different times and it’s fantastic to have been able to juggle that given the number of people who worked on this album and it was very beneficial for the album. Even if it was in a very difficult period, it served us very positively, a bit as if we thought we were falling into shit that came up smelling like roses! (laughs)

You mentioned the recording process, which you seem to have lived quite well. Wasn’t it too difficult with the situation?

Padge: No, not at all. Maybe even the easiest I’ve had in this band. Again I think this is due to the tremendous pre-production work we did, and that we’re all on the same page. It took a really long time to make this album, but we knew exactly what we were doing and had a lot of time to perfect every element, every note, every little bit here and there, every line of vocals. We just had so much time to do it and I honestly think it shines on the record, although I can’t tell you much about the record itself yet. I won’t tell you that I would like to take as long on the next one, but anyway I definitely want to work the same way.

Once in the studio it took us about 5 weeks to record everything I think, and then Matt did the vocals, but it’s pretty quick. Very professional and very smooth! I won’t say easy, because that’s the wrong word, but it all came together perfectly.

This ease of working, pre-producing and recording is due to the people you work with too. You said there were lots of people, but did you decide on a case-by-case basis who would work on this album or do you keep the same team?

Padge: We had a few options, a few American guys, other Europeans. We had about 5 choices but quite limited due to restrictions. But we mainly turned to those who were in our country, as no one could fly or whatever and that complicates the task, on this aspect we tried to make it simple and base ourselves on the United Kingdom and do this with talented people who are also our friends and we have no regrets about these decisions.

Were they the same for Gravity (2018)?

Padge: Yes!

© Fiona Garden

Alright, because last time Matt told us he didn’t especially let the other members work on the recording. Was this the case here too?

Padge: No, Matt really wasn’t in the right place in his mind at the time. I have a feeling he wanted to lock himself in things like that. We were always there and he wasn’t locking himself in in a bad way, it was just on himself. He had a lot to say on this record, which was a good record and a lesson for us. And today we are lucky to be able to make a new one! (laughs)

This question is addressed directly to you. Even if you can’t reveal too much about this album, there were still few memorable solos and riffs in Gravity. Are you satisfied with the presence of the guitars on Bullet For My Valentine?

Padge: Yeah! I think Bullet is typically a band that needs lead guitars, solos and stuff like that. Gravity was a dark time for the band, a lot of stuff was going on, Matt had his issues, my girlfriend at the time was battling cancer, it was a terrible time to try to make an album. Lots of weird things but that was what it was. That and the pandemic! (laughs) That’s why we’re really happy with the new record, despite a tiny delay in the release date, when you think back to what we’ve been through over the past 24 months. The times that are coming are much more exciting!

We feel like you want to move on, that it’s been tough in the past. Can we expect a very different Bullet For My Valentine?

Padge: I don’t think much, Bullet will always be Bullet. But under another version, especially after lineup changes and stuff like that. We’re being referenced as Bullet 2.0, let’s say it’s mostly Bullet For My Valentine on steroids now! (laughs) We stayed focused, the fans were waiting for us and we are now ready to go! It also gives a lot of good prospects for the next albums and there will be. It’s not a drastic change, but it’s definitely something new for the band.

So after all, isn’t it worth talking about a new era for Bullet? Bullet is Bullet.

Padge: No I don’t think so. The group is definitely evolving, in its music and what revolves around it. But we don’t see ourselves writing “All These Things I Hate”, “Scream Aim Fire” again but after all who knows! We already have these songs and we want to keep trying new things and doing something maybe more experimental, outside of our comfort zones and see where it can lead the band.

© Fiona Garden

With COVID time has stopped a bit. And this is somewhere their first album built with you. Are you completely satisfied with your two new bandmates?

Padge: I totally understand your question! (laughs) But yes definitely! Jamie (ed. Mathias, bass) is one of the best voices I’ve heard in this industry, he barely warms up and is available at all times. Jason (ed. Bowld, drums) is a phenomenal drummer. Matt and I have been doing this together for many years and it feels like family again. When we started this adventure, the first group, we were all good friends and we progressed together but we remained limited in many aspects. Now that the tensions are gone we can do whatever we want and that’s a good quality to have in modern metal.

Compared to others, this album will be much more violent. Aren’t you afraid of the promotional aspect? Whether it’s hard to get on the radio or other promotional ways?

Padge: No, he is what he is! Fortunately we have a solid legacy behind us, many years on stage, on albums, EPs that have had some success. We went around the world, we created links with our fans. We must not lose sight of the fact that the whole industry is in the process of changing, the covid to boost everything related to digital and streaming and strangely I think that it will be more and more simple with time for the sale and the promotion of an album precisely thanks to these changes. I’m sure it will go well.

And if this album was the first one without notoriety. How would you convince people to listen to it?

Padge: That’s a good question. I never thought about it. (laughs) I don’t know, I’ll say it’s a fierce album, and a pissed off effort. It’s the most angry album we’ve managed to make, both in the lyrics and on the guitars, drums. He is a real beast. But I advise people to come and see us on stage, that’s the most important part for us. The concerts are what really unites us, it is priceless. I prefer to trade what we earn with albums to put it in a concert. Especially since we have worked a lot on the visual aspect of the concerts and you have to come and see that, for the lights, the production on stage, the screens. Everything has not yet been decided but you have to come and see! Fans will also have the right to the classics they love and why not even a few covers!

Last question, we are RockUrLife, so what rocks your life Padge?

Padge: Rock! Of course! (laughs). But to go further, the connection. Music has always been about connecting people. I also consider it a medicine, so keep rocking, medicate and live your life!

Great! Thank you very much for your time Padge.

Padge: Thanks to you and see you in Paris in February right? 

Absolutely. See you there!

© Fiona Garden