Interview with Vicky White of Bloody Heels

It’s been roughly three decades since the fall of the Iron Curtain, but when it comes to popular music, the old status quo seems to prevail. Just think about it – how many Latvian, Ukrainian, Russian or Polish bands have you recently listened to…? But even if there are no classic Opalnyi Prynz, Ария, Turbo, Līvi or Pērkons’ albums in your ‘80s record collection, chances are you’ve already heard about Bloody Heels. The young Latvian four-piece may have just found their rocket to stardom as their second album Ignite The Sky was released by Frontiers Music SRL, and hopefully more bands from Eastern Europe will soon follow their footsteps… By now, Bloody Heels’ lead singer Vicky White checked in here to share his thoughts on the new album, the Latvian music scene and ‘80s vibe to their sound.

Bloody Heels. Photo used by the band’s permission. Photo credits: Loreta Broka.

Alexandra Mrozowska: Your new album Ignite The Sky is out via Frontiers Music SRL, differently from the independently released debut….

Vicky White: Yeah, we’re definitely happy that we got signed by Frontiers – they are great and we’re quite stoked with all the things they have done with the new album. Of course, the main thing is that our music reaches a lot more ears and that’s something a small band can’t do independently.

AM: In what circumstances did you get signed to Frontiers? Did you consider other labels as well?

VW: Back when we were recording our debut album Through Mystery, we wrote them an e-mail. They liked the band, but at the time it didn’t work out. So, a couple of years later, one of their A&R people contacted us asking if we have new material and by that time we just started recording Ignite The Sky. A bit of time passed, we contacted them again and this time it worked out. As for other labels – our main goal was always Frontiers. There were some offers from other smaller labels, but yeah, luckily we got the deal with Frontiers.

AM: The period before recording and releasing Ignite The Sky was quite difficult for the band especially in terms of line-up changes. Do you think it reflects on the album?

VW: Yeah, definitely. Our previous bassist Chris Flint left the band in the middle of writing the material for this album, so then Gunn Everett came to the band and in my opinion that’s why the album has such a big variety. Gunn comes from a bit heavier background and you can definitely hear that. All in all I think it’s still us, but with a few touches of other things.

AM: One of the songs of the new album, “Farewell To Yesterday”, is illustrated with a special 360° video. Whose idea was this? Do you enjoy making the videos in general and which one was your favourite so far?

VW: The idea for it came from our guitarist Harry (Rivers) and our friend who also is a driver when we go on tours. They graduated together from a film school… The feedback on it is great. It’s completely different from other videos, so that’s cool I think. And definitely, I love making them. I’ll remember each and every one of them for the rest of my life – I mean, when we filmed them. I guess if we’re talking about the past, then it’s “Cheap Little Liar”. It really was a game changer for the band to be honest.

AM: Do you think Ignite The Sky is a step forward in comparison with the band’s debut album? How do you envision Bloody Heels’ sound on, say, your fifth album?

VW: Yeah, I truly believe so. We’ve matured in every way – musically, lyrically, we’re better with our instruments and most importantly we’re a bit older and smarter (laughs). Regarding the fifth album – I really don’t know, we’re so open minded and we like to try new things, so for now I really can’t tell. One thing is for sure – we’re definitely not gonna be a Black Metal band by that time (laughs)

AM: I certainly hope so! Music-wise, you’re are often compared to Slave To The Grind-era Skid Row. How accurate do you think those comparisons are and do you care about them at all?

VW: Well, the heaviest songs perhaps – and don’t get me wrong, it’s a great comparison, but to be honest, I can’t really see it. And honestly, I don’t care about the labels. That’s really up to the fans to do, to label bands and so on… I really think we’re just a heavy Rock’n’Roll band. That’s how I see us.

AM: An album that’s indispensable in your band tour bus/van/car is… because…

VW: (laughs) There are so many that it’s really hard to name even few. It goes from Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours to Pantera’s Cowboys From Hell. It really depends on the mood and the day. During one tour, for example, I remember we often were listening to Reckless album by Bryan Adams a lot. It was a pretty warm spring and the vibe was great, so the Reckless album was just the cherry on top.

