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BMTH’s Oli Sykes – ‘I Didn’t Like Myself Very Much’ Over Lockdown

todaySeptember 24, 2021 1

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Bring Me the Horizon’s Oli Sykes spent some time working on himself during the periods of band inactivity that resulted from the COVID-19 pandemic.

In fact, the singer used one of those months to take a spiritual retreat to deal with self-hatred and other mental health issues, living on an ashram in Brazil that’s part of the Hare Krishna movement.

Of course, that trip is likely old news to diehard Bring Me the Horizon fans at this point — and Loudwire has previously reported on it — but the musician this week recalled more of his stay.

A period of questioning preceded his excursion. “I was like, ‘Who am I?'” Sykes told Kerrang on Thursday (Sept 23) of his pre-ashram mental state, going over the thoughts that occupied his mind.

What are my values? he asked himself. Who am I without the band, or writing music and making stuff? What do I like to do? … And what is the point?

The pandemic-afforded downtime also meant that “a lot of [his] older problems came back,” the BMTH singer continued. “I kind of realized that there was a lot of stuff that I hadn’t worked on. When I went to rehab [for substance abuse] eight years ago, I came out of it and I felt like I was healed. I was like, ​’I’m good now,’ and we went and made Sempiternal. I kind of realized when everything stopped that I was so busy and things were going so well … that I was more distracted than healed.”

But the past 18 or so months provided plenty of distraction-free time for rumination. And that’s when the musician realized that he still had issues with self loathing, low self-esteem and more.

“I didn’t like myself very much,” Sykes admitted. “I don’t have much confidence in myself. I had a lot of shit like that, where I didn’t like when people said my name. [I was] embarrassed. I couldn’t even talk to people — things like going to a shop, I’d be embarrassed and scared. I didn’t ever want to put myself out there. I just wanted to remain hidden all the time.”

So, ending up “in the middle of nowhere” five hours outside of São Paulo, Sykes “basically became a Hare Krishna for a month,” he said. “I’m not Hare Krishna, but I thought, ​’Fuck it — these people are the happiest people in the world, they’re just so content.'”

Indeed, the singer would “get up at 5AM and chant with them and pray to all their gods and gurus. We’d listen to their gurus and readings from the Bhagavad Gita. I learned a lot. For them, the worst thing ever is jealousy and ego and all this stuff. It’s basically all about being content with whatever you’ve got.”

Now back in the swing of things, Sykes released “Die4u” with Bring Me the Horizon last week — it’s the latest song in the band’s ongoing Post Human series, of which a new EP installment is likely just around the corner. The singer also recently guested on tracks from Tom Morello and the since disbanded Lotus Eater. In July, Sykes reportedly had two of his teeth fashioned into “vampire fangs,” as did his wife, Brazilian model Alissa Salls. BMTH have European shows scheduled for fall.

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