A couple of weekends ago, Punktastic headed down to Brixton Academy to speak to Ben Bruce, lead guitarist and founder of Asking Alexandria, before their biggest UK headline show to date. We talked pyrotechnics, rock ‘n’ roll and taking over the world.
HOW ARE YOU?
Ben Bruce: I’m alright, I’m tired and I’m fucking cold but other than that I’m good. How are you?!
ARE YOU EXCITED FOR THE SHOW?
BB: No. It’s gonna be absolute shit. Shit venue, shit band, shit shit shit. One of the shittest things I’ve ever done in my life, other than the shit I took this morning. But really, I’m very excited.
I HEAR THERE’S GOING TO BE PYRO…
BB: There is! I’m excited and a little bit scared. This is our first time with pyro. I hope nobody sets on fire. And if they do I hope it’s not me.
IS THIS THE BIGGEST SHOW YOU’VE DONE IN THE UK?
BB: Uh, I mean, we’ve done Download but obviously that’s a festival so it doesn’t really count, but headline-wise, yeah, definitely. It’s exciting. Tomorrow we go across to Europe and tour there and then we come back and play Birmingham and Manchester. I’m looking forward to all of the shows because every time we come back to the UK they’re bigger and better than the previous time. But Brixton’s like a dream, you know. Every kid that wants to be in a band, at least an English band, I’m assuming grows up wanting to headline Brixton some day, and here we are!
I HEAR YOU’RE MASSIVE IN AMERICA ALREADY…
BB: I’m actually two inches the world over [laughs]. But yeah, I suppose we are a bit bigger in the States. We’ve toured there a lot more. There are bands that are bigger than us like Avenged Sevenfold and Slipknot, but we’re trying to be the English exports, doing our country proud.
IT’S IMPRESSIVE THAT YOU MANAGED TO CRACK AMERICA FIRST.
BB: That was kind of the thought process behind it. We were thinking it’s best to start in the biggest possible market we can, because if something catches on in America it tends to spread worldwide just because it’s such a big base, and so it was a gamble but it paid off thankfully.
WHAT’S THE STORY BEHIND THAT GAMBLE?
BB: I found the guys and basically when I met them I told them I was already signed in the States and had management and everything like that, and I convinced them to fly there with me, and they were like, “Now what?” and I was like “Uhhh, not really too sure”. So we convinced my parents and Danny’s parents to buy us an RV and we lived in Walmart car park for about 6 months in a van basically. They were really happy with me…
YOU HAVE A NEW ALBUM ON THE WAY…
BB: We do, but we haven’t titled it yet and it’s not quite finished. We’re a bit late. It’s not that we’re slacking but it’s our third album and it’s very important to us. We don’t want to rush it so it’s taking longer than expected. We recorded all the music in Indiana with Joey Sturgis and then we recorded all the vocals in LA in our studios. We’re hoping it’ll come out March/April time. That’s the plan. It’s pretty soon. It’s so soon we haven’t really got time to promote it. We’re already booked up until next Christmas.
WHERE ARE YOU MOSTLY TOURING THIS YEAR?
BB: We’re actually doing the UK more than we have done in previous years which is nice, and then we’re in the States a lot, and actually I think we’ve already gone into next year’s booking so I think we’re going to Asia and Australia early next year. Australia’s amazing.
ARE YOU ALL BASED IN THE US NOW?
BB: I live in New Jersey, Danny lives in LA, Cam lives in Texas. We’re all spread out, but it’s fine because we’re on tour so much we don’t really practise. We barely ever have time off.
YOU MANAGED TO BEAT THE SNOW TO GET HERE TODAY…
BB: Everyone was tweeting saying “Oh, the show’s cancelled”. The show’s not cancelled! Fuck snow. We got here from Scotland. We played a show in Glasgow which was amazing, really good. It’s fucking sweet, it really is. They’re crazy, but in a good way. We went to Belfast and Dublin as well. Belfast was scary because of the riots. The venue was surrounded by rioting. Not nice. But it’s fine though, and here we are!