Groovey of Hollywood Music Magazine recently conducted an interview with vocalist Andy Biersack of Los Angeles theatrical rockers BLACK VEIL BRIDES. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
Hollywood Music Magazine: Why did you go the concept album route on the new album?
Andy Biersack: Around April of last year, we started working on a follow-up to our second record. We got about six songs in as far as the writing process and it never really felt as exciting as I wanted it to be. It felt it was a little too much of a logical follow-up to our last record and I guess I became a little disillusioned to the idea of making just another rock record. We weren't really being as tenacious as we should be as in terms of what we were doing. Around that time, we had done a round of festivals in Europe and in Germany I remember just sitting there and thinking that I wasn't particularly excited about anything that was happening on the record and I really wished that there was more that we could do. That's when I sat down and started writing down the concept of this story, just a couple paragraphs, outlining the story of this "Wild Ones". It's a Viva- Vendetta-esque story where this bad guy organization called F.E.A.R. takes away science and creativity from man and, I suppose, is a parallel to the religious and political upbringing of all of us in small towns in America. And that was something that really excited me. When we got back to L.A., I really got excited about making it into a record, and around that time I met John Feldmann, our producer. It was a combination of meeting him and having this story that I was so excited about that two days later I shut down production with the other producer and moved everything over to John Feldmann's studio and really started working on and fleshing out what would become this sort of concept record.
Hollywood Music Magazine: How did you challenge yourself sound wise to fit this concept?
Andy Biersack: When you're writing something that plays out over the course of an entire album, you tend to bog yourself down and how you think more about how you want to write around that story and I think it becomes an albatross to write to a story. We did the first week and half saying, "Alright, let's write for the concept." And after that, we kind of just erased the concept from our mind and try to write songs that were just great songs that we really loved and even though we had the concept in the back of our head, we didn't want to focus too much on it. I think in terms of building a record that is a story, it is important that you are always writing genuine songs and you're not writing a script for a play. Sonically, I think that's where it really came in. How do we tell this story when it will just be the sounds of this record? How can you feel an emotion, how can this be the soundtrack to something — just sonically and that came from just playing with music a lot more. We kind of reinvented the way we write songs. We started writing from scratch as opposed to the way we would write in the past with, say, a lead guitar part in mind. On this record, we wanted to write on piano or acoustic guitar first and make sure it was a solid song all the way through and then come in and write the guitars around it and violins and everything else around it. In doing that, we were able to build the record and also just playing with music. The idea of involving instrumentation that we had never used before — stuff like violins and big-band instruments, like horns, just to make it a little more grand and help tell the story.
Hollywood Music Magazine: Is the concept of the album going to develop into any other mediums like film or graphic novels?
Andy Biersack: We have made a full-length film based on the record and it is going to be screening in theatres in Los Angeles on the 21st through the 23rd of December. It will also be available through pay-per-view on our Facebook page thereafter. Also, we intend on spinning it off into everything possible. For us, we are very visual people, obviously, [so] the theatrical quality of the band lends itself to do a lot of things, like graphic novels. We all grew up loving comic books and pop culture in general.
Hollywood Music Magazine: That's one thing about you guys is that you have the look but you also write decent tunes. There's some musicianship behind what you do.
Andy Biersack: I think you will get bands, particularly bands since our success, that they are a little bit like a fashion show and their music is sort of the soundtrack to the fashion show. They come out and wear their make-up and look cool, but they don't necessarily care about the musical value. We have always been a rock band first and foremost, and when we go onstage we are entertainers and we want to make sure that the show is something that is worth the audience paying for and that they enjoy. Honestly, first and foremost, we are a rock 'n' roll band and our songs are what is most important.
Read the entire interview from Hollywood Music Magazine.