Lee Malia of Bring Me the Horizon has been an Epiphany Signature artist for nearly six years and in that short time both Lee and his band have gone from being hailed as one of the rising British pop and metal bands to the standard bearer of a new wave of artists set to take center stage in the coming decade and beyond.
Late last summer, Bring Me the Horizon announced their album Amo, out in January 2019 and co-produced with lead singer Oli Sykes, who described the record’s swirling sonic palette as“stream of consciousness type stuff about getting old and out of touch, being off tour and loving the mundane things in life.” Epiphone.com caught up with the Mr. Malia just as the band was preparing for a headline tour of the U.S. which will kick off at the legendary Nashville Municipal Auditorium which has hosted career breaking concerts by Bruce Springsteen, Prince, and James Brown.
For more on our long history with Mr. Malia, check out our 2017 feature interview and see your Authorized Epiphany Dealer and discover the Ltd. Ed. Lee Malia RD Custom Artisan with Gibson USA Pickups with coil-splitting, the Ltd. Ed. Lee Malia Les Paul Custom, and the Ltd. Ed. Lee Malia Explorer Custom Artisan Outfit.
When did you start work on Amo?
We started writing it sometime last year. It took us quite a long time to write it this time but I think it will pay off when it’s released. We’ve been writing and recording now for about a year. We ended up recording in Los Angeles at Sphere Studioswhich was pretty cool. We recorded the guitar, bass, and drums in that studio which was especially cool because of the amount of gear they had there. It was a great experience. We can’t wait for it to come out.
Did it help to record it away from home?
Yeah, definitely. We wrote the majority of the cd in Sheffield —we have a writing room there. But when we went over to LA, it actually felt like were getting the record done. I don’t know about you—but we wind up with a bit of deja vu when we’re in the same place for too long. It’s like Groundhog Day! So we were out there for about two months and it felt good to be in nice weather. LA is pretty cool. We were staying Studio City and it’s pretty laid back. It was nice to be there.
How did you challenge yourself this time in terms of guitar sounds?
There’s a lot of different guitar sounds going on and stuff like. There are sections where I use an Electro Harmonix synth pedal. When you run that through delay and reverb, it sounds quite ambient. There are parts like that where it’s a guitar but it pretty much sounds like a synth. I did a lot of experimenting with a lot of different tones and amps on Amo. Like, I’ve used some amps I’ve never even played before and it was cool because Sphere had that much stuff we could try anything. They were awesome. All those amps…I wish I had them all.
Were you using your signature Epiphones on amo?
Yeah! The main thing is pretty much my Epiphone. I’m so used to it. When I want a specific tone, I know exactly where on the guitar to go—which pickup I need, where the tone should be, if I should use the coil tap, because I know the guitar so well. I know how to find the specific sound. It’s like the main instrument for the whole cd, guitar wise.
I mainly used the Les Paul. As I’ve said, I’ve been playing that now since it came out and before that, I went out with the prototype. I use the Les Paul quite a lot but for certain songs I did use the Explorer as it’s a bit tighter sounding for certain things. We definitely experimented with the different guitar shapes because they do all have a slightly different sound. I don’t know why that is. I suppose it’s different weights and woods and pieces (laughs).
In previous interviews we’ve talked about the pressure of both giving your audience familiar sounds and at the same time, trying to take them—and the band—in a new direction. You’ve got a bigger audience now thanks to a lot of touring. But do you still have those internal discussions?
I think it’s definitely always on your mind. You don’t want to let your fans down because they built you up to what you are by coming to the shows. But we always have to do what we want otherwise we wouldn’t enjoy it. It’s like people say--f you’re not writing music that you like, that you feel, people will know it. I think we’re just making music we think people will want to hear because we like it, too. We always try to do what we’re feeling. We could have just done That’s the Spirit Part 2—do you know what I mean?—with that sound. We definitely pushed it to different genres and sounds on this cd.
And you’re still producing as a group?
Yeah—the band is. This time, we took a guy called Romesh Dodangodaover with us. He’s from Wales and he’s produced a bunch of UK bands and some Motorhead stuff in the past. It was good because he’s heavy into guitars and amps and stuff—pedals, too. He’s a gear nerd and I am as well. So we spent a lot of time just trying things out. We had 100s of pedal and amp combinations. It was cool to have someone else like him. We took a long time getting the exact sounds we were after. He knows a lot about amps as well.
Do you plan to tour for most of 2019?
We’ll be out quite a while and we’ll coming to back America a couple of times and doing certain areas. We’ll definitely be back on the road again and playing all over.
What have you been listening to when you’re not writing?
To be fair, I’ve gone back to listening to a lot of Pink Floyd and stuff again but you don’t always hear that in our songs. A band like Pink Floyd did so many different styles within their sound. I always find it quite cool how David Gilmour could make his style of guitar fit into any style of song they did. But we’ve been so busy---I haven’t discovered any new bands for a while. (laughs).