The evolution of Bring Me The Horizon has been a sight to behold. The band has shown nothing but disrespect for the so called rules of writing heavy music. Scratch that, any music. On Friday, 25th January, they’ll be releasing unto the world Amo, their most challenging and eclectic release to date.
The album refuses to stay in one spot long enough to be pigeon-holed. Instead choosing to bound around within a sonic landscape that has no borders. At times boppy, sometimes jagged and striking, and habitually unpredictable, Amo is completely Perfect Form Bring Me The Horizon, that is, until they shed their skin yet again.
Ahead of the release, we caught up with Jordan Fish.
Mike: Having heard an advanced stream of Amo, the listening experience feels like you just strap yourself in and get thrown around on this crazy roller-coaster ride through the imagination of Bring Me the Horizon. Was it like that when you were making the thing as well?
Jordan Fish: No, not at all, no. It's one of them things…I think that's what we wanted to try and create, but it's challenging to be that variant and move around that much within an album and it still feel coherent and make sense and still tick all the boxes that we need to tick. That's the main kind of concern ... not concern, our main challenge, to write and try and keep infusing different genres and different elements and keep people guessing a little bit, but at the same time we don't want to compromise the song that it is by doing stuff for the sake of it. It’s time-consuming and quite a head fuck.
The challenge is to try and find some way to do both those things. Its like "let's make music that feels a bit more left field, experimental, weird. Let's try and make some of our biggest songs in that framework". If you set those parameters from the off, it makes it very challenging because you make it hard for yourself, basically, which is what we did. Because we really wanted to try to push ourselves kind of a couple of times. It felt fresh and exciting to us, compared to what other bands are doing and what we've done before as well.
Mike: On paper, I imagine that would be really cool mission statement. When you guys are sitting in a room together, how do you communicate this vision to one another to make sure everyone is on the same page? Is that even possible?
Jordan: Yeah, it kind of is. A lot of it’s feeling more than speaking. I guess when you're working on a song, you have a palette of things that you want to go in for and everyone has their own references, so it's easier when you're on the same page. I think we were all on the same page. We felt like we really didn't want to go over any ground that we’d tread on before. That's the main thing. For me, our default go-to sound is a kind of like Linkin Park-y, kind of nu-metal-y type sound, it's like our root sound on the last album. I mean, we go all over the place, it's very varied, but we tend to resort to that for big choruses and we've done that a lot and it works for us. This time, that was just not an option for us. it just felt so cheap and it wasn't exciting us at all, really. Because we've got a lot of those types of songs and we really don't need any more.
I guess our main goal was to try and push and bring to the fore the elements that really are Bring Me the Horizon and kind of lose maybe some of the crutches that we would rely on that we knew were working for us before, that weren't necessarily original. It's a hard thing to explain really, but I guess it's just trying to push yourself constantly into where you don't feel completely comfortable with the music and then you kind of get more excited than the original results. Problem with that is it takes a lot longer, because a lot of time it doesn't work, you know what I mean? So you'll write a song and be like, "Nah, this is shit". And that happened a lot, because we were experimenting a lot more. I guess our ratio of success to failure was not as good. This album took us probably three times as long as the last album to make. We tried to get something that felt new to us.
Mike: That reminds me of a quote I heard from a documentary about Bruce Springsteen. Everyone involved had to be ready to chase their dream to the point of fatigue, they were told to chase their dream to the point where they’re about to fall apart. Was that the vibe for the Amo sessions?
Jordan: Yeah, I think when we write we always have that vibe anyway; feeling like we're really putting in the longer hours and going the extra mile. This one was just absolutely sick. I'm not gonna lie. Another thing is once you start to get onto something, you really can't half-arse it. If you've gone that far down the rabbit hole, there's not really a way out, so we work ourselves to the point where we must dig deep and make sure the whole album felt super confident and had the same level of strength throughout.
It was just different. It was just a long time of uncertainty and a long time of really pushing and experimenting before we were like, "Yeah, we've got it. We've got everything that we wanted". It was much harder psychologically.
Mike: There was no instruction manual for this album. There's no guidelines of how it's meant to be listened to or consumed. It's almost like you threw us into this open world of Bring Me to explore on our own. It's creating this kind of listening challenge. Was that at all part of the mission plan?
Jordan: Yes, in a sense that it's not an easy listen, it's just layered and it's not all face value. Yeah, I guess ... I don't know. For me, I want it to be like one of them albums where you listen to it the first time and go "Whoa, that wasn't what I was expecting and I think I like it, but I think I might love it, but I don't know exactly, I need to hear it again". But then again, I played it to some people and they'll love it. You know, some people heard it one time, true as Bob, "Fucking hell, I love it". So, it depends really, but I think for some people who were expecting something different, it's going to grow and take a long time to get use to.
Mike: I can't help but feel as though there's something going on with the track titles here. They feel almost conversational, and when you tie in with just how deliberate everything about the music was, is there something more with the track titles on Amo?
Jordan: I mean, probably a better question for Oli. With his lyrics and naming, I question it after a while, I'll be more objective, like someone who appreciates his lyrics. I'll be like, "Oh, what does that mean?" and stuff and he'll tell ... he's always got an answer. He'll always say ... I still sometimes find stuff in our old songs. I'll be like, "Is this line meant to be related to this line?" and he's like, "Yeah, obviously”...
Well, I mean, for him it’s obvious, because he wrote it, but for me, I'm just like, "Oh yeah, I never even noticed the parallel between them two lines”. Generally, when it comes to naming and stuff I'm a bit of an idiot, I'm useless with lyrics and I don't really ... I just come at it from the point of view of basically like a fan. I'm like, "I like it. It's cool. I don't really know".
In general, the whole album is a mixture of really thought-out stuff and then really not thought-out stuff, which again is something that we've never done before. I think on That's the Spirit, everything was very structured and very considered. I think if you have enough things that really show that you know what you're doing within an album and within a song... show that you are in complete control of what you're doing, then you can afford to sometimes be quite throwaway and kind of jokey and tongue in cheek and not overthink some lines.
Wonderful Life is a good example, like some of the lyrics and stuff are barely coherent. Do you know what I mean? They kind of make sense, but some of the lyrics are like, more like ... sounds like that's bullshit, but they're more like vibes lyrics.
I think you have to prove that you can write really good lyrics to be able to get away with writing lyrics that aren't exactly on the nose, In general, in answer to your question, I think that's probably come across in the song names as well in places.
Mike: I remember very clearly when Rahzel dropped that If Your Mother Only Knew song and I think I've had it in my head since 1999. How did you get him on this? That's so awesome.
Jordan: It was basically off of that video, to be fair. That was basically the the only reason I know him. Well, I knew him from when he did an album a few years later, he did an album with Björk and so I knew him from that, but originally when I was 15 or 16, that video was on Limewire and Kazaa and stuff. It was kind of viral before YouTube. We had this beat ... because that song used to be completely different. It was like a weird, totally different song but the beat was the same. And it sounded like it had beatbox on it anyway, so we just had the idea that it would be cool to get a beatboxer on it. He was the first person that came to mind.
Mike: Of course, naturally.
Jordan: It was obviously quite cool and yeah, he did the album with Björk and I thought that was kind of a cool way to collaborate, but I'm not gonna lie, he was really respected as well and we just approached him and he was like, "Yeah, let's do it", easy-peasy. it's cool and different again, isn't it?
- Mike Hohnen