FVK have had an incredible year embarking out into Europe several times, playing Download’s second stage and Warped UK alongside the release of mini-album Bruises. We sat down with co-frontman Kier Kemp and bassist Drew Woolnough ahead of the bands last headline show of 2015 at Scene Club in Swansea to talk Bruises, Obsidian Bond teasers, Twilight and find out if Kier would make a good newspaper editor.
Thanks for joining us today, how are you feeling today guys?
How do you feel about the reaction towards (new mini-album) Bruises from both new and existing fans?
Kier: Hate it. (laughs) What horrible people for liking our music. That’s one of the most gratifying things when you’ve worked on a piece of music and you get to put it out in the public domain and you get that feedback. That’s always nice. We haven’t had much bad stuff said about it so can’t really complain.
Drew: No, it’s all been pretty good and as you say from existing fans as well. There’s no concept so that’s different and then the music’s a definite progression as well and it seems positive within people already fans of us like as far as I can tell, it hasn’t alienated anyone and everyone’s excited so that’s always nice when you try and do something different and the fans go with you. We’re fans of bands and they’ll try something different and in some cases you’ll go ‘that’s great’ and in others you’ll go ‘I hate that, I liked them before they tried that’. But yeah it’s all been good.
There seems to be more of an obvious emotional connection in the new material in comparison to (previous two albums) Militia of the Lost and Unbreakable Hearts. Does this make it more difficult to perform the tracks live, I know you’ve only played them a few times?
K: I think it’s definitely different. It’s a different kind of connection. For me, personally it’s a bit better because I was never massively privy to the ins and outs of the concept. I knew the story but when its conceptual, it’s hard for several people to slot into that and there’s a lot of songwriters in FVK so it was good for me personally to be able to relate to the songs a little bit more but at the same time talking about different things so I think it’s different not necessarily more connected with them.
D: I think even if the subject matter isn’t overtly, literally personal all the tracks are still emotional. Like not necessarily ones I’ve written like (2014 album’s title track) Unbreakable Hearts is one that’s very emotional to play live. I remember the first time we played that it was incredibly emotional and it’s all very much about the concept. Regrets is very emotional for me, that’s a hard one to play in a way because it kind of conjures up something (Kier: me too) but as I say, previous ones have as well. I think as opposed to concept v non-concept, it’s just song by song.
I connected a lot more with the songs on Bruises, the first time I listened to it was to review it and I cried my eyes out throughout most of it (laughs). In a good way.
K: We’ve always made no secret that even though we wrote in a concept, we wrote about things that people can connect with. We’re always interested to see how people would take songs that are a bit more instantly relatable, like speaking about things that they know and stuff that’s a little bit more within our world which sometimes make it easier for people to relate to. Some people like escapism so it’s really just personal preference. I’m glad that people are (relating to and enjoying it) because I’d hate for people to think that the substance had gone
D: We’d become homogenised by the machine that doesn’t want us. (laughs)
So you guys have had a great 2015, what has been your highlight of the year?
K: Europe for me, like as a thing. It’s the first year we’ve toured Europe.
Three times as well.
D: Three times, a bit much isn’t it haha?
They aren’t fed up of you yet.
D: (laughs) No that’s lucky, that’s a good part of 2015, they aren’t fed up of us yet. (laughs) We’ve played Download before but this is the first time we’ve played second stage. We were second on second stage. That was pretty amazing (That was a good set). Thank you. That was combined as well as playing and seeing Muse the next day so that was probably my highlight. We got to play and then enjoy a very good line-up at Download.
You’ve uploaded some teasers of The Vigilante comic on Obsidian Bond (the bands social network created by guitarist Shane Sumner), when can fans see the finished version?
D: The final one’s gonna take a while.
K: It’s going to come but it’s going to come in parts definitely. Maybe three we were talking about weren’t we?
