Over the past fifteen years, Biffy Clyro have seamlessly transformed themselves from a trio of rough-around-the-edges experimentalists into fully fledged titans of rock. Six records - two album trilogies – later, they dominate arenas and headline festivals like nobody’s business. So, with new full-length ‘Ellipsis’, they had to try something new.
After the grandiose sonics of their last trio of albums, they wanted to shake things up. Rip it up and start again. “You’re in such a bubble,” says frontman Simon Neil, of their lives in the band, “and especially for a band going on to their seventh record, you’re normally just in the routine. I don’t think we’ve ever just wanted to be a routine band - you know, reliable old Biffy Clyro! We’d rather be completely unreliable and have people think we’ve lost the plot. Either love it or hate it, that’s what we want, that’s what we’ve always kind of wanted.”
Whether or not they’ve lost the plot is yet to be determined, but they’ve certainly gone all out. Recruiting “mad professor” Rich Costey for production, ‘Ellipsis’ is about about pairing beauty and grit, taking left turns and surrendering themselves to giving anything a go. “With Rich, the modus operandi was gorgeousness with real trash,” Simon confirms with a gleeful grin. “If the drums sounded amazing, we wanted a really dirty, smelly-sounding guitar. If the vocals were really angelic, we wanted to distort the drums.” It’s an approach clear from lead track ‘Wolves of Winter’, which packs distorted vocal effects, raw guitars and manic drum parts alongside a rousing chorus. “If we hadn’t made six records previously with the matter-of-fact sound of our instruments, then we would never have wanted to make this record, so it’s definitely a reaction.”
“Rich would just plug in shit all the time,” he laughs. “You’d be sitting playing and hit a brilliant sound, but you’d not care how you got there, or if it’s too loud or going out through an exhaust in the car park! It was just like, ‘it sounds good, so let’s do it.’ That was quite liberating.”
Biffy Clyro grace the cover of this year’s Festival Guide in association with Ticketweb, out 29th April, available at all the great places listed at diymag.com/stockists, or online below.
Photo: Mike Massaro / DIY