To a contemporary audience, they are a band that needs no introduction. Killyourstereo.com sat down with Bring Me the Horizon’s Matt Kean and Lee Malia ahead of Melbourne’s Soundwave to discuss touring, the band’s new album and the addition of new members.
Obviously only a couple of shows into Soundwave so far, how have they been?
Matt Kean: They’ve been really good. The first one [Brisbane] was our first show for pretty much a year, so we were a bit nervous and we’ve got two members as well.
Lee Malia: We had a few mess-ups, but nothing noticeable and the kids still loved it.
MK: Sydney a couple days ago was insane. The stage was surrounded by people. There was a crazy incident where someone was throwing flares. It was on the news I think.
Bringing that up, when you see stuff like that, what’s the initial response when you’re on stage seeing that?
MK: Someone started it and they were just holding it in the pit and we were like, “that’s insane, who would do that?” But then, they started throwing it and I think there was more than one? I noticed it coming down and I was like, “I hope everyone is watching for it,” and they were moving out of the way. But then, one time they threw it and it went forward. The people in the front row were too busy watching us. I don’t think they noticed there was a flare. Then security came over and tried to put it out, it was crazy. It went on the top of the tent and started burning all the tent and they made us stop playing while they tried to put it out.
I believe Metallica did a barbeque the first night for the bands?
LM: That was cool, there was free food and beer, and they all came down and hung out, which was crazy.
MK: We had a little bit of a talk to Lars [Ulrich] and our new keyboardist got a little drunk and fell over (laughs).
I was going to say with bands like Metallica that are iconic, and with so many bands on a festival bill like this, do you have your own celebrity moments?
MK: It is weird when you’re in a room and you can recognise most of the people.
LM: I think we’ve learnt as well what it is like for kids to hang out, so we didn’t want to be going up to them and be like, “can we have a photo?”
MK: You have to be cool (laughs).
The new album is coming out soon, with this one, if there were one thing a listener could take away from it after listening to it from start to finish, what would you like them to take from it?
MK: To view us not as just a metalcore band.
LM: Take it for what it is really. We don’t think it sounds metalcore – it has elements of it [though]. Just listen to it as not thinking we’re a metalcore band.
MK: I hope we change a few people’s minds about us. I think it is going to do that anyway. I think the music is strong enough to do that.
Obviously Lee with the guitar riffs and Matt with the rhythm section, you’ve always had metalcore elements, but you’ve also been influenced by the Gothenburg melodic death metal sound and the hardcore scene. When it comes time to write the album, as you said you don’t want to be known as just a metalcore band, what is the process like?
LM: It was a bit different this time. Oli and I write the songs and usually we are in a practice room, but this time we were doing it at Oli’s house, just on a computer to track riffs. Then we started working with Jordan [Fish], our keyboardist, but he wasn’t in the band then. We always have a person who comes in and does the digital stuff because we want it and we know what we want, but we don’t know how to do it. So he came in and started to do some ideas and we realised the stuff we were making with him, instead of him just adding to the songs, was so much cooler. Gradually he just started doing more and more and we realised he was a key songwriter with us. I think that is one of the main differences this time is, the stuff we’ve always wanted to do we can do through him.
MK: Before when we wrote the songs and we added the electronics afterwards, like on the last CD (‘There is a Hell…’) before this one, Sonny (Skrillex) did a lot of the programming on it, but it was always after the songs had been finished. This time, Jordan wrote within the context of the songs.
LM: I think you tell it flows a lot better. It is another instrument instead of an extra. It is cool, I think that is the main thing because none of us really listen to metal anymore, so all the stuff we listen to we try to do in our way, which still has heavy guitars. I think it works pretty well taking ideas from every other genre you can think of and putting them into our own way.
The other thing with the album – the move to RCA. How has that been so far?
MK: A lot of people think when you sign to a major label they are going to be quite controlling or it is going to be different to an indie label. But, we’ve found it’s almost easier than an indie label. There is a lot more people who we have to deal with, so sometimes everyone is talking to different people about different things. In terms of support they came down to the studio, and even before we started writing, they were like, “we just want you to be yourselves and we want you to be a heavy band.” They came down to the studio and they were just loving the tracks. They’ve never put any pressure on us to do anything we don’t want to do.
You’ve played Soundwave before, are there any particular stories or something that sticks out from your time on the festival?
LM: Last time we did it, it was crazy. There were a lot of people to hang out with – we were out every night. There were after parties, so I think it was more of a blur (laughs). We were just drunk to be honest (laughs). On the flight to Australia my ear canals collapsed and Matt’s sinuses collapsed.
MK: We were on steroids.
LM: …super strong medication. It made us impossible to get drunk, we didn’t realise, Matt and I were drinking constantly and then we’d be like not even drunk (laughs).
MK: I remember the shows as well, especially one we played in Sydney for Soundwave and it was like in a mini arena and I remember looking out and everyone was going crazy, and we were like, “Wow, this is insane!”
On the festival, the fact that there are so many bands, and they’re under the heavy umbrella, but there’s different genres and different experience levels. When you interact with some of these bands that you wouldn’t get the chance to tour with otherwise, do you take much experience or lessons from interacting with them and seeing how they go about it?
LM: I don’t know because we’ve been doing this for like eights years touring – eight and nine years. I think we know how to tour now, we’re pretty set now, we all have our own little way of getting through it.
MK: It is just fun that there are so many bands because you get to see a lot people you don’t get to see very often and then you also meet new people as well.
LM: We’re going to watch Linkin Park’s sidewave tonight, which will be cool. You just get to do stuff like that, which we probably would never get the chance to see them before they are always on tour.
MK: You get to see a lot of bands before when you’re on tour you don’t get to go them because you’re at one of your own (laughs).
On the topic of, Lee you were saying a moment ago you’ve been around for eight or nine years now, it might be a hard one to pinpoint because it is a natural progression, but what is the biggest change you’ve noticed from when you started to now?
LM: I think personally writing ‘Suicide Season’ saved our careers because if we had just continued on from ‘Count Your Blessings’ I don’t think we’d be a band right now. I think writing that album showed that we an actual band and that pretty much saved the band career in my eyes. From there we have just grown.
MK: I think you grow up a lot on the road. You learn how to be with each other and deal with each other. It makes your friendships stronger.
Were there any words you wanted to pass onto readers?
MK: Check out our album, it comes out April 1 (*Since moved to March 29). Go buy it.
Thanks for your time today guys, good luck with the rest of the tour.