With their latest release Wretched and Divine: The Story of the Wild Ones, Black Veil Brides take on the toughest of all rock challenges: the concept album. Sweeping in scope, the band’s new album tells the story of a despotic government that aims to destroy science and creativity while turning the youth into drones. Concept albums are notoriously hard to pull off, but the band’s already epic sound seems tailor-made for such an endeavor. We caught up with frontman Andy Biersack to chat about the process of making the album, the accompanying film Legion of the Black, and whether a stage version of the record may be in the future.
OS: The story behind the album is really compelling. Does it also reflect your view of the current state of the world as well as the story of the band?
Andy Biersack: I don’t necessarily think that the current state of the world is indicative of the story that I wrote, but it’s obvious that it wouldn’t be that hard to make the leap. It’s not a politically-charged record – it’s not meant to be a parallel for exactly what’s going on in politics or religion or anything else. It’s more meant to be a parable for our own lives and taking the characters that have been negative forces in your life and applying more power to them i.e. making them into these political/religious forces. But it wasn’t written as any kind of social commentary, really.
OS: The many aspects of sweeping concept albums can sometimes be difficult to tie together. What was the biggest challenge in putting together the album and making it all cohere?
AB: The biggest challenge was just doing something different than anything we had done before. Obviously, being in entirely different circumstances than making our previous record, the challenges just came from having a new experience and trying to write in that different circumstance. The challenges, although there were many of them, were very rewarding.
OS: How did your collaborations with Bert McCracken [The Used] and Wil Francis [Aiden] come about?
AB: We’ve known Wil for a very long time. He was one of the early supporters of Black Veil Brides in the early days of the band. And when it came to Bert, he was a huge friend of John Feldmann, and John helped launch Bert’s career. Wil was instrumental in our process as a band and Bert was instrumental in Feldy’s life.
OS: Did you guys take any influence from classic concept albums in writing the new record? Do you have any favorite concept albums?
AB: I don’t know that we looked so much at the body of concept album work, but I was obviously influenced by albums like The Wall and Revolver and those kind of things. In terms of a modern concept album, American Idiot was definitely influential to me – not necessarily musically, but in the way that they made the songs flow together and in the way that the piece was created.
OS: Were there any classical composers in particular who influenced Jinxx’s [guitarist] orchestration for the album?
AB: I know he’s hugely influenced by Bach. Bach is a big influence for him.
OS: Legion of the Black [the accompanying concept film] is such a cool idea. What was it like to help bring the album to life through film?
AB: Thank you. Honestly, it was just as childish as us making a record and thinking: hey, we’ve really got something here, the subject matter to make a movie out of it; let’s see what we can do with it. Obviously the process of making that happen was difficult and time-consuming and a different experience than anything we’ve done before, but the initial ideas just came from the impetus of just wanting to get something like this done.
OS: Could you ever see this album/story being brought even further to another medium, like the theatrical stage, for example?
AB: Yeah, obviously. I think that things like musicals and dramatic representations of the record would be amazing. We’re the kind of band that’s always open to that kind of stuff.
Catch Black Veil Brides on their US headlining tour this January and check out their video for “In The End” below.
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