My Freaky Valentine
Left to right; Simon Ferris, Hayley Williams, Josh Lambert, Lewis Mason, Daniel Gunn
My Freaky Valentine
2005 - Present
Summer Stars 2005 - Present
My Freaky Valentine are an English Pop-Rock or Pop-Punk band, hailing from Coventry, and were formed by school friends Hayley Williams (Guitar/Vocals) and Lewis Mason (Drums/Vocals), under original name, Neckties And Nails. The band cite many influences from different genres, such as strong holding Pop-Rock giants New Found Glory and Jimmy Eat World, to more mid-ranged Pop/Punk bands such as Motion City Soundtrack or The Mascara Story, to broad ends of genre spectrum with bands such as The Get Up Kids, Coheed And Cambria, InMe and Modest Mouse.
In their early days, Neckties And Nails consisted of a six-piece line-up consiting of Hayley Williams on Vocals/Guitars, Lewis Mason on Drums, Lauryn Emmett on Bass, Stefan Smith on Keyboards, Darren Sparks on Lead Guitar, and Daniel Adams on Vocals/Rhythm Guitar. The band proceeded to remove Adams from the line-up due to number issues, and faced drop-outs from Emmett, who left due to not being able to keep up with the live schedule, and Sparks, leaving because of personal differences with certain band members. This left the band as a three piece. Calls were put in, and Williams and Mason were able to persuade old friend Cat Long to join as Bassist, and Mason's previous girlfriend, Emily Magdij to join as second Guitarist.
Soon after, the band set up their first club mini-headline tour, and changed their "awful name" to My Freaky Valentine, a name concieved by Drummer/Vocalist Lewis Mason. Soon after, the band wnt into William's basement studio, and wrote and recorded a small set of tracks, including songs such as "Nothing To Lose (Bring It On)", "All I Have Left" (and a song which would later be on the band's debut album) and "Covered In Glitter". Other demos recorded "Too Much Punch" and "Make Me" would then promptly be dropped live, and not resurface for a long while.
After putting out an independent self-titled demo, the band found their live demand escalating, and Keyboardist Smith was forced to leave the band due to his demanding studies at college. Williams quickly replaced the gap with friend Josh Lambert, and this line-up would now remain concrete for a long while.
Two months later and the band scraped together money to enter a studio to record another session of songs, referred to by the band as "The Sixteen Candles Sessions", after scrapped song "Sixteen Candles", which was the first recorded. The demos for well known early songs such as "A Call To Arms", "Her Looks Will Run Out" and "Firefly" were birthed in these recording sessions, and would later appear on the debut album. The sessions also featured tracks which would return later in the bands career, such as "You're A Shiver" and "It's Not New Years".
Make-Ups And Break-UpsEdit
In early 2006, the band entered the studio again, under the strength and funding of further touring, to piece together their debut album, entitled Make-Ups And Break-Ups. During these sessions, fan favourite "Covered In Glitter" was suddenly dropped, and did not surface on the album, or even in the future live set. Williams has defended their choice in the final tracklisting, saying it "was simply not the right time to release the song."
The debut single from the album, "All I Have Left", sported a light melody and catchy chorus, and garnered considerable radio and media attention, including entering the MTV Top 10 upon the week of its release. The band sparked interest of labels Dark Star Records and Torment Records, and later chose to sign to the latter, due to having a good relationship with veteran Aneurysm member, Birdie. The album later sparked singles "Her Looks Will Run Out", "Firefly" and "Sleep Well Tonight", and during this period the band embarked on tours through the UK, and also minor Europe dates.
Shortly before finishing the album cycle, the band put out a promo for earlier track "You're A Shiver", which quickly sold out at live shows, to give fans a chance to hear the stylistically different track. The song would later be recorded for the band's third studio album. The band finished the cycle releasing "Never Coming Back (Part 1)", promising Part 2 would be present on the next record.
