With Ellipsis, Biffy Clyro’s seventh record, Simon Neil and his bandmates for the past two decades—bassist James Johnston and twin brother Ben Johnston on drums—wanted to make sure that they weren’t becoming too predictable. Ellipsis covers familiar sonic territory for Biffy—blistering hard melodic rock with a touch of ’90s alternativity and a quick taste of sweet-tart pop—while offering a furiously contemporary energy. Biffy Clyro will be editing magnetmagazine.com all week. Read our feature.
Simon Neil: My day normally starts at 5:45 a.m. with an extremely intense karate session at my dojo: I normally train with Raymond, who I have been working on and off with over the past 24 years or so. After my session finishes, I like to stock up on some protein, and so out come the three or four roast chickens I am forced to devour each day. This routine is how I begin every day, no matter where I am in the world, on-tour or off-tour. At 9 a.m. I like to spend an hour on my French and German studies and, if I am lucky, my written Korean, too. I am currently putting together a collection of all of my musings and writings, circa 2006-2009, so keep an eye out—they should be published and released in 2019. We will then head to the venue for the day’s show; at this stage of our career I refuse to travel in any position other than horizontal, much to gravity’s relief (and my tour manager’s chagrin)! Car, plane, train, piggyback: it is horizontal all the way for me. Upon arriving at the venue, I begin vocal warmups, life warmups, swimming warmups, heat warmups, warm-up warmups, cool-down warmups, and by this point we are ready to hit the stage for soundcheck. Now that we have expanded to a 14-piece live band, we find it incredibly hard to incorporate our earlier, popular dance moves, but this means that we really get to savour our freestyle, improv hour that we practise over and over until the entire section is perfected. Once soundcheck is over, I like to medicate, meditate, micro dose, masturbate, commiserate, burn all the master tapes, liberate the illiterates, fight the Crazy 88s, etc., etc., mate … After a dinner of four further chickens, it will almost be “show time,” so we begin hand-holding, give thanks to the gods of rock and—with subtle flamboyance—make our way to the stage. After such a long time as a band, it is hard not to rely on superstitions and routines; I, for example, will always slip on and tie up my left football boot first and kiss all the performers in alphabetical order (which can be particularly difficult when you tour with four sets of identical twins, and you are 15 points down going into the third quarter … ) and then slip on my right boot. I cannot put into words the feeling which performing onstage gives me, so I am not going to. I “come to” after the show, roughly around 11 p.m., and will be informed as to whether the show was a success or not. I like to speak with Bono, Vin Diesel or Father John Misty post-show, to get a balanced view of the gig. Once Bono has finished talking, it is normally around 2.15 a.m. After 20-25 minutes of pounding acai berries, I will drift off, knowing that tomorrow will be exactly the same.