Bring Me The Horizon
is defining the sound of modern metal as we know it. Their previously released and urgently dark, epic album, There Is A Hell, Believe Me I've Seen It. There Is A Heaven, Let's Keep It A Secret
, has seen the band's profile rise considerably.
After the commercial and critical success of previous album Suicide Season
(2008), Bring Me The Horizon
were determined to explore the more experimental side of their music, refusing to be confined to the unwritten rules of the metalcore scene that spawned and catapulted them to worldwide domination. Yet, the album still includes the trademark elements that have become staples of the group's sound since 2006 precision guitar riffs, venomously dark lyrics, massive breakdowns and gang vocals destined to be chants at the band's incendiary live shows.
After spending the start of 2010 writing and recording the new album, the band stormed the U.S with explosive performances on the Vans Warped Tour
that drew the festivals largest crowds all summer long and built anticipation for their long awaited follow-up to 2008's Suicide Season
. In October, when There Is A Hell Believe Me I've Seen It. There Is A Heaven Let's Keep It A Secret
was finally released, it debuted at #17 on the U.S charts, #13 in UK and #1 in Australia, and was named "Album of the Year" by Rock Sound
and #26 Best Album of 2010 by MySpace.com
. As the band were in preparations for their 2011 world tour, which kicks off in January, Joe Matera
spoke to the group's guitarist Lee Malia
about the new album, the group's plans for 2011 and why they can't be categorized.
Bring Me The Horizon's most recent album was There Is A Hell, Believe Me I've Seen it. There Is A Heaven, Let's Keep It A Secret. It has proven to be a huge success for the band, even achieving, a #1 on the Australian album chart.
Yeah that was absolutely awesome to know that we were the number one band down there and sold more albums than any other band. That was mind blowing.
What was the songwriting process for the album like?
It is the same as usual. Oli (Oliver Sykes, vocals) will always sit down and write the main parts of the songs and then I'll come in with like a riff or a main section on my own. Then Oli and I will write the main parts of the songs together and then we'll take that to the rest of the band and we will build the rest of the song from there. We did that pretty much with every song on this new CD, though we went to this house in Scotland to record it, away from everything so that we had no distractions whatsoever.
So did the recording process differ much from previous efforts?
Not really. We pretty much like to make sure that each part is played by the same one person throughout the track. Like the rhythm guitar will sound a lot tighter than if two people are playing it. It is better having one person playing a section because it will be tighter, as it will be exactly the same, both in the studio and when it comes to playing it live. So, if somebody wrote a riff, then they'll be playing that riff throughout. It is better than having to show some one else how to play it, because the person who wrote it will know exactly how it is to be phrased and stuff.
The band has been variously described as being everything from hardcore, to deathcore to metalcore and beyond, but regardless, it seems to not be confined to one genre generally.
Yes and that is really cool. I think the new CD doesn't really sound, like anything else out there or that, it sounds like a band that has ripped off this other band. That's why the new CD has so many different influences on it. It is because we don't actually listen to any metal anymore, we listen to everything else. I mean we like playing metal, but we try to incorporate everything else into a metal band.
You're not one metal band who are afraid to experiment. You've experimented with strings, electronica, choirs and numerous guest vocal contributions too
"Why should we stick to the two guitars, drums and bass format?"
We always thought why should we stick to the two guitars, drums and bass format? Why can't we have some production stuff brought into it and look at each song as a bigger picture?. And feel if we can add more to it and stuff and make it a bigger song. We thought what is stopping us from doing that?
Australian guitarist Jona Weinhofen, formerly of I Killed The Prom Queen recently joined the band. According to an interview Oli did recently, he says, Jona has injected the band with a new-found enthusiasm?
Absolutely! Having Jona in the band now has given us a new energy. Especially when playing live, as he brings this great performing energy to it all and he is a really good guitarist. He is just great to have in the band and be around. And though he is Australian, it works really well with the band as we already get along really well with the Australian people and fans and a lot of our friends are Australian too.
There were rumors circulating recently that Jona didn't actually play on the new album?
