The Biff are back in black
Biffy Clyro. Picture: Supplied

Sitting pretty on top of the rock heap in the UK, Biffy Clyro headlined the Reading and Leeds festivals last year and T in the Park and Isle of Wight this year. But nothing could prepare frontman Simon Neil for that moment he sees his own face inked on a fan's leg.

The Scotsman admits the dedication of some of the band's fans blows his mind.

"Seeing lyrics and artwork means a lot to me because it's something I've written, but seeing your face, nothing can quite prepare you for that," he says.

"It's a really odd thing, and I can't believe that anyone would want my ugly mug on their leg or their arm for the rest of their life, but I have the utmost respect for them. It's as surreal as life gets, it really is."

And are fans with your face on their leg rewarded with a free ticket to a show or a restraining order, or anything like that?

"A free ticket to not come to the show, maybe," Neil jokes.

"Back in the day we thought if we see a Biffy tattoo we'll get the people in, but now there's so many Biff tattoos that no one would buy a ticket, so we wouldn't be able to tour."

Since the band was last in Australia for Soundwave, they've somehow managed to fit in writing for the follow-up to last year's double album, Opposites, between shows.

Not afraid to jump genres, ever-excited Neil has been in a writing frenzy, saying he has 19 new songs up his sleeve.

"At this point the album hasn't quite taken shape in my mind yet," he says.

"But we've got a Police-style rock song, which is something we've never done before, and we've got our first ever black- metal song with pop licks and blast beats."

That black-metal song sounds as if the metal barrage on offer at Soundwave really rubbed off on the three-piece.

"I mean I'm a big fan of bands like Deafheaven and Lethargy and I had this tune and I just thought, this is a black- metal song," Neil says.

"I'm hoping that it will be the greatest piece of music that has ever been made! I think it could be that good, but it could also be a car crash, we'll see!"

Neil has a lot on his plate, as he also revealed his dream of entering the Eurovision Song Contest next year with his other band, Marmaduke Duke.

Marmaduke Duke is Neil's concept band with JP Reid of Sucioperro, and they perform under the pseudonyms the Atmosphere and the Dragon respectively.

With their previous albums covering everything from hardcore to disco funk, the Atmosphere is confident they can pen a song for the cult music competition.

"I'm setting myself up for a fall here, but it's so perfect for the Duke," Neil says. "If we do it next year I'm going to dress up in a ball gown and I'm going to go mental, so absolutely that is on our list of things to do!"

The West Australian

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