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The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world
INTERVIEW ASKING ALEXANDRIA BEN BRUCE 2013

HARD ROCK INTERVIEWS 2013 - ASKING ALEXANDRIA - BEN BRUCE

 

ASKING ALEXANDRIA -

Ben Bruce talks to Mark...

ABOUT BREAKING BIG IN THE US, A LOVE OF CLASSIC ROCK AND COMING TO AUSTRALIA FOR SOUNDWAVE 2014

 

ASKING ALEXANDRIA is a band you should be watching very closely. At the moment these guys are flying the flag for Metalcore, riding high in the US charts and touring constantly to rave reviews. Next year they are heading downunder for SOUNDWAVE 2014. Not bad for a little band from York with a love of Skid Row and Guns 'n' Roses... These guys will be huge by the time they get here... The ROCKPIT caught up with Ben Bruce on a rae day off to find out what the secret is to success in the US...

 

 

 

 

Mark: Hi, Ben, how are you?

 


Ben: Not bad, thanks, just enjoying a bit of much needed time off before we head back out on the road again in about a week.

 


Mark; Yeah, you’ve got a few days until you hit Littlerock, what are you up to? Chilling out in the States, or have you had a chance to get back home?

 


Ben: I actually live in the States right now, and I try and do nothing at all, but low and behold my wife came home yesterday from a yoga class and with a brand new puppy dog in tow!!So, now I have to watch this dog piss and shit in the house!!

 


Mark: I guess with all the work you have now, you don’t have much chance to get back to the UK.

 


Ben: No, I think I go back maybe once, twice a year, we’re not back there half as much as I’d like to be.

 


Mark: I think out of all the UK Metal bands, out there at the moment, you are probably the one that has the biggest profile, certainly down here in Australia, there was a massive reaction to you playing Soundwave next year. You have been here before, haven’t you?

 


Ben: Yeah, we played Soundwave in 2011 that was our first time over there; it was at the time of our first album, so we were new to touring anyway. Shortly after that we came over and we supported Amity Affliction.

 


Mark: Taking you back to 2009, it seems to have been a massive few years for you, you seem to be all over the media, all over the States, you’ve still got a number 5 Billboard album, do you feel like the momentum has gone crazy!??

 


Ben: I try not to think about it, I sit down and think about what we’ve achieved and it’s hard to know how you’d react! I don’t want to turn into one of those dickheads. We never thought this was going to be a possibility. At one point I thought if we could play a few shows in front of a few hundred kids at night, in this day and age it’s hard for any band, and so that was really our goal. It is a little bit overwhelming at times.

 



 

 

 

Mark: You’ve sold out European and American tours, and are currently on the Rockstar Mayhem Festival, over there, you’ve got Soundwave coming up, in October, and you’ve just announced the Family Values Festival, and you have some club dates out there in America with Korn. You must be one of the hardest working bands out there! How’s everyone holding up?

 


Ben: It’s funny, I think we are one of the hardest working bands out there; I’ve never come across anyone who has as little time off as us! It does get to a point where half way/three quarters of the way through a tour, I do get tired, and I look like shit, I feel like shit, and I shit far too many times because of all the crap food I’m eating!! I just want to go home, we have anything from four days to a week and a half off, and then after that we are itching to get back out on the road again! We try and keep building  the monster that is  Asking Alexandria, and so it’s a love/hate relationship.

 


Mark: You are an interesting band, in that you are one of the only Metal Core bands that have, let’s say, a few older fans! I don’t know if that’s because of the EP that you did, the tribute to Hard Rock, or that you profess a love of bands like Guns ‘n Roses, Skid Row and all those sort of bands! Do you find that’s a global thing, or is it mostly kids out there?

 


Ben: I think it’s more a global thing, and that has become apparent in the last year. When we started our fan base was mainly made up of 12-16 year old kids, and it’s awesome that they have stuck by us, but, we were very strategic in our touring, and we never pigeon holed ourselves. We went on tour with Avenge Sevenfold, Slayer, Slipknot, and we’ve ended up with Guns ‘n Roses. We’ve done Skid Row covers to try and reach out to an older audience, because we are huge fans, it was definitely a big risk, and people thought it was crazy to try and open up with Slayer, but it’s definitely payed off, as we have a large, older fan base now.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mark: I think you have, and I think you are one of the few bands that have managed it, so well done mate! The new album, “Death to Destiny” is number 5 on the Billboard charts, and your last album went double platinum, it must be a good feeling too, to be one of the only Metal bands out there, selling some records too!

