Interview: Asking Alexandria
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Asking Alexandria are undeniably one of the UK’s most popular rock bands. Boasting a legion of millions of fans after only twelve years and five records, the young melody-makers have been consistently winning over hearts and minds ever since their breakthrough as a cornerstone of Britain’s burgeoning metalcore niche. As a result, whenever this harmonic collective hit the road to tour, their name is almost always emblazoned loudly and proudly at the top of any poster. But today, as Asking Alexandria prepare to storm the legendary Brixton Academy in south London, they are doing so as part of a hard-rocking tag team, sharing the stage with co-headliners and fellow arena rockers Black Veil Brides. “This is still early days as far as the tour goes, but it’s been amazing!” Asking Alexandria drummer James Cassells beams mere hours before taking the stage. “All the shows in England have sold out. We’re getting the chance to use a lot more production than we’ve used in the past, and it’s just been a really good time. And obviously we’re playing songs off of our new album, which have been going down pretty well.” The new album in question is Asking Alexandria’s self-titled fifth record, which hit store shelves back in December. Coming only eighteen months after their prior album, The Black (2016), the disc is one that marks a monumental shift in the quintet’s musical repertoire. Taking the place of the raucous, abrasive-yet-enchanting metalcore that dominated such lauded opuses as The Black and From Death to Destiny (2013) is a full-on barrage of user-friendly, anthem-dispensing rock ‘n’ roll. Less than three months after its release, Asking Alexandria has already spawned a cavalcade of radio rock hits, led by the infectious single ‘Into the Fire’. “As far as the progression of the sound of Asking Alexandria goes, that one just made the most sense to release first,” James says of the track. “It still incorporates the heavier side, but it also has the chorus. It has these different elements of the new Asking Alexandria, because it is different. It’s a new sound. There’s many songs and lots of singles on the album, but not all of them would have made sense to be the first one, you know? It eases you into this new sound and this new vibe that we’ve got going, and people have been eating it up. It got millions and millions of views on YouTube within a matter of days: it was really eye-opening.” A new approach to their music isn’t the only change that Asking Alexandria has enacted upon for their newest album. Much to the delight of the group’s elite fans, Asking Alexandria marks the return of original vocalist Danny Worsnop to the fold, after he had spent much of 2015 and 2016 experimenting with a solo career and his new We Are Harlot project. “We didn’t even know if we could be a band again,” James laments, thinking back to the state of Asking Alexandria immediately before Worsnop’s comeback. “We had some tours booked before Danny came back and we asked ‘What do we do now? Danny’s left, [replacement singer] Denis [Stoff] came in and fucked off.’ When we reached out to Danny and asked if he wanted to join us on those tours, we didn’t know if the chemistry would still be there. It was just like ‘Can we do this?’ That first rehearsal, you know, it was great, it felt good! Shortly afterwards we thought we could definitely make more music: ‘Let’s make an album!’ At that point, we thought we should experiment and really push the boat out. Fuck it! If this is going to happen and we’re gonna get together as the five original members, we have to do it right. We’re going to write the best songs that we can and sometimes that will involve making things a bit different.” And watching Asking Alexandria as they take to the Brixton stage – the same stage upon which they once recorded their mammoth Live from Brixton and Beyond (2014) album – their reignited chemistry only becomes more and more apparent throughout the night. Such new, titanic rock ‘n’ roll anthems as ‘Into the Fire’, ‘Alone in a Room’ and ‘Where Did It Go?’ permeate the entire performance, resulting in a display that provides nothing but riotous bombast and head-turning melodies. Asking Alexandria’s new, self-titled album is available now via Sumerian Records. Read our review of it here.
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