Bring Me the Horizon on Death Cults and Twisted Love That Inspired “Mantra”

by Sammi Chichester

The latest album, amo, from U.K. rockers Bring Me the Horizon may be a polarizing affair, with its headbanger-trolling dalliances with pop and dance music, but it’d be difficult for anyone to deny the infectiously catchiness of  the LP’s hard-hitting lead single “Mantra.” On the song, frontman Oli Sykes asks, “Do you want to start a cult with me?” A fitting question, not only because of the cut’s own seductive qualities, but also because its accompanying music video stars the vocalist as the leader of a cult that revels in sex, drugs, neon color and — oh, yeah — mass suicide.

As Sykes explains it, though, the cult is a metaphor, and the song is actually based around the idea of being in a relationship where you unconditionally give yourself to a partner and overlook all the negatives. “That’s exactly the vibe,” he says. “It’s like the attitude of a cult where you give yourself over to someone and you have to trust them unconditionally. Sometimes you come out if it, but in the end you realize you’ve been brainwashed the whole time. What you thought was amazing and you believe in this person so much, but you realize the shit. There’s just a lot of parallels between that and how people want to believe in someone so bad that they will kind of just ignore the any of the truths and stuff just so it agrees with the classic traits of the being.

“That’s kind of a metaphor, I guess. Like what ‘Mantra’ is all about — it’s all about starting a cult and how it’s easy to believe in somebody and something if you want to believe, because a lot of times we just do as people. It’s just, we don’t want to see, we don’t want to face the truth. It’s easier to live a lie, basically.”

In addition, Sykes says those parallels influenced the music video, which was inspired by Netflix’s insane documentary on the Rajneesh cult Wild Wild Country and its lead guru Osho, as well as the Jonestown Massacre. “That’s where the inspiration came from, watching all these interviews with these people and seeing how people were just obsessed with this dude even though it seemed to me it screwed him over,” the singer explains. “Some people still swore blind by him and it was just really interesting. And that’s where the video idea was quite pulled from, stuff like that, the Jonestown Massacre. Lot of cults.”

He adds that all the cult lyrics and imagery as led to some surprising interactions with U.S. fans and journalists. “The weird thing American people always ask me is if I’m a Freemason. I’ve gotten that like a half a dozen times and I don’t know why,” he laughs.