Bring Me The Horizon have just emerged from their lockdown lair to wallop our eardrums with brand new single ‘Parasite Eve’, a venomous, electronic-laced heavy rock stomper that feels eerily timely with the current state of our COVID-ravaged world.
As it turns out, the track is just the tip of a monster musical iceberg, which will form the heavy music innovators’ most ambitious project to date.
Music Feeds caught up with frontman Oli Sykes to get the 411 about the explosion of new music that BMTH have on the way, which has been very much shaped by the pandemic, and will see them — for the first time in a very long time — reconnect with their aggressive metalcore roots, while — as always — continuing to reinvigorate the rock genre by pioneering new sounds and fucking with the formula.
Catch 10 things you need to know about Bring Me The Horizon’s new music, according to Oli Sykes, below.
1. The band’s new music was headed in a very different direction… until the pandemic hit
“This pandemic has completely changed the music we were writing, and we were actually on a very different path before it all started happening,” Oli tells us.
“‘Parasite Eve’ was a song that we had kicking about since at least last year, and it was influenced by a completely different thing. It was influenced by, like, a Japanese super-bug that I was reading about last year. I went down a bit of a wormhole – it was the hottest day of the year in England, it was something like 35-36 degrees, which is just insane for England (I know it’s not that much for Australia) but everyone else was out there getting their tops off and enjoying the sun and I was just like, ‘what is going on?’ And I was just reading about all the things that climate change [is causing], you know, all these little things that no one is even paying attention to.
When people talk about it, they’re talking about obviously the world heating up and the damage it’s doing to the Ozone layer and blah blah. But there’s all these little things that are starting to appear from the cracks — like certain strains of viruses and funguses and all this crazy stuff — they’re becoming heat-resistant because of the climate change. Basically, things are happening that’s never happened before… and it was really weird because I was like, ‘Is this going to be the new normal? Is this our future?’ You know what I mean?
And then we were writing this song and then, you know, reports from China of the pandemic started to come through, and at first we were just like ‘Whoa that’s a bit… [laughs] that’s a bit weird!’ and we kept joking about it, obviously not really knowing the severity of the situation, just being like ‘Oh, it’s the Parasite Eve!” and kind of just joking about it. And then, you know, it got to our shores and it got so crazy that we were all like.. ‘Man.. should we even be writing a song like this?’ Because we’re talking about a pandemic where people are dying and people are paranoid and people are scared and like, it’s actually happening as we’re writing it, you know? It felt like we were almost… being insensitive to the situation in a way. So for a moment, we shelved it. It just felt too real and it just felt too much, and we didn’t want someone who may have lost someone to this virus to hear the song and, you know… it upsets them or offends them.
And then, as it kept going on and stuff and we stayed silent and tried to write different music with different topics, it kind of dawned on me: ‘No one’s talking about this’. You know, outside of, like, the media trying to scare people and just pushing whatever angle they’ve got. We’re all just trying to escape, you know, which is obviously what we’re going to do when something bad happens — the best thing it feels like you can do is escape — we can go on Netflix and binge-watch a series or, you know, play video games or drink or whatever it is.
But everyone was just escaping and no one was really talking about it — not in any real way — and I think it made me realise that, especially for our fans and fans of rock and heavy music, that’s one of the reasons they listen to rock music, is because their way of getting through situations like this is actually dealing with it head-on, you know, actually living and breathing it, and getting a cathartic experience from it by actually admitting ‘Yeah, you know, shit’s fucked up. This is not right. This is not good’. And I think there’s a certain release you get from acknowledging it, even if you don’t have the answers.
And it kind of shifted my whole thinking about the kind of record I was trying to make thematically. I wanted to write an album about compassion and love and all this stuff about us all coming together, because I’ve always thought, if we don’t have compassion for ourselves and love ourselves, how we’re going to love anyone else? And that was kind of the idea I had for the new record.
And then this whole pandemic just shifted my perception, like: ‘Wait a minute, before we even get to that, we need to just be angry. We need to be pissed off, we need to get out on the streets and we need to actually scream about this, because no one’s listening! No one’s doing anything!’And I think, with everything that’s happened over the last couple of weeks, that’s proved that we’ve just been ignorant for too long. We’ve just been ignoring the problems and escaping too much, when we really need to, you know, talk about this and do something about it, and now is the time. I guess ‘Parasite Eve’ is kind of the embodiment of all those ideas.”
2. Their new music has also been inspired by the #BlackLivesMatter movement
“A hundred percent,” says Oli. “I mean, that’s always been a massive thing for me, like human rights and animal rights, and just just the ability for everyone to be, you know, free.