 


Ben: Yeah, again, it’s pretty crazy, I honestly don’t know what that’s down to, I’m just thankful, and hope it continues, we do seem to be selling a lot more records than a lot of bands out there. When we first started and we got signed to a label, they were saying the music industry is not what it used to be and for every one person that buys a record there are twelve people that download it illegally! So, you are not going to make much money touring, and you’re not going to sell many records around the world, and that was kind of disheartening and a bit sad because when I was a kid, I used to save up my pocket money for weeks, and camp outside the record store waiting for a band that I liked to bring out a new release! So, it is a great feeling for us, as I know a lot of bands that are struggling these days.

 


Mark: I think it’s crazy how technology has changed everyone’s attitude to music and the way it’s consumed. One of the interesting things in the lead up to the new album was the quote from either you, or one of the other band members that you were going to do something more radio friendly. I’ve read a few of the reviews and some of the critics seem to be sitting on the fence. Listening to it myself, I see this as your big break from the album, it seems to offer a lot more substance, lyrically, than previous releases, but there’s also a greater variety on there. What’s your take on it, now it’s been out there for a while?

 


Ben: Yeah there were a lot of people that doubted us because we did make it very apparent that we wanted to write a record that we never had the balls to write before. We are influenced by heavy bands such as Slipknot, but then we have this huge passionate love for 80’s bands like Motley Crue and Cinderella and stuff like that. We just decided we were going to do it, we are a modern day rock and roll band, and we are going to get heavier music back on the radio again, and we are going to make an eighties album, that sounds modern. People said it was crazy and that it wouldn’t work, and we’d sound like a bunch of sell outs, and now that the albums out and everyone’s heard it, they say “fuck” you actually did it!! It’s actually nice to walk in to a room and stick my middle finger up and say “fuck you” I told you so!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mark: It’s great because it does work, it’s one of those things where you are right and on tracks like “Don’t Pray for Me”, you really do get that old school metal/rock influence, and I think it’s the guitars that do it, they have that real eighties feel to them, without sounding dated, if that makes sense?

 


Ben: That’s what we were trying to do, we were itching to regurgitate an “ eighties” album, but that really would have fallen on its arse, and would have sounded really cheesy and corny. But we really, really do love that era, so we had to find a way to make it sound fresh and modern, personally, I feel we had a good crack at it and did a good job of doing that.

 


Mark: It’s a great album, and the “Death of Me” has a great video, and is probably one of my favourites on the album, “White Line Fever” is I guess a bit like your older stuff, and some other great stuff on there, and as I said before, I think this will take you to the next level. Have you got any favourites to play live, from the new album?

 

Ben: I think “Death of Me” is probably one of my favourites to play live, because it’s turned in to a bit of an anthem, with people singing it word for word, which is just awesome! It’s definitely one of the highlights of the set for me.

 

Mark: I just have a couple of quick questions we got from people who wanted to ask you questions, when they found out we were doing the interview. Where did the name come from?

 


Ben: It’s hard! It’s harder picking a name for a band than it is going through puberty at school!! I wanted a name that people would remember, and just remember thinking over and over in my head, what do people connect to, what do they connect with? What do they fall in love with? All I could think of was people, they fall in love with other people, and the name Alexandria popped in to my head, it was a nice name and gave it a bit of a personal feel. Actually, “Asking” in front of the name, I have no idea where the fuck that came from!! It just seemed to fit in my head, for whatever reason.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mark: I guess it puts you at the front (alphabetically) of metal bands! If you could have been a fly on the wall for the recording of any great album, at any point in time, what would it have been for you and why?

 


Ben: Probably, Black Sabbath’s debut album, because it changed everything, they almost created metal. It was unlike anything the world had ever heard before. I would just love to know how the hell they managed it! I know probably, it is due to probably a lot of drugs, but it is one of the most influential records of all time. It would definitely be a great one to see take shape.

 


Mark: Yeah, it would be good to see how they thought they’d get away with it, but it has definitely stood the test if time! Now, an easy one to finish with, what is the meaning of life?

 


Ben: What is the meaning of life? Its sex isn’t it?!! We were born to fuck and make babies to carry on your legacy!!

 


Mark: That’s the eighties answer coming through there!! Well, it will be great to see you guys back in Australia, we are really looking forward to it, so all the best with the rest of the tours, and best of luck with the new album. Thanks and take care.

 


Ben: Cheers mate, take care.

 

 

 

 

Ben spoke to Mark Diggins September 2013

 

 

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