Monthly Archives: October 2014

*Interview* James Cassells(Asking Alexandria) 2/10/14

aa poster
On Thursday(2/10/14) evening I got a phone call from James Cassells, the drummer of British hard rock/metalcore band Asking Alexandria
(https://www.facebook.com/askingalexandria), to have a chat ahead of their Irish shows next Tuesday(28/10/14) in Ulster Hall in Belfast and Wednesday(29/10/14) in The Olympia Theatre in Dublin. A limited number of remaining tickets can be purchased here; http://www.ticketmaster.ie/search?tm_link=tm_homeA_header_search&user_input=asking+alexandria&q=asking+alexandria&search.x=0&search.y=0
The band is currently on the UK and Ireland leg of their ”From Death to Destiny” European Tour. James had only just arrived in the UK the day before he phoned me for our interview, our conversation can be read below after the videos.


Christopher; Are you looking forward to being back touring Europe?
James; Yeah man of course always, always a good laugh coming back to Europe and the UK and that. I think it’s mainly because we don’t get to do it as often as say when we get to tour America and what not. So yeah always, always good fun. Great time to come back to Ireland aswell, feels like it’s been a minute since we’ve been there I think the last time was when we played with While She Sleeps and Motionless [in White] that was fucking ages ago. It’s been a while man. It’s hard just trying to fit everywhere in the world because now as a band our status is going up everywhere in the world, like we’re getting bigger in South America, Australia and Asia. Trying to fit everywhere in, in one year is a fucking mission and have a little bit of time to ourselves so we don’t go insane. So it sucks that we don’t get to come as often.

C; What do you like about Ireland? Any favorite places to visit while over here?
J; We’ve only played Belfast I think two time and last time we were there was like the second time. We’ve got to play Dublin a bunch of times and I really like Dublin. [Last time] we played two nights in a row in The Academy so we sort of just had a bit of downtime you know to just fucking mess around in the city and what not. ’cause usually everyone thinks ‘oh your in a band you’ve seen all these cities, you know your way around’. No we dont, we get there, wake up, soundcheck and then we just got to wait around, play the show. We don’t really have a lot of time to go and see places. We don’t really get to experience a city unless we’ve a day off there or do two nights in a row so [that] we’ve full days to mess around. So yeah I would say Dublin is one of my favourte places in Ireland just ’cause of that reason.

C; What can fans expect to see on the upcoming tour?
J; A lot more material from ”From Death to Destiny”, which obviously last time we didn’t really play, we played one song, so a lot more ”From Death to Destiny”. I think we’ve got a bunch more production, we’ve got more lights and stuff and some other cool production things. As always its going to be a drunken laugh, plenty of all the stuff we shouldn’t be doing is going to be going on, fun as ever in the Asking Alexandria camp.
In one of the previous interviews I was saying I’m really stoked to play like a bigger venue, ’cause you know when we played Dublin the last few times, The Academy is so fucking small and it’s cool playing the small venues like your in everyone’s face and into it but it’ll be cool now to see it on a little bit bigger scale so I’m really stoked about that.

C; What decisions went into choosing the supports for this tour?
J; I mean to be honest we sort of, we just pick the people we kind of want to tour with. Were good mates with The Ghost Inside, we’ve toured with them a bunch, done a bunch of shit with them, their great friends of ours. Again we’ve toured with Crown the Empire a loads of times and their like a band who is up and coming, on the rise, we always like to bring out bands, give them a helping hand, plenty of bands when we were on the way up helped us out and took us out on tours. So that’s what we like to do with bands that are a few years behind us in terms of coming up and getting to the point where they can do headlining tours and shit. So it’s always nice to do that.

J; The opener band Secrets I’m actually not too familiar with.
C; They’re one of my favorite newer bands right now, so I’m very excited to see them.
J; Our booking agents super stoked on them too. I’ll get to know them over the tour but I don’t really know that band at all so I’m rather interested to hear them. Usually we just pick our support bands because we’re mates with them, we just like to have fun on tour, what better way to have fun than with your mates.

