The Interview: Oliver Sykes

Published on 22 August 2013

[F]ormed nearly ten years ago in Yorkshire, British metal outfit Bring Me The Horizon have come on leaps and bounds from a band that ‘couldn’t even play an instrument’ when they started. These days you’ll find them on main stages at festivals up and down the country and propping up Radio 1 playlists alongside the likes of One Direction (slightly different lyrical content, mind!) – proving just how far metal has made its way into the mainstream. But, according to frontman Oliver Sykes, the genre still has a long way to go before its members are recognised for more that ‘satan worship, drug taking weirdos’.

WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR EARLIEST MUSICAL MEMORIES?

I remember ‘Spaceman’ by Babylon Zoo being the first song I ever properly liked. I won a competition for a free year’s subscription of Mortal Kombat Comics and that was playing in the background, so I started dancing to it in celebration.

WHO DO YOU CREDIT AS INTRODUCING YOU TO THE TYPE OF MUSIC THAT HAS SHAPED YOUR CAREER?

Glassjaw come to mind as the band that got me into the heavier, hardcore metal side of rock music. The first time I saw a glassjaw video, I was in awe. I just remember thinking , I want to do what they do and pursued it from that moment on.

METAL IS BECOMING MUCH MORE OF A CROSSOVER GENRE – WHY DO YOU THINK THAT THE MAINSTREAM IS BECOMING MORE ACCEPTING?

I think in a world that’s becoming increasingly more depressing, music is playing a bigger role in more and more peoples lives. I like pop music, don’t get me wrong, for what it is, but it’s disposable. People start looking for something meatier to sink their teeth in to. Rock music is so much more than music, it’s a way of life – the lyrics, the shows, the people – and I think more and more people want to be a part of that.

DO YOU EVER THINK METAL BANDS WILL RECEIVE THE SAME TYPE OF RECOGNITION AS POP OR HIP HOP ACTS – DO YOU THINK BRING ME THE HORIZON COULD WIN A BRIT AWARD FOR EXAMPLE?

I don’t know really, but I think we would need some more good metal bands first. Because it’s such a niche market, a lot of bands and magazines associated still play up to the cliches, which turn people off and feel stale. I think that is stopping the genre from being taken seriously. Everyone still thinks of bands like ours as satan worshipping, drug taking weirdos, and for some reason a lot of bands still think that’s cool and play up to it.

THE SOUND OF EACH OF BRING ME THE HORIZON ALBUMS CHANGES, ALLOWING ECLECTICISM. HOW MUCH DO YOU THINK YOU’VE PROGRESSED MUSICALLY AND LYRICALLY SINCE STARTING OUT?

We are not the same band we started out as in any respect. We didn’t know how to play our instruments or write songs, and we had no ambitions except playing shows. Id like to think the first half of that statement has changed 1000 percent.

ANY OTHER GENRES YOU’RE KEEN TO EXPLORE?

Nothing’s off limits, we are inspired by good music, that’s the only limit.

DROP DEAD CLOTHING ALLEGEDLY MADE YOU A TEENAGE MILLIONAIRE – HOW DID THAT AFFECT YOU?

Did It? No one told me! I have absolutely no idea how much money I own, nor do I want to. I am blessed in the fact I don’t have to worry about money, and that’s it. People think all their problems will be solved with money, and as someone on the other side, I can safely say, it solves nothing. It does not make you happy, it can’t buy anything you really want, and it makes people act like fucking miscreants.

DID PEOPLE’S ATTITUDE TOWARDS YOU CHANGE – FAMILY, FRIENDS – WHEN THEY FOUND OUT HOW MUCH YOU’RE WORTH?

Some people changed, some people didn’t. It was really the way I found out who my true friends were and who weren’t.

YOU MENTIONED RECENTLY THAT WHEN THE BAND STARTED OUT YOU ALL PARTIED TO EXCESS. HOW DID THIS EARLY BEHAVIOUR SHAPE AND AFFECT HOW YOU ACT NOW. DID YOU FEEL LIKE YOU HAD TO LIVE UP TO THE ‘ROCKSTAR’ TAG?

I never felt like I needed to live up to it, butIi did take advantage of the perks being in a band came with. We were young, travelling on a tour bus, with free booze every night and numerous parties to go to, so yeah, it was pretty mental. It all gets old quick though and things couldn’t be more different now.

YOUR FAN BASE IS HUGE AND EXTREMELY DEDICATED – HOW HARD IS IT LIVING UNDER CONSTANT SCRUTINY?

It’s something you learn how to live with and deal with, or you go mental. It takes a while to figure it out, but the main principal of surviving it is realising how much you scrutinise other people in the public eye yourself, but really don’t mean anything you say. It’s just gossip and slander, whether someone’s telling you they love you or they hate you, they don’t really mean it in any worthwhile sense.

WHAT’S THE STRANGEST FAN ENCOUNTER YOU’VE HAD?

One broke into my room with a cake when I was on holiday – in Bali!

DO YOU OFTEN FEEL LIKE YOUR PRIVACY IS INVADED – AND DOES THAT AFFECT HOW YOU LIVE YOUR LIFE?

On tour sometimes i can feel like a bit of a piece of meat. People almost forget you’re a human, they pull and push you and take photos with you like you’re some kind of circus attraction, it’s crazy. Sometimes I wish more of them would just stop and say a few words, have a human interaction with me, rather than take a picture and walk off.

THERE WAS A SERIOUS INCIDENT A FEW YEARS AGO WHEN AN IMPERSONATOR OF YOU LURED A FAN TO THE UK FROM AMERICA BEFORE ATTEMPTING TO MURDER HER FOR WHICH HE RECEIVED A LIFE SENTENCE. HOW DANGEROUS DO YOU THINK THE CULT OF CELEBRITY HAS BECOME?

I think the internet and social networking sites are the danger this generation is threatened by. It has grown into a universe of its own that no one seems to be able to control. I think the accessibility to celebrities now is quite scary. Kids think they know you now, they think they talk to you and know you because you replied to them on Twitter, and because of that, people can be easily convinced that they are talking to celebrities, which is a scary prospect.

WHAT’S YOUR BIGGEST GOAL?

To keep doing what im doing now, forever.

HOW FAR DO YOU THINK BRING ME THE HORIZON CAN GO – WHAT’S THE PLAN?

I can’t believe it has come this far, it definitely wasn’t the plan, so I wouldn’t want to make one now and be disappointed.

Bring Me The Horizon’s single ‘Go to Hell, For Heaven’s Sake’ is released today.