Work From Home: Biffy Clyro's Ben Johnston

Just a few weeks ago Scottish rockers Biffy Clyro released their 8th studio album, A Celebration of Endings. They had a grand tour planned but the COVID-19 pandemic put the kibosh on that, leading the band to devise other ways to promote the record and connect with fans. Ahead of the album release and coinciding special performance, we spoke to drummer Ben Johnston via Zoom. We talked about adapting album promo to the virtual world, fan reactions to the new music and eerily relevant lyrics. Take a look:
Work From Home: Biffy Clyro
Setlist.fm: What were your plans for 2020 originally, and what are they now?
Ben Johnston: Simon did every Friday - he did an Instagram Live thing, where he performed some tunes on his guitar, on his lonesome, poor guy, I've been doing some drum tutorial vids, and James some bass ones, then we've been doing a lot of this with a lot of people.

Ben: The main cool thing we've done is we're going to play the album live and then stream it live as well, rather, record it live, and then stream it the day after the album comes out. That's a cool way that we get to play live, in people's homes. We're getting to be on a stage, we're getting to be in a legendary venue with my brother as well as my friends, I get to play with my boys again, that's what's important.

Setlist.fm: So you have four songs from the album out already, what's been your favorite feedback about them so far?
Ben: "Instant History,” the first single kinda polarized a few people, we like to shock people when we release new music, and we want to think that maybe, they’ve lost their minds, or, they've got the wrong album, and I love how, after a few listens every proper Biffy fan's said "This song's brilliant, I love it.” And I love the fact that we have to make people guess a little bit about our band, so I'd say "Instant History” has been my favorite one, just the reaction's just been, it's been all over the place, and I like when you cannot judge a reaction.
I truly think this is our best album, I know everybody says that, we're eight albums in, but we've learned a lot, and for me, this album really does just meld together everything we've learned over the years.
Setlist.fm: Does it feel eerie to have written this before the pandemic, but have some songs be so relevant?
Ben: Some lyrics are, work even more so now than they did before. I'm pretty sure Simon is clairvoyant and he's just not telling.
Setlist.fm: What song that has not been put out yet are you most excited for your fans to hear?
Ben: Yeah, the closing song, "Cop Syrup," which, is extremely aggressive, screaming, punk rock song to start with, and then go from there into a really long, drawn out kind of repetitive prog section that takes you on a journey that, you completely kind of lose your bearings, and then right when you're least expecting it, it snaps back into a really aggressive punk, and that's a great way to end the album. I can't wait for people to hear that one.

Setlist.fm: How are music videos working in this, are you making any?
Ben: Yeah, we shot one already, we'd shot one at home, that video was shot in lockdown, it's meant to look like it's been shot in lockdown, but I think we ended making something very special.
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