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Meet The First-Time GRAMMY Nominee: Bring Me The Horizon's Oli Sykes

Bring Me The Horizon

Photo: Courtesy of Bring Me The Horizon

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Meet The First-Time GRAMMY Nominee: Bring Me The Horizon's Oli Sykes

The lead singer and creative force reacts to the band's first nomination, discusses creativity in the face of pain and says why he feels Grimes is "the millennial Björk"

GRAMMYs/Jan 31, 2019 - 03:55 am

Six albums into their career, Bring Me The Horizon flat out refuse to go through the motions. The band's new album amo arrived—or rather departed—Jan. 25 with a rich, variegated sonic color palette, unapologetic pop melodies and unflinching lyric themes of love, truth and betrayal.

While its lead single, "MANTRA," may feel more like home to longtime fans, with its punishing percussion and rubbery riffs, the rest of amo shows frontman Oli Sykes and company pushing up and out from their metalcore roots and into the dark yet lustrous skies above, exploring the cosmos of electro-pop, hip-hop, EDM and beyond.

We caught up with Sykes over the phone to get his reaction to "MANTRA" earning the British band its first GRAMMY nomination for Best Rock Song, hear what elements he feels makes for a great album, his thoughts on collaborating with Grimes, who he calls "the millennial Björk," and more.

Congrats on the GRAMMY nomination! Where were you when you found out?

We were in England. We just finished up our U.K. and Europe tour… We were signing about 2,000 CDs at the time to send out, and I guess we got the news at the same time as the world got the news. We were just like, "What the hell? Is this true?" It was kind of crazy.

You're up for Best Rock Song, a songwriter's award. What do you remember most about writing "MANTRA"?

We'd been writing for about nine months, I would say, and we had a load of cool stuff, we had a lot of stuff that we were really excited about. But it was the more experimental and weirder stuff and the stuff that you'd never heard Horizon do before, which we were excited about but the same time, we were ... One night I just said to myself, "Alright, if the record label or management or whatever said, ‘What song are you going to show the world first,’ what would it be?"

And in my head, I was like, we don't have that song. We don't have that song because all this music we've made so far is bats* crazy and if we put this out first, people are not even going to recognize it's us or we're going to alienate our fans. And as much as we knew we wanted to do a completely different record, we still respect the fact that, to a lot of people, we're quite a new band. I know it sounds crazy, we've been going 15 years, but to a lot of people, they've only just got into us like one album ago, maybe two, maybe three, and so we didn't want to completely just pull the rug from underneath them.

So we had this mini-meltdown moment, and that's how "MANTRA" was born, with like, "Let's write the comeback song. Let's write the song that we would want to put on the album first, that we want the world to hear first."

The production on amo is daring and adventurous. Halsey even called it "a technicolor, emotion, trip" on Twitter. How do you see the sound of your sixth album?

I guess for me this album embodies everything that I like about music and what I'm into and what I'm doing in the best possible way. It's a record that I've always wanted to make. When we started writing this record, we had no idea what it was going to sound like. It wasn't preordained that this is how it would sound, but we just knew ... the goal was really to make an album that challenged you and it took time to like, and it was one of those album that you would almost be surprised that you like it, and it's not just something that when you first hear and go that's amazing, that's cool. It's something that really you have to [sit with].

My favorite albums are ones that when I first heard them, I was either underwhelmed or confused or just didn't know how to process it, and it always ends up being the kind of music that was ahead of its time and then everyone's catching up to do that kind of thing. That's not what I'm saying this record is, but I'm saying I didn't want it to be safe.

We knew what we could do to play it safe and keep our fans happy and all this stuff, but... it felt like it was time to push it that next level and do something where we just did everything we ever wanted to do. We used every kind of inspiration and influence and put it into this music and then didn’t worry if it came out the other end and everyone said this is not rock music, or this is not metal music.

We really don't care. We just want to be a band. We have no elitism, and we have no care for whatever people think. We're soft, we're pop, we're hip-hop, we're rock, we're whatever. We just really wanted to make something that hopefully blew people's minds.

