As Bring Me The Horizon prepare for their biggest arena tour to date, kicking off at London’s The O2 on Halloween, frontman Oli Sykes talks to NME about horror, fancy dress, Muse, progress on their new album, and their hopes for headlining Reading & Leeds.
Do you think your show at The O2 will be a bit more mental because it’s Halloween?
“There could be some interesting costumes. We’ve got Enter Shikari playing as well, so I think it’s gonna be a bit more mad. I always like seeing Spider-man crowd surfing.”
What’s been your best Halloween costume?
“We played Las Vegas once and we were the Village People, that was interesting. Last year we got some girl to do us in prosthetics as bats, and it was some kind of like Mad Max/Newton thing. We had an intro about our origin stories, we were a bit like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and our management got really offended because we were saying they were an evil corporation that had destroyed the world and took all our money. It was only a joke.”
What plans do you have to step things up for these arena shows?
“We have a really clear vision of the visual side of things. It’s really simplified, bold and in your face. Production-wise like we really hit a bit of a groove this cycle and it’s really special. People have really been blown away by it. If you come to the live shows now, you’re getting a bit of a spectacle.”
Do you look to bands like Muse and Linkin Park who combine those two worlds?
“Totally. Muse are a reference point to where we want to take stuff like that, but we always look to dance like artists like Skrillex, too – people pushing the boat out. All that really buzzes me out.”
Have you had any thoughts about your next album?
“Sometimes we talk about it, but it’s in the moment when you’re inspired by something, so I don’t know. I think there’s an element of what we’re doing now that will stay in the music, but at the same time it’s like people thought [2015’s] ‘That’s The Spirit’ was a very polished pop rock album – it’s not. I think it’s inventive and unique, but it’s still safe in a way; we knew the songs we’re gonna connect well with people. Next time I think we wanna push it a bit weirder. Who knows?”
Do you think you might take your sound in a ‘dancier’ direction?
“Potentially yeah. That’s my favourite part – it’s something we do that comes across really well live, you know, when the song has a breakdown or a heavy dance kind of vibe to it. Especially if we’re thinking like festivals and stuff, then I like that idea like a darker, dance-y kind of sound, but I’m literally just I’m thinking out loud here ’cause we could go completely opposite to that you know.”
After your massive set at Reading and Leeds opening for Metallica in 2015, there was a lot of talk about you guys stepping up to headline in future…
“I mean, obviously, that would be incredible. I think we’d need some time away from the world. You can come and see us in November and December – if I was a Reading or Leeds ticket holder I’d want to not be able to see [the headliner] live for a good year and have them come back with a new album. I think you’ve still got a bit more to prove to get to that point in life, in my opinion. If we did it, I’d want to headline it outright. I wouldn’t want to co-headline it or share it with someone else. I’d want to say we’re accomplished headliners. We should be headlining, and I think that’s going to take one more album, personally, to prove that.”
Do you think you’d headline a more ‘rock heavy’ festival like Download first?
“Reading and Leeds is where we feel like it reflects what we do the most, because it is a festival full of different artists and different music. As awesome as Download festival is and to headline it would be an accomplishment. I don’t know; Reading and Leeds would be the one as a band we’d all love to do if we had the opportunity.”
And finally, as it’s halloween, do you have a favourite horror movie?
“There’s this French one called Martyrs. They remade it recently which was terrible but the original is fucking cool. I just really like the concept. It’s harrowing, it’s a harrowing watch. It’s an hour and a half of intense action and nail-biting terror – you’re watching it you’re like ‘What the fuck is going on here? Is this just for the sake of being excruciatingly violent or has it got a point?”
Bring Me The Horizon release ‘Live At The Royal Albert Hall’ on 2 December. Their full upcoming UK tour dates are below.
London The O2 (October 31)
Bournemouth BIC (November 1)
Nottingham Motorpoint Arena (2)
Birmingham Barclaycard Arena (4)
London The O2 (5)
Sheffield Arena (6)
Manchester Arena (8)
Glasgow SSE Hydro (9)