C; Favorite band to tour with?
J; I’ve only ever had the opportunity to tour with this band once on an actual tour and not a festival tour and it’s Breath Carolina, they are probably some of the funnest guys to tour with, its dangerous don’t get me wrong, it’s very dangerous but they’re a lot of fun, like Davids one of my good friends, always a laugh. Apart from that I like touring with so many bands man like Trivium, awesome guys, I really like touring with Avenged [Sevenfold] they’re fucking great guys, yeah just a shit load of bands.
It’s funny like the more you go into touring and you get to tour with bigger bands you’d be surprised you think everybody has got an attitude or is a cunt but they’re really not, everybody is super nice and it’s actually like real refreshing to get a chance to tour with some of your favorite bands like you grew up listening to and they’re actually fucking super cool. Like we got the opportunity to tour with Korn, they took us out not too long ago and their fucking cool as shit dude, like fucking awesome, I was like your Korn I grew up listening to you, fucking sick.
Suicide Silence they’re another band that is really fun to tour with, good mates of ours.

C; Favorite song to play live?
J; Mines ”Killing You” off ”From Death to Destiny” I don’t know why I just really like the song. It was one of those songs that was written, I think Ben came to me with a rift right and we just tracked this one rift and we left it for months. We were on the drive back from tour and we had a two day drive back and it was just me and Ben on the bus, bored as shit, so we were just like fuck it we’re going to finish this song. I really liked it. So it’s probably one of my favorites to play live, just ’cause of that reason I just really like the song, it feels really natural for me to play you know.

C; Speaking of songs on the album why was ”Dead” not on the standard edition of the album?
J; Politics of music, I wanted it to be really bad but certain people in our team didn’t think it was a good idea, it’s basically because the lyrical content and the vibe of ”Dead” is super dark, super aggressive, evil, the lyrical content and the music wise it’s something would be more fitting to go on like say ”Reckless & Relentless” where ”From Death to Destiny” is more of an uplifting, more positive that’s the sort of vibe with the album. So really it’s probably one of my favorite songs on the album but it doesn’t really go with the rest of the album.
C; And it has that really cool Phantom of the Opera type vibe to it.
J; At the end the really cinematic, epic, yeah it’s cool. Expect more of that shit on our next album by the way, were going to go to town with that shit it’s going to be like Phantom of the Opera shipped into hell and back again, it’s going to be sick.

C; Will we ever be lucky enough to hear ”Dead” live?
J; We’re not planning on playing it on this upcoming tour, I will say that. It sucks because we don’t get to play a bunch of songs I’d like to play just because we have certain songs that if we don’t play people are going to be super fucking pissed with us and we can’t play, well technically we could play three hours but who wants to watch a band for three hours, I mean they could be my favorite band in the world but I aint standing up for three hours watching a band, I’m going to get bored, I’m going to be like I’m nackered I want to go to a bar and chill.
We try to play around an hour, inbetween an hour and ten and an hour and thirty, that’s usually as long as we like, that’s like a good set time anyways, so we try to cram as many songs into that as possible but you know like I said we have to play multiple songs off the albums and were still picking and choosing at that sort of.
Unfortunately we haven’t gotten a chance to play ”Dead” yet. I’m feeling like latter on though down the line songs we’re probably going to end up do shows, that are all songs that didnt really make it live, so we can just get a chance to play, we’ll do a tour of all the songs people want to hear that we never got around to playing.
C; Like ”The Match”(off ”Reckless & Relentless”)?
J; Yeah ”The Match” is another one, ”A Candlelight Dinner with Inamorta” from our first album, loads of people got pissed with us because we didn’t play that. What else is there, ”Believe” that’s another one that people want to hear and ”The Road”, oh shit we haven’t played ”The Road” yet, we got to pick up the slack. I’m sure we’ll get around to it at some point.

