ASKING ALEXANDRIA’s SAM BETTLEY – “My Plans Are Definitely To Play This Record As Many Places As Possible”
September 1, 2023, a month ago
British metalcore enthusiasts Asking Alexandria are back with their eighth studio effort, Where Do We Go from Here? As with their past few studio offerings, Matt Good is back in the producer’s chair, and the group offers quite a few surprising twists and turns throughout its eleven tracks. Bassist Sam Bettley spoke with BraveWords correspondent Greg Prato on the afternoon of the first date of the band’s latest US tour, and chatted about the album, his favorite tracks, and his favorite modern-day metal.
BraveWords: Let’s start by discussing the latest album, Where Do We Go From Here?
Sam Bettley: “The only thing that is the same on this record is the fact that we’ve done it differently – because every single record we ever recorded or wrote has always been done in a different way. This is no exception. But this one in particular was really fun, really easy – just because it was so different from the last. We needed to do it together on the last one, but this one was more ‘do it remotely.’ Just sending things back and forth and a lot of voice memos going to demos, going to rough mixes. It was nice because we’ve all got families and kids – so, we were able to do it from home, yet still be so connected. This is the first time we’ve done it so remotely. In terms of the writing and the recording process, I recorded all of the bass from my house. I’d never done that before. Whereas the last record, See What’s on the Inside, that was all us locked way together – during a time where no one was able to do that, really, because of Covid. There’s never really a strict ‘We do it this way every time.’ You just listen to how you feel and what feels like the best way of doing it. Which is why there is such a drastic change in how we did it this time.”
BraveWords: What is the story behind the album title?
Sam Bettley: “It was a song that Danny [Worsnop] brought to us towards the end of the writing process. It’s one of the more powerful songs – in terms of a ballad. The title itself when he came to us with it was a bit of a no-brainer. It just immediately started triggering questions in our own minds. The way I see it personally is it was a question of not just us but what the fans can ask themselves as well – we’ve been doing this for 15 years and a lot of fans have been with us along the way, who are in their thirties now, and starting to go through different times in their lives. It’s just a question that I think anyone can relate to – regards to the situation.”
BraveWords: Let’s talk about the song “Let Go” and its video.
Sam Bettley: “We got to work with a really good friend of ours, Grace Grundy, so that’s the other voice you hear on the song. Which is completely complimentary to Danny – he’s got this raw, raspy, ‘rock’ vocal style, and then Grace comes in with this angelic kind of tone. It works so well. We’ve actually worked with Grace in the past – on the record Like a House on Fire, she was on ‘I Don’t Need You.’ We just felt like that song didn’t quite get the spotlight that it deserved, and it was a no-brainer when the time came for someone to do it. Grace was the first person we thought of, and she absolutely nailed it. And the video was so cool. The director, Wombat, we’ve done a few videos with him. This one was really cool – he brought in this robot arm called Colossus for the video. Using that robot to get all these angles, and it’s one take – which is really cool. And then he splices it together.”
Sam Bettley: “It’s just a super-energetic, ‘look into Danny’s mind’ a little bit. Danny addresses a lot of stuff in there. I think it’s going to be a fun one to play live. We just did an acoustic version of it that we did on Sirius – a completely different vibe to that song. So, we’re going to probably throw that in at some point on this next tour.”
BraveWords: “Dark Void.”
Sam Bettley: “It was the first single we released. When I got sent the rough demo, I knew this was something that was going to go off live. We’ve got so much music that starts like that, but never makes its way through the different levels of the writing process and gets left to the side. But this one – from start to finish – I was just excited, because I never felt like that was going to be a heavier song that got cast to the wayside.”
BraveWords: Other favorite tracks?
Sam Bettley: “‘Things Could Be Different.’ It’s such a cool vibe – it’s got a little disco beat when it kicks in, and it’s hard not to bop your head or move a little bit to that song. It’s got such a good groove on bass. And the bridge is cinematic – I can’t wait to hear how that sounds live. The title track, Danny really nailed it with that one. Every record, he writes a song that connects with me lyrically, this time it was definitely that one. On the last record it was ‘You’ve Made It This Far.’”
BraveWords: Who are some of your favorite modern-day metal bands?
Sam Bettley: “Architects has been a huge part of me growing up, listening to this kind of music. Just the musicianship is incredible. Parkway Drive is fantastic – we’ve seen those guys come from the same kind of scene and just blow up in Europe, and seeing them do these crazy shows. We went out with them a few years ago, and it was awesome. Great dudes.”
BraveWords: What can fans expect from seeing the band live?
Sam Bettley: “From the get-go, it’s just super high-energy, heavy, in-your-face, out of the gates…even the new stuff has been tweaked and reformatted for it to go down pretty heavy live. I’m excited to see that – I think it’s going to be a heavier show. But it’s a long show too, so there’s elements where you have sing-alongs, too. But it’s nice to see the heavier side come back a little bit more.”
BraveWords: Future plans?
Sam Bettley: “My plans are definitely to play this record as many places as possible, and bring the show to a lot of people who might not have seen us in quite a while. Just get back out there, really, and play music. It’s who we are – we’ve been playing since we were kids. The biggest thing for us is touring and being dads ourselves, having time at home. But we had a lot of time at home resting and spending time with our families. I think next year there’s going to be finding a better balance of going out and being at home. But I’m ready to play some shows.”
(Photos - Danny Worsnop)