If you like your rock n’ roll with a little more personality and style, look no further than Los Angeles’ newest export, the Black Veil Brides. This talented group has just made it’s major label debut with, Set The World On Fire. Serving as the band’s sophomore album, Set The World On Fire is the follow-up to their 2010 album, We Stitch These Wounds, which made an impact when it landed at #36 on the Billboard Top 200 and #1 on the Billboard Independent chart. The excitement and buzz about the band continues to grow and they were recently awarded the “Best New Band” title at Revolver’s Golden Gods Awards and rolled out a powerful new video for “Fallen Angels,” the first single from ‘Set The World On Fire’. With a legion of dedicated fans behind them, positive reaction for the rock and metal communities and an outstanding presence and work ethic, it won’t be long before these guys are blasting from speakers nationwide! Icon Vs. Icon recently caught up with Black Veil Brides frontman Andy Biersack to discuss his musical roots, the making of ‘Set The World On Fire, misconceptions about the band and much more!
We wanted to start off to give everybody who may not be familiar with ya a little bit of background. I was curious to find out how did music first come into your life?
I think I was about – I mean, there’s different ways, but I think in terms of the most basic way, I was about three – four years old, and I was wandering around in the basement of my parents’ house and found like an old shoebox full of the 1977 Kiss “Love Gun” trading cards. And, obviously, being only like four you have no real idea of what things are, but I saw the visuals and was immediately incredibly excited, and proceeded to find all of the leftover Halloween makeups and tried to make my face look like any one of them; and then finding out that they weren’t just superheroes, but that they played music and that I liked music.
Maybe that was the first way. And, ultimately, through like – my Mom has always been very much into music and showing me Bruce Springsteen and people like that. But, yeah, as you – ultimately, it was probably a combination of my mom’s folk music interest and my dad’s rock and roll music interest.
What made you pursue music as a career as opposed to splitting off into a different route?
I think it was that experience at such a young age. I never wanted to do anything else. Like when I was a young kid I played hockey on a pretty competitive level, but to me it was always just like it was preparation for the inevitable career in music. I mean, I don’t really have any other skills, so this is really it. This is all I’ve really prepared myself for.
Well, it seems like it’s working out for you so far.
Yeah, yeah. [laughs] I mean, I think it was a good move.
You mentioned Kiss. I was curious who some of your influences were, but also some influences that may be surprising.
I think in terms of songwriting I’m more influenced by, like I said, people like Springsteen or Dylan or Simon & Garfunkel, and even bands like The Psychedelic Furs, and vocally Sisters of Mercy and those kind of things. I think I’m obviously very influenced by punks bands like The Damned, or The Lords of the New Church and Dead Boys, those kinds of bands.
What can you tell us about the writing process for ‘Set The World On Fire’?
It’s pretty smooth. Going into that record, we wanted to do something perhaps different in that I’m very passionate about the idea of doing every song – writing the song and tracking it that day, trying to get – trying to do one song a day. So in terms of keeping fresh, genuine and honest lyrically, that would be the best way to do it. So every song that’s on the record is really written and recorded in a day, and then we kinda make tweaks the following day, and then you’re back to writing another one. Because we didn’t really have any material going into that album; we kinda wanted to just make it 100 percent new and fresh, and it kept it more exciting in that regard.
How many songs did you write for the album? Did you end up leaving anything out?
We did about 13 songs, 11 of which made it onto the record. And the other ones – not because they weren’t great songs or the songs weren’t right for the album. But we’ll wind up probably releasing them soon, but we didn’t really have time. The crunch time – we made that record and recorded it in three weeks, so that was broken up by an English tour and a Japanese tour.
Obviously, time was an issue there, but what was the biggest challenge for you putting this record together?
I think that was it really, honestly, would just be time, because everything else was smooth and a great experience. I mean, we enjoyed who we were working with and we enjoyed the production team; and the writing process was really cool and it was a good time. But having those tours that break up – you know, you’re in writing mode and you’re in making this record, and then you have to go to Japan and then you have to come back, and then you have to go to England and come back. And then we had a headlining tour that sort of cut off our whole recording time, so, literally, the song “Fallen Angels” was tracked like, I think less than 24 hours before we had to leave for tour. That was when we had to deliver the record.
You talked a little bit about your live performance. What do you guys do to keep it exciting for yourself as well as the fans, and is that something you still feel like you’re still honing in at this point, kind of finding your niche?