“Ever since I’ve been a kid, I’ve been able to express myself however I wanted, you know?” he continues. “Whether it be wearing my mum’s makeup or covering myself head-to-toe in tattoos or whatever, I’ve just always had that freedom to express myself however I want. And the fact that people can’t even exist in peace for the way they were born, let alone the way they express themselves, is just unacceptable. And it’s been going on for so long! The idea that anyone else has a dictatorship about how other people live — it just fills me with venom.
And the driving force behind this record is the fact that, like, we’ve just been silent for too long and just accepting ‘This is the way it is. People die, people get put in prison. Animals get treated like less than living creatures’. And I think, if you could say anything good has come out of this pandemic, it’s the fact that people have had just a moment to pause and see how the world actually is, you know? Because we were all so caught up in our own daily lives that you just never had enough time to actually stop and go ‘Wait a minute…the world doesn’t work, the way we’re doing stuff doesn’t work. It’s not equal and it’s not balanced’.
And now, you really can feel that hive mind [shifting]… and that’s what we’re seeing now, it’s like, people are coming together in a way we’ve never seen before and demanding better. And that is literally what this whole record is going to be about.”
3. When Oli says “this record”, he means the first of FOUR short albums which will form an ambitious new project called Post-Human, to be released over the space of a year
“We’ve got the next single lined up — we just need to mix it and stuff — but it’s finished and we’re really excited about the next song after this,” Oli updates us. “We just finished another song to open the record this week, and we’ve got hundreds of demos just kicking about that we need to just go revisit and stuff. So it’s coming on pretty well! I’d say it’s 50% done.
“There’ll definitely be a record,” he continues. “But it won’t be like 15 tracks, but it won’t be any EP either. I would really like to have around six to eight tracks on there. And it’s going to be the first of four records. We’re going to do four records over the next year, but they’ll all be much shorter. The whole four records are going to fall under the same name, which is Post-Human.
One of the reasons why I don’t want to do another album again is because I really want every song to be — not a masterpiece, but as close as you can get. I want to put everything in it, you know? When you write an album, it’s like 15 tracks, and you’re having to compromise and you’re having to spread yourself across so much music, that some things may fall by the wayside. And always, when you put an album out, you’re like ‘I wish we’d done that better’ or ‘I wish we didn’t do that song’ or ‘I wish it had this’ or whatever. So the main reason I wanted to get out of having to put out massive albums is so we can focus on every track and make sure it’s the best it can be and it really means something. And also almost treat each song the same way you treat an album, like it’s a big thing. And, you know, we’re really proud of it. So we’ve been writing just like, song by song.”
4. They’re aiming to drop the first instalment in just a few short months!
“We’re aiming for that this Autumn,” Oli says (that’s spring here in Australia, for those playing at home).
5. Each mini-album will be “completely different” in both sound & feel
“Each album’s going to be sonically very, very different, and there’ll be a kind of overarching theme for each record — it’ll be a different message,” Oli says.
“Basically, the second record is going to be similar to the record we were trying to write in the first place, where it’s going to be more about, you know, after the anger, after the rallying, after the call to arms… It’s kind of like ‘Right: how do we actually deal with our own internal issues? And how do we love ourselves? And how do we find that compassion in such a cruel world?’ And so the music’s going to reflect that.
Just like the music on the first record reflects that anger, the second one will reflect that compassion. And they’re going to be linked and they’re going to feel like Bring Me records, but you are really going to hear our extremes on each record. So the third and the fourth will also be completely different sonically.
And I’ve got a good idea — I’m not going to say what I’ve got in mind for each one — but I have a strong vision for each and how they’ll feel sonically.”
6. Record #1 will see the band return to their HEAVY, Suicide Season-era roots… but it won’t be a straight-up throwback
“It’s kind of a mix, just like you’ve heard on ‘Parasite Eve’, where it still feels bonkers in terms of jumping from genre to genre and sound to sound, but we’ve definitely took a little bit more influence from things we did quite a few years ago,” Oli says.
“And I think, to me, it just felt like the right time. After [last full-length album] amo where we just had this creative output where we just wanted to be as different as possible. Now, we want to almost like, take elements from everything we’ve ever done and bring it all together and make it work… because we always knew that it could, do you know what I mean?
And I think I’ve softened a bit with my approach to how the fans react to our music, you know, before I always felt like, ‘Just let us be artists!’ You know what I mean? We’re writing music and we’re doing what we do and we can’t change that. For instance, where my head was when we was writing amo, I had just come out of a relationship and it broke my heart and it was one of the most painful experiences in my life, but I was also really glad to be out of it. So there was no anger there, there was just reflection and maybe some sadness. But that’s all I could be… I couldn’t pretend to be angry. I couldn’t pretend to be venomous. And that’s how I’ve always worked, it really has to reflect.
Whereas now we’ve got something to be angry about, we’ve got something to be pissed about, we’ve got something to make violent music to.
