Sixth album release for Sheffield band Bring Me the Horizon

Sheffield's Grammy-nominated Bring Me the Horizon are on the verge of releasing their sixth album and drummer Mat Nicholls is 'really chuffed wi' it.'

Wednesday, 16th January 2019, 11:30 am
Updated Wednesday, 16th January 2019, 11:34 am
Bring Me the Horizon drummer Mat Nicholls (Pic: Tom Sykes)

Three quarters of Amo, which goes on sale on 25th January, was written in the Steel City, at Kelham Island's Samuel Osborn House.

Singer Oli Sykes opened an entertainment venue in the listed former industrial building last year and where steel castings were once forged, Bring Me the Horizon crafted a collection of dark, atmospheric rock and electronica tracks.

Guitarist Lee Malia pictured during the writing of the album (Pic: Tom Sykes)

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Nicholls says the band, completed by fellow South Yorkshiremen Lee Malia (guitar) and Matt Kean (bass) and Newbury's Jordan Fish (keyboards, percussion), have always been willing to take a risk but this record was a particularly brave change in direction.

It's so far removed from their early 'deathcore' material that it could be a completely different band, although that wasn't an expressed intention when writing began.

"We just churn out or start writing stuff we think sounds good, we don't really have a genre in mind when we start," said Nicholls.

"It just came out how it came out. 

"It would be easy for us to write the record we think people want to hear, whereas with this record we wanted to write what we wanted to write and take it somewhere different, get a bit creative with it and not take the easy route.

"People get too comfortable and a lot of the time they're scared of alienating their fans and losing fans, they say this is what works for us and we'll stick with it.

"It's brave, it's a step into the unknown but I think we're willing to take that chance because that's just us as people.

"It's great, I love it. We just wanted to write the record we wanted to make. I'm happy about how it came out, I'm really chuffed wi' it."

The end product features synth, strings, a beat boxer, Canadian artist Grimes, music to rave to and even a heartfelt love song.

Hard rock this is not, not exclusively anyway.

They're a hard act to pigeon hole or, after Amo, even place into a recognised genre.

"We're just a band, we don't really fit into any category," said Nicholls.

"We just do what we think sounds good, whether it's a pop or rock sounding song or weird Euro-trance stuff on there. It's just whatever we wanted to do."

In the calm before the storm, ahead of the album's release, Nicholls admits it's an unusual feeling.

He hopes the change in musical style brings fresh opportunities and new audiences. 

"It's a bit of an anxious wait, a little bit of a twilight between when you finish the record and when it comes out," he said.

"You don't really know what to do with yourself.

"It's a good feeling I think, it's an exciting time.

"I hope this record opens up a lot of different doors for us.

"We've been doing the same rock festival and the same rock set-up for a long time now.

"It'd be good for us if it could open doors to new opportunities and festivals."

Whatever the reaction, from fans and critics, to Amo as a record, Bring Me the Horizon have already tasted success from the new material.

MANTRA, the first single from the album, has been nominated for a Grammy, in the Best Rock Song category.

For a band that started playing gigs in Rotherham pub The Charters Arms, it's a big deal and a sign of just how far they've come.

"It's a bit weird," said Nicholls. "It's cool, we were chuffed when we found out about it, we were like wow, it's pretty serious.

"Coming from where we're from, Rotherham and Sheffield, there was nothing special about us, we were from working class backgrounds, normal kids off the estate and we just started a band because we were bored.

"We were going to punk rock, hardcore shows and we loved the energy of what we were watching, these small intimate shows, people moshing and we were like yeah I want a piece of that.

"It's pretty mental to think about where we came from and where we are now."

That working class background has helped make them the globally known act they are today, in Nicholls' eyes.

It gave them drive.

"It gives you a work ethic. We've never been handed anything, no one has ever given us a free ride.

"It's been hard work, we've been doing it for 15 years, we've put the time and effort in and it's paid off for us.

"It helps coming from where we come from. We've still got the same friends as when we were kids, they've got jobs and we see how hard they work, how hard our parents worked, it gave us a work ethic and told us nothing comes for free. You've got to work and put a lot of effort in to get rewards and it's starting to show now.

"We're 15 years down the line and getting Grammy nominations, it's finally paying off for us."

Equally as important, perhaps, their South Yorkshire roots have kept them grounded.

"I'm from Maltby originally, I was born there and grew up there, went to school there.

"I got into my late teenage years I started going into Sheffield and going out, there seemed like there was a bit more to do in Sheffield.

"I live in Sheffield now, I've lived in Sheffield for about 10 years.

"I don't live a very rock n roll lifestyle, I just do normal day-to-day stuff, nothing special when I'm off tour.

"I play the drums, take my dog for a walk, I just do pretty mundane stuff."

When he's not taking the dog out or watching his beloved Rotherham United, Nicholls is behind a drum stool, helping to orchestrate the chaos that ensues when Bring Me the Horizon play live.

The next time they tour they'll be armed with Amo and the mosh pits might more closely resemble dance floors.

Nicholls can't predict how crowds will respond to the new material, in a live setting.

But he's confident they can still get a venue rocking.

"I honestly have no idea, it's weird," he said.

"We'll have to wait and see.

"I think people will still find a way to have a jump around."