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,


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

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