“Some of his demons and some of his issues were causing the chaos” – Asking Alexandria’s James Cassells (The VH Interview)

Over the past decade there have been some crazy ups and downs for English metal band Asking Alexandria including multiple vocalist changes, strained relationships, and a whole lot of sex, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll but with the return of original vocalist and co-founding member, Danny Warsnop, the band are at their best and ready to release their latest album, the self titled Asking Alexandria.

They’re also gearing up for their biggest and most elaborate tour so far. The Resurrection Tour kicks off in January 2018 and sees Asking Alexandria co-headlining with good friends Black Veil Brides and according to AA drummer, James Cassells it is going to be big. They are quite literally “pulling out all the stops for this one”.

Rai and Kitty had the chance to have a chat with James ahead of the release of their upcoming self-titled album and this is what he had to say.

So what can we expect from the new album?

It’s definitely a progression. I mean, the last album we made with the five guys in the band as it is now was From Death to Destiny, we finished writing that album in 2013 – a long time ago. We’ve all matured, we’ve changed as people, as musicians since then so obviously it’s going to sound a little bit different, but that being said I think we’ve always kept in mind that we never wanted to turn our back on our loyal fans. We’ve got some super loyal fans, like mental, crazy loyal fans that have been fans of us since 2009 – they follow us around the country, around Europe, wherever in the world we are they’re there at all the shows, you know? So, we never wanted to turn our backs on them, we still wanted it to sound like Asking.

We don’t want it to be like a different fucking band but it’s a different vibe, there’s a little bit of something for everyone on the album. I definitely feel like if people are into the new songs that have been out and we’ve also been releasing little snippets on our Instagram’s, like little tiny bits of the songs. So, if people are into that then they’re going to like the album. It’s got a lot of good songs on it and we’re very proud of it.

The video for ‘Into the Fire’ is really powerful, what’s the story behind that? 

To start off, the video has got multiple parts to it, it’s in a chronological order visually but actually lyrically I think it’s more telling a story of what’s gone on in the past. Obviously there is like an internal battle that is going on with Danny, you know? You obviously see the representation of his “good side” and his “bad side” and what’s going on and how that has affected the rest of us as a group. It’s sort of him fighting with his demons, like maybe it was some of his actions back when we parted ways for a bit, tensions were high – we weren’t on the best terms. But Danny’s now seen some of his demons and some of his issues were causing the chaos. So, it’s really playing into that, visualising that in a very cinematic way and on a grand scale – car accidents, crazy effects and whatnot.

Obviously, we wanted an impact, we wanted a video where people could just be like “whoa, that’s cool!” and we wanted it to be like where someone who has never heard of us could watch the video and just be like “holy shit, that’s dope! That’s fucking badass!”.

But then again, the fans who are familiar with our stories, familiar with what’s been happening, they can read into this lyrically, visually, they can see what’s going on and be like “wow, this has a message behind it.” It’s not just like it’s good and evil or whatever, there is actually a deeper thing going on. And we do have a few songs on the album, like Danny’s got some stuff to say, we’ve got some stuff to say, got some stuff to address and we also have the future of Asking set up – there’s all sorts.

It sounds like it’s a bit of a concept album?

Yeah, there’s themes and stories and ideas that roll through the whole album, I wouldn’t put it as a concept album but it definitely has themes going through it.

You have toured with Black Veil Brides before, are you looking forward to the upcoming tour? 

Of course, yeah, we’re really good friends with Black Veil. We toured with them a lot in the past, we both supported Avenged Sevenfold on some US tours, we’ve done multiple Warped Tours together, countless festivals, but this is the first time where it’s going to us and them both doing a headline length set. It’s a cool experience, it’s going to be really, really cool and touring with your friends is always a good time. I think back in the day it would be a little bit more crazy but I think as bands and individuals we’ve probably calmed down a little bit as we’ve gotten older.

Yeah, you definitely used to be crazy.

Yeah, yeah. I mean back in 2010 and 2011 it would have been a fucking shit-show but I think now we’ve grown up a bit and we’re not as crazy. It’ll just be a fun time.

I’m sure it will still be rock ‘n’ roll though.

Oh very much so. We’re both bringing a very grandiose show, it’s gonna be big. We’re pulling out all the stops for this one. This is the biggest production and the biggest show we’re bringing to any of these rooms. It’s going to be cool.

Are you looking forward to being back in the UK as well?

Oh, of course. It’s been a long time since we’ve been in the UK, even though the last tour we did we were doing a Europe tour, it was earlier this year and we played Brixton this year with Parkway Drive and played Rock City and few other places, Leeds as well. So we’ve been in the UK this year but it always feels like a long time, and since then we’ve been working on this new album and we’ve been doing a lot of stuff in the States. None of us have actually been back in the UK so it will be nice to back. The UK shows on the tour are definitely selling the most, I think Manchester’s already sold out.

Manchester is always usually my favourite of the tour. I really like Manchester, it’s always a good time. I like the Academy as well, it’s a good venue. I’m super stoked about Manchester. I’m super stoked about all the shows to be honest but yeah, I’m really excited to get back to the UK. I feel like our UK fans, again, are really loyal, very supportive and obviously very happy to have Danny back. And from what I tell from all the people who were listening to Daniel P Carter’s Rock Show the other day people are really liking the new sound. They’re liking the new direction and it’s going to be a good time.

QUICKFIRE ROUND!

What did you have for breakfast?

Bacon, eggs, toast.

What’s left on your bucket list?

I’d really like to go skydiving. Oh and I’d really like to get my diver’s license because I’ve been diving before but I’ve never actually got my license so I really want to do that because that was fucking cool. I did it in Hawaii, it was really sick, properly crazy. Me and my fiancée did it and it was like “wow, this is fucking crazy, I need to do this more often.”

If a movie was made about the band, who would play you? 

Um… it’s kind of funny, when I was in school everyone used to say I looked like an actor, what’s his fucking name? He was in Pearl Harbour and 40 Days and 40 Nights, what’s that guy called?

Josh Hartnett?

Josh Hartnett, yeah, everyone used to say I used to look like him so probably him. Everyone just called me Josh Hartnett, that’s what I was called in school.

Which member of the band has the worst tour hygiene? 

Ahh, probably Danny. He’s actually cleaned himself up, he’s not half as bad as he used to be but probably Danny.

Which of you would definitely NOT survive zombie apocolypse? 

Ben. Ben would not survive. Ben would be the first to go I think.

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Asking Alexandria is out now via Sumerian Records.

The Resurrection Tour (supporting Black Veil Brides)
23 Jan – O2 Academy Birmingham
24 Jan – Manchester Academy
25 Jan – O2 Academy Glasgow
27 Jan – O2 Academy Brixton, London