Days after the release of their fourth album ‘How to Bleed’, the New Grave boys in Ashestoangels embarked upon their latest UK headline tour. Coming mere months after their first tour in America with Aiden and Black Veil Brides, busy doesn’t even begin to cover the band’s schedule over the past year. With an appearance at Download to come in just over a month, it doesn’t seem like they will be kicking back any time soon either. Before their show in Leeds, GIGsoup’s Evie Myers caught up with Ashestoangels vocalist Adam Crilly to talk American adventures, stress dreams and politics.
Can you give us a brief history of Ashestoangels?
Crilly – There is no brief version. It is the story of the year’s long, nationwide search to find people who would actually hang out with me for an extended amount of time and combine to use our special power-rings to form a special megabot that plays punk rock and melts faces.
It’s the third day of tour, how’s it going so far?
Crilly – Pretty good. Well lots of things have gone horribly wrong but our spirits remain high so that’s alright. At least it’s all happened now, it’s out of the way early.
Your fourth album ‘How to Bleed’ was released just over a week ago, how has the reception of that gone down?
Crilly – Really good! Which is impressive considering the physical copies only showed up after we finished playing in Newcastle. And then the digital copies, first of all somewhere between our distributor and the store, somebody leaked it but all in the wrong order which really upsets me. But everyone who I care about seems to really like it so that’s good.
It’s definitely a massive progression from ‘Horror Cult’, can you tell us a little about the inspiration of ‘How to Bleed’?
Crilly – I wrote “Horror Cult .5: Cult Harder” and then I got to the studio with what I’d already written at the end of the US tour. Then I started writing more and it turns out that writing in the studio has a set up that kind of works better for me rather than a panicked rush to get something together. I wanted to do something, I don’t want to say with more depth because I really really love ‘Horror Cult’, but I wanted something that encompassed more of what we’re about and what we’re into, and try bring in some of the other stuff that we’re into. We’re never going to be as good as NOFX so we couldn’t just do a straightforward punk record because they’ve already got us beat. So I don’t worry about things like genre, I just write what seemed right for us.
How was it working with William Control recording this album?
Crilly – It was really good because we were at his house, his studio is in the garden and his family are really lovely. We’ve been friends for a couple of years now so it felt like working at home which was cool and Will really knows his way around a song, he knows what to tell you in order to make something better. It wasn’t as brutal as the first time we worked with him when we really sucked, this time was like hanging out with friends, working on tunes. It was really relaxing and he’s a lot of fun to work with and also a lot of fun to hang out with. When you’re not up against time restraints like you are in the studio normally, it’s a lot better. You’re able to say “I’m not feeling it today, let’s go and see Star Wars”.
How was the whole US experience for you all?
Crilly – It was amazing. It didn’t feel like that long though. We flew out in September and the other dudes [in Ashestoangels] went home a little earlier. I didn’t land back in the UK until December 23rd, just in time for Christmas, which I mostly slept through. It was a long time but it was a long tour. We’re only doing 8 dates on this one and we could have maybe stretched it a little further but we’ve covered a lot of the major cities and there’s not that much more you can do here. Whereas in America, you can do a tour five times the length of that and still not have covered cool, new ground. I really liked it there and there’s something very nice about your job for the day being drive a van, load in and play a show and that same thing stretching on for a very, very long time. I couldn’t believe it, when we got towards the end, I was like “How have we done these 30 shows?” It was good though, we loved it.
How did the US audience respond to Ashestoangels, were they receptive?
Crilly – There were people in our shirts which was crazy. People had drawn things for us and some knew the words but I was concerned that going and playing with Black Veil Brides and Aiden that people would only be there to see them and we’d just be the band that was on before. Especially with a band like Aiden where a lot of the fans are my age, just desperate to see them one last time. But that just wasn’t the experience we had at all. Everybody was super receptive, plus we’d got this trick where at the end of our set, when everybody has been enjoying it, we then played our Misfits mashup. So they’ve enjoyed the set, they’ve been thrashing and moshing and at the end you play a song that people already know and that kind of seals you into their head as something that they’re into. Our following in The States since then has grown. I get to speak to some really cool people, and because I’m never asleep, I’ve always got people to chat to on the internet.
I suppose this won’t be the last that the US sees of Ashestoangels then?
Crilly – I certainly hope not, but we can’t go out there on our own. It’s very expensive and also we could maybe pull some people in some towns and we could work hard on the promotion but it wouldn’t be the most effective use of our time there, because we’d have to fuck around with Visas and stuff. So we’ve got to find another band to trade a tour with, that’d be cool. Maybe we could bring them here [to the UK] and they’d take us there.
There’s a petition circulating on the internet at the moment to ban the New Grave music genre, what do you make of this and do you think politics has a place in the music world?
Crilly – I saw that, it’s a joke right? That’s someone trolling. Some people are responding to it quite seriously but it doesn’t bother me. I think that the music world has a place in politics, I don’t think politics should have anything to do with us. We should be dictating to them what is and isn’t acceptable, not them stepping in and trying to control anything like that. They need to answer to us, not the other way around.
You’ve been announced to play Download 2016, how does that feel?
Crilly – It still hasn’t really sunk in. It’s what I’ve always wanted and now I’m getting it, I don’t know how to feel. Excited is what I feel. But when I’m stressed about anything, I always get these dreams that we’re about to play our first major festival and we get on stage when our slot is about to happen and I turn around and my whole band has decided they’re going to play different instruments that day. The worst thing is they don’t know how to play these instruments, so that’s the dream I have when I’m stressed and in the run up to Download, it’s getting worse. I’ll be stressed up until the point we start playing and it’ll be like any other show: easy. I’ll quit when I get used to the stress.
Are there any plans for Ashestoangels for the rest of 2016?
Crilly – Break up, stint in rehab, horrendous comeback album. But we’ll have an obscurely successful comeback tour where people only want to hear the old songs and they’ll be right to because our return album will be terrible. But we’re going to do this in the space of like a week and a half, it’s going to be very confusing.
This Ashestoangels article was written by Evie Myers, a GIGsoup contributor. Edited by Zoe Anderson