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