C; When can we expect the fourth album?
J; You should be expecting the fourth album by Summer next year ’cause we’ve only started writing it, we’ve written a shit load of music for it, some tracks we’ve got like actually fully recorded, like obviously we’ll re-record them, we’ve got a load of material man. I tell everyone like, were not like most bands, most bands will like record an album, then tour the album, then they’ll stop touring and go write the next album, then go record the album and do the same shit again. We never stop writing music, so its just a constant thing. We’ve got such a lot of shit done, it’s just now finding time to actually go into the studio to do prepro, get it tracked, to get it finished. I think we’re planning on doing it early next year. We’re just trying to work out where were going to go and record it and what not.

C; You’ve recorded three albums with Joey (Sturgis) as the producer are you planning to stick with him?
J; We don’t really know who we’re going to go with just yet. We’re still trying to lineup everyones scheduels and what not. Which is you know a big thing in the music industry, everyones doing shit at other times, got other commitments and what not so it can be a bit of a pain in the ass to get them sorted.

C; Can we expect the One Step Closer intro you’ve been playing lately?
J; I don’t know to be honest that’s never something we actually plan. It just happens. We do a bunch of like half assed covers and then we stop. That sort of shit just happens over time, if we’ve been doing a certain setlist for a couple of weeks on tour and we’re getting a bit bored inbetween songs we just start fucking around and by the end of the tours its become like a pernament thing in the set. We never plan on it be like this is going to continue on to the next tour. It’ll just happen or it won’t. I’d like it to be, its always good fun when we do that shit. There’s always something that’s improvised and goes on.
C; Do you remember the ham in Ireland last time, the ham that got thrown up on to your drumkit?
J; Oh yeah, shit like that is crazy, weird memorable things thats are always happening when we play live, that’s what makes it so special, regardless of where your playing or who you are playing to when stuff like that happens it sticks with you and it will remind you of just how awesome that time was.

C; Favorite drummer? (Question from Jacob Woulfe @Mr_Woulfe on Twitter!)
J; Ah shit dude thats hard. At the moment I’m really obsessed with a dude called Tony Royster JR, he is not a metal drummer at all, he is playing for like Jay-Z at the moment, he is such a fucking beast. His Instagram posts are just him shredding all the time, its like you fucking bastard, he is probably my favorite at the moment.

C; Why do you now play Tama kits instead of Truth kits? (Question from William Woods Follow My Lead’s drummer, check them out @_FML_Official_ on Twitter!)
J; My relationship with Truth didn’t go sour, I’m still good friends with Jeff. It’s just we play a lot of international shit, we’ll be playing in Asia, Australia and like everywhere in the world and because Truth is such a small custom company they can’t provide me with drumkits everywhere in the world and it’s to expensive to ship over a drum kit over, if you did that the costs would be insane. So I had to move to a bigger company that could give me the correct international support because basically we just got done with an Asia tour and obviously there is no Truth kits in Asia yet, so I was just playing on any old piece of shit rentals and I can’t afford to do that when we’re playing shows to thousands of people and they expect everything it to be perfect and I’m playing a not so decent kit. So I had to move to a bigger company and Tama’s been a company that I’ve loved for many years so it just seemed like a naturual progression to move over to them. I’ll actually be playing a brand new custom kit on this tour, it’ll be the first tour I’m playing it so I’m super stoked about that. It’s going to look metal as fuck.

Check out Asking Alexandria’s newest video for ”Moving On” below!

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Black Veil Brides/Jake Pitts Interview 7/10/2014

BVB support
On Tuesday(7/10/14) evening I got to phone Jake Pitts, the lead guitarist of American hard rock/metal band Black Veil Brides(https://www.facebook.com/Blackveilbrides), to have a chat ahead of their show next Wednesday(15/10/14) in The Olympia Theatre in Dublin. A limited number of remaining tickets(€31.40 including booking fee) can be purchased here; http://www.ticketmaster.ie/black-veil-brides-dublin-10-15-2014/event/18004CC4D0733140?artistid=1469883&majorcatid=10001&minorcatid=200
NOTE: Doors have been changed from 19.00 to 18.00. The band is currently on the UK and Ireland leg of their BLACKMASS Tour with support coming from Attila, Fearless Vampire Killers and Drama Club. My interview with Jake can be read below after the video.

