“A lot of people are refusing to accept what’s happening in the world, because they’ll have to take action and make some physical changes to their lives.”
Bring Me The Horizon have shared their dramatic new video for ‘In The Dark’, featuring The Last King Of Scotland and Black Panther star Forest Whitaker. See it exclusively on NME below, along with our no-holds-barred interview with frontman Oli Sykes.
The latest single taken from the band’s acclaimed 2019 Number One album ‘amo‘, ‘In The Dark’ takes BMTH’s dystopian cyber-punk imagery to even more cinematic places, with powerful visuals starring the Oscar-winning Whitaker.
“We met Forest a couple of years back,” frontman Oli Sykes tells NME. “His daughter is a fan of the band and he came to a show with her. Any time that we’re in the same town, he usually comes down to a show. He was at All Points East and he’s just a really good dude.
“This is something that we’ve been trying to do for ages. He was actually going to be the main guy in ‘Mantra’, but it just didn’t work out in the end because of timing and scheduling, so it ended up being me.”
As for the concept of the video, Sykes revealed: “I guess it’s meant to be a representation of the grieving process. It’s a visual metaphor for what the song is talking about. When it comes to the grieving process, we all try to ignore that feeling – but it’s important to grieve. Even if something’s happened for the best, you need to take that moment to feel something. Some people lose a whole world to grief sometimes, while others just don’t grieve. Sometimes we’re just too scared to face our emotions.”
However, this time – it isn’t personal. We had a catch up with Sykes to find out what the ‘In The Dark’ video is really about and how we can all fight back against the general sense of doom that permeates 2019.
Would you say that the song has taken on a new meaning since you wrote it?
“I don’t want to focus too much on what the song is about, because it feels so insignificant now. It’s not something that I’ve really been thinking about. Basically, Forest is the protagonist and a lot of people are counting on him to be able to recall these memories and process them. The spectrum of his emotions is impacting on all of these different experiments. I wanted it to have a message for what’s going on in the world right now.
“A lot of people are refusing to accept what’s happening, because they’ll have to take action and make some physical changes to their lives.”
“It’s a mirror to how we don’t want to face up to things. A lot of people are refusing to accept what’s happening, because they know that in accepting it, they’ll have to take action and make some physical changes to their lives. It’s about something bigger than my emotions and my breakup, this is about what’s happening on the planet right now.”
Do you feel that change is really possible for wider society?
“We’ve done so much over the last five years in terms of equality, but the amount of discrimination and dogmatism that’s still going on has involved a lot of looking at our past. Now we’ve got to start looking at the future and how we can change it. It’s just the way you think and what you say. It takes action. My biggest fear is that no one will get on board with that. To accept that there’s a problem, you have to do something about it. At the same time, the younger generation are showing that they do care. It’s incredible to see the amount of young people demanding something better. My generation and older generations seem to find that annoying.”
“It’s incredible to see the amount of young people demanding something better”
Are you encouraged by the amount of young people taking part in Extinction Rebellion?
“Yeah, I find it incredible because for so long they were underrated and underestimated. People just saw them as kids on their phones. Now they’re proving who they really are. It’s made me really look inside myself. I’ve been a vegan and a vegetarian for 15 years and I’ve always just quietly kept and values and my beliefs to myself. I didn’t want to preach or be outspoken about all these things. I felt like it was pointless because no one really cared and people only thought about how things would impact their lives directly.”
Whereas you feel now is the time to be vocal about these things?
“To be honest, it’s blown my mind to see this. It’s so exciting because I’ve been waiting for this. Equality for people is great and we should never stop fighting for that, but I’ve always thought, ‘What about the actual planet? Where’s the justice there?’ Now that we’re actually talking about it, my mind is just racing every day. How can I help? What can I do? How can we all make a difference? I’ve been to quiet about it, and it’s become a responsibility.”
Do you feel more responsible as a touring musician?
“Especially because I’m in a band. We tour the world and my carbon footprint is massive. I feel like it’s my responsibility to do something – not just to offset it but to help make a difference.
“Equality for people is great and we should never stop fighting for that, but I’ve always thought, ‘What about the actual planet? Where’s the justice there?’”
Did you see that letter that Thom Yorke and loads of musicians signed last week, admitting to being “hypocrites” but calling for an end to that being used as an argument in the fight against climate change?
“Yes, exactly. People have got to stop trying to poke holes in that argument. No one is saying that the world needs to turn into a miserable place. No one is saying you should give up your art and the things that you love. Bands aren’t going to stop touring. Art is the last thing that’s left to live for and that doesn’t have to stop.”
So you’d call on more artists to use their platform for good?
“We can get rid of all the plastic bags and plastic straws in the world – and we need to – but nothing is going to get better until we can make the people at the top see that there are changes to be made. The changes that can be done but aren’t being done are purely down to greed, ignorance and an absolute lack of care. Artists can be the most powerful people in the world because they can use their voice for good. Politicians should be the most powerful people in the world but they aren’t going to do anything. That’s scary, because our lives depend on these politicians, these summits that they have and whoever the next US President is going to be. If there aren’t people fighting the good fight then we’re fucked anyway. Stop trying to poke holes in hypocrisy and make some changes yourself.”
“Artists can be the most powerful people in the world because they can use their voice for good. Politicians should be the most powerful people in the world but they aren’t going to do anything”
So it’s about education, rather than preaching to people?
“I’m not telling people to stop eating meat, but just look at where it comes from. No one is asking you to move mountains at first, it starts with simple shit and having a little bit of respect at first. I’m looking at the world and I’m like, ‘Do I want to bring kids into this world?’ I overhear parents who have just brought kids into this world – ridiculing people for caring. They’re not connecting the dots, that in 20 years time their kids will be living in this hellhole if we don’t do something about it. How are you going to look your kid in the eye and say, ‘Oh I thought it was all a bit stupid back then. I regret not doing something’. I find it all so incredibly ugly. It’s unreal.”
It’s ironic that complacency can be such a destructive thing…
“Our obsession with comfort and ease is the problem. Think of how much we could change from just stopping that. Stop making plastic bags. Stop allowing coffee shops from having paper cups. It’s so simple. Once this gets into your head it becomes like a phobia you can’t ignore.”
“I was talking about Brexit and stuff and I just said, ‘Why do you care? You’re going to be dead before anything changes’”
Do you think that real change will become more likely when a new generation takes over?
“Yeah, it sounds kind of harsh but I was saying that to my dad the other day. We were sat around talking about Brexit and stuff with such passion, and I just said, ‘Why do you care? You’re going to be dead before anything changes’. When has any change within the government ever led to the betterment of the people? It never has. So I was like ‘A – why do you care?’ and ‘B – why do you think it’s going to do anything for you in any significant way?’”
So you’re not a fan of politicians?
“It’s all smoke and mirrors. It’s all just crap. It’s not important. I just find it mad that these people could just turn around and start doing something for the world and they’d be fucking heroes. Instead they just talk about crap. We’re all just suckers for it as well because it just goes round in circles. It doesn’t mean anything, while all of these terrible things are happening behind the scenes – but no one is talking about it. We have to be the change.”
Bring Me The Horizon release new single ‘Ludens’ from the soundtrack to new game, Timefall – the latest from Kojima Productions’ Death Stranding on November 6.
Check back at NME soon for more our interview with Oli Sykes.