Have rock band, will travel.
It's a creed Matt Kean lives by. At just 23, the young bassist for British metal-core brats Bring Me The Horizon already has a well-stamped passport and a swag of camp-fire travel yarns collected from multiple world tours.
"Before the band I'd never been out of the UK apart from once when I went to Disneyland in Paris with my school," says Kean from his latest tour stop in Calgary, Canada. "Where I grew up, it's not the worst area but it's kind of like a dead-end town. But now I've seen the world and had a good time doing it."
Currently into the final week of another global jaunt, the Yorkshire-bred Bring Me The Horizon - named after a quote from Johnny Depp's Jack Sparrow character in Pirates of The Caribbean - are busy promoting their sophomore album Suicide Season.
"We didn't know what to expect with this tour but it's been really amazing!" enthuses Kean who kept that aforementioned passport close to his chest on a recent run of dates through Russia.
"It's really weird and like nothing I've ever seen before," he says. "And it's probably the scariest place I've ever seen in the world - they're just really intimidating. They have a law where if you're not from Russia you have to have your passport on you all the time."
To the band's delight, Sweden did not administer quite the same dose of culture shock when they recorded Suicide Season there last year.
"We were in a village just outside of Gothenburg so we didn't really see that much just because we spent every day in the studio pretty much with only one or two days off," says Kean. "But it's how you would imagine it with lots of forests and the people are relaxed and chilled."
BMTH worked with local producer Fredrik Nordstrom (At The Gates, Arch Enemy), noted for his Gothenburg sound - and his penchant for play-wrestling.
"On the last night we all went to his house and got really drunk and he was wrestling with us," laughs Kean. "He actually had our guitarist Curtis down on the floor in a headlock. But in the studio he was like a mad professor who'd turn up on his bike. And he'd always moan at us for not recycling properly and stuff like that because we were always messing up the recycling bins and putting cans where we shouldn't have been putting cans.
"But he knows when something's not right or a bit off. We tend to like having a lot of control over our songs and so he wouldn't take over but he'd get the best sounds out of everything and encourage us. He was a super nice guy."
Since its release last October, the album has gained serious traction with BMTH's adolescent hardcore audience, catapulting the quintet onto the stadium circuit with their metal heroes.
"We've managed to meet pretty much every band we've ever idolized growing up," says Kean, weaned on Metallica bass heads Cliff Burton and Jason Newstead. "We've met Iron Maiden a bunch of times and the Slayer guys. We've played Australia with Megadeth and we've met Metallica too so it's pretty crazy. I always try to act cool and pretend I'm not nervous."
But it hasn't been all hob-knobbing and free fizz for the band. Desperately homesick guitarist Curtis Ward quit in March this year while on tour in Florida, reportedly flying home to the UK the same day.
"We've been pretty much on tour constantly for five or six months and he wasn't enjoying the lifestyle as much as he used to," explains Kean. "It can take its toll and he'd spend a lot of the day on the phone to back home. His heart wasn't in it and so we all had a big chat and accepted that. But it's sad situation for us because we've been together since we started when we were sixteen.
"Our guitar tech Dean's filling in for the rest of the tour," he adds. "He had to learn our set in just one day so he's done us a huge favour. We've known him for a while, he used to work in a guitar shop in Sheffield where we live and he's been on tour with us for about six months now and he's a good player as well. But we'll take our time and get a new member in. It'll probably be the end of summer before we decide - we won't rush it."