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Christopher; Are you enjoying the tour so far?
Jake; Oh yeah man absolutely it’s been a blast.

C; Are you enjoying being back in Europe?
J; I mean yeah, everytime we come over to the UK you know, for me personally I think we have the best shows over here because the crowds are big, you know, this is probably where we have our largest fan base. So we always look forward to coming here.

C; Continuing on from that you said(on twitter @JakePittsBVB) that London on this tour was possibly your favorite show ever, how did that go?
J; Ah well, I mean it went exactly like I said, you know if it wasn’t the best show, in my book it was definitely one of the top if not the best. It just everything went really well you know. I think we were all kind of stressing out a bit as it was the second show of the tour, we haven’t toured in 7 months. So were all a little nervous going into that the big production show, you know, we get to do the full blown pyro and all that kind of stuff and brixton, brixton is such a big venue and you know it’s such a cool place. But I don’t know I guess we were all just on our game, we played well I think. The pyro worked well, you know we’ve had issues with pyro before where ques were missed and it wasn’t going along with the song right and they’d mess it up and so that would really bum us out in past shows but this time everything was on so I think it just got us all jacked up a little more and we were all just really into the show and just had a blast.

C; What can fans expect to see on the upcoming tour?
J; Hopefully our best show that we’ve put on to date. I think were getting tigher as a band so were playing better. Were playing you know a little bit of everything, everything from the first record, some stuff from ‘Set the World on Fire’, some from ‘Wretched and Divine’ and then were playing some new songs aswell. So I think it’s definitely the best show that we’ve put on so far in our career, so it’s something that you know you don’t want to miss.

C; It’s a very balanced setlist do you think that was something important to have to show the history of the band?
J; Yeah man I mean I think when you go to see any band, you know there’s going to be favorites from each record and I think it’s important to give, you know we don’t want to go out and just play new stuff that nobody has heard cause then everybody will be sitting there going I’ve never heard this song and they can’t sing along.
Our fans and our crowds definitely like to sing along and I think we’ve some of the loudest fans out of any band. So even though we are playing a couple of new songs nobody has heard yet and you can tell there is sort of disconnect for those couple of songs we do. But with all the other ones everybody knows the songs. So I think it’s really important to give fans something from each record because there’s always the kids who are going to say I like ‘We Stitch These Wounds’ the first record that mys favorite. Everybody is going to have their favorite record, favorite song so hopefully we can appeal to everybody in the crowd and give them a little bit of everything.

C; Personally I’m pretty happy to see ‘Sweet Blasphemy’ in the setlist.
J; Yeah we brought that back, we haven’t played that in like four years. Its a fun song to play, we missed playing that one so we decided to bring it back and it’s going over well.

C; Correct me if I’m wrong but you only just started playing ‘Coffin’ live on this tour?
J; Yes, we had never played it live before, we always talked about it and wanted to, we’ve done it at soundcheck before tours and tours ago we would just kind of bust it out just for fun to see if we could play and we could play it. So we were like why don’t we play that one. I love that one I think it’s great. So we finally worked it into the set and decided to not only play new songs but to play songs we’ve never played before out of the old stuff. I think that ones going over well it seems like that’s one people really get into when we play that.

C; The only thing with Coffin is that it seems a bit odd to not have played it live before since it had a music video and it was one of your more story driven videos.
J; Yeah exactly that was the thing we shot a video for it and everything. I don’t know why it took so long for us to start playing it but I guess it’s better late than never.

C; What decissions went into choosing the supports for this tour?
J; Well basically in the states we have Falling in Reverse supporting us and we wanted to have them over here but due to issues with their singer, I’m not really sure what all the legalities are but I’m sure your aware of his past and everything but I guess they can’t come here yet. So we did Warped Tour in the states and Attila was on it a couple year ago and we became friends with those guys and we always talked about bringing them out on a tour. It sort of I dont really if their a band that, a lot of people were I guess kind of shocked ‘thats a weird lineup’ or whatever but were friends with them and we asked them if they wanted to do it and they were all about it.

