Every band has its ups and downs, and Asking Alexandria are no strangers to industry struggles including dramatic lineup changes and genre shifts. Despite the disruption of frontman Danny Worsnop’s departure in 2015, the UK heavy metal quintet merely accelerated with the addition of Denis Stoff (ex. Make Me Famous, Down & Dirty) on lead vocals. With newfound motivation and rediscovery of their heavier roots, Asking Alexandria are building hype to their fourth full-length release produced by metal maestro Joey Sturgis. The Black will hit stores on March 25, 2016 and is available for pre-order here.
Drummer and founding member, James Cassells, sat down with Tattoo.com amid the British Invasion Tour with While She Sleeps and Bullet For My Valentine to discuss the parallels of the music industry and tattoo culture as well as the events surrounding the addition of Denis Stoff, band rejuvenation, and their highly anticipated album release.
Music and tattoos very obviously go hand in hand. As a drummer in a mostly metal band, would you say that the industry has influenced tattoos in any specific direction?
You guys are constantly traveling. Are there any certain tattoo trends that you notice more in the United Kingdom versus the rest of the world?
I think the old school tattoos are much more popular, still, in the UK. I feel like the new wave of, like, the textured 3D looking stuff is starting to come into the UK now, but I think it’s definitely still primarily an American thing.
Denis Stoff joined the band fairly recently in place of Danny Worsnop. It seems that you’ve gone back to your roots a bit by revisiting the heavier elements of Asking Alexandria. Does it feel like a new band in a sense, or do you get the same excitement as when you first started the group?
I feel like it’s been like a shock to the system. It’s revamped– rebooted the band, you know? He’s like a spark of “Oh, sweet!” It’s not a new band but definitely more of how we used to feel when we were on stage. We were always just so pumped for the show, and since he’s joined it’s been like that every single time.
It must have been refreshing to write this new album, The Black, with a new member and having been able to regroup a little bit. Were there any negative experiences while writing and recording?
The only thing that I found to be negative about the experience was just that it took us a minute to get Denis’ Visa. We actually had to cancel two UK shows, which really sucked, because that’s obviously where we’re from, and they were our first shows with Denis. In terms of actually creating the album, everything has been going so well. It feels natural and easy, you know? We’re able to just write a song in a day, send it to Denis, wake up the next day, and already have vocals for it. Then it’s like, “Shit, we just did a song in 48 hours.” And it was even less than that. There was one particular song called “Send Me Home,” and we wrote it like that. I went to stay at Ben’s house just for a laugh– just ‘cause we were bored– wrote a song, sent it to Denis, and the next morning it comes back and hasn’t changed. It’s made the album exactly like it is. That’s an example of how easy it was and how natural it felt. Songs were coming out of fuckin’ nowhere, you know?
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