How To Crash A Rented CarEdit
My Freaky Valentine quickly began work on their second album, and during these sessions, Guitarist Emily Magdij quit for undisclosed reasons, and was replaced hurriedly in time for recording by Williams' college friend, Simon Ferris, who quickly learnt all his parts before recording. Luck began to decline, as news of Magdij's suicide was announced, leaving the band in a state of shock, and Torment Records went bust due to an incompetent moderation board. Soon after completing the tracking for what became their sophomore record, How To Crash A Rented Car, Mike Simpson of The Caulfields and president of Rejected Records signed the band under a long-term deal, which would later see the band follow up until the release of their twelfth studio album.
The lead single from the album was emotional guitar rock track "Never Coming Back (Part 2)", fulfilling the bands promise, and completing the two part song duology. The song did not pick up too much success, so the band pushed for a second single, "Wear It On Your Wrist", with an accompanying video which saw major rotation on music channels, but failed to chart highly again. The B-Side to the single was a collaboration with Rock/Metal giants Aneurysm, titled "The Bitter End".
How To Crash A Rented Car saw a more sharp-worded style emerge, as Mason began to take over co-writing duties for songs, which would later become a key part to the modern My Freaky Valentine sound. The is particularly prominent on tracks such as "The Time Signature Of A Heart Attack" (which would go on to become the third single) and "Inside The Cage". The final single from the album released was "Into An Avalanche".
During the earlier stages of the album cycle, the band also re-released their debut self-titled demo, featuring deleted tracks "Too Much Punch", "Bring It On (Nothing To Lose)", "Three More Words (Early Version)" and "Covered In Glitter (Early Version)". The demo is since sold out, and is highly covetted by strong fans of the band.
Another one-track promo was released in the form of old demo "I Just Can't Find A Way To Be Social". Amidst all these demo releases, Mason spoke with press, saying: "I believe it's important fans recognise our past and where we came from. Progression is an important key to success."
Rescue The Astronauts & ...KnifeEdit
During the writing sessions for the then-untitled third album, the band released a two-part digital EP, "I'll Pencil You In...Just To Scribble You Out", which featured demos "Finely Tuned Frequencies", "Throwing Paper Airplanes", "I Am Your Sugar Rush", "Constantly Crashlanding", "I'll Pencil You In" and "Ideas To Resuscitate. The last three would go on to make the upcoming record. An important development in sound was a much more prominent use of keyboards and piano.
A more stadium-tinged sound would emerge on the band's third record, as well as a lot of familiar tracks from the earlier days of the band. Dainty piano ballad "You're A Shiver" was chosen as the debut release - a since reworked version of the previous promo demo - and recieved notable media attention. Rescue The Astronauts was released shortly after, with the announcement of a worldwide tour with Aneurysm.
The album spawned hit singles "This Is Not A Bruise" (formerly released as "Counting On You" on Chaos For Cancer compilation by Poetry In Sound) and "Constantly Crashlanding", still a strong live favourite to date. "Ideas To Resuscitate" was the final single from the album. The single peaked at #14 in the UK charts, becoming the band's first Top 20 hit. The album shifted a staggering 2 million copies worldwide.
The band then went slowly about creating their fourth album, deciding to follow the piano-strengthened sound, and released what is critically dubbed as the obscurest album of their career, I Can See Your Point...It's A Knife. A key point of the album was that it featured the full release of old song "Covered In Glitter", keeping numerous fans happy. However, the album met similar sales to the previous effort, also shifting a little over 2 million copies.
"Heartaches And Handgrenades", "What It Feels Like To Be A Ghost" and "Check My Pulse" saw later release, but none garnered considerable attention. A split album was planned with friends Aneursym, but the idea was later scrapped due to lack of label support on the idea.
Finishing the album cycle prematurely, My Freaky Valentine made excited announcements of a double album, and released a temporary digital sampler, featuring tracks "Dawn Of The Fall", "Like Coming Home", "(Keep All The) Lights Off" and "Rain".
The Catalyst & First #1Edit
Spending a good deal of the early summer perfecting their debut album, the band quickly put out The Catalyst Vol. 1 and lead single "Liar, Liar", which saw a return to a strong guitar sound, and featured what is acclaimed as some of Ferris' best riffs in the bands history.
