Guitarist Ben Bruce from metalcore band Asking Alexandria is in good spirits considering he’s about to embark on tour with the band soon for the new album The Black. He’s also been busy filming a new Hollywood movie called American Satan. “I’m not too bad, I’m about to jump on a plane and head your way” he says down the phone in a thick English accent. “I just landed in Phoenix Arizona today been in Hollywood for the last three weeks filming a movie – its brutal mate, I’ve had about two hours sleep in two days”
The yet to be released film follows a young rock band, half from England and half from the US, who drop out of college and move to Hollywood’s Sunset Strip to chase their dreams. “It’s basically a rock n roll thriller movie” says Bruce. “It’s my first role in a movie and I was fortunate enough to get one of the leading roles in the film, I got to work alongside people like Malcolm McDowell (Clockwork Orange) and John Bradley from GameofThrones. There was a bunch of names in the movie it was just a really good time”.
We chat about the recent T20 World Cup loss to the English against the Black Caps in the semi-finals, thwarted at the last hurdle so to speak after a promising star to the World Cup campaign while the English narrowly nudged out of the final this morning by the West Indies. “So, what you’re saying if we do go out for a drink expecting a leisurely stroll through town, we might actually get the shit kicked out of us? Dammit, I’ll bring my pads” (laughter).
Bruce is adamant that he is just ‘really lucky’ however as well as acting the versatile guitarist also plays in one of the most popular rock bands in the world, they have their upcoming NZ gig at Auckland’s Powerstation tomorrow, then an extensive tiki-tour around Australia to promote their brand new album The Black.
“Normally when we release a new album we start in the States or the UK” he confesses. “We toured Australia about three times and we fell in love with it and we got to play NZ for our first time only time a couple of years ago, we fell in love with your country. We enjoyed it so much we thought ‘why don’t we do something different with this record and do the first tour of the record over in your territory?’. We’re excited about and it will be the first time we’ll be over there with our new vocalist, so he’s super excited”.
Last year amidst controversy, lead singer Danny Worsnop announced his departure from the band to focus on his new band We Are Harlot. Fans reacted to news in distress as they believed he was essential to the band's sound, while others were not surprised by his career move, some going as far to say he performs better with his new band We Are Harlot than he did with Asking Alexandria – Bruce is pleased with the decision to go with Ukrainian metalcore singer Denis Stoff from the band Make Me Famous who sounds as if he’s been in the band forever
“Actually incredible if I’m honest” he shares audibly excited. “Changing vocalists in the band is like taking a few steps backwards and trying to build up again. Somehow we’ve managed to keep grinding upwards from everything I’ve been reading online & from what bands have been saying to us at shows, this could well be our biggest and most successful album yet – so that’s incredible”.
It’s going to be a crazy year for the band, who have just finished supporting British metal band Bullet For My Valentine in North America, dubbed the ‘British Invasion tour’ before heading our way to see fans, the boys keen to sample the local fare and hang out with locals.
“Normally when we're over there it’s been part of a festival or Soundwave in Australia so not much time to hang, but this tour I think we’ve got a day or two between each show. I think the reason we fell in love with New Zealand & Australia is that it seems so much more laid back than the rest of the world. While everyone’s racing around a million miles an hour you guys are just wandering along smile on your faces loving life, and it’s just a laidback relaxed atmosphere. So you know were definitely going to be checking out some restaurants and bars explore and drink up the atmosphere”.
Growing up many musicians dream of playing alongside their idols, the likes of Motorhead, Slayer and Slipknot their music Bruce says “Should be a part of everyone’s staple”. While not many people have the opportunity to be on the same bill let alone meet them it’s a reality that Bruce ponders without flinching, even a chance meeting with legend Lemmy from Motorhead before he passed away.
“The funny thing is it’s the opposite of what you would think” he says. “When we tour with bands in our generation there tends to be, not on our part by any means, but there tends to be a lot of animosity a lot of competition and shit bogging on each other and it’s not as much fun. Then all the older bands we’ve got listening to, like Motorhead like Slayer, they’ve all been the opposite. They’ve all actually been fans of our band and very supportive of us, we’ve actually made quite good friends in a lot of these older bands we look up to. They come up to us and say “My daughter/my granddaughter introduced me to you guys, I love what you’re doing, can I get a picture?” – so it’s really nice to see how humble a lot of these bands are and how much they support young up & coming rock bands”.
“The Motorhead guys we’ve hung out with all of them, had good times, Lemmy was the only one that we never actually spoke to. He would magically appear moments before the show happened he would play a set then magically disappear. I don’t think he was well for quite a few years the first time we toured with them was about three years ago, over the course of the three years Lemmy wasn’t actually out socialising if that makes any sense”.
The band have released cover songs over their short tenure together, classics like Nine Inch Nails song Closer for the compilation Punk Goes 90s Vol. 2 and also covering Duran Duran's Hungry Like The Wolf, featuring guest vocals from Jonathan Davis (JD) of Korn. It’s something the band do time to time while Bruce adds “There’s something very nostalgic about that we just love doing it”. All of the band's members have expressed their passion for 1980s rock music; Life Gone Wild EP features covers of two Skid Row songs while the Under The Influence: A Tribute To The Legends Of Hard Rock EP featuring covers of songs by bands such as Motley Crue, Whitesnake and Def Leppard.
