Asking Alexandria's new album 'Like A House On Fire' is out now! To celebrate, we asked guitarist Ben Bruce to talk us through the album, track-by-track. Are you strapped in?
'HOUSE ON FIRE'
“I think it was particularly important for us to open the record like this. Not only does it encompass the album but it also encompasses our whole career. There is every aspect of Asking Alexandria in here. There are big guitar riffs, there are heavy sections, there are soft sections, there are strings, there’s electronics, there’s a soaring chorus. It’s everything that AA has been and what it’s been becoming over the last 12 years.
“I think it also talks about how we have been our own worse enemy and got in our own way before. It hopefully makes people realise that a lot of times you will be getting in your own way and it’s ok to let go and burn something to the ground if you can rebuild it bigger and stronger and better than before. That’s how we wanted this journey to start. We’ve burnt down our house, a fair few times, but we’ve always rebuilt it on the same foundations and grown and learnt from it.”
'THEY DON’T WANT WHAT WE WANT (AND THEY DON’T CARE)'
"The thing that I love about a song is that it's completely open to interpretation from the listener. With this song, some people will think politics. Some people will think we are literally talking to fans that don’t support our change in direction. For me, it’s just a big middle finger. There are so many people who feed you stuff and try and manipulate your thoughts and tell you what to think and what to do. I think for a lot of people that’s a scary thing, including us. People are like ‘I want to hear this from you. I want to hear that from you. You need to do this now’. Ultimately, no one cares about us and our band more than we do. Why would you rely on other people to do something when they don’t care about it as much as you? No-one can really tell you what you want and why you want it, except for you. So this is just a big middle finger to that."
'DOWN TO HELL'
"I think something that’s such an important part of music, and something that people take for granted, is that it’s ok to have a song that you don’t need to dissect. It doesn’t always have to have a crazy hidden meaning. It can just be a song that can make you want to bang your head or tap your foot or jump up and down. A lot of rock and roll is quite simply that, and this song is exactly that. I’ve always thought of Asking Alexandria as a rock band and we’ve always had big rock songs, which is why it surprises me that people still ask us ‘Where are the screams and the breakdowns’ because that’s never been just what Asking Alexandria has ever been about."
"There are a couple of reasons we chose for this to be the first song we released when we announced the record. The first is the energy. We wrote a lot of the songs on this album to be played live, and ‘Antisocialist’ is one of those songs. When we do get to finally play it live people will be bouncing up and down and singing at the top of their lungs. That’s the point of it.
"Also, everything is so serious and scary and negative right now. There’s always some big message or agenda and someone always telling you to be scared of something. All I want to say is ‘Oh would you just fuck off’. I’m bored of hearing the same things over and over again. I’m bored of scaremongering. It all just sparked from there. We’re sure that everybody feels this way but nobody ever says it, because there are repercussions. You can’t just walk into work or school and tell your boss or teacher to fuck off, but you want to. So we’ll say it for people. We want people to be able to let loose, and when you’re at a rock show surrounded by other rock fans you can just throw your middle fingers in the air and shout ‘Fuck you’. It’s about being able to forget all about your worries for three minutes."
'I DON’T NEED YOU'
"We put this song so early in the album because we didn’t want people to judge what this record is just on the first half. A lot of people will go ‘Let’s put all of the upbeat energetic bangers in the first half and then the slower ones in the second half’. That doesn’t make an interesting journey for me.
Asking has been leading to this song, and personally it’s my favourite song that we’ve ever written. I’m in love with it and what it represents. It feels like we’ve been training for this moment. We started with ‘Someone Somewhere’, then on the next album we had ‘Movin’ On’. Then on ‘The Black’ we had ‘Gone’ and then on the Self-Titled we had ‘Vultures’. Now this song feels perfectly Asking Alexandria to me. It’s this big rock song that’s painting the light at the end of the tunnel. Whilst it feels super vulnerable it’s still a triumphant song. It’s all about realising that you’re going to be ok and that you’re more than enough for someone. Sometimes things in life don’t work out and that’s ok. It’s got a really powerful message and I hope that people can turn it on and listen to it for what it is."
'ALL DUE RESPECT'
"We want people to take so much away from this record and it’s positive platform. Whilst there’s an air of arrogance or confidence to this song, it’s also us saying how there are people who are going to talk shit and want to hold you down. There are going to be people who are bitter when they see you succeed when they haven’t had the drive or the balls to do it themselves. But look at us and see what happens if you do have that drive and confidence and if you do believe in yourself.
"We’re up on stage playing to thousands of fans every night, and it’s the only feeling that I’ve ever wanted ever since I was a kid. From teachers and schoolmates telling me it was stupid and not going to happen to even now people in the music industry and fans saying how songs suck, fuck you all. We’re going to carry on doing this and look where it’s got us. I love the line ‘I’ve been hearing lots of whispers, stories sold by a shadow of a memory’. It’s like we can hear you but we’re not affected by it. We don’t care. This song nearly didn’t make it to the record and I’m so glad it did."
'TAKE SOME TIME'
"We sat down when we went into this process and said ‘What is rock and roll all about?’ It’s become so serious. Bands will say ‘We have to write the biggest radio song’ or ‘We have to write this sort of song’. That’s completely forgetting what the spirit of rock and roll is. It’s about pissing in the wind and living life on the edge a little bit. It’s about getting up in the morning and saying ‘I’m not going to go to work this morning because I want to go and do this instead’. It’s about being free and expressing yourself and that’s what we ran with.
