Love them or hate them, Bring Me The Horizon are pretty much the biggest name in heavy music right now. Having released their new album “There Is A Hell, Believe Me I’ve Seen It. There Is A Heaven, Let’s Keep It A Secret” which topped the ARIA charts, the boys have returned to Australian shores once again to tear up Soundwave festival. We caught up with bassist Matt Nicholls to discuss stealing gumball machines, Def Leppard and creepy haunted houses.
Hey mate, please start out by telling us your name, what you do in Bring Me The Horizon and your favourite party tune.
My name’s Matt and I play bass in Bring Me The Horizon. My favourite party tune? I dunno it’s gotta be Andrew WK “Party Hard” doesn’t it! I have a rumour about Andrew WK, we did Warped Tour and we never saw him partying once. He came on stage with us once and sang, and that was as crazy as he got.
Wow that sucks! So you’ve played both the Brisbane and Sydney shows so far, how did you feel those dates went?
They were really good. We didn’t really know what to expect from Soundwave and they’ve been some of the best we’ve ever done it was insane.
Really? Because obviously you’ve been here quite a few times now so…
Yeah I think this is about our fifth or sixth time.
How does it feel to be playing alongside so many amazing acts, a few of which would no doubt be musical heroes of your own?
Yeah yeah it’s pretty insane like, you’re just walking around backstage and you’re just like is that? Are they playing? Is this happening? It’s pretty cool. After we played yesterday Dave from Slayer just came in our room drunk and then he got a piggy back out of it. He was like “hey guys, hows it going?” and then ran off. It’s pretty insane to like, people you’ve grown up with and stuff, just running around drunk with them.
So you would’ve been pretty disappointed about them pulling out then?
Yeah I think a lot of people were so I heard! I guess you can understand it as well but…
Yep. What other bands have you been checking out? Any highlights?
Um yeah, we’ve not been down at the site much because we’ve all still been a bit jetlagged but ah, managed to catch Silverstein, Polar Bear Club, we watched Amity the other day, 30 Seconds To Mars, so it’s been pretty cool.
Cool man. How does Soundwave compare to festivals you’ve done either at home in the UK or elsewhere?
It’s pretty cool the way it’s a travelling one, it reminds me a lot of Warped Tour. We did Warped Tour before but it’s kind of on a bigger scale, like, so many people.
Yeah like the main stage in particular because on Warped Tour the bands aren’t that big, they’re not like Slayer big. I went to the main stage on the first day and was like that’s insane! How many people are there? That’s crazy.
Yeah for sure. So you’ve got some sideshows booked with fellow Brits Asking Alexandria as well as Amity, what are you expecting from those gigs?
I’m hoping they’re going to be just as insane as the Soundwave ones. We met Amity a couple of times, I think I met them maybe twice before but both times they’ve been wasted so … (laughs) we met them sober the other day. They seem like really nice guys. We’ve got friends who know them like the Prom Queen guys all know them, obviously Jona and stuff. I’d never met the Asking guys before because I think they kinda started touring in the States first, rather than in the UK. They had like kind of a weird thing. So we’ve never played with them before but we met a couple of them just before and they seem like nice guys so should be good. I know they’ve got a real buzz around them so, should be fun to see.
Yeah. Obviously Jona joined Bring Me The Horizon in 2009, what do you think his presence has brought to the band?
Well I think at the time when we kicked our guitarist out we needed someone like Jona, who just gave us a new kind of freshness if you know what I mean. The situation with our guitarist had gotten us all down and then Jona came in and was a breath of fresh air really. We played Australia maybe a year before as well and I don’t know if you know Kev that used to be in I Killed The Prom Queen too, but he filled in before Jona could properly join. So that was insane. JJ sung with us as well so we’ve probably had just about every member of Prom Queen on stage with us at some point.
Tell us a bit about your new album “There Is a Hell, Believe Me I’ve Seen It. There Is a Heaven, Let’s Keep It a Secret”. It’s been met with a whole lot of critical acclaim, but how’s the live response been?
Yeah it’s been going really well. Especially in the last two shows we’ve just done over here, some of the sing alongs have just been insanely loud. It just kinda blows you away. It’s fun to be out there actually playing them live because we wrote it early last year so it’s been a long time coming before we could get out there and actually play the songs. Yeah it’s been good.
Definitely. Word has it that you guys locked yourselves up in a big house in Scotland to write the record. How do you think that impacted the creative process?
