“Rock n roll isn’t meant to be taken so seriously, I think sometimes people forget it’s meant to be fun. A rock show is meant to be a time for people to have fun and let go of the drudgeries of life….”
Set The World On Fire is the name of the Black Veil Brides new album and with an arsenal of bombastic, infectious, fist pumping anthems and an image that will reel in the legions of rock fans looking for some personality and fun to return to rock, it seems only a matter of time before Black Veil Brides achieve global domination.
With Australia in their sights, Black Veil Brides are headed here for the first time for Soundwave Festival 2012! Having recently done the festival circuit in Europe and the UK playing the likes of Download Festival and currently on tour in the USA on the Vans Warped Tour, expect the band and their explosive live show to be at the top of it’s game come time for Soundwave Revolution.
The bands singer Andy Biersack chatted with us whilst travelling on the tour bus in the middle of nowhere America, sharing the influences of the bands sound and image, as well as the bands expectations of Australia and Soundwave!
Hey Andy, thanks for taking the time to chat with May The Rock Be With You, how are you going?
I’m doing just fine thank you. I just hope our service doesn’t drop out as we are on the bus in the middle of nowhere right now.
So it’s Independence Day over there as we speak and you are stuck on the bus doing interviews…
Ha ha, yeah, I think as soon as I finish these interviews we will stop the bus and do the American tradition of blowing shit up!
So tell me, have the ribs recovered yet? (Andy was injured in a stage fall a few weeks back)
You know, I am a little more than 2 weeks out from breaking them and I’ve still got 3 broken ribs, but they are healing everyday.
So in September you are headed out for for Soundwave Revolution, which is your first trip to Australia, isn’t it? When did you first hear that you guys were heading out here?
I don’t think any of us in the band have been to Australia before, so it is indeed the first time out there seeing you guys. In terms of most stuff that’s booked, we are a big part of that process. We see the things that come in and we are really excited as Soundwave Festival is a huge thing. In terms of going to Australia for an American band, Soundwave is one of those benchmark things that bands want to do. We are very excited to be part of it!
Have you had a chance to check out the rest of the Soundwave Revolution lineup, any bands you are personally looking forward to checking out or playing with?
I think the biggest thing for me is Van Halen with David Lee Roth. But knowing them and their history, who knows if they will make it to the actual festival, but I would definitely love to see that lineup of the band.
Being your first time out here, what have you heard about what you can expect from Soundwave and the Aussie BVB fans?
You know it’s interesting as ever since the creation of the band, the online presence of the fans in Australia has always been pretty huge. In terms of street teams and merch orders and stuff like that, we can track it and we have a pretty decent fan base in Australia for a band that’s never been there. It’s like any new country we are going too for the first time, we are really excited to see what it’s like there and get our feet wet with the Australian fans. We’ve also heard you guys have beautiful women there, so we are excited about that.
What can fans expect from your set at Soundwave Revolution, how would you describe a Black Veil Brides live experience?
For us, we grew up idolising bands like Kiss and Motley Crue and the more theatrical Alice Cooper style of rock. Obviously we have a very theatrical image, but at this point in our career and the shows coming up, we don’t have all the pyrotechnics and stuff that the bigger bands might have. But what we might lack in giant bombastic shit blowing up, we try and make up for with just raw energy and putting on a great show. That’s what the live show is about. 40 minutes of rebellion and energy and singing your hearts out. I grew up loving a lot of punk rock music and the ideal of the audience being part of the show, so we try and get the audience as involved as much as possible and try and get a big community of people singing.
You have recently been doing the festival circuit in the UK and Europe, where I personally caught some of your set at Sweden Rock Festival. How was the whole Europe/UK experience, playing the likes of Download and Sweden Rock etc.
It’s interesting because you go from country to country, and I would say it’s the UK we have the most presence in. We have been on the cover of Kerrang multiple times and Rocksound and we do really great in the UK. In terms of Sweden Rock for example, it was our first time there and we were pleasantly surprised to see the fans reaction. Every time you go to a country for the first time you just never know what to expect. But as far as this band, we seem to do well wherever we go and we are even more excited to head back to those countries for a second time.
Speaking specifically of those recent festivals, your album hadn’t even hit the stores yet…
Yes that’s exactly right!
I guess that makes it a bit of a challenge then for you guys playing new material that the crowd hasn’t even heard yet?
