Battlecross Guitarist Tony Asta Talks New Album ‘Rise to Power,’ Modern Technology and More
Battlecross have a busy year ahead of them, as they have a new hard-hitting album out titled Rise to Power, along with a lengthy tour scheduled with GWAR and Butcher Babies. We chatted with guitarist Tony Asta about the band’s new release and writing the new riffs. He also talked about how technology has helped and hindered him as a musician. Check out our interview with guitarist Tony Asta of Battlecross below:
Rise to Power -- what does the title mean to you personally?
Oh man, I think our theme has always been about overcoming the odds no matter what’s going on in your life. When we came up with the title, it was something that we all agreed on and that was kind of the best part about it. It says exactly what we want to say and it can be interpreted in your own way. It’s not that we want to keep it vague, I think having things open to interpretation is a little easier to relate to. That’s what it means to me, overcoming those obstacles and taking it head on.
How was the overall recording and creative process of this new album for you?
It was awesome, when it came time to sit down and write I think it was the least stressful, for me. If you ask one of the other guys they might not ask the same thing. For me, it was really one of those things where I just let it flow. Hiran [Deraniyagala] and Don [Slater] came to the table with all kinds of great ideas and we all collaborated and put it together. When we went in the studio Jason Suecof had a bunch of great ideas and heard him out and how he interpreted some parts. We did some changes that made the songs pretty cool and a lot better. I think Jason definitely added his spice to the album.
The riffage in “Scars,” “Spoiled,” "Blood & Lies” and “Shackles” are all heavy hitting. Where did you draw musical inspiration from when working on guitar parts for this album?
It’s always just been about writing riffs that are inspiring. If I come up with something and I’m inspired by it, then it’s one of those things where you build the song around that. For example, “Scars” was one of the last songs I wrote and it was one of those things where I was under pressure to get something done and there needed to be one more song on the album that was balls out.
For "Spoiled," you had a hand in writing the lyrics, where is your headspace when writing lyrics as opposed to guitar riffs.
It’s totally different, obviously but if I think of something I’ll just type it in Notepad on my phone. As far as the lyrics go it’s just about those moments when you’re sitting around the table and everybody’s on their cell phone and no one’s talking, it just gets under my skin. It’s this amazing tool that everyone is trapped in and relies on.
You’ve stated "Spoiled" is about our “dependency on modern technology, more specifically the cyber world.” How has technology helped and hurt your career as a musician?
I think it’s definitely helped a lot. I don’t know what it would be like without it – when we signed with Metal Blade it was in 2011. It’s definitely helped in the sense of getting the word out however on the flip side, the more you have in the pot the less you can taste the different ingredients. There’s so much going on when you open your laptop or turn on the television, I’m kind of numb to information.
Even though the internet helps get the word out about the band, if someone is browsing they may overlook us anyway because there’s so much information. The one thing that will never fail is the personal connection, the personal recommendation and seeing it for yourself with your own eyes at a show or hearing it from a friend.
Correct me if I’m wrong, the self-released Battlecross demo came out about a decade ago?
Ok we released a couple different things, in 2004 we recorded a three-song demo but I don’t even want anybody to hear it. [Laughs] We were a four piece, I was doing vocals, it kind of sounds like Metallica which is cool but I’m hoping it doesn’t see the light of day to be honest with you.
From the Metallica sounding demos to this brand new release, what keeps you going?
10 years ago, I could have never guessed what we would be doing. I’ve always wanted to be in a band and be successful with my brothers and travel and tour and hopefully inspire someone. In some ways we’ve done those things and it’s greater than I could have ever imagined. We’re all thankful to our fans and supporters.
It’s just a mindset, it’s hard to walk into a situation and say “F--- this we’re going to take over the world." Before you do that, there’s a lot of other things you have to do first. It’s one thing at a time and then the next thing and just keep climbing so that’s been our attitude towards the whole thing.
What are your future aspirations for Battlecross?
Oh man, we definitely want to keep touring and pounding the pavement and getting the word out there and keep growing. I definitely want it all and play in front of as many people as we possibly can. I want our music to be heard any way possible, it’s just the way I have to look at it the music, the fans and the live show are the most important. For me to say I want it all and have that be my motivation, I can’t do that because I think it would be jeopardizing the integrity of the music. For me, I just want to write the best music I can with my brothers and just keep climbing that ladder.
What's one non-electronic item you must have on tour with you and why?
That’s a hard one, honestly I’d say anything for personal hygiene. There’s nothing like having your baby wipes and toothbrush day to day when you can’t get a shower. That’s pretty damn important, it’s like you’re camping forever.
Check Out the Battlecross Video for "Absence"