Taking their first steps away from metalcore with 2015’s #1 album (US, UK, Australia) That’s The Spirit, Sheffield five-piece Bring Me The Horizon have now flung their intrepid hearts deep into dirty electro territory with fascinating new record amo. Frontman Oli Sykes explained to Zoë Radas how it all went down.
The album opener, i apologise if you feel something, is a mood-setter – an atmospheric soundscape with limited vocals. What message were you aiming to send?
I think it’s giving you a little heads up that it’s going to be quite a varied album; it’s like a little intro to the album and what it’s about – which is love. It’s basically saying that love’s the one thing you shouldn’t compromise on. We compromise with a lot of things in our lives. There’s no real excuse to try to find something pure and amazing. I guess I was worried when I wrote this album that because I mention divorce and heartbreak, that maybe I was trying to say love’s bad, or to swear off it. But it’s not. It’s the most powerful emotion in the world. When you first fall in love and you get that feeling, there’s no drug that even compares to it, so of course it’s worth fighting for and it’s worth striving for. I think sometimes people need reminding.
The Grimes-featuring nihilist blues is just enormous; did you throw everything at the wall and then pick bits off to shape it, or did you keep adding and adding to build it up?
I don’t know! That’s one of those songs where I look back on it now, and I think, ‘How did we write that one!?’ It was just a lot of experimentation between making the guitars and the synths seamless. We didn’t even know where we were going with it, at first. We just put stuff down. Until the dust settled we didn’t really know what we had. It’s my favourite song on the album for sure. When we first wrote it was so weird to us – is this right? Are people going to get this?
How did you know you were heading in the right direction, while crafting it?
We were writing at the warehouse for my company Drop Dead, and my dad works there. We had it on really loud one day and my dad walked in and said, “That’s not you guys, is it?” Now my dad is literally obsessed with that song, he thinks it’s the greatest thing of all time. My dad didn’t have much musical taste when I was growing up; he didn’t really get me into any bands and stuff, but the one band he really liked was SNAP! – y’know, Rhythm Is A Dancer, “I’ve got the power”, stuff like that. We share the same love for that kind of euphoric euro dance. He makes me play [nihilist blues] to him all the time.
How did the collaboration with Grimes come about – did you have her in mind from the start?
When we sent the song to Grimes, we really weren’t betting that she was going to do it. We were like, Grimes is too cool for us. And within a couple days she got my number and texted me and said “Oh my god, this is one of the greatest songs I’ve ever heard.” It was really cool. I mean, my dad’s cool, but to have someone like Grimes gush over it, it kind of reassured me that we were on the right path.
In heavy metal (featuring Rahzel) we find the line: “I don’t know if you love me any more, ‘cause some kid on the ‘gram said he used to be a fan, but this sh-t ain’t heavy metal.” How do you see your evolution with this album, and the criticism that inevitably comes with varying fan opinions?
It’s almost a bittersweet thing. We’ve been a band for 15 years. I think people forget that, y’know – imagine if we stayed the same? We wouldn’t have a career, and we wouldn’t like what we do. Our music might have got more accessible, or commercial, or whatever you want to call it, but that’s not because our goal was to become a bigger band. It’s because we really like that kind of music! I’ve always wanted to be able to sing, and I’ve got no shame in it – I’ve always been into pop music, and making melodies. It’s not contrived or forced; for us, it’s just like having all these new colours to play with – to put on our palette – that convey new emotions, new ways of saying things and getting things across. There’s so much more we want to say. And I feel like with the music we make now, we can say it.
amo is out January 25 via sony.