Yeah I think the one thing that is the saving grace for the band, or what’s really brought fans together has been word of mouth via our fans online and people spreading the word about the band. It’s interesting as you look at how bands create some sense of fan base in a modern sense. But in terms of a mainstream popularity, we came up in a more organic way. When we first started, stuff like Myspace and Facebook were really just starting to find their popularity and via those we were able to create a base level fan base. Now that we have the new album out and get to play these countries, things will grow from there.
How do you find the whole festival experience, taking your music to a bigger stage, compared to playing the smaller more intimate venues…for you is that where your music is destined to be, the big stages?
Those big festival stages are a bit like a playground, especially for me as the bands singer, I can run around and do crazy stuff and have fun with it. Rock n roll isn’t meant to be taken so seriously, I think sometimes people forget it’s meant to be fun. A rock show is meant to be a time for people to have fun and let go of the drudgeries of life. That’s why I love festivals so much, you got to club shows for run of the mill rock bands and it’s full of people with their arms crossed who are there to find a cheap drink and hook up with a girl, which is well and good. But at the end of the day, a rock show is all about that release from everyday life and that’s why festivals are great because everyone’s there to have a really great time and a giant party!
When you sat down to write/record Set The World On Fire, what did you guys set out to achieve?
We sort of looked at Set The World On Fire as our first record. If you look at our first release We Stitch These Wounds, it was more a collection of songs we had written over the first 20 years of our life, but it wasn’t really an album as such. With the latest album, its was our first major label release and would be distributed internationally. We really sat down with the intention of creating a real album in the way that all our favourite albums growing up had a specific message. I don’t think we spent that much time trying to make it as specific or pretentious as some people might want it. For us, we just wanted to make a rock record that felt like maybe a snapshot of our lives at this point in time. In ten years time I think we will he able to look back and say Set The World On Fire represented the Black Veil Brides in 2010/2011.
You worked with Josh Abraham who produced the new album, put simply, did you guys set out to try and make the biggest rock sound as possible?
I think so, nothing was really off limits for us. If you look at those classic Mutt Lange and Def Leppard records, that’s what we wanted. We wanted every chorus to have as many little nuances and huge things as possible. So we went back to the old days of how they used to record metal records, adding so many little parts to make these big songs. Those are the things we love and I don’t think there isn’t anybody who doesn’t love to sing along to a big rock n roll song.
You spoke earlier of Alice Cooper, Motley Crue and KISS as contributing to the visual aspect of the band, but what of some non-musical influences that have contributed?
We all grew up loving comic books and superhero movies, but I always loved characters such as Batman that had a darker image, but still presented a hopeful message. For us I think it’s a culmination of a lot of pop culture media and stuff brought together. Movies such as Mad Max and Road Warrior and that post apocalyptic look definitely contributed to our image.
How similar or different are the musical influences like within the band?
I think there are certainly key elements, we all love Metallica and Motley Crue, but then we all have our separate ones. My guitar player is hugely influenced by classical music as well as stuff like Paul Gilbert and Mr.Big. My bass player and I sway more towards punk rock music, then my drummer listens dub step and techno. So it’s a crazy culmination of all those, but at the end of the day we love rock n roll music and we have 35 years of heavy metal music to take different influences from!
Watching the video for The Legacy, I couldn’t help but notice the words “death to hip hop” written on the bonnet of a car….do explain!
Haha yeah to me that represents, well it’s not specifically against hip hop, if you look at rock n roll music especially in America, it’s kind of become invisible in terms of pop culture in the last 10 to 15 years. I think a lot of that is due to rock bands in particular just getting lazy. There’s no showmanship and no fun in rock music anymore and to me that represents us aiming to bring rock music back to mainstream American culture and the idea of kids getting into rock music first and foremost.
That’s certainly typical of here in Australia as well where we don’t have a culture of bands such as the Black Veil Brides originating from Australia, but there’s certainly a growing fan base for it and you shall see that in September at Soundwave!
Awesome, we can’t wait to be there man!
Band Members: Andy Biersack – Vocals, Ashley Purdy – Bass, Jinxx – Guitar, Jake Pitts – Guitar, Christian Coma – Drums
Latest Release: Set The World On Fire – (2011, Universal Music Australia)
Soundwave 2012 Sidewaves….
THURSDAY 1 MARCH MELBOURNE, THE THORNBURY THEATRE