New Years Day have an interesting take on life. We caught up with Ash and Nikki from the band at Camden Rocks Festival over the weekend, to find out how things are going for them. We discussed everything from Disneyland, to Marilyn Manson, and why it’s okay to be happy living on the darker side of life.
BM: How’s England treating you this time around? You played Slam Dunk last week then some headline shows?
Ash: Really good! It’s going really really, really good. That was only our second, third and fourth time… actually no we’ve headlined six times this week because I forgot Slam Dunk was headlining. It’s going really well, I didn’t know what to expect with Slam Dunk and headlining the first time we’ve ever been asked to play it was a lot of pressure. Like are we even capable of doing that? But it went really well
Nikki: It was awesome, the crowd was insane
BM: It was quite a small room, we went to Leeds
Ash: That one yeah was a small room, the second one was outside and fucking awesome. That was sick
BM: Slam Dunk is always a good time. We saw you tour with Escape The Fate and Motionless In White, those are like your best friends right?
Ash: Those are like our favourite bands to tour with!
BM: Did you just tour with Escape The Fate right before you came over here?
Ash: Yeah, we said goodbye to them and literally got on the plane
Nikki: The main act was the band Hellyeah, which they were insane; phenomenal. Then Escape The Fate, us and From Ashes To New.
Ash: They’re awesome, we love Escape The Fate. They cry when we leave!
Nikki: I miss those guys in Hellyeah, to be able to come out and say we toured with Vinnie Paul is just insane anyway
Ash: Vinnie Paul cooked for us and gave us shots, Vinnie motherfucking Paul, awesome
BM: So you guys still get a little bit star-struck sometimes?
Nikki: It’s very surreal, when you see Vinnie Paul coming out like ‘give me a fist bump’ and you’re like ahhhhh! It’s the same when we toured with Manson, like ‘who’s playing next? Oh, it’s just Marilyn Manson with Tiwggy Ramirez’
BM: It’s not okay!
Ash: I know, it’s pretty wild
Nikki: They influenced me to pick up an instrument in the first place
Ash: I remember my dad throwing away Manson’s book when I was in high school, I wasn’t allowed to read it. I’m not going to be like that with my kids
Nikki: He was definitely like one of the last like real rock and roll, the last like punk rock legends, you know? I’ll always call it thatBM: So you released your video for I’m About To Break You earlier this year, which is a crazy video. Where you get your concepts for your videos from?
Ash: They literally just come to me. Like Angel Eyes I remember I was staying at a friend’s house, I was asleep on the couch and it was like 6 in the morning and I just couldn’t sleep and the whole idea for Angel Eyes just came to me. I wrote out an email and sent it to Chris right away and said ‘would you be comfortable with this? Doing this idea?’ He was like ‘fuck yeah, light it up.’ Literally just like that. When the song is finished, I just know what I want to see in the video
BM: Like almost through creating the song, it sort of comes together?
Ash: Same thing with Defame Me and Malevolence and all of that, I just know, weird
Nikki: It’s really insane too because like, knowing Ash and being in a band with her you hear her ideas and stuff like that. Of course we all have our jobs and stuff like that. But our job as a band, not just musically but especially visually is to make her vision a reality and just to see how it went from a couple words coming out of her mouth to this insane music video.
Ash: Andd were standing there and there’s these lights, and crew and extras and we are like ‘oh shit we made it happen’
Nikki: With crazy ass cars driving around, and we’re riding on the back of them and it’s so insane. And to be honest, I couldn’t be more proud and stoked to be in a band with some crazy motherfucker like you
Ash: Awh stop!
Nikki: It’s so insane, she has like this vision and of course we all work together but it’s like your baby. It’s awesome
Ash: Isn’t it wild how far it’s gone?
Nikki: It’s so insane. It’s very surreal, every morning I wake up and I can’t believe this is what I’m doing
Ash: Before Nikki was in the band I made him dress up and do things on stage. Like remember when you introduced us, you had duct tape over your mouth. He wasn’t even in the band yet and we were playing for like 20 people. Nobody gave a shit about who we were. So basically think of that moment, then think of today
Ash: I remember Defame Me, the only idea I had was like, ‘I wanna be in a bath tub. So we’ll need to just figure that out’
Nikki: Going back to Angel Eyes, like I remember how many times we were about to film it and it almost fell through so many times, that headache and that pressure and people who said ‘no no no.’ Then you go up on stage and you take an award for that video, we couldn’t have earned this more
Ash: I almost fired the director the week we were filming it, because he kept wanting more money and we were like ‘no dude just make it happen, I’m hearing problems I need solutions.’ So I was going to fire him, and two days before the music video I was looking for a new director, then he finally came around and stuck with it. But fuck that was a really stressful couple of weeks
BM: So harsh though, if you’ve agreed to do it why wouldn’t you just stick with it?
