They have smoothly and gratefully moved past their Warped Tour days, replacing those moments over time, slowly but so surely, with revamped, refreshed B-sides and brand new soundscapes. They are Asking Alexandria.
How many people can say they were champions of the metalcore scene, dropped electronic rock records, had country and blues solo albums, became a leading voice in rock and roll, and are still dropping their best material over a decade into their career? The answer is not many. Danny Worsnop from Asking Alexandria – he’s one of those few, and he recently talked with The Aquarian about the band’s new album.
To see the metamorphosis this band has gone through has been such an enjoyable ride for fans. Not one Asking Alexandria record sounds even remotely similar to the other. They all have distinct identities and Where Do We Go From Here? is no exception. Worsnop still has a rasp to his voice that gives way to raw emotion in everything he sings. His screams are iconic, too, but there isn’t even a complete genre of music he hasn’t tackled. When the musician returned to the band in 2017, it felt like the moon landing. Millions of scene kids returned to join in on the celebration. Now, in 2023, he and his punk-tinged metal band are back to heavy music, proving that no matter that they try, heavy is really what they do best.
In our incredible conversation with vocalist Danny Worsnop, we discuss the new record, but also their tour with The Hu, his personal favorite release from Asking Alexandria, vocal cord damage, and much more. As of today, that interview is in your hands… as is Where Do We Go From Here?, which is now available for fans around the globe to listen to.
Your new record with Asking Alexandria is out on August 25. How are you feeling?
Ready. I think I have a very different view of album releases than the fans… and possibly other musicians. I don’t get excited for releases so much, because, for me, that’s the end of the album – not the beginning. The album coming out is basically a free license for me to start working on the next one. More than anything it’s the end of the album that’s approaching so I can start thinking about the next one, which is something I’m far more egar for.
That makes sense. When you’re writing these records, you have all these ideas, but once the record is finished, it’s done. It’s over.
Yeah, it’s like a hand off. It’s our album until it releases. Then it’s everyone else’s.
With this record, I feel like it is a perfect combination of the new Asking Alexandria with the original styles and heavy screaming. Was that a conscious effort?
Yeah! On this album, very consciously, I didn’t want to try anything new. I didn’t want to make it a personal album or a storyteller album. I wanted it to be a bookmark that encapsulates everything over the last 15 years and puts it all in one place. It would purely be something for the fans that signifies getting to this point.
I hear that. It feels like a definitive Asking Alexandria record.
That’s the plan!
You’ve been screaming for so many years. Does that wear on your vocal cords at all?
I haven’t done it in years. I’m re-approaching that whole world for this album. We’ve put a lot of older stuff into the new show, as well, so I am re-approaching it there, too. It’s something I took away from my life, so it’s something I’m reintroducing and trying to do in a non-destructive way now/// because it did a lot of damage constantly and consistently for 10 years. It’s something I’m trying to be very careful with and make sure is happening as close to correctly as possible so those things can exist.
Was there a moment in your career where you noticed, “I have to stop screaming or I’m going to lose this forever”?
Yeah, the very first day! [Laughs] I was blowing my voice out on a very regular basis and I knew that it was something that wasn’t maintainable, which is a double edged sword. I know it’s a thing that people love, a thing people love of me, and a thing people love of Asking Alexandria. I personally don’t like screaming – doing it or hearing it – but I know it’s a part of us. With the purpose of this album being a fan service album, it had to be there. I wanted to make sure it was done and done correctly. I’ve been putting a lot of work into that.
With this record, I like the screaming more than the older stuff because when you get to the part that’s heavy, it emphasizes it more. Obviously if we’re talking about heavy stuff on the new record, “Kill It With Fire” is the one we have to talk about. Tell me about this one minute ripper of a song.
I can tell you very little. I didn’t know this song existed and I hadn’t heard it until a couple of months ago. It was brought up in an interview, just like this, and someone brought up that song and I had never heard of it before. It’s something Ben did after he moved back to England and it is something he felt like he needed to put in there, so that’s all Ben start to finish; just something he put together for the album.
