Asking Alexandria Discuss Upcoming Album, Mayhem Fest, Needle Scares + Sobriety
Asking Alexandria have been working on a new album, but have stopped the process for the time being to enjoy a summer of fun aboard the Mayhem Festival. We caught up with singer Danny Worsnop and guitarist Ben Bruce to discuss the tour, their new music, and, of course, their insane 'Through Sin + Self Destruction' short film.
We're here at Mayhem Festival this year. Can you talk about your expectations for this year's run?
Danny Worsnop: I have very high expectations. Ben is more pessimistic and concerned than I am.
Ben Bruce: I'm a little bit nervous.
DW: We're in a strange position where we're playing to 10,000-plus people everyday who very likely are not going to want to listen to us, cause of the music we play and the perception they have of us, but I think we have everything we need to win 'em over cause we're not some skip-around, bulls--- child band anymore. We're real musicians who are here to play some rock and roll music for them. I think they'll pick up on that and enjoy it.
Nah, you guys have done well. Do you still need to win them over at this point?
DW: Well I'd like to win them over instead of getting turds thrown at us.
You do have that electronic sound mixed in with the metal and you mention having to win audiences over and that not everyone's a fan. How is that challenge for you?
DW: I feel like it's one of the things that inspires us as a band and keeps us going. I think if we had it easy, we wouldn't be here right now.
BB: There would be nothing pushing us forward.
DW: If we had it easy, we'd stop trying. The second you're happy where you are is the second you stop getting better.
Mayhem Festival's got a great lineup. Any bands you want to see daily?
BB: Slipknot definitely.
DW: We want to see Slayer. The drummer's a … I want to say friend, but I guess we're not yet.
BB: He's an acquaintance.
DW: Yeah, he's an acquaintance and we like each other. We're friendly acquaintances.
Had a chance to see your short film 'Through Sin + Self Destruction.' Absolutely insane! Can you talk about what it was like to film that?
DW: It was a trip. It was a few days of just absolute insanity. It was 9AM to 3 in the morning every day with insane amounts of filming. There were terrifying bits. There were hilarious bits where we were just like, 'F--- this, I don't want to do it anymore.' But we stuck through it and it came out really, really well and we're proud of it.
Danny, how was it to have a scene where you're having a near death experience? How much fun was that to shoot?
BB: I saved him.
DW: That was a lot of fun, but it wasn't as fun as the scene before it which was the sex scene. That was much more fun. But the scene which scared the hell out of me was the following scene which opens 'Insanity' with the needle. Ben had to be above me with a real needle, and he had to slam down and stop just an inch off my chest with a real needle. I was on cocaine at the time, so my head was going tens of f---ing dozen, and it was just terrifying. I couldn't jump and go up cause it would just stab me and I still to this day can't watch it. It was the scariest moment of my life.
Ben, can you talk about that scene? Is there a whole lot more trust going on now?
BB: I loved it.
BB: I f---ing loved it. Literally I have him by the testicles. They're in the palm of my hand.
DW: Squeezing them, I couldn't move.
BB: I was just touching them, massaging them, massaging them, but it was still scary.
Danny, you mentioned the cocaine, but you've since cleaned up. How's that going?
DW: I'm completely clean and sober now. I mean it got to a point very recently where, I've cleaned up and relapsed I don't know how many times now. But this last time I was getting told about things I was doing, what they were telling me to do. I don't know who THEY are, neither does anyone else, but people in my head were telling me to say and do things and it just reached a point where it was like I can't do this anymore. I'm going to reach a point where I end up hurting someone I love or hurting myself, and I don't know what I'd do. So yeah, I'm completely sober and clean now, and as of now permanently.
Ben, what's it like being up there onstage and what do you get out of it?
BB: It's the best feeling in the world. It's an undescribable feeling.
DW: It's better than any drug I've ever done.
I know you guys have been working on new music. Anything you can share?
BB: It's perfect.
DW: It's literally the best album we can write at this point in time. We spent a lot more time on the music. We spent a lot of time working on these songs and making them be as good as they can possibly be. We're halfway through now and we're going to go back in in September to finish up. We're very excited and proud of how it's coming out. It's much more positive than anything we've done before. There's some positive uplifting messages.
Do you think the road or this trip will factor into anything you might do when you return to the studio?
DW: No, I hope not because everything I've written on the road so far has been very depressing and angry. There wasn't a lot of drugs and drinking and I was very depressed throughout writing the other two albums.
Ben, the guitars are awesome. Is there anyone that's influenced your style over the years?
BB: I'm a huge blues fan, like Eric Clapton, Gary Moore, B.B. King, Joe Bonamassa - those are some of my favorite guitarists. Obviously I'm like a huge metal and rock and roll fan as well, so I don't really know where my style came from. I think it's different than a lot of bands and a lot of guitarist's styles and I'm still trying to better myself as a player and a musician. I don't actually quite think I've found my style yet, but hopefully.
DW: He's constantly growing with every record we've done. He's getting better and better and he's got a very unique, telltale signature riffs and styles. You can just tell when Ben is playing. He's a very talented guitarist with a very distinctive style of playing.
And Danny, I'm sure you've seen plenty shows as a kid. Anyone affecting your stage presence?
DW: None. It's all me, and I feel like that's what gives me my edge. I've formulated my own style. I don't want to duplicate or reproduce someone else's style. I want to do my own thing.
I know you did the 'Stepped Up and Scratched' after the last record….
DW: Well that wasn't, we didn't do anything with that besides writing the original tracks. That's all other people's renditions of views of what our music is, their takes on what we've written. It was very cool and very flattering in a way because everyone jumped to the opportunity to do their own thing on our creation.
BB: I think it came out really well.
Where I was going was is the remix thing something you would consider again in the future or is it a been-there, done-that?
BB: Not again, we've done that now.
DW: Maybe, something that I don't know if we'd ever do it, but it could be interesting is a covers CD. Like Asking Alexandria covers with other bands covering our songs and doing them in their own way. But in terms of electronic remixes, we've been there. We've done that now. We don't want to duplicate.
So what's up beyond Mayhem?
DW: Release the new album, South American tour, England and Europe tour announced, and we're working on a North American headline [tour] right now for the end of the year.
Watch Asking Alexandria's Uncensored Full 'Through Sin + Self Destruction' Short Film