INTERVIEW: Matt Kean (Bring Me The Horizon)

By Liam Menzies (@blinkclyro)

Bring Me the Horizon may very well be one of, if not the biggest rock band the UK has to offer at the moment. The very definition of a big deal, the Sheffield band has become top tier festival performers. 2015 was undeniably the biggest year for Sheffield band Bring Me The Horizon, in no small part to their latest album That’s The Spirit which reached number two in the UK album charts after they ditched their old metalcore sound for a less aggressive rock approach. After a dramatic change to the band’s dynamic on 2013 album Sempiternal, this alteration to appeal to a wider group of music fans was inevitable and has ultimately paid off with arguably the best album of their career.

Not wanting to be an act that derails the hype train they’re currently running, Bring Me the Horizon announced a huge UK arena tour for 2016, including a show at none other than Glasgow’s very own SSE Hydro! The six-date stint that kicks off at Nottingham Capital FM Arena will reach the Scottish venue on the 9th of November as the band’s final performance for the tour. I caught up with their bassist Matt Kean to find out how they plan on dazzling the Glasgow crowd come next month and how they plan on tackling the transition from sweaty, small venue shows to a big arena performance.

 You’ve got an upcoming date at the Hydro playing a sold out show in front of thousands of fans: have you, from your experience, found playing in Scotland much different than playing back down south?

It’s always been quite good for us up in Glasgow. We first played up there back around 11 years ago, a really long time ago, and we’ve gone up through all the venues, starting off at King Tuts and gigging at pretty much every other place there. The Scottish crowd is always crazy as well!

Now, you were up here last year, starring at the O2 Academy alongside Mallory Knox. You’ve upgraded to a bigger venue now (Hydro can hold 13,000 people which is more than 5 times the amount than O2 Academy can hold): how do you plan on dealing with that transition come November?

The shows are a little bit different obviously. I think that with the smaller shows, especially when they’re really busy and packed out, it’s much easier to make them intense but in the arenas you have to make sure that you’re connecting with everyone there, even the folk who are sitting down. Oli is really good at getting the crowd involved and getting them moving about, hyping them up: it’s definitely a lot more work but worth it nonetheless.

Your fan base is pretty diverse due to the different sounds the band has explored over your 12 year spanning career. There’ll be those in the crowd who have been there since the metal core days of old and your more rock focused efforts like with the recent LP: do you find this difficult and if so, how’d you plan on balancing the set-list accordingly?

On this tour we’re doing the longest set list we’ve ever done because we obviously want to give people their money’s worth and of course, you try to please everyone the best you can. We’re a little bit selfish when it comes to the setlists though so we’ll no doubt put in what we enjoy playing the most as you do. You’d think it would be a bit harsh to do that but if those are the songs you want to play then, of course, you’re gonna do that rather than trawl through a song you don’t really enjoy playing as much.

You’ve got Don Bronco supporting you on this tour: do you get on quite well and are you looking forward to travelling around the UK with one another?

Yeah yeah! They’re on the same management as us and before we even toured with them, we had met at other gigs and award shows and all sorts of stuff like that. When it came to picking support acts for the tour, we were kind of thinking of bands and that who are easy to tour with and who we get on well with: you don’t want anyone with you that’s gonna be a dickhead!

Lastly, 2016’s been a pretty great year for music with David Bowie, Frank Ocean, Bon Iver, Biffy Clyro and more all dropping albums: what records have been on repeat for you?

Ah *sigh* now that you mention it I’ve not really been listening to that much new stuff *laughs*. There’ve been two bands recently that I’ve been listening to a lot of, the first being Fjord. There a Canadian duo who I’ve had on quite a bit but they’ve only got an EP out at the moment: really chilled out, electronic music. The Japanese House have been on quite a bit as well, they’re on tour around the same time as us so unfortunately I’m gonna miss out on seeing them. Was really looking forward to seeing them.

You can catch Bring Me The Horizon at the Hydro come November 9th. The show is sold out so be on the lookout for second-hand tickets going around Facebook +Twitter: don’t feed the touts! It’ll be a gig you don’t want to miss.