You worked with Grimes on this album on "Nihilist Blues" – how did you connect with her?

We sent the song to her management. We knew we wanted a couple of guest features on this album. Again, we wanted to do some things from different worlds and try and connect bridges a bit more between rock music and everything else because you kind of feel like it used to be such a booming craze, do you know what I mean? Back in time when JAY-Z was collaborating with Linkin Park and all those kind of things, it's kind of gone now. We really felt like that should come back, so we were looking outwards to different places, and for me, Grimes is one of my favorite artists from that world.

All I listen to is kind of female fronted avant-garde-y pop stuff anyway, and I think she's almost like the millennial Björk for me, so she was my number one choice, and I'd seen her in a magazine a couple of years back where she said she liked our band. Wasn't sure if she was just joking or you know just on the spot, so we sent her the song and we didn't hear anything for about a week or so, so we were kind of thinking, "Yeah, well alright, maybe not." And then, out of the blue, she just texted me and she was like, "Yo. I f*ing love this song. This is one of the greatest songs I've ever heard."

She got all the reference points we were coming from… like Nine Inch Nails meets Darude."

She was going to come down to the studio, but she opted to just do it in her studio, which I think worked out good because she put so much work into it, she must've sent us about 30 different tracks with little noises and ad libs and all this stuff that we used throughout the song, as well as the vocals. It was my favorite song anyway, but her coming into it and also putting her, I guess, finesse and signature on it, just took it to that next level.

You've been forthcoming about your battles addiction and loss in the past, how have you seen your relationship with creativity change based on your physical and mental health?

It's one of those catch-22 situations. You go through these painful experiences and through all this stuff, but it really is fuel for the fire and it kind of contributes to what you do.

One of my friends said to me the other day, while I was going through my divorce process with my ex, and kind of found out all this stuff that she'd been doing and all this stuff, and he said to me today, back when we were sat in his flat and he was like, "I'm sorry, man." He said, "I knew it was the best thing that could've happened." He went, "I don't know why, because it wasn't like I knew at that point that she was wrong for you or anything like that but at the same time, I just had this feeling that it was all going to work out." And then he was like, "And look at it." He went, "Listen to this album."

He went, "Not only is it obvious that you've got out of something that you needed to get out of, but you're going to help so many people and they're just the best thing you've ever written in your career," and all this stuff.

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And he's just like, "How crazy is that? That something so terrible can just literally contribute to something so amazing."

And when you think of it like that, it's so true. It's not only therapeutic— and it's not necessary, obviously. Better not to have to go through these situations, but they not only make you grow as a person, but being able to write about them and put them into words where maybe people would never have looked at it in a certain way or can't, maybe, articulate it themselves, get to experience it and I think that's the greatest thing about music with lyrics that are actually real.

Totally. So what are your plans for GRAMMY night, and any spoilers on what you'll do if you win?

Oh god, we're not even thinking about it. I mean, it's such an incredible thing just to be recognized, I think we're just stoked that we can even be like, "We're GRAMMY nominated artists," that's amazing. And we're not getting too excited about the prospect of winning because we're obviously up against some huge and really good acts, so we're just going to expect nothing so we're not disappointed and just drink it in.

Back in England, we've never been to anything like this, so the fact that a different country is recognizing a song and a work we've done. That's just good enough for us.

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Pearl Jam Named Record Store Day 2019 Ambassadors

Pearl Jam

Photo: Kevin Mazur/WireImage.com

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Pearl Jam Named Record Store Day 2019 Ambassadors

Pearl Jam's Mike McCready says "if you love music," record stores are the place to find it

GRAMMYs/Feb 13, 2019 - 04:05 am

Record Store Day 2019 will arrive on April 13 and this year's RSD Ambassadors are Pearl Jam. Past ambassadors include Dave Grohl, Metallica, Run The Jewels (Killer Mike and El-P), and 61st GRAMMY Awards winner for Best Rock Song St. Vincent.

