Bring Me The Horizon are rewriting the rules. The Sheffield five-piece have broken free from the trappings of metalcore and emerged one of the most interesting, experimental acts in the pop music canon.
In the past year the band released their most far-reaching, ambitious album to date, amo, a record that was followed up by the frenetic and equally impressive EP Music to Listen to~Dance to~Blaze to~Pray to~Feed to~Sleep to~Talk to~Grind to~Trip to~Breathe to~Help to~Hurt to~Scroll to~Roll to~Love to~Hate to~Learn Too~Plot to~Play to~Be to~Feel to~Breed to~Sweat to~Dream to~Hide to~Live to~Die to~Go To (often abbreviated to Music to Listen To… or ~Go To~)
Now, the band are back with ‘Parasite Eve’, the first cut from a series of EP’s set to drop over the coming months. ‘Parasite Eve’ has all the bones of a quintessential Bring Me The Horizon track. Those with a hankering for the heavy will not be left blue in the balls. Though it’s a testament to the band nonstop progression.
We chewed the fat with Jordan Fish about ‘Parasite Eve’, pandemic anxiety and what the future has in store for Bring Me The Horizon.
Check out ‘Parasite Eve’ by Bring Me The Horizon:
You started working on ‘Parasite Eve’ before the pandemic, the parallels between the songs themes and the crisis. What was the genesis of the song, and how did it change shape in relation to the context of the world?
We had the idea of it being a zombie-type, post-apocalyptic made-up scenario. Around the time we were writing the song was around the time the coronavirus started getting serious. So we felt like it was a similar issue, obviously we’re not in a zombie apocalypse quite yet. There was this stressful feeling of not knowing whether you’d catch it, there was a lack of trust for a while, everyone was like “what the fuck is going on?”. I guess that seeped into the song a bit.
Then there are bits where we were just taking the piss, like we put a sneeze in there because we thought that would be funny. That wasn’t in there before.
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‘Parasite Eve’ is built on this sample of a Bulgarian female vocal performance, how did that come about?
We were just looking at stuff on YouTube and Oli was like, “someone sent me this Bulgarian choir shit we should sample it.” It just worked really well.
To be fair it had no real relevance to the song. I don’t even know what they’re saying. It’s probably some gibberish, I should check what they’re saying.
It could be racist propaganda.
I know, that’s what I’m worried about. I’m going to assume that someone might have told us. Hopefully, it’s all good. We might have lucked out, it could be something that works with the lyrics I don’t know. I’ve got no idea what they’re saying. It just had an end of world vibe that fit the song.
One of the standout lyrics of ‘Parasite Eve’ is “When we forget the infection, will we remember the lesson?”, What is the lesson?
You tell me, I don’t know. Well, it depends. I’m not a big fan of animal markets anyway, so that would be one. Generally caging animals in close proximity is probably not good. There’s that one. There’s a lot of lessons.
There’s the literal ones you can take from what caused this whole thing. Which I don’t really like. I don’t really like the idea of not hugging people, it’s inhuman. They’re not lessons that are good. I guess we gotta learn to wash our hands more, that’d be good.
The other thing is, taking a pause. In the first week after the pandemic stopping everything I had one of those moments like, you know when you’re so driven by what you’re doing and it stops and you’re like “what the fuck is the point of my life?”
I think everyone had a collective identity crisis.
Yeah definitely, you could almost feel the whole world having it around the same time. It was probably a week ago where I realised I’m always in the race for the next thing — like I wanna move house, or I wanna do this, or I was super driven by the career with the band, or whatever. When that all stopped it was like, “okay, what is my purpose actually?”
Since amo, Bring Me The Horizon have embodied a no rules approach to music ie the mixtape EP. Musically you’re challenging fans by drawing from an eclectic sonic palette, but also the way you’ve released music has been unconventional for a band of your stature. How has the way you’ve approached making and releasing music changed at this point in your career?
We wanted to get to the point where we can do whatever we want without it feeling that shocking. It’s kind of like you’ve already pushed all those boundaries. Part of the reason of us doing the EP at Christmas is because we knew we wanted to go into a bunch of EP’s this year instead of full album releases. To just drop one really quickly and get it out of the way was an option.
Ripping off the bandaid.
