AAA: Ashestoangels – The Tunnels, Bristol 24/01/2016
To give an indication of how fast time actually has flown, it’s only been eight months since we touched base with the guys from Bristol’s Ashestoangels. In that time, they have managed to embark on another UK tour, fly over and tour the United States and start writing and recording material for their upcoming fourth album.
Their video for “Find Hell” surfaced only a week ago, and the band find themselves coming home again, as The Last Sunrise tour with Aiden stopped off at The Tunnels in Bristol last Sunday night. We were fortunate enough to get a few words from the band about the upcoming album and their recent tour, as well as get an all access photo pass to the show.
© Shaun Neary. All images are subject to copyright laws. All rights reserved.
One of the things that can be very difficult for any band is to break through the proverbial glass ceiling in a new country for the first time, although it’s sometimes known to happen that you could crack the foreign market before you’re recognised at home. The previous Punishment and British Horror Story tours have shown that there’s clearly no problem with the home crowds, but how would they fare on their U.S tour?
“It was awesome!”, exclaims Crilly. “We were a bit worried. With bands like Aiden, there are always concerns that people are only going to be there to see Aiden, but with the exception of one or two shows, everyone was so into it which was great and a real relief because a month of unreceptive audiences could really harm a man!”
The new album is scheduled for release on March 18th and will be titled ‘How To Bleed’. However, Crilly has already stated that this isn’t just going to be Horror Cult Part Two. “To turn people really off the trail, the first track is called ‘Horror Cult’!”, laughs Crilly. “We just want to keep building on what we’re doing, build a bigger sound and a bigger repertoire. Horror Cult’s a great record, but the whole thing was just like a freight train, one line, really really fast with a slight detour. This one, it’s bigger, there’s more shit going on but as we had so much more time in the studio there wasn’t any rush, which reflects itself in the tempo, it’s not as fast, although there is one real heavy song!” Guitarist Adam Falkor chimes in; “When you can work 24 hours in the day, it really increases your productivity.”
While “Find Hell” may be the lead track from the record, it isn’t really a clear indication on what the entire album is going to sound like when it sees its release a few weeks from now. “We worked down from 22 songs so there’s nothing that’s pretty much the same song, which is good. ‘Find Hell’ is a good starting point, but I think people are going to be pleasantly surprised with what we’ve got going on”. The album will be devoid of older, unreleased material, Crilly sets the record straight on this particular subject once and for all; “We’re not putting Pirouette on a record, it’s not going on anything ever!”
The Last Sunrise tour wraps up in about a week in London, and sharing a bill with Aiden also means that the band have spent a considerable amount of time with the album’s producer, William Control, who has also worked on the bands previous two albums. The advantage to this is that it’s a comfortable relationship, but it does run the risk of a bands sound going stale (one could cite Bob Rock’s relationship with Metallica throughout the 90s as a good example of this).
Thinking for a second, Crilly addresses this; “The first album was like being dragged from thinking we were great right to the lower level of the next stage, and it was not easy. We ran into it extremely confident and massively under-prepared, we weren’t that good. The second album was a lot easier, it was a lot better. We worked in a better studio and we knew what we were doing. With this album, it’s been like relaxing into something that we know how to do. We feel like actual musicians on this one. It wasn’t painful, it wasn’t difficult, it was relaxed, it was fun.”
Ashestoangels have produced three albums in the space of almost three years, which doesn’t seem to happen as much as it used to. Crowd funding has played a vital part in the creation of albums in the past. However, Crilly has opted not to go down that road this time around; “I don’t like the way it takes something that should be cool and creative and turns it into a commodity. People can be as involved as much as they want by buying t-shirts and coming to the shows, they know the ways to support bands nowadays, but I didn’t really like doing the crowd funding thing, it left a weird taste in my mouth. We were so grateful for what it helped us do, and there were a lot of people who were very involved in the process, we’re very good friends with them and it was a interesting experience. We really needed that boost then, whereas now we’re able to level the playing field a lot more and make this more of a give and take thing, I don’t want to be one of those bands who just say “Yeah, we wanna do this, give us money!”
Over the years, the band have formed ties with Plymouth metalcore quintet Refuge Of The Fallen, who were one of the support acts during the British Horror Story tour last summer. For the UK leg of this tour, their guitarist Josh Jones joined Ashestoangels, expanding them to a five piece, he also appears in the video for “Find Hell”.
We asked Josh how this came about. “My other band played their last headline show, The British Horror Story tour, and a couple of weeks after that tour, I got a casual message in my inbox from Crilly saying “I’ve seen what you can do, and would you like to come out and help us out? And I jumped straight on the opportunity and went from a side guitarist / techie type to being involved in the music videos and touring, and I’ve been really appreciative of it. It’s given me a lot of experience.” Crilly laughs and adds “He nearly died! Being around us will ruin your life, and with him, it happened very quickly! He did an admirable job playing on the tour until he had to be taken to hospital.”
As previously mentioned, the tour finishes up with three dates in London, with an acoustic show sandwiched between the two electric dates, with a very likely chance of a lot of the same people at all three shows. “We did two dates in Leicester before, and it was atrocious, the same four people turned up for both shows! We never really plan anything so our shows tend to be different each time anyway. With this tour, we are the support band and it’s so exciting to be involved, but I’m just in awe that we’ve ended up being at the last ever Aiden shows, and their last UK show ever is at the Underworld in Camden. When I started booking this tour, I wanted it to finish there and be sold out. So I guess it will be different because we’re chaotic and imperfect and our shit breaks all the time! And I think there will be a different audience, but mostly I think that’s going to be the shows where it sinks in that it will be the last Aiden dates, so the spotlight will be on them for this one, which is only right. We’re still going to try and blow them off the stage though!”
The Last Sunrise tour finishes in London at the Underworld on the 29th and 31st of January, with a special acoustic performance on the 30th at The Garage.
Photos & Interview: Shaun Neary