Biffy Clyro

Drummer for Scottish rockers Biffy Clyro, Ben Johnston is wary about the band's upcoming visit to Australia. The 30 year old and his bandmates (Guitar/vocalist Simon Neil and bassist/Ben's twin brother James Johnston) will leave behind their snow laden homeland and trade it in for the heat of the Australian summer.


"See I'm a ginger, wait, what do you guys call it, a ranga?" Johnston says "I'm gonna have to get the sunblock, wear some hats and shit! I struggle in any heat man, I'm just not made for it. We can't wait to get there though, it's always hot in Australia for us ‘cause we live in this ridiculous cold climate."


With the trio locked in to support countrymen Muse on their run of stadium shows around the country starting next week, the lads thought it would be a prime chance to play a couple of sneaky shows while they had the chance.


"We're doing the Factory in Sydney and in Melbourne, we're doing the Hi-Fi which we've played a few times before. We just added a couple of extra shows on so we could play more of our own stuff and some longer sets for some of the fans so it should be fun."


Biffy Clyro seem to have become the support band of choice for the world's rock heavy weights. Muse join the likes of the Rolling Stones, the Who, Queens of the Stoneage on the Biffy Clyro's list of ‘People We've Warmed the Stage For'.


"We love getting up there and stealing other peoples fans, I mean that's why we're there. You get up there and play the best set you can and hopefully a lot of folks go ‘shit, that support band were really good'" Johnston explains "Its worked for us over the years and doing that is a good way to reach people that otherwise wouldn't hear your music."


It's a method which seems to have been very successful for the lads. Sixteen years in the business and five studio albums are noteworthy inclusions on the resume of any musicians, let alone selling out the 10,000 person capacity Wembley Stadium in London.


"Our first arena show in London that wasn't a support and it sold out. Can't fucking wait man, it's gonna be amazing. Wembley's such a huge place, we're gonna have to put on a proper show!" laughs Johnston "We're not making any money on this tour at all. All the money we make goes straight back into making the show good. We're happy to do that, it's a step up to arenas so we wanna show the fans that we're here for them and give them a good show. It's pretty special to be honest."


The fans seem to be the driving force behind what Biffy Clyro do. For years they've been offering competitions and prizes for die hard devotees to get up close and personal with the band and Johnston says that punters should have no concerns about the band going from playing Wembley and arena shows with Muse will not harm the band's performances in the smaller venues.


"We've played every kind of venue you could possibly imagine man!" Johnston chuckles "We're still a tiny band in a place like America. We only play to 200 people sometimes and that's way smaller than the venues we're doing in Australia. We're stoked to be coming out there because except for Britain and stuff it's one of our biggest markets. It's not like we'll be thinking of these arena shows when we're there, the minute you get there you whole mindset changes and those gigs can be more fun. When your playing to people you haven't played to a million times before it's a different vibe and I just buzz off that."


There's a lot for Johnston to be buzzed about these days. Biffy Clyro's fifth studio album Only Revolutions reached platinum on the way to becoming the band's biggest selling release to date. Only Revolutions was also honoured with a nomination for the Mercury Prize, arguably the UK's most prestigious musical award.


"It was a huge honour. I don't think there's ever been a heavy rock band to achieve a nomination so we were both surprised and totally humbled that the panel would even think of us at all. The actual music on the album is fairly different at times, we were taking quite a lot of chances with it and to get a degree of notice for that, I mean we didn't win the gong but to get a nomination is absolutely incredible. It's a big deal over here and we never ever thought in a million years that we'd be part of it."


Much to fan's disappointment however, Biffy Clyro will not be rushing out a new release anytime soon. After being almost continuously on stage even since before the release of Only Revolutions, Johnston explains that the band hasn't had much of a chance to properly work on their new material.


"We're gonna have January off in the new year to do some work then but we already have a bunch of things. We really want to take our time with this though, really try and make it the best thing ever. Simon's writing a heap of songs when he can but it's just being home man, so as long as that happens I'm sure an album will be forthcoming."


The new material is still so raw that it isn't even ready for the live arena yet, let alone ready to be recorded. Biffy Clyro's sixth studio offering has been tentatively set for release very late in 2011. The thought of which reminds Johnston just how good his job is.


"We're still so excited about what we do. We still get nervous and we still act like children most of the time," Johnston admits. "We've still got that spark for it, it hasn't gone numb at all over the years. We're not cynical yet!"


Biffy Clyro will support Muse in Sydney, Melbourne and Perth, as well as playing shows at the the Factory Theatre in Sydney on December 11 and the Hi-Fi Bar and Ballroom in Melbourne on December 16.

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