Bring Me The Horizon’s Oli Sykes on lockdown life and “removing the ego” from live shows

Watch Sykes share his hopes and fears for the future in our Off-Script interview

Bring Me The Horizon‘s Oli Sykes has opened up about his experience of life in lockdown, and how he and the band are reconsidering their approach to touring. Watch our Off-Script video interview with Sykes above.

After speaking to NME for last week’s Big Read cover story about life and BMTH’s EP ‘Post Human: Survival Horror‘, Sykes sat down with us on camera to talk about his hopes and fears for the future, especially when it comes to playing live in a post-COVID world.

“I feel like everything is probably going to have to change, touring’s going to have to change and shows are going to have to change,” Sykes told NME. “How that will be, I don’t know. The problem for us is that our shows thrive off that energy. You’re not going to get that if everyone is stood on a boxed segment. We need bodies in rooms. We need everyone to get together, connect, mosh and jump.”

He continued: “It would be cool to change how shows work and trying to think outside of the box to do stuff that has less ego in it, as well as less resources. At first, it’ll just be about getting back to basics.”

Bring Me The Horizon Big Read
(Picture: Zoe McConnell/NME)

Expanding on his idea to “remove the ego” from playing live, Sykes said that he one day hoped to tour with a line-up where no one is headlining and everyone shares the same level of production and the same limelight – for a more communal experience and a smaller environmental impact.

“I’m riffing, but it would be somewhere where not every band has to take five trucks all around Europe and America,” he said. “We’d bring the resources right down and take out the bullshit. There’s so much bullshit in writing music that just takes the focus out of what it’s actually about. It’s about the music, the fans, connection and that cathartic experience – it doesn’t fucking matter who’s playing last or has sold the most records.

“It might be a pie in the sky idea, but it would be cool to change the mould a little bit.”

Bring Me The Horizon's Oli Sykes. credit: Zoe McConnell
Bring Me The Horizon’s Oli Sykes (Picture: Zoe McConnell/NME)

For now, Sykes said he is cautiously optimistic about normality resuming and the world being a better place in time for their UK arena tour in 2021.

“I’m really just trying to practice living in today and being happy with what you’ve got,” said Sykes. “Every year we’ve whined about it. There was that joke about 2016 [being crap], and we didn’t know how fucking good we had it, did we? With 2020 it’s like: ‘Do you want to see some real shit?’

“Maybe next year, it will be even fucking worse and we won’t know how good we had it in 2020. I’m in a very fortunate position where our band’s doing really well despite not being able to tour. We’re putting music out, people are listening to it, I’m here doing interviews and getting to connect with people. It’s just about trying to be thankful for what you’ve got.”

Sykes added: “It’s hard for us, because our future is so uncertain. So is everyone’s, but for me when people talk about touring it just seems like it’s never going to happen. When it does, it’s just going to hit so much harder than it ever did because we’ll all be like: ‘Fuck, I missed this’.”

Watch the video above as Sykes also discusses living with his parents during lockdown, dealing with his bad habits and “working on himself” while at home, keeping up with his bandmates, what he misses most about being on the road, his love of Björk and the music he’s been listening to lately.

In our cover interview, as well discussing cancel culture, the state of rock music, recent all-star collaborations and the impact of coronavirus on the world stage, Sykes also shared his opinions on Donald Trump and the polar extremes of left and right-wing politics and opened up about collaborating with Yungblud and BABYMETAL on their new EP (as well as how Evanescence nearly “sued” the band before they came to work with Amy Lee).

Read our full NME Big Read cover interview with Bring Me The Horizon’s Oli Sykes here.

‘Post Human: Survival Horror’ by Bring Me The Horizon is out now. The band will embark on a UK arena tour next year.

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