McCready was also the 2018 recipient of MusiCares' Stevie Ray Vaughan Award

The band was formed in 1990 by McCready, Jeff Ament, Stone Gossard, and Eddie Vedder, and they have played with drummer Matt Cameron since 2002. They have had five albums reach No. 1 on the Billboard 200 and four albums reach No. 2.

"Pearl Jam is honored to be Record Store Day's Ambassador for 2019. Independent record stores are hugely important to me," Pearl Jam's Mike McCready said in a statement publicizing the peak-vinyl event. "Support every independent record store that you can. They're really a good part of society. Know if you love music, this is the place to find it."

With a dozen GRAMMY nominations to date, Pearl Jam's sole win so far was at the 38th GRAMMY Awards for "Spin The Black Circle" for Best Hard Rock Performance.

Pearl Jam will be performing on March 3 in Tempe, Ariz. at the Innings festival, on June 15 in Florence, Italy at the Firenze Rocks Festival and at another festival in Barolo, Italy on June 17. On July 6 Pearl Jam will headline London's Wembley Stadium.

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Original Misfits Unleash One Night Only L.A. Reunion Show

Glenn Danzig

Photo: Daniel Boczarski/Getty Images

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Original Misfits Unleash One Night Only L.A. Reunion Show

Dark punk legends to play first show with Glenn Danzig and Jerry Only since last year's Riot Fest reunion

GRAMMYs/Aug 22, 2017 - 05:28 am

There's big news today for punk-rock fans aware that the Misfits made much more than just T-shirts.

The massively influential punk band announced a special show touted as the "only 2017 performance in this world… or any world" and billed as "The Original Misfits" in Los Angeles at the Forum on Dec. 30.

This will be the first Misfits show featuring original singer Glenn Danzig and original bassist Jerry Only with long-time guitarist Doyle Wolfgang von Frankenstein since the band reunited for a pair of Riot Fest appearances in Chicago and Denver in 2016. Last year's Riot Fest gigs, which featured drummer Dave Lombardo, marked the first time in 33 years the original Misfits members played together.

"OK Los Angeles, you've waited almost 35 years for this, here's your chance to see the "Original Misfits" in this Exclusive L.A. only performance." said Glenn Danzig. "No Tour, No BS, just one night of dark metal-punk hardcore brutality that will go down in the history books. See you there."

Tickets for this "one night only" show go on sale Friday, August 25.

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Find Out Who's Nominated For Best Rap Album | 2020 GRAMMY Awards

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Find Out Who's Nominated For Best Rap Album | 2020 GRAMMY Awards

Dreamville, Meek Mill, 21 Savage, Tyler, The Creator, and YBN Cordae all earn nominations in the category

GRAMMYs/Nov 20, 2019 - 06:28 pm

The 2020 GRAMMYs are just around the corner, and now the nominations are in for the coveted honor of Best Rap Album. While we'll have to wait until the 62nd GRAMMY Awards air on CBS on Jan. 26 to find out who will win, let's take a look at which albums have been nominated for Best Rap Album.

Revenge of the Dreamers III – Dreamville                                                                        

 
This star-studded compilation album from 11-time GRAMMY nominee J. Cole and his Dreamville Records imprint features appearances from some of the leading and fastest-rising artists in hip-hop today, including label artists EARTHGANG, J.I.D, and Ari Lennox, plus rappers T.I, DaBaby, and Young Nudy, among many others. Recorded in Atlanta across a 10-day recording session, Revenge of the Dreamers III is an ambitious project that saw more than 300 artists and producers contribute to the album, resulting in 142 recorded tracks. Of those recordings, 18 songs made the final album, which ultimately featured contributions from 34 artists and 27 producers.

Dreamers III, the third installment in the label’s Revenge of the Dreamers compilation series, debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart and achieved gold status this past July. In addition to a Best Rap Album nod, Dreamers III is also nominated for Best Rap Performance next year for album track “Down Bad,” featuring J.I.D, Bas, J. Cole, EARTHGANG, and Young Nudy.

