BRING ME THE HORIZON OLI REVEALS THE BAND’S MOST EPIC OF PLANS FOR 2019
The time has finally arrived: BRING ME THE HORIZON are headlining their first festival. And not content with simply topping the bill, they’re also curating it. Frontman OLI SYKES takes us inside all things ALL POINTS EAST!
It’s been the colossal question on everyone’s lips in recent years: when are Bring Me The Horizon finally going to be given a chance to step up and headline their first festival? And London’s All Points East has the sought-after answer: on May 31 next year.
That’s right, Sheffield’s finest – who are already set to have a massive 2019 with the release of their forthcoming album amo – have got quite the string to add to their bow, topping the bill in the capital’s stunning Victoria Park for their only UK performance of the year. In itself it’s going to be a debut to remember, but they’re also curating the actual day itself, and bringing Nothing But Thieves, IDLES, Scarlxrd and Run The Jewels along for the ride – with many more bands still to be announced, too.
“We are beyond thrilled to be able to welcome Bring Me The Horizon to the East Stage next year for their long overdue first festival headliner set,” enthuses Jim King, senior vice president of AEG Presents. “The band and the festival have curated an unbelievable day of music. May 31 is going to be an unforgettable night for Victoria Park.”
Well said. Kerrang! joined frontman Oli Sykes to find out what’s in store…
How do you feel to be headlining your first festival, Oli?
“Really cool. It was quite a shock, actually, because there’s, like, Bon Iver and The Chemical Brothers doing the other two nights, and before that it’s been headlined by Björk and crazy artists like that who I look up to and would never expect to be in the same circle as. I literally said to our manager, ‘Why are they asking us to do this? What’s the trick?’ But it’s sick, and I think that it’s really perfect for us. It’s really cool, because it ties in with what we want to do with amo – we didn’t want to make an album that’s gonna make us bigger, we wanted an album that would make people respect us more, and I think this festival is just another part of that. We get to curate part of that line-up of artists that we love, and be surrounded by artists that we respect and that other people do. It feels super right. It doesn’t feel like we’re swinging for something that’s out of our reach; we feel like, ‘Yeah, we can take this on, and we’ll kill it.’”
Are you going to be sticking around to watch Chemical Brothers and Bon Iver on the other days?
“That would be sick! Hopefully we’re not jetting off somewhere else. There’s so many cool bands on there that I want to see, so hopefully I’ll be able to actually watch as much stuff as I want to and take it all in.”
Does the curation aspect make it feel a bit different than just doing a bigger gig than normal?
“Yeah, totally. The thing about us is we have no interest in being part of a genre or a scene or whatever. I know some people think we’re, like, ashamed of being a metal band or whatever, and that we wanna be this really cool band, and that’s absolutely not the case. We know we’ll never be the of-the-moment band or the coolest band in the world. We’ve been a band for 15 years now, everyone knows where we’ve come from, so we’re never gonna be super hipster, and we’ll never be up there headlining Coachella or something like that. But we don’t care about that, because it’s not what we want. We just want to be in a scene where people like music. We don’t want to be for people who are only fans of a subgenre – we want to be for people who think, ‘I like music, and I like good music, and that’s all I care about.’ And that’s totally true, man. There’s no point in getting bogged down in genres or whatever,
“IF SOMEONE GIVES US A CHALLENGE, WE’LL STEP UP TO IT” OLI SYKES
because there’s so much cool music everywhere that doesn’t fit in one genre, or in any genre at all. Take Run The Jewels, who are playing with us, or Nothing But Thieves, or IDLES – it’s just people who like music, and they like a little more on their plate than just generic pop. They like music that gets the adrenaline going, rather than going, ‘I only like hiphop,’ or, ‘I only like metalcore.’ I hate that kind of thing.”
Are you pushing back against that with your choices, then?
“Yeah, man. That’s what this festival seems like, with us being able to curate it. We can be a bit like, ‘This is us, this is what we like.’ It’s very Bring Me The Horizon. And we’ve given ourselves a little mission of just building those bridges, I suppose. We don’t want people to be scared of any of it.”
