Interviewed by Duncan Everson (Journalist/Writer/Contributor) Myglobalmind Webzine
© Duncan Everson
Fearless Vampire Killers are currently on tour with Black Veil Brides, ATTILA and Drama Club around the UK and Myglobalmind were lucky enough to speak to them on the opening night of the tour in Cardiff. Initially scheduled to take place before the gig, due to a technical problem we ended up meeting up while ATTILA played their set, after FVK had already played theirs. Amongst other things we spoke about their performance, the upcoming new album, the recently released videos and of course Batman!
MGM: How do you feel it went? Were you happy with it?
Luke: The first show is always really hard because you haven’t done it for a while, you kinda forget and everything fucks up!
MGM: Most things worked though didn’t they? There was a bit of a microphone problem at the beginning I think wasn’t there?
Laurence: There was various things but it’s kind of like we get on stage and –
Kier: It was nothing drastic –
Laurence: once you kind of realise that people don’t give a shit and you just love what you’re doing, you see that and you just feel invincible, you know what I mean? Especially shows like this. Sometimes we do shows – like for instance when we were supporting Madina Lake, some of the shows would be more heavily Madina Lake fans and despite the fact that we’d have 100 of our fans at the front bouncing up and down, you’d be looking at the Madina Lake fans that were a bit older and didn’t really give a shit about our band, do you know what I mean? Whereas on this show, everyone seemed to like it, as far as I could tell. Luckily I wear glasses but I take ‘em off so I could see people and they seemed to be smiling and that’s all that matters. If I see people moving, fuck everything else! I don’t even care if no-ones playing! [all laugh!] As long as there’s people there that are moving that’s all that matters.
Kier: As long as the drums is going and the bass is going and there’s some kind of vocals you’re ok! [laughter]
MGM: The hands were up right to the back – I was at the side so I could see the whole place and it was really good.
Laurence: It was good.
Kier: Yeah, it was really good.
MGM: So, I’ll get the most important question out of the way first – Ben Affleck as Batman?
All: I’m for it!
Kier: I am stupidly excited!
Laurence: Have you seen Argo?
MGM: No, but I’ve heard he’s amazing in that.
Drew: He’s brilliant. And his direction is brilliant too.
Luke: He’s done a Matthew McConaughey. He’s just good now.
Drew: But I never thought he went bad, as bad as Matthew McConaughey – he chose some really shit films but at the same time he was still –
Laurence: Good in them –
Drew: A good actor –
Luke: What, Gigli?
Drew: Well, obviously not those films but he didn’t have the same as Matthew McConaughey, 10 years of crappy films.
Laurence: That’s right. Even when he was doing the shit films like Dogma –
Drew: Dogma he’s fantastic in –
Laurence: I think he’s gonna be great. I think he can really nail an older Batman.
Drew: I’m looking forward to Gone Girl. That looks really good.
Laurence: He’s one of those people – his brothers the same, Casey Affleck – when you see them on the screen they have something…I don’t know, something.
Drew: I think its old-school movie star magic.
Laurence: Yeah, old-school movie star magic, yeah, and I think he’s gonna be perfect for Batman.
MGM: If he’s given a chance.
Laurence: Exactly. I mean look at Michael Keaton. Everyone fucking hated it. When they heard he was gonna be Batman everyone was like, how the hell can –
Drew: Apparently they got more abuse but cos of the internet it’s all public now. They had letters upon letters and death threats, “cos he’s not Batman!” At the time he was doing Mrs. Mom and stuff like that so he was just doing comedies and that’s not Batman. But then they saw it was like “Yes!”
Laurence: And then there was [whispered] “I’m Batman”. He was Batman, he is Batman. “I’m Batman” by Michael Keaton is the quintessential Batman. He is Batman. [all laugh] Christian Bale…Michael Keaton made Batman. He made Batman what it is. Batman isn’t the ‘60’s Batman [all talk at once]
Kier: You’ve opened a can of worms here!
Drew: He has a certain quiet intensity. He portrays that manic energy.
Kier: Weren’t we talking about Ben Affleck?
Luke: Are you not a fan of Ben Affleck doing it?
MGM: I’m quite open-minded. I’ll just wait and see what happens.
Drew: I think that’s the way. We don’t know if he’s gonna be good but there’s so many had a go so why not. I’m for Bat-fleck!
MGM: The new video, Maeby – am I pronouncing that right [as maybe]?
Laurence: It’s supposed to be said Maybe. The only reason we spelt it Maeby was it’s a character from Arrested Development –
Drew: We’re massive fans of Arrested Development –
Laurence: So we thought we’d call it Maeby, spelt that way and because we haven’t got a record label, we can do whatever we want! We are our own record label!
Drew: There was no-one to go, “That’s a stupid idea!”, so we did it!
Laurence: And for some reason we ended up doing it.
Kier: I think people think it’s kind of trendy.
Drew: It’s like Bae.