“It kind of just takes us back when we were kids in our garage, with our tiny little practise amps and crappy little first ever guitars that never played in tune. There’s something magical about that time period as a musician when you first get into it. You sit there print out the tabs like Ultimate Guitar, sit down in your room for hours and you learn your favourite songs. We’ve got really young fans then older fans, but when we were starting out and doing Skid Row covers and stuff a lot of our younger fans which made up our core fan base, they didn’t know who Skid Row was, they didn’t know who Guns & Roses were, they didn’t know Whitesnake, so it was kind of cool to reintroduce these kids to bands that we grew up loving and listening. It was nice to bring that around again”.
The Soundsplash Festival is returning to Raglan in January 2018. Local reggae favourites Katchafire are returning to feature on the bill. We sent a few questions over to lead vocalist Logan Bell ahead of the festival.
Following 2015’s Kitty, Daisy & Lewis'The Third', the sibling trio are back stronger than ever, harnessing their ability to create pop-infused soul, blues, rock n roll and a large mix of genres to perfection, in the shape of their fourth studio album, Superscope.
Kylie Price has just released her new album Bones. Last week she appeared on theNZ Entertainment Podcast, where she sang a new song I Dont Want To Go off the album while talking shop about her dream gig to play with Ed Sheeran and her Philipino roots.
Last week I caught up withPeter Hook ahead of returning down under for Australasian leg of the Joy Division and New Order Substance tour. We had a great chat about the spirit of punk, what it takes to write a book and why shows like the X-factor are so unhealthy…
Long established as one of New Zealand’s finest acts, South Pacific reggae-soul legends, The Black Seeds are set to tour the country in September, following the release of their long awaited 6th studio album Fabric, (out today - Friday September 8th).
Jacqueline Nalpant is a Booking Agent for the Paradigm Talent Agency, and is heading to New Zealand early next month where she'll be one of the speakers for the Going Global Music Summit (Friday 1st & Saturday 2nd September at Roundhead Studios, Auckland).
Since making her musical debut with her song Drift early last year, fast attracting a solid fan base and over 1 million plays across Spotify and Soundcloud in just a few months, Madeline North, better known by her musical moniker So Below, has once again blessed us with a moodier, masterful electro-pop banger, titled Ruin.
Since forming in 1998, the Antwerp, Belgium based trio Triggerfinger have long become a mainstay on the rock scene, building a solid reputation across Europe, the US, Canada and beyond, as one of the hardest-driving and sharpest dressing bands around.
Popular metalcore group Northlane are on their way to New Zealand. The Sydney band are touring North America taking in countries like Chile and Mexico as they head our way down-under next month to play Wellington’s San Fran then Auckland at the iconic Kings Arms.
Returning to New Zealand for the first time in three years, Australian metalcore band In Hearts Wake are on their way to our shores next month for a quick run of shows supporting their label cohorts Northlane.
Courtney Marie Andrews has landed in New Zealand, and set to play two concerts this week with Joe Pug - tonight at San Fran in Wellington (Wed July 19) and tomorrow night at The Tuning Fork in Auckland (Thu July 20).
Auckland two-piece Skinny Hobos, Alex Elvis and Texas Holdom, are heading on a 5 date New Zealand tour with headliners Decades, Bakers Eddy and Dead Favours. Kicking off tonight in Hamilton (July 14), the tour will also take them to Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and finishes up in Dunedin.
Have you ever considered sharing your most personal experiences with the entire world? Well come this Friday 14th July, that’s what Emma Cameron, the rocking front-woman of kiwi band Decades is about to do, when they release their long-awaited full length debut album, The Truth And Other People, so we sat down with the cheerful front woman to discover just what truth this album reveals..
Whilst Sonny Landreth is a well known slide-guitar master, zydeco enthusiast and phenomenal blues legend, what you may not know about him, is that he is one of the nicest gentlemen in the entire universe.
He was always the boy next door type energy, that type of person you just always wanted to be around. From day one, Shay Taylor has always been one to break the mold and live life in such a vibrant and contagious manner, that no matter who he spoke to, they walked away feeling great!
One month on from the release of their third album [Wade Waist Deep], American rock band Thomas Wynn & The Believers are back on the road, breaking beyond the southern rock scene with complex, pulsing rhythms and breathtaking harmonies.
Due to significant weekend rainfall, and the forecast of more rain over the next 72 hours, Coffs Harbour City Council, Frontier Touring, John Logan Entertainment and Midnight Oil management have met and reviewed the site for Midnight Oil’s show on Thursday 19 October.
After their 2012 Mercury Prize-nominated debut and 2015’s Top 20 follow-up Born Under Saturn, musical adventurers Django Django are back for 2017, exploring new sounds with their brand new album Marble Skies
After stunning, sold-out concerts across the US, legendary Led Zep drummer Bonzo's greatest legacy - his son Jason - brings his critically acclaimed concert, Jason Bonham's Led Zeppelin Experience, to New Zealand for just two performances.
Playing their breakthrough debut self-titled album in its entirety, pop rock sensations We The Kings will return to New Zealand and Australia to celebrate the 10 year anniversary of their breakthrough self-titled debut album.
Instrumentals, imagined soundtracks and cut and paste experimentation sets a bracing, perception-shattering course for Who Built The Moon? - the keenly anticipated, WORLD TOUR-triggering third album from Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds.