Between their South American headlining tour that ended last month, and their North American tour starting next month, English rockers Asking Alexandria spent their time off producing their upcoming untitled third album. Guitarist Ben Bruce founded the band in 2008 after returning to England from Dubai, and the act has toured relentlessly since the release of 2009's Stand Up and Scream, an album that established it as a screamo sensation. Bruce recently called to talk about the group's ever-changing musical style and how the band has matured in the past couple of years.
Your forthcoming record has already made some "most anticipated" lists. What can fans expect?
I think it's definitely the best record yet. We took a lot more time perfecting the songs, more on the structure, and how the songs play. On our last two albums, we'd get stuck right in and throw a breakdown in, but in this record we really tried to avoid that and write proper music for once.
You released the single "Run Free" from it already. How's that being accepted?
Really, really well, actually. I was a little bit apprehensive because it's quite different from our previous two records, but people seem to really enjoy it, so it's like a sigh of relief. I hope they enjoy the rest of the record, too.
You guys came out in 2009 with Stand Up and Scream and fans were in love, but since then, there's been a lot of talk that your sound has changed. What do you think?
I think that's the most narrow-minded, stupid thing any music fan in general can think. Obviously, we changed. We were 17 and 19 when we wrote that fucking record. We've been through a lot; a lot of things that influence us now weren't influencing us back then. I love that record and I'm really proud of what we did, but we couldn't keep releasing the same record over and over again, because our fans would get bored and we would get bored as well. The point is, if you want Stand Up and Scream again, go buy it again.
What do people think changed?
We don't have synth breaks anymore. We still use synthesizers and electronic sounds, but we figured out how to make it work instead of having it like one minute we're heavy, then the next we're in synth. I guess we changed the content too. We're no longer swearing at girls. This newer stuff is more about our alcohol problems and all the stuff we've been through. And our new record, again, is sort of facing those demons and readdressing our demons that still haunt us a little bit, but overall I think it's still more positive and a natural outlet. So I guess we'll probably get a little shit for not screaming about fucking whores and that bit.
That's what your short film, Through Sin + Self Destruction, was about. What was the decision to make a film?
We were just bored of everything everyone was releasing. Music videos, they were all the same, including ours, like "The Final Episode" and "Prophecy," we were just playing in a space. We were bored. No one had done anything edgy or honest for a long time. So we thought, "Fuck it. The album already has good insight, why not put it in short film version as well, to try and allow people to see what we were sort of going though, the deep end of touring and being away from family, getting addicted to drugs and alcohol and sort of fucking our lives up a little bit."
What kind of response did the film get?
It was a mixed response. There were a lot of people that thought it was really, really cool, and there were a lot of our fans that were genuinely concerned and worried for us. They didn't realize life was like that for us. We got a lot of support from people saying they're glad we're getting better, so I think releasing the video was definitely the right direction for us, because it sort of helped us get over that stage in our lives, as well. It kind of like, cleansed us of that chapter.
So now that you've faced the demons do you have a different focus now?
Yeah, but I mean we still drink, fuck too much, do too many drugs, but it's nowhere near that point now. I think we realized that we actually matter to people and inspire people, which is a really nice feeling but it's a huge responsibility, and rather than use our voices to sort of talk about mayhem, we decided to start to focus on people having a tough time and let them know that we're here for them. We've been through a lot of stuff ourselves, and it's really about telling them that we're on the other side, and we're here for them.
How would you describe your band in terms of genre and influence to someone who's never heard you?
We're just a modern-day rock band. I hate when people come up with stupid names for it.
Like putting "core" at the end of everything?
Exactly. That fucking shit like "shitcore," "crabcore," "metalcore," "gaycore." I don't know. We're a modern-day metal or rock band. We're influenced by bands like Motley Crue and Aerosmith, Guns N Roses, all that stuff, which everyone knows by now, but we also draw a lot of influence from bands like Slipknot and Avenged Sevenfold. We sort of take from it all and make it our own.
Who would you want to tour with in the future?
We always wanted to tour with Slipknot, and we've done that. We wanted tour with Avenged Sevenfold, and we've done that. We wanted to play with Guns N Roses, and we've done that. I don't know. I just love touring. If we could play with Ozzy Osbourne that would be awesome, but, let's face it, he's not touring much anymore. If we came out with Slipknot again that would be awesome.
What's something about the band fans probably don't know?
We all actually have vaginas, no penises. We're actually a girl band. Just trying to be honest.
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