D: It seems that way. I’ve been adapting it from Laurence (Beveridge, co-frontman)’s story and working with him and Ryan as well and basically the first part is done. There’s drafts of the rest but I need to go back to it now, it’s been about a year since I’ve had a chance to get into it because it’s hard when you’re kind of touring and then you want to write songs when you’ve got your time off and when you’re doing that, for me, it’s hard to do that and write. So I’m going to try it over Christmas and write some more .The first part though is basically done in terms of both writing and artwork so now it’s more the logistical side of getting it out. I would love to say The Vigilante would be out very soon but I have no idea. It’s wait and see. I’d love to get it done quicker but there’s just so much other stuff to do.
K: We’re just trying to make it really worthwhile for people as well and I’m pretty excited about it because it looks like a real comic. Well it is a real comic. Ryan did an amazing job with the artwork and these guys have written it really well and it’s something new for us but unfortunately we give ourselves too much to do. Write music, Obsidian Bond, YouTube, touring and then all the other shit that bands do. (laughs)
That could be an answer to the next question, you have a very dedicated fan base. Why do you think they are so dedicated in comparison to other bands fans?
K: I think because we give them a lot to get their teeth into really. We have two kinds of fans really, we have people who just like the music which is perfectly fine and we have people that want to get into a bit more and that’s kind of why we made the Obsidian Bond and things like that to give people a chance to sort of sink their teeth in deeper if they wanted to without meaning for a pun. But yeah I think that’s why, I think when you open the doors to what you do more and people get to know you more and they feel they know you more as people, that’s when they get more dedicated because you’re sharing something real whereas other bands might not do that so much.
D: We’ve always been very open and available both online and at gigs as well since the beginning and continued it as best we can so I think that helps. We do try our best to make time, obviously we’re working and setting our stuff up and we’ve got stuff to do backstage but we’ll always try and get out and talk to people as much as we can. So you do make that personal connection and then the silly stuff like podcasts on Obsidian Bond where it’s just us talking like ourselves and I think people feel like they get a bit more of a sneak into our actual personalities. Maybe they feel more into our world, how we make it.
K: Our silly old world.
A controversial one here; do you feel like the media has misrepresented you in articles in the past?
K: Yeah of course. That always happens, like there’s not much you can do about that really.
D: I think that happens to every band but we’re particularly easy to misrepresent because we’ve got so many things that kind of are not negatives but you can easily twist to make into a negative like being called Fearless Vampire Killers, being a concept band, wearing makeup. Looking a certain way just after MCR. Well it was years but the timing was slightly wrong in a sense so they kind of paint us as imitators. If they wanted to they could say “you’re jumping on the Twilight bandwagon” cause we’d named ourselves before that came out and then you don’t want to change your name cause we chose this name for a reason but at the same time it hurt us because of the association with this mainstreaming of vampires.
K: And it’s shit. It’s just crap ain’t it? (It is)
D: We know it is because we tried to read the books cause we wanted to know if it was crap and then got to the end and realised how crap it was. (I read the books and didn’t find them too bad but then I was made to watch the film in a science class in school, I don’t know what it has to do with science? And fell asleep!) Yeah, I don’t blame you. I think we’re easy targets to misrepresented
K: We’re like the bespectacled ginger kid at school, you know those kids, and I’ve got many friends as such and they’re the most brilliant human beings but they’re easy to take a pot shot at if you’re dim-witted.
D: We’ve had a lot of love from certain people who really get it and really put us forward but then if someone wants to they can just make us a cliché or joke to serve their own agenda which is annoying.
What is your favourite track to perform and why?
K: We get asked this a lot and it changes. I think the general consensus amongst the band is we all lie playing Say What You Want live.
D: Yeah, we’ve got some new ones now though and we’re testing out some new songs, like obviously we’re playing more from Bruises and just from rehearsals, Keep Smiling and Aging Love for different reasons are feeling quite good but I couldn’t say until we play them with an audience but I’ve got high hopes and a good feeling about them
We’ll find out tonight
K: Regret I’m enjoying a lot. Just for the emotional connection more than anything else and it’s just very big and expansive and quite intimate at the same time.