"Shout It From The Rooftops" was chosen as the second single, and sold a staggering amount of copies, and rocketted straight to UK #1, becoming the band's first #1 hit in a region.
The Catalyst Vol. 2 was then released to the later end of summer, proceeding the release of singles "The Guillotine" and "Covered In Your Best Friend", the official lead single. The album boasted a more darker sound. The snarling "This Is How I Disappear", the melancholic "Through These Walls", and the guitar-reliant "Only Traffic" were then released, backed by tours in numerous American regions, most notably Canada and South America.
This Time We're Coming Home Worthless & My Losing PatternEdit
An announcement was made later that year than synths would play a more important role in the bands future sound, and the band started adding to previously written songs live, and played numerous new songs, each with a much sharper Synth-Pop/Rock edge to them. A single was released in November, the jagged hit "Ambulance!", which became one of the bands key songs of its time. A more raw-yet-modern album followed in the form of This Time We're Coming Home Worthless.
Strong commercial success followed, and only kept on the rise with released of chart-friendly single "Calendars And Deadlines", and acoustic ballad "Too Close To The Sun". The band also recorded their first Christmas single before the end of the year, a cover of Daveit Ferris' "Underneath These Christmas Lights", backed with two other covers upon its release.
With the new year, the band announced work had begun on their eighth album, the surprisingly barer My Losing Pattern. Singles chosen were the electronic and warming "Into Your Bloodstream", "Something Short Of Nothing", and the wiry chart-breaker "Trailing". This album is however not hailed as one of the bands better albums in general.
This Is Our Emergency & Mainstream SuccessEdit
A short break once more, and the band began work on their ninth studio album. Mason and Williams were quoted on seperate occasions saying it would be the bands most strongest, most polished, and most perfected sound to date. Mason stated to press: "There will be tracks from the poppiest of pop, to the rockiest of rock, from the sweetest melodies, to the heaviest riffs..." The band asked for fan participation in the video for lead single "Comebacks Aren't Your Thing", which became a heading anthem for the band for a big part of the year. The new single demonstrated a serious turn-up in tempo, a more perfected use of piano, and some of the most unashamed hooks in the pop industry to date.
The band then put out the choppy "These Backs Were Made For Stabbing", which garnered strong radio attention. The album, This Is Our Emergency, was then released, with third single, the flowing and poetic "Didn't Blossom", hot on its heels.
Strangely, the band chose not to distribute any more singles from the album, despite all breaking the Top 10 in various (and numerous) regions. Instead, Mason announced they would begin work on their tenth album, and to expect even more surprises.
My Freaky Valentine also faced alienation from the far older members of their fanbase, in moving away from the more underground and gritty sound over time, though Williams simply brushed these criticisms off her shoulder, stating boldly: "We're making music we're happy to make, if people don't like that, it's their problem sadly. But we know people like it, and you do like it, then good for you!"
Under The Silver Of Machines & Mason's RoleEdit
An continuation of the previous albums sound continued with Under The Silver Of Machines, with a release preceeded by a tour with Aneurysm and newcomers Sound Of The Sun, along with debut single "Kiss So Hard", a true anthem backed with a strong drum beat and hands-in-the-air refrain.
The twist in sound came when the band put out second single, "A Pacific Romance", which shockingly showed Drummer/Vocalist Lewis Mason take his role behind the microphone for a full song. This movement was met with mixed opinions, applauding Mason for a job well done on the song, though was still met with avid Williams supporters criticising the bands sound now being too similar to that of Mason's side-project, The Ambitious Ones.
The album succeeded in shifting just over 3 million copies, and also featured single "How Do I Fix My Head", which won Best Single Birdie at the 11th IMAs, as well as the band winning Best British Band.
A fourth single was planned as the Mason-fronted "Don't Forget To Write", however, this was cancelled when Mason shockingly announced his leave from the Pop/Rock giants. The band hurriedly attempted to settle a fanbase in mixed opinions, all the while with Mason stating his relationship with the frontwoman and band members had soured. Nonetheless, Williams announced she would take writing duties on alone with their eleventh album.
What Are You Hiding From TonightEdit
A slow period came in the world of My Freaky Valentine, with Williams taking on writing duties alone on the album. Shortly after the completion of writing, Williams announced they had terminated their contract with long-supporting label Rejected Records, and they were soon picked up by Bikki Bunney and Raven at Midnight/Mythic Records, shortly after releasing lead single "Church Tongue". The single boasted a pop hook with a tight edge, as well as the first song written to feature a refrain of "na na na"'s. The single was met with good criticial acclaim, some journalists commenting: "Mason evidently wouldn't give Williams a run for her money in writing music, as the frontwoman still has it in her to write a belter of a hit!"
Playing on the safe side, the band also released the guitar-pop track "Coming Up For Air" before the album, which was then confirmed as being titled What Are You Hiding From Tonight. The album boasts a lot more hands-in-the-air moments, and some more cynical critics slated the band for "playing on the commercial side to cover up the loss of Mason", though Williams and Lambert both dismissed the accusation.
Williams also made a contractual play on the album is releasing a half-finished track from the last album session, "My Beautiful Rescue" (aka Track 03), which featured vocals from Mason. Mason was not in a legal position to prevent the release, but rather shrugged it off, and continued work on his side projects new album. However, Mason made it certain that the track could not be released as a single.
Instead, the band filmed and released for "Watch It Overflow" and "Blue Emotion", the latter being the supporting single for a long acoustic tour, featuring rotating setlists and many guest musicians. Having used many temporary drummers - one of which joining the circus bizarrely - Williams announced that she herself would be tracking drums for the next album.
Making Friends From PlasticineEdit
The band's twelfth studio album proved to be their biggest success, storming the charts and entering at UK #1, a brilliant achievement for the band! A shock to a lot of fans was the quick return of Lewis Mason in the early stages of tracking the album, and whereas Williams had written almost all of album herself anyway, Mason was the one to lay down drums.
Preceeding the release, My Freaky Valentine requested guest artists on the album, and were returned with applications from Ian Picholl of The Seymours, who featured on hit #1 single "Signal The Stars", Emma Blunt on "Top Of My Lungs", Phil Phillips of Jack Tripper's Wardrobe on "Up Against The Wall", and the collective members of Veto and Thunderwolf on album closer "Soundtrack Of My Summer". My Freaky Valentine announced shortly after recording that each artist was a pleasure to work with!
Upon it's release, lead single "Signal The Stars" slowly climbed to #1 in the USA, making for one of the bands most successful singles. Later into 2008, the band filmed a video for second single "Love Is Not An Option", and embarked on a USA/Canada tour with newcomers archaic couture. in support of the single. Hayley Williams then promptly entered the second series of I'm A Rockstar...Get Me Out Of Here!
"Top Of My Lungs" is planned as the third single.
In writing for their thirteenth album, the band have once again opened doors to guest appearances, and guest vocal spots from Mila Ahtisaari of archaic couture., Bikki Bunney of Moronic Changeling, Raven of Thunderwolf, and even James Kelso of M.A.D are expected on the next album.
Tracks played live or confirmed and set to appear are "I Invented Pacman", "Promise, Promise", "Crossed Wires", "Our Hearts Are Both In Danger", "Only In The Movies" and "Just Like Everybody Else".
The album is being recording in Spring 2008.
|Year||Title||Type||Chart positions (UK)|
|2006||Make-Ups And Break-Ups||Studio||n/a|
|2006||How To Crash A Rented Car||Studio||273|
|2006||Rescue The Astronauts||Studio||71|
|2006||I Can See Your Point...It's A Knife||Studio||27|
|2006||The Catalyst Vol. 1||Studio||110|
|2006||The Catalyst Vol. 2||Studio||13|
|2006||This Time We're Coming Home Worthless||Studio||61|
|2007||My Losing Pattern||Studio||13|
|2007||This Is Our Emergency||Studio||4|
|2007||Under The Silver Of Machines||Studio||3|
|2007||What Are You Hiding From Tonight||Studio||4|
|2008||Making Friends From Plasticine||Studio||1|
|2008||No One Will Ever See Things The Way I Do||Studio||?|