Yeah, you’ve broken the taboo of everything needing to be an album or a single, and it’s like “here we go we’ve just dropped an EP”.
We also had a bunch of ideas in music that we just wanted to put out, but there was no real suitable thing for it. We thought it would be funny. We kind of made the EP in like three or four days. We thought it’d be cool.
I think it’s going to be something that we do every year, actually. If I’ve still got enough energy at the end of the year after working on our “actual music” or whatever you want to call it, then I think we’re going to do another one at Christmas again.
I’d like to do one every year. It just allows us to push that side of our band a bit more. It also enables us to bounce back into enjoying the more heavy side of our band, which, I think, benefits everyone.
I really respect that, I think when you’re a fan of music what you’re really missing are those in-between moments. That’s kind of what the mixtape felt like.
It’s almost like the opposite of what we should have done after amo, which is quite experimental. It’s like “okay, we should probably do something that’s more straight down the middle, rock music or we could do the opposite, so let’s just do the opposite”. That was pretty much the thought process, “what’s the worst thing we could possibly do?”
Normally the cooler stuff is the stuff that’s more divisive I find. I still look back at that EP and think that it’s one of the coolest things we’ve done. If you just do something that everyone likes it’s good but it’s not that cool.
Yeah there are no rules. You contributed ‘Ludens’ to Death Stranding, and Parasite Eve is taken from a PS1 game. Do you see Bring Me The Horizon ever venturing into scoring video games or films?
Maybe. The only thing is, I thought we’d be really good at it, then we had this guy called Mick Gordon do a bit of extra production on ‘Parasite Eve’ — he’s the guy that did the Doom soundtrack— and having heard the shit that he’s done on our song made me realise there are people who are fucking way better.
The shit he gave us is some of the craziest shit I’ve ever heard. Literally it’s mental.
I’d like to do something like that at some point. It’s difficult, there’s loads of stuff I’d like to do. I’d like to produce another bands album at some point, I’ve always wanted to do that but we’re so busy and the band’s just so all-consuming that it never really feels like I could take three months of my effort and put it into something else.
Maybe that’s something I’d be interested in a bit later on. At the moment we don’t feel like an “old band” in a way that some bands do.
You guys haven’t really aged, I don’t know how you’ve managed to do it, but you’re still cool.
It’s because the music has changed quite a lot, and we’ve moved around quite a lot. I guess we’re old if you think of us as a band in “the scene” or whatever but we’re still new as a pop act. Even though we’re not a pop act, but in terms of that world we’ve not really been around that long. We still change it up quite a lot. I don’t really feel like we can sit back as a band, I don’t want to stop pushing things.
In your #athome #withme video series, Bring Me The Horizon delve into the concept of ‘escapism’, why do you think we’re all so hungry for escapism?
I think at the moment escapism is good in the literal sense because people are actually stuck indoors for the most part. It’s probably about as needed as it’s ever been. Some level of escapism is necessary, psychologically you aren’t really meant to be in a house all of the time, for months on end.
I guess in terms of being able to detach yourself from that feeling and immerse yourself in a book or some music or a film is probably about as needed as it’s ever been. It’s quite weird actually.
Those videos that we’ve been putting up of us literally fucking around on Facetime, people love them, which I find quite weird. They’re relatively low quality, there’s not much to them.
I get the feeling that they’re quite important to the fanbase and they get quite excited for the next one. Even just doing that series is some form of escapism. You can see other people dealing with the same thing. People watching people who they think, “oh they’re in a band” or whatever dealing with the same shit like, “we’re bored and stuck at home too.” I think that’s some form of escapism.
In terms of the music, I just think it’s important for people to be able to close their eyes and switch off from what’s going on. Especially with the way the news is now. It’s quite full-on. It definitely can get to you. I’ve found that there’s been a few times during this whole thing that I’ve been super upset.
It’s usually when I’m walking around the supermarket for some reason. I find the whole thing can be quite harrowing but I don’t know why. It’s just sad isn’t it, when you’re in a place and you see a bunch of people avoiding each other. It’s just not human. It doesn’t feel like it’s the way it’s meant to be deep inside you. This whole thing is going to have a slight emotional toll on people in general. In that sense, I think that being able to listen to some music or get out of your head is super important for peoples mental wellbeing.