As vocalist Danny Worsnop puts it, Asking Alexandria are always one to two albums ahead of themselves, but with their latest effort, the aptly titled Where do we go from here?, the post-hardcore ensemble met fans where they are.
Not in any sonic sense – Where do we go from here? exhumes the same crushing, dueling sweet and sour soundscapes that are part of the Asking Alexandria raison d’etre, but the real departure documented in album #8 was a determination to tap into a greater consciousness; sacrificing the deeply personal moments of them to make way more moments to do with us, the fans.
Where do we go from here? contains very few pinpricks of realism, but broad strokes of a general idea, tapping into a background radiation of life and essentially finding a groove that we can all pick up. Where Do We Go From Here? was impersonal by design; a keen effort to meet fans where they are, instead of rushing ahead – or moving backwards.
The end result is an epic that’s open to endless interpretation. With no street signs of instructions, Asking Alexandria have an album that allows fans to connect the dots, resulting in a satisfying and fulfilling listening experience for fans.
BLUNT caught up with Danny to get around it all.
Our first impression of Where Do We Go From Here? is; the band is sounding strong! You are sounding strong. Is Asking Alexandra starting to make more sense to you the more you get to know yourselves as people?
Danny: I wish … The problem is as musicians and songwriters, we’re definitely more comfortable and confident, and we’re in such a happy and positive place. But the more we lean into what we feel we are, the people who live in comment sections, which are really good and stable people, who have very happy lives, and lots going on, they don’t tend to like it so much. So it gets harder, as soon as I open this fucking thing, my day’s ruined.
Speaking of where we’re going, one of the places we’re on our way to as a society is learning that not everything is online. In fact, most things are offline …
Danny: Absolutely. We get the breakdowns and all of the numbers of everything. We had the biggest spike of our entire career, and it was by a lot, when Like a House on Fire came out, we spiked up. It wasn’t far off like a billion streams. From the outside there was a lot of fan perception like, “I heard the album didn’t do too well, mate.” I’m like, it did better than everything before it put together.
Is it new fans? Is it old fans coming back to the fold? What are you seeing?
Danny: I think it’s a combination. Of course there’s a very vocal minority that love those first albums and there’s nothing wrong with that. Just leave out the bit where it’s like, “I love those albums. They’re my favorite albums and I hate everything you do.” Just leave that bit out. It’s unnecessary. It’s hurtful.
Since the start of this band, with the exception of the first album because they had nothing else, obviously, to reference and compare it to. When we released Reckless & Relentless people said, “They’ve just gone ’80s hair metal. Fuck this band.” That’s now those people’s favorite albums.
When we released the third album, they went, “Oh, they went Butt Rock. We hate this. The first two albums were the best.” It’s like you hated the second one six months ago. Then we released the self-titled. “They changed so much. Fuck this band.” Now that’s everyone’s favorite album. Then we release “Like a House On Fire” and they’re like, “Oh, this sounds like Fallout Boy.” Now we get messages, “Are you guys going to play some old stuff? Like some stuff from Like A House on Fire?”
It’s like we’re one to two albums ahead of ourselves at all times.
Is this a sad album?
Danny: Maybe more resentful, A little angrier, which is not based on anything personal within life.
There’s none of my life injected into it. I purposely wanted to make it not personal. There’s none of my story. Everything was written with the mindset of what did they want to hear?
I purposely wanted to make it not personal because I felt like every time I write personal, the song goes in a certain direction and we proactively wanted to go in a different direction from it. So it definitely has a sad air to it, but I think it’s more on the angry side of it than the woeful side.
After Like A House on Fire, I haven’t written songs about the world because people got upset at me. People got upset at me for getting political. So I just don’t do it.
The last album, but this one as well, the amount of people who asked me the effect and influences COVID had on there. I’m like, fucking none. I mean this with all respect to people who were affected by it, I couldn’t fucking care less. I live in Florida, nothing changed. I really like staying in my house. I didn’t have to go on tour. I love playing shows, but I hate touring. I didn’t have to go on tour. It was incredible. Best time of my life.
The closing moment of the song is also interesting. It’s gentle. The album fades off into the atmosphere. Was that deliberate? Tell me about the decision to not end with a big fist stomp, but rather with a gentle touch.
Danny: I love ending albums that way.
It’s like the end of a movie. It’s that last scene. Everyone’s walking away in slow motion in the sunset. It’s a nice feeling on the inside. But that song wasn’t supposed to exist, especially for Asking Alexandria. I wasn’t going to put a ballad on the album at all. I was like, just go high energy, balls to the wall the entire way through.
We’d finished it and then separately, all on the same day, and unbeknownst to each other, everyone had called me, even down to the owner of the label and stuff, and we’re like, “Hey, this album’s missing one thing to make it feel like an Asking Alexandria album. It’s missing Danny’s song,” because everyone knows. It’s like, I’m there, I’m fine. I’m having a good time until the ballad and then I arrive. “Can you sit down and write just a big, beautiful Danny moment song?” I was like, “All right.” I sat down at the piano.
We wrote that song in about 20 minutes and sent it through to everyone. Everyone felt very moved, enough to make it the title track, which is a very nice, warm feeling.