AM: Bloody Heels revives the ‘80s in terms of both music and image. Do you think a band like yours could’ve existed without specific looks?

VW: Well, we definitely could exist without it, but for me that would just not be right. I guess I really love that we give the full package to the people that come to the show – the best show we can deliver. Plus, music really goes hand to hand with fashion in my opinion.

AM: The first wave of ‘80s-inspired Hard Rock bands such as Crashdïet and Crazy Lixx called themselves a “wasted generation”. With all the ‘80s nostalgia that we have now, why do you find the decade so inspiring – in general as well as personal terms?

VW: It’s because it makes you feel good and it’s not so depressing. The whole world we live in nowadays is pretty depressing and the music is something that you can escape to. And this genre in particular gives you the drive to live the life to the fullest. I guess for me it’s that the vibe was so cool… at least it looks like it was! The world seemed to be much simpler.

AM: In the past, your homeland Latvia was a part of the USSR and, similarly to my homeland Poland, was a nation separated from the rest of the world by the Iron Curtain. Did it have any influence on the popularity of Rock music in your country?

VW: Yeah, I guess in that time we had pretty big Rock bands here that sang about freedom and our country etc., though it was in mid to late 80’s and early 90’s when the things started to shake and the USSR seemed to not going to last long anymore. But before that, it was insane. I heard that the police cut every boy’s or man’s hair by force if they were longer than normal and so on… I’m really happy that I didn’t lived through those times.

AM: Yeah, we’re the luckier generation. So how does the Latvian Rock/Metal scene look like now? Are there any bands you’d find worth recommending?

VW: It’s all right. We’re quite a small country, so of course you can’t compare the scene to the bigger countries. We have more extreme Metal bands, Pagan Folk and stuff like that… Skyforger is probably the biggest. As of Heavy Metal, there’s band called Rebel Riot which is pretty good. Also, there are these newcomers Quickstrike… I think they will do well too.

AM: Which young bands have you shared the stage with? Are there any you’d like to tour with in the future?

VW: From this genre definitely one of the best is Shiraz Lane. They’re just awesome guys and helluva band – they are really a tight unit. Would be awesome to tour with them as well. There are plenty of good bands so it’s hard to name a few. But the Shiraz guys are the first ones that came to mind.

AM: Absolutely! Shiraz Lane is really a great band and I’ll chat with them pretty soon. Still, speaking of touring, when do you resume playing regular gigs? How is the band’s current situation impacted by the pandemic?

VW: As soon as possible, I hope. We’ve already started to talk with booking agents etc. But this past half a year has been really sad. We’ve only had like two gigs and even those were quite weird ‘cause of the situation. We can’t go on a proper tour to promote the new album and that’s the saddest part.

AM: Is there anything you’d like to add in the end?

VW: Yeah, thanks for the interview! Thanks to all the fans and people that keep on supporting us. It means a world to us. Check out our newest album Ignite The Sky which came out July the 10th via Frontiers Music SRL… And most importantly, stay safe! Peace and rock’n’roll!

Bloody Heels Official Website

Bloody Heels on Facebook

Bloody Heels on Instagram

Vicky White on Instagram

Be sure to check out Bloody Heels’  360° video to their song “Farewell To Yesterday” off their new album Ignite The Sky below:

Interview with John Elliot of Confess

If you decide to turn the blind eye to the entire “corporate” side of Rock/Metal music and view it only as art for art’s sake – it’s always been art created by renegades for their likewise minded renegade brethren. That’s why even in the politically correct, polished 21st century reality songs about debauchery and rebellion remain somewhat a guilty pleasure. “It’s in our nature”, says John Elliot, the lead singer of the Stockholm, Sweden-based band Confess. The band released a third album Burn ‘em All this year and was just about to hit the road when the obvious happened, all their plans coming to a screeching halt. We’ve discussed this – and more…

Confess. Photo used by the band’s permission. Photo credits: Pavel Maira

Alexandra Mrozowska: Many bands brag they record albums in a span of just a few days or weeks, so why did it take you so long to make Burn ‘em All?

