Asking Alexandria’s Ben Bruce on New Album Plans, His Own Record Label + More
Asking Alexandria guitarist Ben Bruce is a busy man these days, splitting his time between the band and also running his KBB record label. Bruce recently took some time out to speak with 'Loudwire Nights' host Full Metal Jackie about his responsibilities working with KBB and he also shared some key details about Asking Alexandria's next album plans. Check out the chat below.
Ben, after starting your own record label earlier this year, what's been the most eye opening thing about being on the business side of the music industry?
Honestly, how f---ing annoying band members are. I've just realized all the bulls--t that our labels have had to deal with over the years of me calling them 24/7 and all that bulls--t, it's the same thing now. I do understand, I'm obviously in the band trying to get stuff done. You get excited and you try and get ahead of yourselves, it's difficult. Especially since we've signed newer and younger bands, they're all so excited. It's like teaching them how to walk before they can run. I can understand now why so many record label executives have little to no hair.
Ben, when it comes to running a record label how important are your instincts as a musician?
I feel like it's mostly important to listen to your gut instincts as a fan of music rather than as a musician. Being a musician and being in a band myself and writing records for a living, I can get very nit picky and I can sit down and think, "Oh well if this was my band I would have done this differently" and "I would have concentrated more on this guitar riff or maybe would have sung this line differently," but I find it quite difficult to separate myself from that and just sit back and think, "How do I feel as a fan of music about this? How are other people going to take this in?" Because it's not my band. It's another band and I feel like that's the biggest gut instinct you need to go with, is if am I a fan, do I enjoy this? Is it a good song? Rather than what I would have done differently if I were to be writing it.
You were writing new music while on tour this past summer on the Mayhem Festival. What's the timeline for recording that new music and releasing the next album?
I spent all summer locked up in the back of our bus writing for the next AA record. I think what we're planning on doing, which starts in a few weeks in the UK and Europe, then we come back and I'm pretty sure I'm not suppose to announce it, but I'll say it anyway. We're doing a U.S./Canada run to close out the year and I believe the plan is to go straight into the studio midway through January and be in the studio all through January, February and March and we're aiming for a summer release. So hopefully June or July for the next Asking Alexandria record will be out.
The next album is going to be your fourth. Does that allow for any experimentation beyond what people might expect based on the first three albums?
I think so. Asking Alexandria has never really held true to one specific sound and to begin with we sort of got a little bit of backlash from it because people are like, "Well, this doesn't sound like Asking Alexandria." Well, how do you know what Asking Alexandria sounds like? We've only done a few records and each one of them has been different. But this third one, 'From Death to Destiny,' being a huge jump in a different direction from the previous two, I think that's left us in a good position for this fourth record to experiment further. People aren't going to be like, "Oh man, what are they doing? Why are they doing this?" It's put us in a great position where we can go ahead and we can write those big rock and roll hooks that we love so much from bands in the '80s -- Guns 'N' Roses style, Van Halen style -- but also incorporate more modern bands like Slipknot and Avenged Sevenfold into our sound as well. No one is really going to be taken back by that, they'll be like, "Hell yeah. We expected this from them."
You were born in England but grew up in Dubai. How did living in two different countries prepare you for the experience for being exposed to different cultures as a touring musician?
I think that's one of the best things my parents could have done, unknowingly for me. I was born in England, I left the UK when I was about 6-years-old to move on to Dubai. Funny enough, Dubai is a weird sort of hub. There's every kind of person imaginable there, you've got your Brits, Americans and Australians. There's a lot of Indians and Arabs. There's a huge vast culture shock when I moved there and growing up with all those different cultures being a prominent part of my life has made touring and being a musicians a lot easier. I'm a lot more open minded than a lot of people.
People ask me what it was like growing up in Dubai with all the terrorists? I'm like, no you're wrong. That's now how they are. When I travel the world now, going to places like Russia or the Middle East or even places like South America where people don't often go on a day to day basis. Where most people might be kind of weary, I'm excited to go and experience new cultures and learn a little bit more about countries and how they live their day-to-day lives.
Thanks to Asking Alexandria's Ben Bruce for the interview. Keep an eye out for the band's fall tour dates coming soon. Tune in to Loudwire Nights With Full Metal Jackie and Tony LaBrie’ Monday through Friday 7PM through midnight online or on the radio. To see which stations and websites air ‘Loudwire Nights,’ click here.