"So saying that, this is a song about sex. It’s about that feeling when you’re between the sheets with someone and nothing else in that moment matters. I feel like people don’t take the time to be immersed in those special moments. They are always distracted by something. Just live in the moment and forget about anything else."
'ONE TURNS TO NONE'
"This song is very reflective. Take a lyric like ‘One step, two steps back’ where we're saying how we’ve gone about things the long and hard way. Though we kept on walking.
"They say that if you keep on prodding a tiger in a cage, once it’s out it’s going to rip your fucking head off. I feel like we have felt like that a lot. There’s a lot of people prodding, be that in the industry or behind the scenes, and there’s been a lot of prodding towards Danny. He has this fire up his arse and so as he’s come back he has gone ‘We’re going to do this and you’re all going to fucking see’."
'IT’S NOT ME (IT’S YOU)'
"From the get go, Asking Alexandria has been very honest when it comes to song writing. We have always written about what we are actually going through. You’re not going to catch us singing about high school sweethearts because it’s not relevant to who we are in this moment in our lives. On ‘Reckless and Relentless’ we were fucked up all the time. That’s why that album is so dark and we let people into that part of our lives. Now one this record, we are all clean. We don’t do drugs anymore. We’re not partying anymore. We’re married and having kids. We’ve come out the other side. We’ve weathered the storm and come out the other end of serious drug addiction and alcoholism. With that we’ve realised how much time we have wasted being angry at ourselves or at other people or what people think of us. When you get to this point in life, you realise that all that matters is your happiness and the happiness of the people around you. That’s where this confidence has come from with songs like this.
'HERE’S TO STARTING OVER'
"We used to be called ‘the hardest partying band on the planet’. It was celebrated. It was expected of us. The chorus of this song is ‘Here’s to starting over, here’s to no compromise, get up or get out my way’. This is us saying ‘I’m not listening to you anymore’. This is about me doing the things that are best for me and best for my family and best for us. My favourite lyric on the whole of this album is ‘I’d rather fail as me than succeed as someone else’. I fucking love that because we spent so fucking long “succeeding” but not as ourselves. Just glazed over and floating through it, kept high on drugs and drunk on alcohol and feeding people the idea that partying is cool. At what cost? We became addicts, we’ve been through divorces, our friends have died. This is not who are. We’re at the point in our career where we’re doing happy and healthy and doing things the way that we want."
'WHAT’S GONNA BE'
"This is one of my favourites on the record because the story that it tells is all-encompassing of our entire adulthood. It goes all the way back in time to when we had just moved to America and were living in a parking lot. That was probably one of the most insane things we did. I don’t think we really understood the grandeur of what we were doing. Danny starts by reflecting by saying ‘Sometimes I think about the old days and remember what we came from, reflect on what it took for us to make it this far’. At the end of the day, we’re not in control of the world, but we are in control of our lives. That’s all we can do and what will be, will be. You just need to live your life. So us making that move meant that we had a career. We wouldn’t be where we are now without that."
'GIVE YOU UP'
"This song is super special, and I think that’s why it sounds different to the rest of the record. We wanted it to stand out. For me, when I hear lines like ‘In my darkest of days I’ve got a light now to show me the way. It’s like I’ve found my place and the world doesn’t feel the same’, I think about my wife and my children. All of the shit I’ve waded through with the ups and down and overdoses and deaths and fights and sadness, it’s all led me here. And now that I’m here, I’m not going to give it up.
"Once you’ve been a drug addict, it’s always in the back of your head. It never really goes away. I think it’s easy for people to slip back into that negative lifestyle where things weren’t good for you. It’s familiar so it’s easy. This song is a reminder of how it’s just not worth it. What you have now is so much more valuable and so much more important, that to lose it would be devastating. This song is that beacon of hope."
'IN MY BLOOD'
"This is an incredibly important and powerful song within this record, and I really feel as though people will find themselves within in. It starts by looking back at the people that we were and the people that were around us and the chemicals that we were allowing to influence us. Then as you get to the chorus you hear that even back then, I knew that this wasn’t us and we carried on working through the bullshit to get to where we are now. Then when you get to the second verse it’s the realisation that we weren’t monsters and that wasn’t the life we had to live."
"This song was always supposed to be a palette cleanser to transition us into the next chapter of our lives. When we were writing the record and the more that it started to come together, it became more apparent that the message of this song belonged on this body of work. It felt like it needed to be there.
"The song feels like a really big statement as well. We’re British and we live in America. We see two different worlds. I feel like people like to pit everyone against each other. This song is purely about not letting that happen. Don’t let people drive barriers between us. Be it sexuality, gender, race or political views, don’t let there be a barrier between us. That’s not what life is all about, but it’s what people seem to want. This song serves as another big fuck you on this record of fuck you’s."
"This song ends the record and serves as a reminder. We’ve spoken a lot about self belief and positivity, but life is not always rainbows. Shit happens. The whole song is Danny talking to himself as he looks in the mirror. He’s got friends and he's happy, but sometimes you wake up and you just feel sad. You’re miserable and you don’t know why. ‘I’m not an addict, but sometime I fucking hate myself’ is such a powerful line.
"Then the ending of the song ‘I’ve got no reason to, so tell me why I feel like shit, all due offence I don’t feel bad if I push you away’ feels like that final middle finger. No matter what, I’m going to be unapologetically me and you’re not going to dictate to me what I do with my life. I feel like that’s the perfect way to close this album. It’s one final ‘Fuck you’."
You can pick up 'Like A House On Fire' on gorgeous coloured vinyl from our mates over at EMP right HERE