Oli Sykes talks to us about their secret Reading & Leeds set, and their plans for the future
Ahead of their blistering secret set at Reading Festival 2018, Bring Me The Horizon frontman Oli Sykes told NME about how his recent divorce and the dizzying highs and crippling lows of falling in love helped to shape their upcoming new album ‘Amo‘.
Watch our video interview with frontman Oli Sykes above
After weeks of rumour, the Sheffield metal veterans finally confirmed that they’d be hitting R+L once more with a surprise appearance on the BBC Radio One stage. Speaking to NME backstage, Sykes said that it was an honour to be back – and that they’ve come a long way since their first appearance a decade ago.
“It’s 10 years today since we played it for the first time,” Sykes told NME. “It’s come a long way for us since then, when we were opening on the main stage. I think Slipknot pulled out or something and we filled in. It was horrific. We literally got camera phones, bananas, gravel, ketchup thrown at us. It was madness.”
Where did they get gravel?
“I don’t know! They must have brought it especially. But we’ve always loved it here. We used to come as kids, do you know what I mean? Like with Download as well, it’s just a quintessential rock festival. I love the diversity of the bands playing as well. We feel more at home when there’s different music, rather than it all just being heavy.”
The show was also the first time that they played new single ‘Mantra‘ – landing already as a favourite with fans. But is the track representative of the album as a whole?
“Not really,” Sykes replied. “‘Mantra’ came a bit later. We wrote a lot of cool stuff but we were kind of scared, like ‘What are we gonna show people first?’ We’re really proud of everything we’ve done, but how are we not going to completely alienate everybody when we show them this record?
“I actually had a little bit of a meltdown about it and then we ended up writing this song. It just felt right. It’s just different enough. It’s not safe, but it’s a bit of what you know and love about us while pushing it out there. It’s not that it’s not representative, but every song on the record is completely different. It’s a lot more experimental than our last record.
Speaking of the lyrical inspiration behind the album, Sykes said that he used the songs as catharsis following a recent divorce – drawing all of the extremes between ‘gushing about being in love’ to ‘the darkest parts of a relationship’.
“I went through a divorce a couple of years ago and I really didn’t want to talk about,” Sykes admitted. “I don’t want it to seem like I care, and I didn’t want to dredge up the past. I didn’t want to give the person the ‘glory’ of writing stuff about them and shit like that. After it while it just became apparent that I needed to. I needed to get it out of my system.
“It wasn’t the fact that I was miserable, I was fine. At the same time when you go through something traumatic, you carry a lot of stuff with you after it. There’s a lot of mental baggage. Whatever happened in that situation, I took that on. Maybe I started trusting people less, and it’s completely irrational – but you do. I’ve always said it, but writing music and lyrics is the most therapeutic thing. I’m really lucky in that sense, because it’s the best way to get stuff out, you know? To write about it and sing it on stage.”
Sykes added: “It’s not just about that. There’s good stuff, there’s bad stuff, there’s weird stuff. It’s kind of more like a think-piece on love and how it can effect you. Not just you, but other people. You go into a relationship and people pick sides. There’s a pack mentality. It’s quite an easy way to write a concept album about love. Everything boils down to love in the end.
“Obviously ‘Amo’ is Portuguese for ‘I love’, obviously there’s the ‘ammunition’ part and then in European Portuguese it means ‘master’. It sounds happy, but there are all these hidden meanings that make it more complex.”
Watch our full video interview with Sykes above
‘Amo’ is released on January 11, 2019.
Bring Me The Horizon tour dates and tickets
The band’s full upcoming UK tour dates are below. Visit here for tickets and more information.
23 – Birmingham Arena, Birmingham
24 – First Direct Arena, Leeds
25 – SSE Hydro, Glasgow
27 – Motorpoint Arena, Cardiff
29 – Alexandra Palace, London