Ash: Oh I don’t know, everyone’s got a problem, it’s never easy. Shit always falls apart, I remember one of our older music videos for Two In The Chest, One In The Head. We had everything set up in this warehouse, and then the person got evicted from the warehouse and we had to take all of our stuff out, and like find a new warehouse and set up everything. Something always goes wrong! But it keeps it exciting
BM: If everything was easy going then life would be a little dull…
Ash: I’d probably still like that a lot, this keeps me on my toes, so it’s a fun challenge I love the challengeBM: So I know you wanted to be a singer since high school, did you have an idea of the kind of band you wanted to be in?
Ash: No not really, I just knew I wanted to be a beacon or an inspiration or some sort of role model to girls like me. I didn’t really know when I started the band what kind of music I liked, I was still discovering who I was as a person. I wasn’t even comfortable with the black lipstick and dying my hair. I wasn’t even comfortable with myself yet, so it took a while to figure out who I was. Figure out what I wanted to say, and I also had to learn how to write songs. It isn’t something that just happened overnight, it took a long time. I’m still learning.
BM: What else inspires you guys other than music?
Ash: Just life, I get inspired by movies, by Disneyland a lot. The rides and the stories there. Everything about Disneyland…
Nikki: A lot of films
Ash: Nikki Misery is inspired a lot by horror movie characters, you’re always showing me shit
Nikki: A lot of 70’s punk. Also stuff that happens in news. I remember we were in Starbucks on our last tour and they had a bombing somewhere and they had one of these victims walking around. They had blood dripping from their face and this white-ish look. There’s weird things you can take inspiration from. It’s almost a way of taking that reality and putting it back in people’s faces. Not everyone’s gonna get it through a rock show, but you draw inspiration where you can. For someone like me I like to take the dark and the ugly aspects of life and shove it out there. Like with me and especially Jeremy; we’re not trying to do our make-up nice and pretty we want to look ugly and we want to bring that out.
Ash: Still cute doe!
Nikki: Oh you know…
BM: What do you think it is that draws people to the darker side of thing?
Ash: I don’t know I just feel like as society as a whole, this day and age, you’re expected to be perfect and you’re not supposed to have a lot of negative emotions. But we’re human, it comes with the territory and so people aren’t taught how to express it properly and/or to except it or acknowledge it and so music, movies and art has always been an outlet for people, it always has and it always will be. It’s just the way it is, I’ve never been a totally bouncy, happy, listen to Jason Mraz on a weekend person. I don’t listen to that, I like the dark stuff
BM: I wanted to ask about your writing process, how do you get all of your influences and all of the inspirations into the songs?
Ash: It’s weird because I don’t know how. I know when I’m feeling something I’ll know this can relate to an idea that can translate to the people, so I write it down. I use a lot of what I go through all the time. I just don’t write songs when I’m happy, like ‘oh it’s a good day lets write a song.’ I literally only write songs when im pissed off. I can only write when I’m sad or pissed off.
Nikki: Never heard a sad song I didn’t like. When you think of most artists, you think of a mass of emotionally unbalanced people. This is our way to get it out. If not we’d probably be serial killers. If we were all happy and could all channel everything properly, we’d be game show hosts, doctors or lawyers. But we’re not.
Ash: I’d be Steven Harvey
BM: You started this band in 2005?
Ash: Technically, yes
BM: But, I’m not saying you didn’t do well, but stuff started to go well for you the last couple of years, when did things change?
Ash: I say New Years Day realistically started in 2010, it was a band I formed in 2005 and we went through a lot of label issues and got shelved for two years. I had to work really hard and spend a lot of money to get it free. Then New Years Day started to record music again but I wasn’t going to call it New Years Day, it was going to be a whole new band and that’s around the time we started writing Victim To Villain. But then we got offered Warped Tour and we got offered a record deal, and both seemed contingent on the fact we were New Years Day, so we decided to keep the name going strong and beat the odds. It’s never really come up but if you look on our Wikipedia It did start in 2005 but to me it’s a completely different band. Like we were seriously coming up with new names for the project. I don’t know it seemed like the right thing to do to keep the name. I think we did the right thing
Nikki: I’m with it, I like the whole evolutionally process too. The way I’ve always envisioned it, even though I wasn’t there from the beginning, is that Ash had this project and society and the industry killed it, and it’s resurrected as this piece now!