K: Yeah. FVK all over (laughs).
You’re heading over to Ireland with Enter Shikari and you’re heading on tour with Escape The Fate and a headline UK tour, do you have any other plans for 2016 that you can tell us?
K: Not that we can actually tell you but we do.
D: We have a lot of nebulous plans as well like there’s lots of things forming but not fully formed.
K: Yeah like we’re thinking about new music. We’ve already written a load of new music but we’re trying to think of something else that we can get out before another full-length album to keep everyone well fed and obviously all the stuff you know, Laurence is constantly working on the novels.
D: Hopefully have another book out next year.
K: Yeah he said to me the other day he’s a lot going on there and like you say, the comic. So there’s always stuff that’s bubbling under and we’re thinking of some cool stuff for the Obsidian Bond to do next year as well so there’s quite a lot.
We always end interviews with some fun questions. (in a number-select order) First up; there’s a lot of fan-fiction about you guys, have you read any and what do you think of it all?
K: I have read excerpts of some of it, not for a while though. I think when we first started getting fan-fiction I was interested and I was kind of like “ooh what’s going on?” And then I quickly got slightly worried (laughs) so I stopped. But the thing is, only worried because it’s me that I’m reading about. That’s the only weird thing. Imagine reading a novel about yourself, it’s just a weird experience but it’s flattering, the act of people doing that kind of thing about you but it’s just whatever way you paint it, it feels a bit odd.
D: Yeah, I’ve never read it and not out of going “it’s going to be rubbish” it’s just that it’d be weird reading about myself.
What would your chosen topics be on Mastermind?
D: Oooh (laughs from both) we may or may not have planned something for Obsidian Bond that’s similar to that, but what was your subject?
K: Mine was stars but I did really badly.
D: Yeah so we tried to do a mastermind thing the other day for fun and he chose stars but wasn’t that good at it so maybe you’d choose another subject?
K: I’d probably choose a different one yeah and it wasn’t Luke (Illingworth, drummer)’s questions, Luke’s questions were actually all really good, it was just me.
D: I don’t know what mine would be. I’d probably lean to Star Wars maybe but I’m not as knowledgeable as I was when I was a lad because I was obsessed with just that, and now I’ve got slightly broader interests. It would either be Star Wars or maybe Batman or maybe something more specific.
Describe the person sitting to your right as tomorrows headline.
K: tomorrows headline? How’d you mean? (Like a newspaper headline) oooh. Urm… Short Scotch man dances with rum. (laughs)
D: I like it. I don’t know if it works as a headline though.
K: That’s the Daily Mail.
D: That’s quite good though yeah, you got some alliteration in there so that works. You’ve got like a pun too so that’s pretty good yeah. I’ll take that.
Finally, which Star Wars character would you want to be and why?
D: Would you want to be? Oh that’s just boring though cause everyone wants to be Hans Solo, or every guy wants to be Hans Solo surely don’t they?
K: I quite like Luke (Skywalker) though. (I want to be an Ewok). An Ewok? Well Ewoks are lovely but some people hate the Ewoks, I think particularly of an older generation but I love the Ewoks. I think they have one of the great tragic scenes in Star Wars: Return of the Jedi when just an Ewok you’re not even attached to dies and his friend tries to rouse him and he realises hes dead and its just one of the saddest scenes in Star Wars.
K: Yeah it is.
D: But oh god, probably Hans Solo but then very close, Luke Skywalker. Or Yoda
K: Yeah. Yoda? He’s a goblin thing.
D: But hes great (Drew does Yoda impression). I could get on board with that.
K: He does have a great time, especially in the first ones.
D: You definitely won’t want to be Dexter Jettser or Jar-Jar Binks let’s put it that way.
Thank you for your time and have a good show.
D: Thank you very much.
K: Absolutely, thanks.