“This feels like the next logical step for us”: Bring Me The Horizon talk headlining Reading & Leeds 2022

As Bring Me The Horizon announce their headline slot for next year’s Reading & Leeds, we catch up with Jordan Fish to talk being ready for rock’s big time, playing alongside legends Rage Against The Machine as well as Yorkshire royalty Arctic Monkeys, and the “screamo” sound of their next Post Human EP…

“This feels like the next logical step for us”: Bring Me The Horizon talk headlining Reading & Leeds 2022
Sam Law

Jordan Fish didn’t sleep well last night. Part of that is down to his having just travelled the 8,500-odd miles back from five weeks in California, a tired body still adjusting to a grey English dusk when 48 hours earlier it was looking into a crisp Los Angeles dawn. There are surely a few butterflies fluttering about his insides, too, though. After 16 years of working through the ranks, Bring Me The Horizon are about to live out their teenage dreams, having just been announced as headliners for Reading & Leeds 2022.

“We’ve known for a little while,” he grins of the news. “We’ve actually been in conversations with Reading & Leeds for a couple of years. It’s something I’ve wanted so badly that it’s become this sort of ‘nearly…’ thing where it’s like, ‘Is it ever going to happen?!’ But just this past year we released a record and it started to feel like it was less a matter of if than when. I’m only really starting to believe that it’s real now that I’m doing interviews about it...”

So, how exactly does it feel to be Reading & Leeds headliners at long last?
“It’s surreal, amazing, unbelievable, really. There are no words. For me, personally, this has been a lifelong dream. I live 20 minutes from the site for Reading. I first went when I was 14 back in 2000. Rage Against The Machine were actually one of the bands playing that day, touring The Battle Of Los Angeles. This year, we did the song Let’s Get The Party Started with [RATM guitarist] Tom Morello, and next year we’ll be headlining Reading & Leeds alongside them!”

The last time Rage headlined Reading also happened to coincide with BMTH’s first-ever main stage set at the festival. Do you think this band have grown to be able to hold their own with legendary acts of that stature?
“Yes and no. A lot of these bands heavily influenced us. Rage were obviously a huge influence, so it’s not about going toe-to-toe with them, or competing with them. It’s about having the confidence to do your own thing. Arctic Monkeys have been a really big influence on us at various stages in our careers, too, to be honest. I’m not going to come out and say we’re as good a band as Rage or Arctic Monkeys but, at the same time, I know personally what we can do. If not us, then who?”

Is there any split opinion within the BMTH camp when it comes to Reading & Leeds, with you being a Reading local and the others being Yorkshire lads?
“Basically, Leeds is the same thing for them as Reading is with me. When it comes to guestlist, I can give them all of mine for their friends and family up there, whereas down south I get a few more thrown my way. Other than that, it’s just an incredible line-up at both sites. There isn’t any competition, really, even though everyone knows that Reading is better (laughs).”

There’ll be plenty of ‘YORKSHIRE!’ chants up north as you co-headline with fellow Sheffield giants Arctic Monkeys…
“We’re all massive Arctic Monkeys fans. They’re probably collectively our favourite band, and if we had to pick a band to co-headline alongside, it would be them. That night at Leeds is going to be like a massive home town show!”

Things have really been stepping-up, lately. With this year’s incredible arena tour still fresh in the memory, does it feel like you’re more ready for this than ever before?
“Coming back with the arena tour after that amount of time, it did feel different. We’ve done arena tours before, and they’ve been great, but that just felt more comfortable. Our confidence was high. Our setlist has improved. We’re better performers than we were even two or three years ago. It comes down to having more experience. The first time you play those big arenas, it is difficult and daunting, and you can’t really put that to one side. But now, we know that we’re good enough to fill those spots. The same thing goes for Reading & Leeds: I know that we can deliver a great performance and that we deserve to be in that position. We’re going to do everything that we can to put on the best show of our careers to date.”

You’re just back from five weeks writing in California. While you were out there, you found time to headline the famous Whisky A Go Go and support Slipknot at Knotfest within the space of three days. Was there a different flavour to those shows than the UK arena dates?
“A little bit. We were supporting Slipknot at Knotfest so we couldn’t have all the bells and whistles, but we figured out a way to do the best show we could with what we had. The Whisky was more a case of just, ‘Go on and play!’ No production. A completely different vibe. We did a couple of smaller shows after the UK tour, too. It’s quite nice to do both ends of the spectrum, actually, from a huge stadium to a few hundred people in a traditional rock venue. It’s good to keep us on our toes. Not having the huge production reminds you that people are there for the music and that raw performance first and foremost! The most important thing is the connection between you and the fans.”

Between those smaller shows and the old-school set planned for next May’s Malta festival, is there an element of BMTH reconnecting with their beginnings?
“Maybe, but I think it’s more that we’ve reached a point in our career where we’re comfortable with who we are. We’ve been through quite a few years of trying to be as [distanced from the ‘classic’ metalcore image] as possible. Our artwork doesn’t look like other scene bands’. We would always try to pick more unusual supports. We’ve been trying to push away from the scene as much as possible and forge our own path. At the same time, it’s good to be able to look back over the whole history of the band as a part of who we are now. On the last record, we dabbled on some stuff we wouldn’t have before that because it would’ve felt too backwards-looking. Now, we’re comfortable going wherever we want to go, whether that means doing something that sounds like it could’ve been on a record 15 years ago, something that sounds like it could’ve been on a record a year ago, or something that sounds completely new.”

Was the time spent writing together in Los Angeles productive?
“This year has been really difficult. Oli [Sykes, vocals] has been living in Brazil and we’ve been in different timezones. We just wanted to get together and push it along. We collaborated with some different people. We pushed ourselves. We’ve not really debriefed yet, but we’ve got some really cool stuff. The bones of the second Post Human record are there.”

How does it sound?
“Where the first record was more influenced by metal and nu-metal sounds, this is more influenced by emo and screamo. These records are about the music that we grew up listening to in the order that we discovered it. We all started listening to Linkin Park, Deftones and Slipknot. Then we moved into that more emo/post-hardcore sound of bands like Glassjaw. It’s still a rock record at its core: there’s still heavier stuff and big songs on there. DiE4U is a good glimpse of the direction it's going in.”

Is it a safe bet that we’ll have that record by the time we get to next summer?
“I would hope so! I’d hoped to have all four Post Human records out in the space of a year, but that’s proven to be absolute fantasy. We 100 per cent need to have this out by the time we get to Reading & Leeds, though. They’ll make us (laughs)!”

With the Malta weekender also having just sold out, to what extent does this cap a triumphant 2021 and set up a mouth-watering 2022?
“It really does. We ground so hard on the Survival Horror record during lockdown, and – although we’ve not played as many shows as we’d have like to – this feels like something of a reward. It’s a culmination. The band has been going for 16 years and this feels like the next logical step for us, even though it’s a big one!”

Any other plans you can reveal?
“Anything that has been announced you already know of, and anything that hasn’t been announced I can’t talk about yet. We’ve already got all of 2022 planned out but nobody really knows what’s going on with COVID and this ominous new Omicron variant. Safe to say we’ll have some new music out and we’re hoping to be touring right through next year.”

And finally, are you the type for New Year’s Resolutions?
“It’s all about Reading: make sure we smash it!”

Bring Me The Horizon will headline Reading Festival on August 27 and Leeds Festival on August 28.

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