But one thing I’ve come to appreciate is, you know, when we wrote Sempiternal for instance, that was the first time we’d ever pushed ourselves to do proper singing and have all these electronics and blend all this stuff, but still retain that kind of heaviness and the roots of where we came from, you know, we did it and then we just moved forward. We just went straight to That’s The Spirit and it was like ‘All right, what’s next?’ You know, we always just leave what we’ve done before behind, and just go and push ourselves.
And I can start to see and appreciate that some people are like… ‘But what if you stayed in that style and just did it better? Like, what if you progressed but you still retained those things that we loved about you?’ You know what I mean? I get that in a way. It’s like, yeah, what if we came back now and did music like that with all we’ve learned with all the progression we’ve made? But at the same time, we’re never going to go back and do that [the exact same way]. You know, anyone expecting us to turn back to a heavy band or not write music that satisfies us — it’s just tough shit, it’s not gonna happen. But at the same time, I’ve always said, I love that music. And when the time’s right and when I feel like writing that music, we’ll do it. And now is the time I guess.”
7. They still want it to feel like “something people have never heard before”
“I really want the record to feel like ‘cyber thrash metal’,” says Oli. “To have this kind of dystopian vibe. I don’t know, it’s the way I see us being able to do this heavy music again but have it feel fresh and pushing forward, rather than just feeling like ‘old-school’. I want it to have that nostalgia of, like, early noughties metal and nu-metal but at the same time, I want it to feel like something people have never heard before.”
8. “Nothing is off the table”: BMTH haven’t ruled out branching into other genres, including hip-hip, on the following records
“Nothing’s off the table,” Oli confirms. “You know, if it feels like it needs it, and it feels like it works, we’ll do it. Just like on ‘Parasite Eve’, it’s got a bit of everything. The exciting thing is there’s a lot more pop sensibility to what we’re doing. So even though I’m screaming more and there’s more aggression to the vocals, there’s a pop sensibility in the melodies that’s super catchy and just more accessible to people.
“But now we’re retaining that anger, whereas before, we were moving more towards, you know, just having these poppy melodies and maybe the emotion was there but the anger? That feels really fresh to me. Like when we’ve been working, I’ve been singing these super pop licks, but I’m screaming ‘em and there’s an aggression… and that feels super exciting to me. And I think that’s what we’re just going to continue doing, is just pushing ourselves. And if the music calls for it, we’ll do it.”
9. They enjoyed working with DOOM Eternal’s Mick Gordon so much on ‘Parasite Eve’ they want him to produce more of Record #1
“Yeah, it was awesome,” Oli says. “We were trying to almost replicate some of the vibe he did [on DOOM] and I thought, ‘I’m going to email this dude and just see if he’s interested’ and he got back to us & was super excited! It was really nice to work with him because the way I work is not that normal, in terms of writing music. I’ve got no music theory background. I don’t know technical terms and stuff like that. I just kind of talk in ideas, illustrative, and say ‘I want it to feel or sound like this’ and it’s more my imagination rather than saying like, ‘I want to see these chords and these notes’. And before I even said anything about how I work, he was like, ‘I really like it when someone just, you know, tries to illustrate the world or the vibe or the energy they’ve got in their minds andtell me what each moment is and how you want to get it across’. And I was like, ‘That’s awesome because it’s exactly how I work’.
So I just wrote loads of notes and it was almost like a story, the whole song just sounded like a story. Rather than saying ‘I want you to put these little sub-drops here or, you know, this march in here’, I more just gave him ‘This is what I’m trying to get across, this is what it should feel like’ and he just completely smashed it, to be honest.
Like, we haven’t worked with anyone for so long. You know, me and Jordan have just produced it all and Jordan’s done all the technical stuff. And, you know, we don’t really need anyone else to help us. We could do it all, and we’ve had that mentality for so long… we’ve been stung in the past where we work with producers or work with people and it’s not turned out how we wanted it to. But it really feels like, for these records, it’d be so nice to collaborate with people — like over each of the four records — you know, collaborate with people from different scenes in different worlds, and it’s like, ‘who are we going to collaborate with on this first record when we don’t feel like we need anyone?’ And for him to come back and just completely smash it, it was just really, really cool.”
Oli also says they’re keen to get Gordon to produce more songs on Record #1.
“I think we’re hitting him up at the moment & making sure he’s got some time,” he says. “I know he was keen, so I think I’d definitely like to get him on a couple more songs, there’s definitely a couple more songs on this record where that vibe would feel perfect.”
10. They’re also keen for loads of other collabs!
“There’s a Russian group called IC3PEAK that I really want to get on this first record,” Oli says. “I can’t think at the moment, but we’re trying to figure it out, but there’s a bunch of people I’d definitely like to get involved.”
Bring Me The Horizon’s new single ‘Parasite Eve’ is out now