Championships – Meek Mill

In many ways, Championships represents a literal and metaphorical homecoming for Meek Mill. Released in November 2018, Championships is the Philadelphia rapper’s first artist album following a two-year prison sentence he served after violating his parole in 2017. Championships, naturally, sees Meek tackling social justice issues stemming from his prison experience, including criminal justice reform. The album debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200, his second chart-topper following 2015’s Dreams Worth More Than Money, and reached platinum status in June 2019. Meek Mill's 2020 Best Rap Album nod marks his first-ever GRAMMY nomination.

i am > i was – 21 Savage

Breakout rapper and four-time GRAMMY nominee 21 Savage dropped i am > i was, his second solo artist album, at the end of 2018. The guest-heavy album, which features contributions from Post Malone, Childish Gambino, J. Cole, and many others, has since charted around the world, topped the Billboard 200 – a first for the artist – in the beginning of 2019, and achieved gold status in the U.S. As well, nine songs out of the album’s 15 original tracks landed on the Hot 100 chart, including multi-platinum lead single “A Lot,” which is also nominated for Best Rap Song next year. 21 Savage’s 2020 Best Rap Album nomination, which follows Record of the Year and Best Rap/Sung Performance nods for his 2017 Post Malone collaboration, "Rockstar,” marks his first solo recognition in the top rap category.

IGOR – Tyler, The Creator

The eccentric Tyler, The Creator kicked off a massive 2019 with his mid-year album, IGOR. Released this past May, IGOR, Tyler’s fifth solo artist album, is his most commercially successful project to date. The album debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200, marking his first time topping the coveted chart, while its lead single, "Earfquake,” peaked at No. 13, his highest entry on the Hot 100. Produced in full by Tyler and featuring guest spots from fellow rap and R&B stars Kanye West, Lil Uzi Vert, Solange, and Playboi Carti, among many others, IGOR follows the rapper’s 2017 album, Flower Boy, which received the Best Rap Album nod that same year.

The Lost Boy – YBN Cordae

Emerging rapper YBN Cordae, a member of the breakout YBN rap collective, released his debut album, The Lost Boy, to widespread critical acclaim this past July. The 15-track release is stacked with major collaborations with hip-hop heavyweights, including Anderson .Paak, Pusha T, Meek Mill, and others, plus production work from J. Cole and vocals from Quincy Jones. After peaking at No. 13 on the Billboard 200, The Lost Boy now notches two 2020 GRAMMY nominations: Best Rap Album and Best Rap Song for album track “Bad Idea,” featuring Chance the Rapper.

Rosalía Announces First Solo North American Tour

Rosalía 

Photo: Carlos Alvarez/Getty Images

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Rosalía Announces First Solo North American Tour

El Mal Querer Tour, named after the Spanish pop star's latest album, will come to Los Angeles on April 17 in between her Coachella performances

GRAMMYs/Mar 20, 2019 - 12:25 am

Rosalía is set to perform at some of the most popular music festivals around the globe, including Primavera Sound in Spain, Lollapalooza (Argentina and Chile) and Coachella, but the Spanish pop star isn't stopping there when she gets to the States. Now, she has announced her first solo North American Tour with a string of dates that will bring her to select cities in the U.S. and Canada.

El Mal Querer Tour, named after her latest album, will come to Los Angeles on April 17 in between her Coachella performances. Then she'll play San Francisco on April 22, New York on April 30 and close out in Toronto on May 2.

 

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"I’m so happy to announce my first solo North American tour dates," the singer tweeted.

Rosalía won Best Alternative Song and Best Fusion/ Urban Interpretation at the 19th Latin GRAMMY Awards in November and has been praised for bringing flamenco to the limelight with her hip-hop and pop beats. During her acceptance speech she gave a special shout-out to female artists who came before her, including Lauryn Hill and Bjork. 

Rosalía has been getting some love herself lately, most notably from Alicia Keys, who gave the Spanish star a shout-out during an acceptance speech, and Madonna, who featured her on her Spotify International Women's Day Playlist. 

Tickets for the tour go on sale March 22. For more tour dates, visit Rosalía's website.

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