English Rockers, Asking Alexandria, have taken the music world by storm with their aggressive Metalcore dynamics that serve as an emotional outlet for their dedicated fanbase. Between globetrotting to bring to life adrenaline-fueled shows and blistering albums charged with passion, Asking Alexandria remains true to their vision and have created a face-melting world of riotous rock. I caught up with Guitarist, Ben Bruce, to discuss the recent release of the band’s self-titled fifth studio album, the joys of becoming a Father, upcoming tour with Black Veil Brides, being human, tattoos and more.
Congrats on the recent release of your self-titled fifth studio album. Tell us about the approach toward the recording and creative process this time around.
That’s a hard one to answer. We didn’t have any structure this time around. We decided that we wanted to just go back to doing what we love to do, and that’s creating music that we enjoy creating. Our number one goal behind creating this record was to make sure that we were all having a good time while creating it. If creating the record began to feel like “work”, we were doing it wrong. We just decided that there were going to be no time constraints, no one telling us what to do, no one telling us what we had to write, etc. We just wanted to write for us no matter how long the album was going to take to create.
That’s great. I perceive that that approach could open up a lot of new creative avenues for you guys and allowed you guys to create music purely from the heart.
Exactly. I mean, we’re guilty of it too, yet it seems like such a shame when you follow through with getting told what you have to do and what you have to create from labels, etc. Somewhere along the line, it turns into your career and you lose the innocence and awe that comes with the excitement of the beginning when you’re in the midst of trying to get signed. We just wanted to get that feeling back, you know?
Right. You guys worked with Matt Good (Producer/From First To Last) in the studio this time around. What did you learn through working with him?
The best part about working with Matt was that we’re such good friends with him. It isn’t like we entered the studio and had to connect with a new producer, you know? It was more of an overall enjoyable experience because we woke up knowing that we were going to the studio to hang out with our buddy who just so happens to be producing our new record. We had a really great time, it was just fun. It didn’t feel like work.
That’s awesome. Speaking of your friends, you guys are gearing up for tour with Black Veil Brides. Since you have been touring the world for years, what are some tips or practices that you incorporate on the road to ensure that you maintain both your mental and physical health on the road?
It’s a hard thing to do. Back when we first started touring, we got blinded by the lights, the glitz and the glamour. There is alcohol and drugs everywhere, and people think that just because we are “rock stars”, we can do whatever we please. We have been through all of that, and it’s dangerous and difficult to get out of. I think that over the years, through experience, we have grown up and matured. We have discovered all of the traps and potential pitfalls. Currently, the most important thing is to simply stay grounded and keep in touch with people back home. For me, it is very important to live as normal of a life as I possibly can while I am out on the road by staying in touch with my wife, kids, parents, etc.
We used to drink all night and stay out until the early hours of the morning, yet not anymore. I like to keep a home schedule while I am out on the road. I wake up in the morning, explore the city that I am in and take advantage of the fact that I am seeing the world and experiencing all of these diverse cultures. We had to learn our lesson the hard way, but I am glad that we did.
Photo Credit: Sanjay Parikh Media
Yeah, totally. Maintaining that balance and keeping in touch with loved ones back home is so important. Speaking of your home life, I noticed that you started up ‘Daddy Diaries’ on your YouTube Channel. What made you want to share your journey of fatherhood with your fans?
We started Daddy Diaries back when I had my daughter in 2016. I have two kids now. I feel like I have been in the limelight and in the public eye ever since I was a very young kid. People all over the world have watched me grow, they’ve watched me make my mistakes, and they’ve been through this crazy journey alongside me. I was heavily into drugs and alcohol in the past, and people have seen that side of me, yet they’ve also seen me grow into the man that I am today.
I am so much happier within my life now. I have so much to be thankful for and I just felt that it would be a nice thing to share with my fanbase. It is similar sharing a massive life lesson; it doesn’t matter how dark and dreary things get in life, you can always come out on the other side. If you want to, you will come out on the other side.
Ultimately, you are showcasing human elements of who you are. You have been in the limelight as a musician for years on end, yet sharing these human characteristics with your fanbase reminds them that at the end of the day, you are simply a human being.
Yeah, totally. I think that people forget that we are human beings. For instance, I posted a picture of my daughter headbanging to the new album and someone commented back, “Your daughter must be f**king deaf because the album sucks.”
You know, music is subjective, and that individual does not have to enjoy the album. At all. Yet, as a human being, why would you drag someone’s child into your petty argument? Why did this human being have to say anything at all? I think that people really do forget that we are people too. What if there was a different circumstance in which I just went up to a woman listening music amongst her child and repeated to her what this individual said to me? She’d probably call the cops!
That sparks the stigma that comes with leading life in the limelight. Being a “public figure” can aid in so many individuals growth, and become such a tool for the “public figure” to grow through by simply sharing their experiences to help others. I personally perceive that misery loves company, and an individual as the one that you encountered has their own personal insecurities that they have to face, and it’s unfortunate that they chose to take that out on you.
Yeah. I like to encourage positivity. I come across a lot of younger people through my line of work that are upset within their lives. I come across a lot of people who do feel out of place and trapped. I’ve been through alot in life, and I think that it is important to show these people what I have been through and where I am now to inspire and instill hope into them.
Well, what you are sharing is indeed helping others, and it can’t get any more fulfilling than that. Let’s talk tattoos. Tell us about some of your favorite personal pieces and the tattoo artists that you worked with to bring them to life.
Oh gosh! None of my tattoos are finished. I am 29-years-old and I started getting tattooed when I was 16-years-old! Life has sort of gotten in the way. I remember back when I was younger, I started to get really covered in tattoos. I started my chest piece, my neck, and my arms, and then tour took over and I was never in the same place as my tattoo artist who is based in New Jersey. His name is Sean Zee. I wanted to be loyal to him, yet fast forward, I am still a half-colored sketch book!
I actually had another tattoo artist in the UK by the name of JJ Jackson start up my stomach. I am just half of a masterpiece right now.
You’re well on the way. We all get these sporadic pieces and expand beyond what we started, yet I perceive that it speaks to all of our individual chapters of life and serves as a reminder to live life in the moment.
I like to think that I haven’t managed to get my tattoos finished because I am busy and am balancing all of the other things within my life that are worthwhile. I will get my tattoos finished when I have time to breathe, it’s no big deal.
Totally. Last but certainly not least, any closing messages for your fans?!
I just want to say thank you for continuing on this journey with us. For all of those who have been there with us ever since the beginning, you know what a crazy ride it has been. We have experienced ups and downs to get to where we are today, and we are extremely happy and super excited about this album. We made this album purely out of the love that we have for creating music together as the original five members of Asking Alexandria. It is an honor to see so many people enjoying and embracing what we have created together, and we cannot thank you enough.
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