Interview: Bring Me The Horizon on Sheffield return
we’ve actually played to people bottling us, so we know how bad it can be. You just have to play and tour, and if people like you, then they like you. That’s how it should work.
Ahead of what promises to be the biggest Sheffield show in their history – a fitting way to spend the 10th anniversary of debut album Count Your Blessings – I caught up with the band’s founder-guitarist and long-time riff merchant, Lee Malia, to talk all things Bring Me.
Once the country’s most polarising deathcore prospects, and now one of the most critically and commercially successful rock acts this side of the Atlantic, Bring Me the Horizon’s decade-long career has seen the Steel City quintet take a more unconventional route than most to mainstream success. Controversy, incendiary live shows, line-up changes, addiction and a bold, progressive attitude towards their craft have all attributed to their dramatic rise to the very top of the international rock summit. You could say they’re merely the latest in a line of global rock stars spawned by a city that seems to have an unusual knack for it. But when you compare the nature of this band’s musical output to that of Def Leppard, or a certain band from High Green, BMTH deserve a world of credit for their enormous crossover success; often in the face of stifling rock ‘n’ roll traditionalists and elitists. That’s the Spirit’s #2 UK and US album chartings are perhaps victories more significant for alternative music itself than for Oli Sykes & Co.
Following the commercial success of That’s The Spirit, will there now be pressure from the label to continue in a similar vein?
The good thing about the label is that they’ve never tried to make us write anything. In England it’s RCA, I think [laughs]. They’ve always been really supportive of us, because when we first signed with them, we wondered if they were gonna be pushy like that, but they weren’t at all. They’re just happy with the way we’re progressing, so they just want us to get on with it. They don’t ever try to give us any direction.
How much of the band’s recent mainstream success can be attributed to the pre- addition of Jordan Fish before Sempiternal?
Yeah, definitely, he’s a really good songwriter. It’s cool because I used to write songs with Oli, and to have Jordan come in means it’s someone else with loads of other ideas for song structures. He’s got a different past in music as well. He had that electronic band called Worship, so it’s good to have an outside influence genre-wise.
The band has never shied away from experimenting with different styles. How do you see the next album shaping up?
At the moment, it’s a bit soon as we haven’t started writing, but we’ve spoken about it a little bit. We’re thinking the same way, in the sense that no one has any real idea, so God knows what the next album’s going to be like. But that’s pretty exciting. I guess we won’t know until the first day we sit down and write something.
A headline UK arena tour represents an enormous achievement for any band, but do you ever miss or crave the intimacy and chaos synonymous with shows in smaller venues like Corporation or Plug?
Yeah, I reckon we’ll definitely play those venues again. The arena shows are going to be awesome, because you get to do a really long set and a big stage show, but it is always cool to play the smaller venues. Before we played Wembley, we played a show at the Underworld, a sort of secret show, which was cool as it was one of the first venues we ever played in London, so I think we’ll do something like that up north in the future.
What can fans expect from your Sheffield show on November 6th?
It will easily be the biggest and longest set we’ve ever done, and hopefully also the best show we’ve ever done. I’m pretty excited for it because we haven’t used this stage or played this set before, so it’s gonna be good.
Considering BMTH’s deathcore beginnings, did you ever think the band would play Glastonbury?
Playing Glastonbury and all these other festivals is mental because when we started we didn’t have any aims to play anywhere, we just wanted to play shows because we liked going to shows and we all played instruments. We never had any idea that this would happen, but it’s crazy, and everything’s an achievement – like playing a show with nobody booing! I remember playing our first couple of festivals, and it was weird to cross over in that sense as we were still an underground band. But nowadays it’s pretty good playing the big shows.
I read some stuff about a European tour with Killswitch [Engage]. You got some shit on that one?
Yeah, but I think it’s good that happened to us, because it makes you decide whether you want to be in a band, put up with that sort of stuff and work at it. A lot of bands nowadays don’t go through the hard tours, so then when they get a tour that’s not amazing, they think it’s the end of the world. But we’ve actually played to people bottling us, so we know how bad it can be. You just have to play and tour, and if people like you, then they like you. That’s how it should work.
Many are tipping the band to headline Download next year. Have any discussions taken place?
No, we haven’t spoken to them. We don’t really know what we’re doing next year. We’re probably going to start writing first, so there’s nothing in the pipeline yet.
A few years back, the band recorded several bonus tracks for Sempiternal at Sheffield’s Steel City Studio. Would you ever record an entire album locally?
It depends what we’re recording, because with drums we always like a good sounding room. If there was a studio in Sheffield that sounded really good, we’d probably do it. The last album was in Santorini [Greece], and we got to go on holiday while we did it. That was pretty cool.
Throughout the band’s career, which recording process has been the most memorable?
The last one was cool because there wasn’t a producer, so it was just us lot doing it ourselves. That was a good way of doing it, but I also think we learnt so much about being a band when we recorded Suicide Seasons  in Sweden. That was a huge learning curve in us actually becoming a proper band, so that sticks out as a good memory.
How much of a bond do you have with the Sheffield music scene these days? Are there any currently unsigned local bands destined for greatness?
I’ve been a bit out of the loop to be honest. Because we’re on tour so much, when I get back I don’t really go to that many shows, so I’ve kind of missed out on who’s coming through. Is there a band called Malevolence? Everyone says they’re meant to be good. There’s the Festivile stuff too, which is quite good for the hardcore-metal scene, but I just need to catch up with it all to be fair. I think it’s a bit harder nowadays as well. When we were young there were shows three or four times a week in pubs and everywhere, so if you wanted to gig it was a lot easier, as you could jump on shows all the time. Nowadays there seems be less people just wanting to go out just to see bands play.
The dictionary definition of sempiternal is ‘eternal, unchanging and everlasting’. If you had to tour the world with two bands for eternity, who would you choose?
I’d go with Queen, just because they’re probably the best band ever. And Metallica because I used to be obsessed with them when I was a kid! Playing before those guys at Reading & Leeds last year was a massive thing for me.
Bring Me The Horizon play Sheffield Arena on November 6. Tickets are available from www.sheffieldarena.co.uk