Luke: We were writing the songs and we had like a white board and a list of songs and ticking them off once we’d finished them and stuff. I think we said, “Spell Maybe like Maeby from Arrested Development” and just never changed it.
Drew: I think it would have been a terrible name for a song if it was spelt correctly but as its spelt now I think it’s a fantastic name.
MGM: How has the feedback been for the video?
Kier: I think it’s a much more accessible Fearless Vampire Killers, it’s quite stripped back and there’s not like loads of stuff going on but it’s still got our flavour because it’s still got the imagery and stuff. And it fits in, sort of, with Neon in the Dance Halls.
Drew: There’s quite a hilarious connecting thing in the two videos – there’s two shots of Kier doing slow-motion head bang.
Luke: You know when Alan Partridge is in the car and he wants to be a crash test dummy and he crashes into a wall and slowly goes into –
Drew: He’s got a slight grimace on his face, that’s Kier, yeah! [All laugh]
Kier: I think I look good when I head bang! All laugh]
MGM: You mentioned Neon In The Dancehalls and the same female character is in both videos.
Drew: That was our friend wasn’t it.
Laurence: Yeah, that was kind of like, she was a girl that we knew back in the day, who was really cool and is like a proper dancer. Is she from Italy?
Kier: Yes. And, I guess, when we did the Neon video, we kind of, the way it finished, we thought it would be cool to sort of carry on that story.
Laurence: If you look carefully, she’s in All Hallows Evil as well.
Drew: She’s in Could We Burn as well!
Laurence: And she’s in Could We Burn!
Kier: So she’s been in a few videos. Yeah, we thought it would be cool to carry on the story of the girl who’s been turned, so Neon is sort of pre-Maeby.
Laurence: We wanted to get the vampire back – have you seen Neon?
MGM: I have once or twice, yeah.
Laurence: So, in Neon, the guy that bites her, we wanted to get him back. The thing is, we used to direct our own videos but now we don’t, so they came up with that idea and I had to work it into the storyline, which was quite difficult but I managed to do it in the end.
Drew: Cos you’re brilliant!
Kier: Cos he’s a genius!
Laurence: The characters were there but it wasn’t the same scenario. We changed stuff but it worked really well actually and it was a really good idea from the guys at Rolling Vision, they did the video, and it was really cool to have her like really innocent in the first video and then in the next video she’s become evil. I think it’s just a really good metaphor for girls and boys when they’re growing up. They go from being innocent to being a bastard.
MGM: So she’s not an actual character from the album? Like a central theme or anything?
Laurence: I’ve made it…it’s like a snapshot really. I have made it a central theme because…it is part of the central theme because the central theme is these innocent people that become killers, you know. The whole second album is about these fearless vampire killers who aren’t necessarily really that fearless and have only killed a few people in battles that they’ve had to fight. They go from doing that to being heartless, they stop, thinking about what’s right and wrong and they start doing what they have to do to save the city of Grandomina. And those things might not necessarily be morally correct but are necessary to get what they need. And it’s similar to what we’ve had to do. We’ve had to lose people; we’ve had to drop dead weight and stuff like that. We didn’t want to do it but we had to make these certain choices if you want to get anywhere. And I think that’s reflected in those videos.
Kier: We didn’t actually kill anyone!
Laurence: Only in the storyline!
MGM: The new album, Unbreakable Hearts, is out in about a months’ time. How have the Pre-orders been going? Is there a particular favourite bundle?
Kier: Bundle 12, I think is doing the best.
MGM: Is that the one that’s £57-£58?
Kier: Yeah, £58.
Drew: I wouldn’t pay that for our album! [laughs]
Kier: Looking at the numbers, I think you get like £12-£15 off, so it kind of makes sense to do it and also our fans are bloody lovely and just support us.
Laurence: It’s worth it though. Say you get the deluxe bundle, you get every song as it was demoed before we worked with Will [William Control, producer]. So you get to hear the change of what it was with us and then after. There’s also a documentary about that whole period of our career, from when we started writing the second album to all the stuff that happened and went wrong and you get all the story on there. So it’s like a sequel to At War With The Thirst. Have you seen the documentary, At War With The Thirst?
MGM: I haven’t, no.
Laurence: Ah, ok. We made this film about our early career and this is like the next part, I guess. You get that with the deluxe album.
Kier: On a real live DVD!
MGM: Isn’t this actually like your third album that you’ve recorded?
Laurence: Um, we’ve recorded, we’ve written about 35-40 songs for the third album and recorded demos of them –
Drew: This is the official second album –
Laurence: and recorded properly 6 songs for that album….um…our management label said that Unbreakable Hearts was shit. This is…the simple thing is. And we then wrote another second album. We then realised that our management had no idea what they were talking about and that Unbreakable Hearts was probably the best rock album –
Drew: Since sliced bread by Toast! [Laughs]
Laurence: Since sliced bread by Toast! [all laugh] And we went, actually we’re not gonna work with you guys any more, we’re gonna work with someone that knows what we’re about, which is a lady called Julie Weir, who manages The Blitzkids, she’s responsible for Bullet For My Valentine, Bring Me The Horizon, people like that. She knows what she’s talking about and she’s been with us since the start and she goes, “You’ve gotta release that album” and we go, “Yeah, of course we have – it’s bloody brilliant!”