Well we’re all pretty easily distracted people so we kinda like have to do that. We had a certain time by which we had to write the album so we had to do it. We went away to a house in Scotland, it was like a six bedroom mansion kinda thing on the Loch in the middle of nowhere. I think the nearest city was like two hours away. We just like wrote there for maybe three or four weeks and then went home, had Christmas at home, and then went back out there and wrote some more. I think it really helped us. I think it’s like the best writing process we’ve ever had because it was quite relaxed in a way, like, if we’d have an idea and if it wasn’t working we’d just like either just watch TV or just chill out in the Loch or whatever. Even though there was pressure, there wasn’t that much if you know what I mean. I think we’ll probably end up doing it again. At one point we ended up going to a different house and we stayed there one night and um, the other guys had an old woman singing in their room (laughs), so we had to leave. Apparently it was haunted, it was like an old church. I got woken up at like four in the morning just by all those guys dressed with their bags saying “get up, we’re going”. I didn’t have a choice in the matter. So yeah, it was pretty fun.
Haha yeah. So how do you think the new record compares to past efforts?
I think we kinda pushed it more on this new CD. I think “Suicide Season” was the point when we got our sound kinda thing and then when we were writing the follow up we were just like let’s go from there, use it as a sort of backbone and then branch out from there. We kinda went in every direction as well, we pushed the ambience of it, we pushed it with the electronics, we pushed it with the heaviness I think and also some parts are a lot more poppy as well. Even with stuff like the female vocals …
Yeah how did you get working with Lights?
Well we’d met her randomly, we had a show cancelled in the States and we were in our hotel and she was in the same hotel and had the day off. We kinda just knew each other just a little bit before just through knowing who each other were, and then we had a drink and some food together and stuff. I think the night ended with our drummer stealing one of those penny machines in the bar that you get sweets out of (laughs), yeah ended up nicking a gumball machine out of the pub. But yeah, we got on well and chance had it she was in LA when we were finishing the CD, so she came along and did some vocals. I think she was originally meant to only be on one song but then we tried her on another one as well because we had some time in the studio and it worked out in the end.
The new record topped the charts in Australia which is the only place in the world where that happened. Do you think that’s a testament to how dedicated your fans here are?
Yeah I dunno, we were all completely shocked when we got told. At first we didn’t believe it and thought they’d made a mistake or something. Jona was like emailing all his family because obviously you can guess how big that is over here. We were all kinda oblivious like, I don’t know, is that good?
It’s a big deal yeah.
We’ve got a bunch of bands on our same management and we got this email saying it was our first ever number one. There’s some big bands like, apparently Iron Maiden had never had a number one in Australia and we had their manager going they’ve never had one but you have, that’s insane! I think it’s something that we’ll all look fondly on when it finishes or whatever, it’s one of those benchmarks you know. I can tell my family and it’s something that they can relate to.
Like Australia, Britain has come to have a thriving hardcore, punk and metal scene. Can you tell us a bit about what the scene’s like over there, particularly in your hometown of Sheffield?
Yeah well like, there’s not too many bands and we’re not home too much either. I think we were home maybe two months the whole of this year. I think though that the internet has just opened everything up, it definitely helped us when we were starting out and I think now it’s just becoming more and more useful for new bands starting out. Like I could start a band today, and have some songs on the internet by the end of the day and someone in Tibet could be listening to it. It’s just made the world a lot smaller music wise. It’s definitely helped scenes like Australia or the UK because people tend to overlook those countries and just stick to the States, especially for metal and stuff.
For sure. Other than the rest of the Soundwave dates, what do you think 2011 will hold for Bring Me The Horizon?
Just lots more touring. I think we’re doing a bunch of European festivals which are always good because you get to see bands, it’s kinda like the Soundwave thing. It’s summertime in Europe so it’s nice and warm for once. I think we’re playing a bunch of festivals with bands like Slipknot, and I think we’re even playing with Def Leppard as well. I think we’re going to end up coming back over here as well before the year’s finished, just touring nonstop until the end of the year and then after that we start the new CD. So just constantly working pretty much.
Cheers dude, well we’ll look forward to seeing you again later on in the year. Have you got any last comments or shout outs to fans?
Thank you if you bought the CD when it went to number one, I think we’re all still in shock. Yeah thanks.
Yeah thanks a lot man.