Wow! That’s so funny to hear. Going into different tracks on the new record, “Let The Dead Take Me” and “Things Could Be Different” have a lot of synthesizer. How did you come to that specific choice to weave it into the rock and roll?
That was a very integral part of the first record and a little bit within the second record, as well. Like I said, this album was supposed to be pieces of everything that came before. [Synthesizers] were very integral parts of those early albums. Definitely something included and I think was just more noticeable on those first records. We’ve used more electronic elements and synthesizers and stuff especially Like A House On Fire than ever before. I think they’re just incorporated better – less by themselves and in your face. We’ve only ever released one album that didn’t have a lot of that, and that was the last one. It’s just part of the sound.
I hear what you’re saying. You brought these songs to life recently on acoustic and they took on their own life. Are there any other tracks you’re thinking about that you want to give a revamp?
Yeah, we have a dropbox folder at the company and, within it, there is a folder that is just my versions of songs that I’ve done over the years. We definitely have a bunch in there. I have a version of “Dark Void” coming out in a few months. We’ve done “Psycho” and the original version of “Where Do We Go From Here?” that will come out at some point, as well. A bunch of stuff from a couple other records as it’s definitely something I love doing. I spend a lot of time here in our studio just remaking our songs in my way. I definitely want to do something with those and share them with people.
It’s interesting; you’ll talk to fans who weren’t around during that second record and they will say that they discovered the song through this. This is their version of the song. It brings new life into it.
I’ll be honest, I like my version of the song, too. I like it a lot better. […] It was strange because I wasn’t fully in love with the song until we did the acoustic version.
I think the emotion of the track – when it’s stripped down – can be heard in your voice more.
I think it’s mostly the production and the way the song is presented in the first version that I didn’t really like. The remaking it in the way we did was a much better example and presentation of what the song is supposed to be.
I totally understand. I also want to go back to 2017 when you guys dropped that self-titled record. I personally love that record, but I want to talk about how that record was so controversial because it was different for Asking Alexandria. You really pushed forward in a way that some fans weren’t ready for yet. Do you feel that now in 2023, everyone is finally on board?
No. Here’s something a lot of people forget because it’s been so many years: when our second album came out, people hated it. People said we changed too much, we sold out, we were just trying to be an eighties hair metal band. They hated it. Then the third album came out and they said we were just trying to be an arena rock band and we should have stuck with the sound we had on the first two albums. Keep in mind, a year-and-a-half prior to this they hated the second one. I wasn’t there for the fourth one, obviously, so I can’t speak on that one. Then we released self-titled and again people complained that it was different. Then we released Like A House On Fire and people complained it was too different, that we changed too much. Now there are people messaging me on if we’ll put in old songs in the set from Like A House On Fire because it’s their favorite album. (It’s my favorite album, also, by the way.) They hated the last album. Now people love that album. This has been the curse of Asking Alexandria since the beginning. Whatever album we did two to three years ago was the good one and whatever we put out most recently people don’t like.
This one, surprisingly, has been different. The concept of doing a fan album in itself leans more towards people liking it off the gate because it’s not us writing songs for ourselves, it’s us writing songs specifically for them. Hopefully that continues to translate in that way.
That’s interesting to hear you say. I’ve heard murmurings, but the 2017 album was the one I remember seeing the most backlash for. I imagine this with every record, but is it tough when people are trying to put you in a box? You have so many different genres you play with, even with your solo stuff.
It is, but I’m so used to it at this point that it’s par for the course. I think maybe that’s why I don’t look forward to albums coming out because I’m just prepared for the tidal wave of shit that I’m going to have to eat. I’ve just got to deal with it for six to 12 months and then people like me again. It’s part of what this band is; we’re a band it’s become cool to be mad at/be upset about. It’s just par for the course. At the end of the day, it’s not something that slows us down or stops us doing – or wanting to do – what we do. We just try to focus on that bit.