John Elliot: It took close to a year because we recorded all by ourselves. We didn’t really set up a studio schedule – instead, we recorded song by song here and there, so I guess we could have done it in a few weeks’ time if we wanted to. Also, the album was recorded to about 90% when we had a break-in in our studio and the masters got stolen so we had to go and re-record the whole album…

AM: That’s bad luck really.

JE: It took some of the spark a way for a couple of months. Still, I think this album is the best we´ve ever done so far, so I guess it was all worth it. I’d say that this album was also more of a band effort. Especially Pontus (guitar) wrote a lot of the main riffs on this one.

AM: What about the lyrics? They’re all really straight-in-your-face and even quite dark at times – including “My Vicious Way” about “the virus that we call mankind”…

JE: The metaphor of the virus is the mankind itself and how an insane person resonates, how he or she believes that the only solution to save this planet would be to reboot all living things. And in general, the inspiration can come from everywhere. It can be something you hear on the news, in a movie or a book. The lyrics on Burn ‘em All are mainly about mankind and how we slowly have been exterminating ourselves for ages.

AM: “One For The Road” is yet another story. Do you think there’s still a place for hailing debaucherous lifestyle and take-no-prisoners attitude in the über-clean, politically correct world of today?

JE: Yeah, of course. Although I think that people tend to glorify the ‘70s and ‘80s Rock eras a little too much sometimes… Still, I think rock’n’roll always needs a bit of anarchy and debauchery in it. There’s always room for some amount of madness, it’s in our nature. Anyway, I think that music should always come in first hand.

AM: Reviewers often compare Confess to your fellow Swedes from Crashdïet and Hardcore Superstar. How accurate is that? Can you envision the band significantly changing their sound in the future? 

JE: Not necessarily, music-wise. We’ve always tried to do our own thing – since day one. But of course you are aware of what other bands do etc. And well, there’s never a guarantee of how a band will develop. Only time will tell.

AM: Burn ‘em All was the first Confess album to be released by Street Symphonies Records & Burning Minds Group…

JE: Very happy with the choice. Been nothing but a pleasure working with them!

AM: Your new album released also on vinyl, what do you think is the reason behind this format’s resurgence?

JE: I personally love vinyls. But I think the meaning of a vinyl is different now. It’s more of a merchandise thing nowadays… The actual sound quality is not that good if you compare it to a CD… The CD is the most honest audio format you can get when playing an album. It’s the least compressed version of it… But still, the feeling of holding the actual thing in your hands is way better.

AM: Releasing Burn ‘em All on the eve of a pandemic was certainly another stroke of bad luck for Confess this year…

JE: It kinda ruined the whole year for us. We were two days from flying out in Europe to start playing shows when the pandemic struck. We had some hopes in the beginning that we only had to cancel a few dates, but it soon turned out the be the whole year. So it sucked big time. And it is still hard to imagine that we could play gigs in the beginning of 2021 as well. We’ll see! We rescheduled a few dates for next year of course, but these days, there’s no guarantee. You have to take it day by day I guess.

AM: During the pandemic, many bands decided to put on online live performances for the fans to stream. Why haven’t Confess joined them?

JE: We’ve talked about it. But to be honest, I don’t enjoy those live stream shows… at least not for our type of music. I haven’t seen a single one that is close to what a real show is about. It both looks and sounds like a band that plays on company event you know… (laughs) I think a proper show (at least for Confess) needs to be on a stage with people going crazy in front of it. We’ve always been a band that feeds off the audience. If we take that away, you won’t get the real deal.

AM: Last year you’ve held a Q&A session on Instagram for your fans, a move many bands take these days. Do you think such sessions will replace such press interviews as we’re doing now one day?

JE: No, I think this type of interviews is way better.

AM: Any last words?

JE: Stay safe! And fun talking to you!

Confess on Facebook

You can check out the music video to Confess’ “Burn ‘em All” below: