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“We wanna do this for a really long time and we want to be a band for people who just love music.”
Bring Me The Horizon’s frontman Oli Sykes is talking enthusiastically about his band and their place in the world and who can blame him?
Born in Sheffield as a predominantly metalcore outfit, the band have grown exponentially both in terms of musicality and popularity over the past 15 years, becoming one of the biggest rock bands in the world today.
Their last UK tour saw the band sell-out two shows at the Alexandra Palace in London and the rockers are now days away from releasing their highly anticipated sixth studio album amo, Portuguese for ‘I love’. The album promises to build upon the foundations that Bring Me The Horizon laid out with their 2015 release That’s the Spirit. The record, which incorporated more electronic elements into their sound, sent the band into the stratosphere, peaking at No.2 in both the UK and US albums charts.
We caught up with Oli on the phone as the band prepare to head stateside for a US headline tour, and to release their new album (due Friday 25 January 2019) to talk about the new record and why playing live is so important to the five-piece.
With amo out this month, how excited are you for the world to hear it?
Yeah pretty excited. It’s been a year in the making so it’s felt like forever, but now it’s upon us It’s getting exciting.
How have you progressed as a band since from your last record That’s the Spirit?
I guess, with That’s the Spirit, we were immensely proud with everything we achieved with it, but we felt like it gave us the opportunity to make amo and take a few more creative risks and make it a bit weirder. It gave us the belief to do things that maybe we’d have been a bit hesitant about doing before because we still felt like we were growing as a band. For me, amo is more representative of everything that we’d like to be as a band.
You went to LA to write and record it, do you find that the environment you’re in shapes how a record will sound?
It definitely helped for our mental wellbeing. That change of scenery and being in new place gives you a bit of a boost when you’ve been working on an album for eight months. It definitely had that effect but it’s really hard to tell whether the LA culture is ingrained into the music at all.
When you’re writing do you imagine how the songs will sound played live?
It is something that we usually consider, but I think this time we just wanted to write a really incredible record and worry about how to play it live after. There are songs on this record that might sound quite different live because it’s almost impossible to recreate some of the things that we did in the studio. It’s exciting, there’s scope to give the songs a different feeling when they’re played live.
We’ll always write songs that sound great played in a big venue. We want the songs to be big and arresting and adrenaline fuelled. I think that’s always in the back of our minds.
What new songs from the record are you most looking forward to playing live?
For me, Nihilist Blues is the one that I’m most looking forward to playing, just because of how different it sounds and I can imagine it sounding gigantic in a venue. I think it’s a song that may sound completely different live to how it does on the record and it will also sound like nothing else that we’ve got in the set.
You put a lot of energy into your live shows, does that come from working your way up from smaller venues?
Definitely that, but also for us the gig really is the main event and it is something that we all really enjoy as a band. We’re not one of those bands that come off stage and don’t talk about the gig. If we’ve had a bad gig it will affect the night, change people’s moods and plans. It’s just like if your favourite football team has lost or won a match, it’s going to affect your mood and how you are for the rest of the day and that’s the exact thing for us.
I think a few years ago we just really found an appreciation for playing shows and realised we couldn’t be doing anything better with our lives. We take it seriously every night, it doesn’t matter if there are 10,000 people there or 100 people there, we’ve got to put on the best show we can. Not just for the crowd, but for us as well.
Whenever Bring Me The Horizon head out on a new tour it’s always exciting to see what the stage will look like, what goes into designing how your shows look?
We think that our tour visuals are almost as important as the music in some ways because, at the end of the day, people are paying money to see a show. We’re always trying to push ourselves and do something a bit different and be ahead of the curve a little bit. It’s also something that we really enjoy doing. On the first day of a tour when you see it all come together it’s really cool, and to be at a point where we can play around with these things is exciting.
We imagine a lot of young people see your band for the first time and think, ‘I want to do that one day’. Was there a gig that did that to you and what was it?
The first show I went to was Linkin Park and because of that gig, I really wanted to be a singer. Them and Glassjaw, it just looked so cathartic losing your mind on stage like that. For me as a kid who had way too much energy and didn’t know what to do with it that just looked like the perfect job.
You’re headlining your first ever festival this summer (All Points East, London on 31 May 2019). How much of a landmark is that for the band?
It’s awesome. Especially because the festival’s one that I personally really admire and the line-up is full of artists that we normally don’t get to play with. It’s a huge festival. We got to curate the line-up as well which means we get to show who we like as artists and try and bridge that gap between rock, metal, hip-hop, alt-pop and everything in-between. People are a lot more open-minded now, they don’t only like one genre of music and I think the line-up reflects that.
Bring Me The Horizon’s new album amo is available everywhere from this Friday, 25 January 2019.
Bring Me The Horizon headline All Points East Festival, London on 31 May 2019. Tickets are available now through Ticketmaster.co.uk