Asking Alexandria is having a banner 2023 with album number eight not only out and in yer earholes currently but also embodying kind of everything that AA has been about up until now, their 17th year of existence. Add in a new tour to celebrate and support Where Do We Go From Here? that just kicked off alongside The Hu and there’s a lot to be happy about in the Asking Alexandria camp at the moment. But that hasn’t always been the case with vocalist Danny Worsnop, talking to us via phone from the Baltimore stop of their current tour, explaining what’s the key to maintaining the AA magic throughout the years:
“For a long time we definitely did NOT have an answer to that because we’ve had a lot of issues and a lot of conflict. The same as with any group of people you put in close quarters on a big metal tube for 15 years. Heads are gonna butt, we’ve all got pretty strong personalities so that’s kind of inevitable. I think one of the biggest things we’ve learned is that space is very important. We’ve learned over the years that sometimes people need to step away for a bit (Worsnop himself left for a time in 2015) .
People need to take some time and be able to exist outside of this. One of the biggest lessons I learned in my own ways is, and all the other guys learned after, having families is… we learned that this band doesn’t come first. We treated it like it came first for so many years and I think that was the root cause of a lot of our problems because it was ‘Whatever is going on in your personal life doesn’t trump whatever this band needs you to do.’ And now it’s the exact opposite. It’s like if we’re in the middle of a tour and someone’s kid’s sick and they have to fly home? Cool, fly the fuck home. This isn’t that important. That’s definitely a really big part of it.”
That new mindset and synergy has resulted in some of Asking Alexandria’s most concise work to date including their latest which features a return to some of the heavier roots of their earlier work:
“The point of the record was to have a little something for all the different pockets of fans over the years. We didn’t wanna reinvent the wheel, we didn’t wanna try anything new, we didn’t want this to be some kind of creative endeavor. We wanted it to be something of a synopsis of all the albums up until this point and kind of bookend this last decade and a half of our life, career… so any heavy aspects just drive from those first couple albums, those first two. It’s weird looking back and thinking ‘That’s just the first 3 years of our career…'”
And if it were up to Worsnop, you’d be getting a LOT more recorded outings from himself and the band as the singer is definitely a fan of the whole studio experience:
“I just love it. Being in the studio and writing and making music. Excluding 100% of Asking Alexandria, I’m putting together 50-100 songs a year. That’s just where my head’s at anyway. If I had it my way, we’d never ever tour and just live in a fucking studio (laughs) and put an album out every couple months. Unfortunately, people wanna see our faces. We don’t know why but they do!”
Speaking of seeing their faces, Asking Alexandria can currently be seen on tour with “Mongolian Folk Metal” outfit The Hu (For dates, head here) and it seems that the diverse package was put together in an unexpectedly practical way:
“This was conceptualized by the record label (Better Noise Music) and it basically stemmed from all the bands on the bill are on that label. I think that was the initial concept. It was definitely pitched to us as ‘You guys have a lot of crossover fanbase [With The Hu]’ which every day is painfully apparent that’s not true (laughs). And that’s nothing against them, it’s just our fanbases are different. It comes with its’ own challenges there and we’re trying to figure out where to bridge those gaps but it’s just an apparent part of having a very eclectic tour package that, of course, has its’ cool things of it is a very diverse experience sonically for people. But, you know, it comes with its’ issues as well.
The shows are going good. Everyone seems to be happy, no one’s yelled at each other yet. We’re taking a little bit of a new approach to touring. As much as I’d love for bills to be more eclectic, and be able to project more aspects of my own personal taste, I think it’s very important, and we just started yesterday of having a more open dialogue with fans about ‘Hey, what do you wanna see next year? Who do you wanna see us with?’ Ultimately it doesn’t matter what we think of the tour, it matters what they think because they’re the ones coming out to it.”
As it turns out, that fanbase drives a lot of how Asking Alexandria builds a set list, too, with Worsnop explaining that it’s partly that… and math, offering these words on building the perfect collection of songs for the stage while serving both the band and the fans:
“Um, I don’t know that you can. I think you gotta pick one and one of you isn’t paying to be there so ultimately the fans have to come first. I know on this one, the concept I’ve put in was I went through all our statistics and metrics and basically looked at what are the two biggest songs from each album and put them into a setlist. And then we added “Alone In A Room” which is our biggest song and the new single (“Psycho & “Bad Blood”)”
With a fierce album like Where Do We Go From Here? out for the masses now, it’s inevitable that some of those heavier songs will make it into the current set list which means Worsnop needs to be vigilant with voice maintenance expanding on what it takes to deliver to fans night after night:
“It’s taken a lot of work. I’ve by no means perfected it. Over the last, I’d say 3,4 years, I’ve taken my voice a lot more seriously. Especially incorporating the screamy stuff again which is something I stopped doing for a very long time for a multitude of reasons. One being, I don’t like it. Two, I was doing it wrong and damaging myself and compromising my ability to sing which I LOVE doing. Musically, we weren’t doing it anymore. Like I said, the first 3 years of our existence were that and it’s just a 5th of our career. So I had to put a lot of time into that and to figure out how to do that properly. Just lots of work. I generally graze on fruit throughout the day but other than that I try not to eat before I sing… which does get a little crazy when we go on stage at 10 o’clock at night (chuckles). Ya gotta do what ya gotta do.”
Another cool aspect of the modern touring model for bands is also one that does stir up some controversy with many an artist offering VIP packages either with a ticket included or as a ticketless upgrade. AA has a few different options on this tour (Which you can find here) with Worsnop weighing in on the pros and cons for both the fans and band:
“I see both sides of the argument in a way. I understand fans being like ‘Really? I have to pay to meet you?’ but on the flip side that’s time away from us being able to be in touch with our families, being able to work, being able to get ready for a show, being able to go get food. We sit and we eat on the fly or we walk and we eat on the fly between doing press (Editor’s note: Sorry!), acoustic appearances, the two different VIP’s that we have, soundcheck… everything. The day’s are really full. Ultimately you’re paying for an experience but you’re paying for time. Realistically. And it’s the same with any job. My shift doesn’t start until 915PM and until that point it’s my day.
That said, we really wanted to make it a special thing. Something that’s more enjoyable and cooler for fans because we did the all stand in a line shake a hand and get a photo thing and I don’t think that’s cool for anyone. It’s inherently a very awkward experience. And I get why people feel a little bit sour after that cuz it’s not really much of an experience at all so we transitioned to an acoustic show with Q&A that’s a lot of fun and then we have a separate one that’s kind of more personal, intimate meet and greet where we hang out and we get to have, like, a real conversation. We’re trying to look for more ways to expand that as well.”
While there’s a lot happening in the AA camp right now, one always has to look to the future and the inevitable “What’s next?” as Worsnop concludes our talk with this news:
“As far as Asking, there’s a couple things in the chamber I can’t talk too much about right now but there’s a couple things coming. We’re working on 2024 touring like I mentioned, nothing firm to announce yet but I’m hoping to have something announced and up for sale in the next kinda two months. For Danny Worsnop, I’ve been working on this new album for about three years now. It finally feels like I’m getting somewhere and… the plan as of now is release the first song in January and then release a new song every month and then at the end of the year, after 12 songs, drop a double album. I want to get one tour in but Asking touring’s going to be busy so I probably won’t get more than one. That is my plan.”
Where Do We Go From Here? is out now from Better Noise Music and you can read our review, complete with links on where to grab yours here. For the latest from Asking Alexandria, head here, and for all things Danny Worsnop, head here.