The Scottish trio, Biffy Clyro, have topped the album charts all over the world, and are surely slithering their way into the hearts of US listeners along the way. The gentlemen that are deemed Rock and Roll royalty in the UK have released their seventh studio album, ‘Ellipsis’, and we are pleased to share their first U.S video from the high-powered new album for the track, “Howl”. Lyrically, the entire album is absolutely remarkable. Lucky for all of you European fans, Biffy Clyro’s upcoming tour plans include European festivals such as Lowlands, Pukkelpop, Open Air Gambel and Spellground Festival, as well as arena shows in Germany, Northern Ireland, Poland and Estonia. I chatted with drummer/backup vocalist, Ben Johnston, and here’s what we have gathered along the way.
Congratulations on the release of your latest studio album, ‘Ellipsis’. Tell us more about the creative process behind the album.
This is our seventh studio album, and we certainly did not want to repeat ourselves. We feel a bit reborn throughout the album, which showcases throughout the concept of the artwork. We really embraced the studio and tried not to make this album your typical guitar band album. We hired one of the greatest producers in the industry, Rich Costey, whose credits include Sigur Ros, Muse, etc. We jumped out of our comfort zone for this album.
Songs from ‘Ellipsis’ such as “People” and “Medicine” carry a hefty energy to them; what sparked the bold message behind them?
“Medicine” is about trying to get to a place where you don’t have to rely on your medication to get through your day to day life. They are reflective offerings pertaining to the reality of everyday life.
Did the band go into the studio with a plan as to how the album was going to turn out, or did it evolve along the way?
It evolved along the way. We had a rough idea with a bunch of great songs, but we really leaked our frustrations into the lyrics and the overall album. It is different from previous material in a positive way.
How did Neil’s episode of writer’s block affect the chemistry of the band after the success of ‘Opposites’?
We just had to move forward and evolve as a band. It is very difficult when an individual loses faith in themselves entirely. But, we moved forward and through it.
How in the world have all three of you managed to to stick together for over 15 years of emotions, life-change, touring, etc? Did you perceive that you would be playing together for so long when you first started?
We were friends before we were a band. We have been hanging out and and having fun since we were children. Cracking jokes. Being in a band became a hobby and transferred into a a lot of fun. Being friends is certainly the recipe for longevity.
Tell us about the tattoos that you have and the artists that created them.
Tattoo artist, Chaim Machlev, created a unique and tattoo on all three of our backs. It connects and joins together to form one spiral. When three become one, it’s incredible. I also have a Luke Skywalker tattoo on my arm that is 8 years old now.
What has the reception been like for the standout ‘Ellipsis’ track, “Howl” thus far?
I honestly do not know yet (giggles). I am hoping that it has been good. It is a poppy song. I love the song.
If you had the chance to create your own festival lineup, what three other bands would you add to the bill other than Biffy Clryo?
Nirvana, Ben Folds Five and a metal band by the name of Karate that was formed in Boston, Massachusetts.
From when you first started playing and throughout your career, who has been your biggest music inspiration?
Nirvana. They are the band that made us band. Their song structures are incredible. When you talk about music, you talk about Nirvana. Also, another rock band by the name of Burning Airlines.
Last but certainly not least, Is there anything that you would like to share with your fans before we go?
We’re sorry. We are sorry that America is such a f*****g nasty place. We are aiming to cover all over the ground. Be patient for when we come over. We will create great shows.