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Dear Guitar Hero: Lee Malia of Bring Me the Horizon Talks Gear, Inspiration, Gary Moore and More

Dear Guitar Hero: Lee Malia of Bring Me the Horizon Talks Gear, Inspiration, Gary Moore and More

What are some of your hobbies? What do you do for fun? — Rachel Shepard

Basically, I just do nothing and hang out. That’s about it. I watch a lot of TV, specifically the British version of The Office, even though it’s been out a long time. When we’re on tour I tend to do nothing.

If you could choose any guitar player, living or dead, to share a stage with, who would you choose and why? — Tatiana Fritzová

I think it would be cool to have played alongside Gary Moore. He’s my dad’s favorite guitarist, so he took me to see him live once. I remember he was great live. He had only a bassist and a drummer backing him up, but he made it sound huge. I was really interested in how he sounds so big, being just one guy. He always played Les Pauls into Marshalls and made them sound amazing.

My favorite songs of his are “Still Got the Blues” and “Parisienne Walkways,” which are just the typical ones but I love the melodies in them. He’s not shredding or going mental. He’s like David Gilmour in that he doesn’t have to play fast to be good. When Gary Moore died, my dad texted me early in the morning about it. We had wanted to see him again, but we can’t now. He was proper good.

Do you ever feel uninspired, like you’ve hit the wall when trying to write songs? What do you do to get yourself out of a creative rut? — Jordan Mafi

I just take a break. Also, for the last couple of years, I hardly listen to metal music, and that’s brought my songwriting a long way. When you translate something from another genre into your writing, it works out pretty well. I listen to [indie-rock] bands like Sigur Rós and Bon Iver. With those bands, I like how their music can sound bigger when it’s not heavy. With our music, a soundscape sounds better to me than doing a typical breakdown or trying to do the heaviest thing you’ve heard.

You can bring more emotion into the song that way. For instance, the ending of “Hospital for Souls” on the new CD is inspired by post-rock, just in the way the guitar part builds and builds. It never kicks into anything different, but we add more instruments and more layers. It sounds really dramatic and you can feel it.

How do I nail the sweep picking in “Pray for Plagues”? It’s driving me crazy! — Mitch Windeatt

Like with the question about shredding, once you can play it slow, you’ll be able to play it to speed. Learn the shape you’re sweeping first, then learn the notes. You’re not just going down random notes; you’re going down a D minor scale. So once you know what notes make a D minor sweeping shape, it makes everything so much easier. Once your learn the shapes, your brain doesn’t think about it as hard.

What is the last thing you bought? Like, literally. A sandwich? A record? Sunscreen? — Nat Rice

Right now, I’m in South Africa. The last thing I bought was a Nando, which is grilled chicken with spicy sauces on it. It’s originally from South Africa. We’ve been doing a lot since we’ve been in South Africa. We went on safari. We hiked up a huge mountain. We’ve done every tourist thing you can do. We went diving with great white sharks in a cage, which was pretty cool. When we did that, we got in a boat and went miles out to sea. Once the sharks turned up, I would get in a cage and look at them. It was pretty scary, but it’s something I wanted to do for years. When my friend was in the cage, the shark came up and tried to chew the bars.

You have played a ton of shows. What would you say has been your best onstage experience? And what was the worst or most embarrassing? — Uriel Hernandez

The best was we played in the Alexandra Palace in England last year. We had taken a year off, so we were worried about whether people would still be into our music. We ended up playing for 10,000 kids, and it was great. My most embarrassing moment was playing Australia’s Soundwave Festival just this past March. I was supposed to play a solo on the song “Blessed with a Curse,” but just before I was supposed to start, our singer, Oli [Sykes], announced, “Everybody, give it up for Lee Malia!” I panicked and forgot to play it. I literally turned away in shame. I didn’t know what to do. It was the most embarrassed I’ve been in my life.


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