Is it an extension of what Bring Me The Horizon are as a band?
“Yeah. We all like different music, and I think that’s what we want with the album as well. We want to bring in people who don’t just like metal, or rock, or whatever type of music, but they’ll like it anyway. The two songs we’ve put out so far [MANTRA and wonderful life] are heavy for a lot of people, but they’re so catchy that I think they will grow on people. And some of the other songs on the album I hope are gonna get people in from a pure place of never having listened to any rock music before in their lives, ever. But before they know it, they’re gonna love wonderful life. And then from there, before they know it they’re gonna fall in love with Architects, and from there they could find someone totally extreme like Converge or someone like that. I think that’s how heavy music reels you in.”
Is that how it was for you?
“Yeah. I remember I heard My Last Serenade, which was Killswitch Engage’s first really big single. I heard it and completely loved it, so I went out to the shops and bought the album [2002’s Alive Or Just Breathing], put it on, and was like, ‘Woah, this is way too heavy for me.’ It was so heavy and so extreme and so relentless that I just couldn’t handle it at first! But then after two or three weeks, I loved the whole thing because I kept coming back to it and coming back to it. I’d like that one song, and then the next one started getting a bit catchier, until eventually I really loved the full thing. It was little bread crumbs, and I hope that’s what we’ll do for other people, because that’s exactly how it was for me. People might come because they want to see Run The Jewels, then stick around for us, and hopefully leave going, ‘I wasn’t expecting to enjoy that, but it was wicked.’”
Are you nervous about it?
“It feels exciting for us. It doesn’t feel scary. If we were to headline Reading & Leeds or something, there would be a 50 per cent split – one half people saying they love us, and the other half going, ‘What the fuck is this? These lot can’t headline.’ Is it better to try and prove them wrong, or is it better to do something different where it feels like it’s your own world? That’s what’s exciting about this festival: it doesn’t feel like it’s out of our reach. But at the same time it feels absolutely massive for us. It feels like the step between… not being ‘accepted’ by that world, but having people go, ‘Fair enough, they’ve been around for 15 years, we’ve told them to fuck off so many times and they haven’t yet.’ And that’s true, people have been telling us to fuck off or that we’re shit for years, and we’re still here! But people are also coming round when we do new stuff, and that’s the best feeling. Whatever’s in the past is in the past, but if the next new thing you do can bring people to you, that’s amazing.”
You’ve been really high up on festivals for years now – does the prospect of taking that massive step make you go, ‘Jesus…’?
“A bit, but I do believe that we can put on a really good show, and that we have the songs and we know what we’re doing with production. If someone gives us a challenge we’ll step up to it and see if it works. Obviously we’re gonna be nervous, but at the same time I feel very confident that it’s going to be brilliant. It’s our first headline show at a festival, so we’re gonna do some really cool stuff and we’re gonna make sure it’s unique and that people stand up and take notice. It’s still a bit weird thinking about us being on a level with some of these bands, though. It’s like when we’ve done festivals in the past and our name has been directly below Metallica and you just think, ‘Why?’ It’s in a good way, but it always seems a bit funny to me to look where we are on festival bills with these other amazing bands. I’m always like, ‘Really?’”
Have you got big plans for the show?
“We’ve got ideas, yeah. How we’re going to make them work, I don’t know, because they’re very different to anything that we’ve done before. It’s kind of similar to the album; we didn’t just want to make the same album again. On the last cycle we had all the video walls and stuff like that, so this time I’ve been like, ‘We can’t do that, we’re not allowed to have video walls again.’ We’ve got to find a new way of doing it.”
So it could be literally anything so long as it isn’t video walls?
“( Laughs) Basically, yeah. We’ve got a few ideas but we’ve got to work them all out and figure out what’s what. It’s a while away yet, so in two months we’ll have probably changed our minds and started wanting something completely different anyway!” K!
Who has the highest pain threshold in Bring Me The Horizon? Hint: it’s Matt Kean