C; That’s how it should be in the end tour with your friends bands if you can.
J; If we can bring some of our friends out we’ll try to do that as much as we can.

C; Favorite band to tour with as a continuation of that? (Queston from Cian Cowley @ciancarnage on twitter.)
J; I still think to this day, I mean obviously I love our tours that we headline and everything just because we are headlining and its our show our crowd and there’s nothing that beats that but as for being an opening band on tour with somebody I’d have to say Avenged Sevenfold was definitely my favorite that we’ve done so far.

C; Continuing on from that a band you’d like to open for that you haven’t yet?
J; Boy I dont know. I mean honestly I don’t really have an answer for that I would say Avenged Sevenfold but we’ve done that already, I would like to do direct support for Avenged Sevenfold. They’re fun guys they’re really cool and they have huge arenas shows so I’d love to do that again. As far as somebody else that we haven’t yet anybody that is playing big arenas, it’d be awesome to go on tour with Metallica.

C; And you never know.
J; You never know, maybe we could do that someday.

C; Favorite guitarist?
J; Paul Gilbert.

C; Favorite song to play live?
J; Right now I’d have to say ‘Faithless’. I think that’s just my all around favorite song right now.

C; Who are you currently endorsed by? Guitars?
J; I play my own signature Schecter c-1 guitar and were using Marshall amps.

C; What’s the song writing process like for you nowadays?
J; Well I mean you know its different, every song is different it just depends on how it starts, sometimes we start with somebody will have a melody in their head or I’ll have a guitar riff, I mean every song is different. Typically the way I write a song since I’m a guitar player and have my own studio and do all the production side of things, it could be anything from you know having a simple piano melody . Something I’ve been doing lately that I haven’t ever really done before was just taking my iPhone out when I have an idea pop in my head and just humming out could be a guitar solo idea or a guitar riff and I’ll just hum it out into the voice note recorder and I’ll just import those into pro tools and try and translate that to guitar and figure out whatever the idea was that was in my head. Usually it starts out with a riff and you just buld it from there and start adding drums and bass and all the other elements and just expand on it and make every part the best it can be.

C; Black Veil Brides 4 your new album is out on the 27th are you looking forward to the response that will follow it’s release?
J; Yeah, absolutely I can’t wait to see the respone, I think so far everything has been so positive. The anticapation and the buzz behind it. I hope it does as well as I expect it to.

C; How’d it feel to work with Bob Rock?
J; For me the thing that made me pick up a guitar was Metallicas ‘Black Album’ and that’s what got me into really wanting to play guitar. I was 13 year old and it wasn’t just Metallica itself it was the production of that album and just hearing how heavy the guitar tone was it really caught my attention and basically made me want to do that. So fast forward to today and getting to work with Bob Rock, basically when it comes to being a producer Bob Rock is the rockstar of producers when it comes to producers he is one of them that if you don’t know many producers you probably know who Bob Rock is for the most part. It was really really cool, it’s kind of something that is hard to explain but definitely a very cool moment and achievement in my life.

C; And as a final question; You just released a Music Video for ‘Heart of Fire’ yesterday and it’s exactly that ”fire”, lots of fire. How did shooting go for that?
J; Oh man it was hell. We actually shot two videos that day and it was out in Santa Clara, California, it was a massive heat wave going on that week in Los Angeles and out there its inland a little ways. I think that day it got up to 111 and we filmed the first video in doors but we were wearing leather jackets and all that and they didn’t have the AC on and we had pyro inside too, so it got like, they finally turned the AC on and we started to cool down a little but then everytime we would shoot they would have to turn the AC off and we would turn on all the pyro and it’d get really hot really quickly. Then we took like an hour break and then we went and shot the video for ‘Heart of Fire’ outside and even though it was night and it was dark, I think it was still like 97 degrees out so and being surrounded by pyro. It was definitely very wam and a very tiring day I think we were out there for like 14 hours straight but it looks pretty awesome so it’s definitely worth it.

Check out Black Veil Brides newest video for ‘Heart of Fire’ below!