Jona does play on the album. He plays some guitar parts and stuff that he wrote and little lead sections and certain riffs here and there.
So what is status of the next album?
We haven't even started thinking about it yet. We've been touring so much since the last one has come out, we haven't had time to do anything like write new material. We haven't even been in a practice room or anything together. We've just been constantly out on the road and we haven't even been able to sit down and talk about anything. And we haven't really played all of the new songs off the CD live yet. We're still waiting to play them on the next tour cycle coming up in 2011.
Rumors also surfaced on the internet stating that the band would be releasing a new remix album, similar to the Suicide Season: Cut Up! Record sometime this year?
I don't think we will. I think that album was a one time only thing and I don't think we'll be doing that sort of thing again.
So was that an experimental one time thing then?
Wellwe had to do something because we were re-releasing the CD so thought we would try something different like a remixed album. The next album will only be completely new material.
What have you found to be the major difference between the UK metalcore scene and the U.S scene?
I think the U.S scene is a little bit more open to having different bands playing together. The UK metal crowd is kind of like, very judgmental. Like if we went ahead and played with Machinehead, we would probably get booed because to them it is not like we're heavy enough or are these bearded guys. I suppose that is the same in a lot of places too, but America does seem more open to what we're doing.
The band have clocked up about 270 shows a year on average, and constantly are out on the road. Is touring the only way a band can make money today in the current climate of downloading?
"We want to play music and tour and it is not about money or stuff."
Yes that has a lot to do with it, but for us, I don't know if we would know what else we could be doing. We're in a band because we want to play music and tour and it is not about money or stuff.
Bring Me The Horizon have a lot of high profile fans like Wes from Limp Bizkit and Rob Flynn from Machinehead
That's very cool, having these are legends as our fans, especially Rod Flynn and Miachinehead who are an insane metal band. We've always listened to them and their stuff and when Rob turned up at one of our shows, he came backstage and we started drinking with him. It was really weird as it was someone that I admired from when I first got into metal music at fourteen years old.
Let us turn to the topic of gear, what did you use for the album?
I recorded with a First Act Custom Sheena guitar, it is made by a company who makes the guitars I am using now. This particular custom guitar is fitted with Bare Knuckle pickups. As for amps, I used a 5150 rig, the new Eddie Van Halen head that is made by Fender. We used that for distortion and that was backed by an older Peavey 5150. For all the clean guitars, we recorded them using an Orange Rockerverb 100. When it comes to the live stage, I use the Orange for both distortion and clean guitars while Jona uses the 5150. That way we can recreate all of the sounds on the record, live.
With the amount textures on the album, is it hard to recreate all the sounds live?
No because we all play to a click track and we have the string sections and parts like that also playing along with us on tracks, so that way everything sounds exactly like the CD.
Does it require a lot of rehearsals to get this type of performance refined?
No, not really because we play to a click and as long as everyone knows their parts and have practiced to the CD, in regards to getting timing correct and stuff, it will be no problem. We never get any time off to practice or anything, so we usually set up at sound check and play along to it and then perform it that night.
So is there any room left for improvisation in the live show?
Yes there is, but if we want to extend sections or want a solo section to stretch out for how ever long, we will need to discuss it first before hand before adding it to the show or doing it.
You're about to kick off a world tour?
Yes, we kick off the world tour on January the 13th by doing a month around Europe and then we head to Australia for the Soundwave festival and then head to Japan afterwards. And then we go to America and do a month there too. When we go out, we usually go out for a four month straight stint.
So how do you keep your sanity on the road for so long?
We try and find things to do in the towns that we're playing and just go do them. It does get boring but the show on the night is what you live for.
Finally, are there any metal bands out that there you think are doing something interesting?
In the last two years, I have not really heard any metal band or heard any metal records doing anything different. But I do still appreciate what Every Time I Die and The Dillinger Escape Plan are doing and have done. They are two bands I have liked for years and they're still making really good CDs even after all these years. And I have to mention another band, who are from England and are called Architects. I really like what they're doing on the scene too.
Interview by Joe Matera