Drew: So we did! That was how the dialogue went!
Laurence: But we’d already written a load of songs and recorded several of them and they’re all gonna come out at some point. They’re a different time, you know what I mean. We kind of had to get back into the mind of Unbreakable Hearts but it didn’t take long because as soon as I started putting up the stories then I’m back in that Grandomina frame of mind. Cos we’re gonna leave Grandomina at the end of this album.
Drew: But then come back to it later.
Laurence: We will come back one day. Fearless Vampire Killers are gonna start writing about the real world – not necessarily the real world – but kind of the real world as we see it. We’ve written loads of songs about that – because the real world is just as messed up as Grandomina, if not worse – at least Grandomina’s got some good stuff [all laugh] So yeah, some exciting stuff happening but we’re back in Grandomina again now I think. We’re all in that crazy world but then everything will come back to something that everyone can relate to.
MGM: Interesting! I notice that Exploding Heart Disorder is on the tracklist for the new album. Did you re-record it? Did it change?
Laurence: Yeah, it changed quite a lot actually.
Luke: I don’t think we meant to change it. Basically what happens is, when we play songs live we speed ‘em up a little bit, like with a bit more energy, and then when we went to re-record it I think we just forgot that we sped it up, so we just use that tempo for how we play it live, so it’s faster now.
Drew: It’s got a bit more of a kick to it, it’s less languid.
Laurence: I recorded all my vocals in about 4 consecutive days, so my vocals gradually just got worse and worse. That was probably the last song I sang.
Drew: The backing vocals have completely changed in the choruses…
Laurence: Each version has a different feel. I almost…I think I might prefer this version.
Drew: We wanted to re-record it because we wanted everything to sound “of a piece”.
Laurence: In the mixing stage we actually made it…
Kier: We added a lot of extra stuff in there.
Drew: We overdubbed a couple of little bits.
Laurence: We added some extra vocals. It was always supposed to be the third song on the album; it was always supposed to be part of the second album. The story was already there. I’d come up with second album story a long time before, the basics, so that was always meant to be there.
Drew: We never intended it to be a single originally. We started writing the second album…the first session started literally before the first album was out. It happened to be that we were really excited about that song –
Laurence: Maeby must have been that old –
Drew: Maeby was written before Militia Of The Lost [first album].
Laurence: Taste The Iron On Your Lips was written before Militia Of The Lost came out. I mean a lot of these songs were written before…City Falls To Dust, the last song on the album was written in 2008. We think ahead, it’s a long…everything was planned –
Kier: We’ve already written our 7th album! [Laughs]
Laurence: It was always intended to be there, it’s just we didn’t think it would take as long as for the second album to come out. And that’s why we did Exposition [the last EP], because we needed something to come out. And I wanted to get all the explanation of the stories but we never released those stories at the time.
MGM: But there coming out on Obsidian Bond [Fearless Vampire Killers’ own social network for fans] now aren’t they. Which I am a member of.
Luke: You should watch At War With The Thirst, it’s on there.
MGM: I will when I have the time. I haven’t been spoiling the new songs by listening to them when they’ve been coming out on there –
Laurence: Good! Everyone I’ve spoken to, I’ve said “don’t!” Yes get Obsidian Bond because there’s loads of stuff on there but, the songs – I’d wait if I were you because I’d want to just listen to it in one go. It will be different because…
Drew: There’s extra little connecting bits.
Laurence: There’s extra connecting bits and there’s an intro, there’s stuff that’s not on there that will be on the full album experience, I’d say. I understand your choice.
MGM: Are you going to do a headline tour to support it?
Laurence: Not before Christmas.
Drew: The idea is, in the new year –
Laurence: Around the start of the year.
Drew: We can’t confirm anything yet but we are looking at dates. And obviously we’ve got our Halloween show.
Laurence: When we’ll hopefully do several songs from the new album. I wanna have it for sale but I dunno –
Kier: I think we are now, I think we’re gonna get a limited amount – just a few.
Drew: A lot of people probably will have pre-ordered it anyway so won’t want to buy it anyway.
Kier: We’ll have a few there for anyone who’s keen. We’re gonna have to shoot because we said we be down on merch for a while.
MGM: Well, thank you very much for taking the time to speak to me.
Fearless Vampire Killers are:
Kier Kemp – Co-Vocals/Rhythm Guitar
Laurence Beveridge – Co-Vocals/Rhythm Guitar
Cyrus Barrone – Guitar
Drew Woolnough – Bass
Luke Illingworth – Drums