Yeah. I think more than anything, in terms of live performance, it’s always about trying to convey the emotion that you felt when you wrote the song, how you feel about the stage performance of the song. So I don’t know. I think that we try to work hard to put on a good show and hopefully we’re successful at that. Obviously, we’re not blowing up pyrotechnics and shit, but I think that what we lack in maybe the crazy stage show we try and make up for in just kinda kickass passion on stage.
And you guys have been doing some Warped Tour dates. What’s that experience been like for ya?
It’s great. It’s great. It’s hot. [laughs]
No doubt. How have the fans been reacting to your new material? Has it been a positive experience for you so far?
Yeah, completely. I mean, you know, there’s a bit of a, I think, an evolution of sounds from our first record to the second record, so the fans have really enjoyed it and have nothing but positive things to say.
Now you’ve already done some videos. What do you have in the works as far as video releases go? Anything coming down the chute for that?
We’ve got two videos out for the record so far: “Fallen Angels” and “Legacy.” And then our third video is for a song called “Rebel Love Song,” which we’ll be doing, hopefully, soon.
I realize this album just is pretty fresh, but have you guys been working on any new material while you’re out on the road?
We wanna try to get back into a studio about April. I’ve recently become very inspired by certain events in my life and I think I wanna write about them.
What do you think is the biggest misconception about the band at this point in its history?
How much time do we have? [laughs] I mean, literally everything. You list – some genre things: they’re just silly. Just the constant weirdness about the fact that we’re theatrical in our image. I mean, there’s so many things that at the end of the day it doesn’t matter to us. We are what we are, and I think that the easiest way to clear up a misconception is for someone just to fucking listen to the band or see the band play. But most people don’t wanna do that; they’d rather pretend that we’re, I don’t know, gay or whatever it is they wanna call us. That’s fine. We’ll be whatever they need us to be if it makes them comfortable or happier in their masculinity or something.
It’s been a long road for you in your music career, and you’re still moving forward. What’s the biggest career-defining moment you felt you’ve had at this point so far in your career?
You know, I can’t really say one specific thing. I think it’s just always the growth of the band, seeing the first time – certainly that you have the milestones: first time we were on the cover of a magazine or the first time I saw a billboard of ours. Those kind of things are things that are very nice to see. But in terms of the band, that’s all – I think that’s all on fire creatively, but the best thing – I know the best thing I’ve ever done in my life was starting the band.
I think one of the cool things about the band that I’ve been seeing through your tweets and Facebook and everything is how you’ve been embraced by a lot of these legendary rock acts from the past, like a Sebastian Bach or Mötley Crüe. What’s the best encounter or best piece of advice someone who’s had these major careers has given you along the way?
Interesting. It may not be necessarily advice, but I think it may be the fact that someone agrees or believes. When we were at the Kerrang Awards, when Alice Cooper accepted his award he was very complimentary and sort of said that we were the only band that was keeping going something that he thought had died, which was very nice. And then we were very drunk and excited I think jumped on our table and started cheering for our own name. I think hearing our own name was what was most exciting, hearing Alice Cooper say our name. But, yeah, I mean obviously, people like Sebastian and Dee Snider and these other people there. They’re very complimentary, very nice, and, if anything, they just tell us to keep doing what we’re doing. That has been very rewarding.
As one of the key members of this band, looking to move this band forward, what do you think the future holds for you short term? What are your plans?
Just continued growth. I mean, we wanna – we just wanna keep touring and doing what we do. I never look at things in terms of specific goals. I think that when you do that, if you don’t reach your mark then you wind up – you start to doubt things, and I never let doubt seep into my mind. So it’s always just about continued success and growth and knowing that every step you take is the next step in the right direction. I think, if anything, be confident in every move you make.
What advice would you give to someone who’s looking to make their career in music as you have? Is there something you could point them in the right direction with?
I always just think that as long as you – this is your passion and this is what means most to you in the world, then you’ll always gonna steer yourselves in the right direction. If you have other things that – like, “Oh, well, I do wanna play music, but I might wanna go become a doctor,” then you’re never gonna do it, at least the right way anyway. So if it is your passion this is all that can exist in your life. I’m enjoying my life.
How big of an impact do you feel that social media has had on the growth of the band?
Oh, huge. I mean, it’s paramount to the idea of – you know, first time we toured in Europe, having people there that know every word to our songs, that’s not because – I mean, that we can owe that completely to things like social media and networking and those kind of things. We came along at a time, especially early on, that it was sort of at its height; and then things like MySpace and those other things are really doing well. So, I mean, we were able to reach out our music to the larger audience.
Is there anything you’d like to tell your fans before I let you go?
We love them and thanks for their overwhelming support!
Thanks for your time, Andy! All the best to you and the band!