It can be frustrating when fans gravitate toward negativity.
It is a very small percentage of them. It’s just a vocal percentage.
Oli Sykes from Bring Me The Horizon wrote a whole song about [how] you can have 1,000 good comments, but you just see the one dude in the comments that says, “You suck,” and it’ll ruin your day. We touched on it briefly, but I do want to ask about your solo work. With every solo record you come back as a stronger vocalist. What are some lessons you’ve learned from these solo albums?
Just how to use my voice. This is not putting down rock singers in any way, but it is an educational note for anyone who is aspiring to be one – singing rock music does not help you learn to sing very well, especially on the more aggressive side of rock. It almost actively does not help you sing. Stepping away and singing things that are not rock music (and specifically not aggressive rock music) actually forces you to learn how to sing and how to use your voice properly and correctly… which I’m then able to bring back into working with Asking Alexandria. That is the place I learned how to do everything. All the Asking Alexandria stuff has been the consequence and the beneficiary of that knowledge, but it’s me singing not-rock music away from the lights, camera, and action of Asking Alexandria that has afforded me the ability to do what I do.
You look at The Long Road Home and I don’t think you could have written a song like “Vultures” directly after that if you hadn’t had that experience.
I actually wrote “Vultures” before that album!
Really? I’ll eat my words! [Laughs]
That was initially for the third album and it was about the record label we were with at the time, which, because of that, got it vetoed off the album. That song was used to get me back.
When you say, ‘get you back,’ you mean, that was the track you brought it to the band and they were like, “Alright,” in response?
No, that was the song… the person who approached me about rejoining the band (or working with the band again), did so by asking how I’d feel feel about them doing the song with a different singer, knowing full well I would say no. That introduced the concept of, “Well, why don’t you come and do it?” It was a smart play. A shady one, but a smart play. I would have played it the exact same way if I was in his shoes.
Wow! Going back into all the cool stuff you have going on, let’s talk about this tour with The Hu. It’s such an incredibly unique tour, but it’s very unconventional. How did it come to fruition?
The keen-eyed people will notice every band on the tour is on the same label. That is where the concept came from. It was brought to us by the label. It’s kind of a collaborative piece. We were in the middle of booking a completely different tour, which we’re trying to do next year, and this was brought by the label as something they really wanted to put together. That’s where that came from.
It’s going to be so fun to see Asking Alexandria, raw rock, and then Mongolian throat metal. It’s such a unique experience.
It’s going to be interesting! We’ll see how it turns out! We’re leaving in two weeks. We’re going to know soon enough.
For all of our New York readers, you guys will be playing here on September 11, and for all of our New Jersey readers, you are coming on September 17. Now, Asking Alexandria had the chance to play the very last Warped Tour 2018 – the last cross country one. Being such a pivotal start for the band, as well as helping you guys get to that American audience, what was it like to close the festival out as one of the big bands, the headliners?
I’m going to preface this answer with [this]: Kevin is wonderful. All the people who worked on Warped Tour have always been nothing but nice to us. They are lovely people. but, personally, I fucking hate Warped Tour [Laughs]. From a band’s perspective, and I know behind the scenes they do a lot of work in making it very organized and putting it all together logistically, but from a band’s perspective… I will say that it is an unorganized mess because you never know when you’re going on stage. Very often there’s no access to a bathroom. No one has dressing rooms. There are no showers. You’re sometimes parked 10 to 15 minutes of a drive away from stage and catering. The catering was… not the best. Warped Tour is not something I’m a fan of and I was very reluctant to do it. We were promised a lot of things from that which unfortunately were then reneged upon after us confirming and announcing. That was annoying and frustrating. Being there for Kevin was good and nice. We were there for, I think, five days. We did our piece. We did our send off. It wasn’t something I wanted to do and it was actually something I swore I would never do again.
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