The story behind Bring Me The Horizon's new song Mantra

Last week, Bring Me The Horizon returned with brand new single Mantra – their first new material since 2015’s That’s The Spirit LP. Preceded by a viral marketing campaign in various locations around the world, we soon learned that the cryptic words ‘Do you want to start a cult with me?’ were the opening line to Mantra. A single that on the surface is about love, but comes from a more spiritual place.

Mantra started off when I was watching this documentary called Wild Wild Country,” vocalist Oli Sykes tells us backstage at Reading festival, following the band’s surprise appearance. “I was watching all these people devoted to this one guy, doing this crazy shit for him. As I was watching it and trying to write lyrics at the same time, I was drawing these similarities to cults and love.”

Wild Wild Country is a Netflix documentary about Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh and his Rajneeshpuram followers, who worshipped the cult leader unconditionally. Rajneesh and his followers would go on to attract controversy in the United States, primarily through a bioterror attack in 1984.

“Starting a relationship – especially a marriage – is like starting a cult,” asserts Oli, “a small two-man cult, because you have to give yourself over completely to this person, you have to trust them, you have to love them unconditionally even if you start thinking ‘This is a bit suspect’ or ‘This is a bit dodgy’. That’s what a relationship is, it’s exactly the same as a cult so that’s where the thinking behind the song came from.”

Of course, the song itself it’s just a four minute exploration into the lives of the Rajneeshpuram, Mantra dives deeper into what it means to love someone and the affect it can having on the human experience. 

“It blossomed into a little bit more,” Oli continues. “The lyrics of ‘Do you wanna start a cult with me’ and ‘We’re gonna need some real estate’ are like we’re gonna need to buy a house, but if I pick my words carefully I can convince you that I’m the person that you need to devote your life to. The chorus flips on that with ‘Before the truth will set you free, it'll piss you off’ and that’s basically saying that people would much rather live a lie than come to terms with something difficult because it doesn’t agree with what they believe in. You’re not going to like it, but the sooner you accept it your life’s going to be a lot better.

“The whole album deals with different things like that, whether it’s the way I’m looking at it, heartbreak, finding new love – it’s exploring all these little different things. It’s quite an easy way to make a concept album because everything comes down to love at the end of the day.”

Between That’s The Spirit and now, Oli went through a divorce himself, and this has undoubtedly fed into new album Amo (Spanish for love) which he has previously described as “a love album that explores every aspect of that most powerful emotion.”

He also said, upon the album being announced, that Amo is “an album that’s more experimental, more varied, weird, and wonderful than anything we’ve done before.”

But what was Oli listening to while writing the album in order to get into this more experimental and adventurous mindset?

“Some old dance stuff like Snap, old Creamfields records, or Bonkers/old happy hardcore shit in places,” reveals Oli. “For Mantra we wanted to make a poppy Pantera song mixed with Tame Impala or Radiohead; we’re trying to do what we’ve done in the past where it could sit on the radio, but some songs sound like dance songs. Obviously they don’t, but the influences are a lot stronger than we’ve ever dared before.”

There aren’t many rock bands that admit to being influenced by happy hardcore.

“Well… that’s us, I guess ha ha.”

Bring Me The Horizon's new album Amo is released January 11 2019, and available to pre-order now. The band are also heading out on a mammoth headline tour across Europe, UK, USA and Australia.

Bring Me The Horizon 2018/19 tour dates
Nov 05: Stuttgart Schleyer-Halle, Germany
Nov 06: Hamburg Sporthalle, Germany
Nov 08: Berlin UFO Im Velodrome
Nov 09: Chemnitz Messe, Germany
Nov 10: Vienna Stadthalle, Austria
Nov 12: Zurich Samsung Hall, Switzerland
Nov 13: Milan Forum, Italy
Nov 14: Munich Zenith, Germany
Nov 16: Antwerp Lotto, Belgium
Nov 17: Frankfurt Jahrhunderthalle, Germany
Nov 18: Dusseldorf Mitsubishi Electric Halle, Germany
Nov 20: Amsterdam AFAS Live, Netherlands
Nov 21: Paris Le Zenith, France
Nov 23: Birmingham Arena, UK
Nov 24: Leeds First Direct Arena, UK
Nov 25: Glasgow SSE Hydro, UK
Nov 27: Cardiff Motorpoint Arena, UK
Nov 29: London Alexandra Palace, UK
Nov 30: London Alexandra Palace, UK
Jan 23: Nashville Municipal Auditorium, TN
Jan 25: Orlando CFE Arena, FL
Jan 26: Atlanta Coca-Cola Roxy, GA
Jan 28: Fairfax EagleBank Arena, VA
Jan 29: New York Hammerstein Ballroom, NY
Feb 01: Boston Tsongas Center At UMass Lowell, MA
Feb 02: Montreal Place Bell, QC
Feb 04: Detroit Fillmore, MI
Feb 05: Chicago Aragon Ballroom, IL
Feb 06: Minneapolis Armory, MN
Feb 08: Dallas South Side Ballroom, TX
Feb 09: Houston Revention Music Center, TX
Feb 11: Denver The Fillmore Auditorium, CO
Feb 13: Los Angeles The Forum, CA
Feb 15: Phoenix Comerica Theatre, AZ
Feb 16: Las Vegas The Joint At Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, NV
Apr 10: Brisbane Entertainment Centre, Australia
Apr 12: Sydney Qudos bank Arena. Australia
Apr 13: Melbourbe Rod Laver Arena, Australia

Luke Morton joined Metal Hammer as Online Editor in 2014, having previously worked as News Editor at popular (but now sadly defunct) alternative lifestyle magazine, Front. As well as helming the Metal Hammer website for the four years that followed, Luke also helped relaunch the Metal Hammer podcast in early 2018, producing, scripting and presenting the relaunched show during its early days. He also wrote regular features for the magazine, including a 2018 cover feature for his very favourite band in the world, Slipknot, discussing their turbulent 2008 album, All Hope Is Gone.