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INTERVIEW: ASH COSTELLO of NEW YEARS DAY – December 2018

| 27 December 2018 | Reply

 

According to a recent press release: “Formed in Orange County, Calif. by Ashley Costello, New Years Day shook the scene with their Century Media debut, Victim to Villain, in 2013 featuring their breakout single “Angel Eyes.” The five-piece later cemented their place in the heavy music landscape with their Epidemic EP and critically-acclaimed Malevolence full-length in 2015, clocking more than 20 million views on YouTube. The band has since become the most visually-captivating group in modern rock, playing for millions of fans around the world, sharing the stage with Ozzy Osbourne, Nine Inch Nails and Five Finger Death Punch while also headlining the longest-running touring festival in 2017. As new challenges and new worlds beckon, the band released Diary of a Creep in January to pay tribute to the artists who shaped them thus far.” We get front-woman Ash Costello to discuss new music, touring, and much more…

Toddstar: Ash – thank you so much for taking time out for me, I appreciate it today.

Ash: Oh, you’re welcome.

Toddstar: Well, let’s talk about everything that’s going on in you guy’s life. You guys are out hitting the streets with Halestorm and In This Moment. How did this come about for you guys?

Ash: Well, we’ve actually known In This Moment and Halestorm for years and years and years because when you’re a female in a rock band, you play festivals, you kind of gravitate towards the other women. Some I’ve taken plenty of shots with Lizzy backstage at award shows around the entire world. You know, I’ve seen Maria everywhere. We’re always bumping into each other. And finally, Lizzy had this really cool idea of doing an all-female tour. So it just made sense.

Toddstar: That’s cool. Musically, the three bands aren’t that different, but in your own ways, you are.

Ash: Yes, I agree.

Toddstar: How do you find New Year’s Day being accepted by bands of something where you get In This Moment that at times has been a little more industrial and you get Halestorm that’s a little more mainstream.

Ash: Well, we’ve been described by a lot of people in the industry, record labels, magazines, all the kind of middle ground between Halestorm and In This Moment. You know, we have that rock and roll of Halestorm and we have that kind of darker industrial of In This Moment. We kind of blend the two worlds in our way. So we actually appeal to everybody at the show and it’s going over so well.

Toddstar: What’s it like for you guys when you’re standing up there doing your part and you see your fans in the front with your face on a t-shirt or an album cover on a t-shirt, knowing that your fans are there packing that place just as much as the headliner?

Ash: It actually feels really good. New Year’s Day fans are representing a lot more than I had expected. Because every day I say “who’s never heard of us before?” And hardly anyone raises their hand. So it’s definitely growing, we’re seeing a difference.

Toddstar: That’s awesome and it’s a true testament to the band s fan base. You guys have put together some cool albums. The most recent being the one you put out last January, so it’s about a year old now. You put out the EP Diary of a Creep. How did it come about that you guys decided to drop this EP at this time with those five specific songs?

Ash: Well, we knew our next album was going to take a while to make, because there was a lot of pressure on this one, meaning that I really wanted to step out of my box and it was going to take some time. So we wanted to give something to the fans to kind of hold them over and also something to tour on. Something to sell. Something to give new fans that’s an older record. So we thought, what’s more fun than I cover album? That’s fun for the fans, it’s fun for new listeners, and it’s fun for us. You know? So, it took us a whole summer. We were on Warp Tour when we were narrowing down the songs that we wanted to cover. And it was really hard to choose. Try imagine picking your top five favorite songs of all time, that’s so hard. But I think we did a pretty good job. I tried to pick things that were a little bit all over the spectrum, like eighties, new wave goth and nineties new metal. Female fronted, male, you know, metal, pop-rock. I wanted to not just stick to one genre. And it was really important to me that they weren’t like karaoke versions of the song. That we put our own spin on them and I think we did a great job.

Toddstar: How do you take a song that people know and how do you approach it, knowing that you guys were going to put that New Years’ experience and sound behind it, kind of rearranging the song?

Ash: I was just very vocal about what I wanted. The producer, Mitch Marlow on that EP, he’s also responsible for a lot of my favorite bands, including some of my favorite independent songs. And he has a very twisted mind. And once I described to him everything I was hoping to get out of the album, I really trusted him to take the songs and make them exactly how I wanted them, and he did.

Toddstar: How did you pick the songs and what was it about those tracks that just screamed to you that you needed to cover it? What song jumped out to you the most?

Ash: “Fucking Hostile” was the first choice, the first one to be like, “I have to do that song” because I always wanted to cover that song and in the past, producers or past label people or whoever would say “Are you sure you want to do “Fucking Hostile?” It’s a really hard song. And it’s got a guy.” And I was like, “Are you kidding me? Now, I just want to do it even more because you’re acting like I can’t do it.” Which only makes me want to do stuff more. So “Fucking Hostile” was the most important one for me. And we play it every day. I love playing that song, it’s so much fun. It’s probably one of my top ten favorite songs of all time.

Toddstar: I am a big fan of your take on New Order’s “Bizarre Love Triangle,” it was a cool one.

Ash: Oh, thank you. That was the hardest one. It was hard to figure out what to do… how do you give a song with no guitars a guitar riff? So we came up with the idea of taking the original synth and then making it the guitar riff.

Toddstar: So you have had a year with this and you’re working on new material… hopefully an album is coming our way in 2019.

Ash: Yeah.

Toddstar: You guys have been busy this year. How do you find time between tours to jump in a studio and do the writing and the recording?

Ash: You just do it. You just make it a priority, you make time and you hope you are surrounding by people that are supportive of your passion and what it takes, and luckily, I am. I have a really good support system, so I never feel stressed or like other things in my life are suffering. My best friends, my fiancé, my band members, my family, they all understand. So between touring, I really got too focused on writing the record and normally, the way we made records in the past is 30 days straight in the studio. But this was broken up between tours, which was actually kind of nice to have some breathing room and some head space to kind of soak in the music we have written and moving, decide where I want to go next.

Toddstar: You go from Victim to Villain to Malevolence and the music was more mature. You sounded more mature, more cohesive, and the writing seemed better. What direction do you see the new material taking you? Is it going to be that same mature progression with not a lot of deviation from your guy’s sound or are you guys going to mix it up a little bit?

Ash: All I ever want to do is just keep being better. Better vocals, better melodies, better lyrics, better music, better tones, better recordings, and that’s all I care about. I just want to keep getting better. So the sound, to me, is the next improvement in New Year’s Day. It’s growing up, it’s more thought out, it’s more put together. I can’t describe it really,. It’s just better.

Toddstar: You mention “Fucking Hostile” is one of your favorite tracks, or at least top ten of all time. Looking back, if you could pick something weren’t yours, what album influenced you enough that you wished you’d been a part of it?

Ash: Oh, that’s easy. The record that had the biggest impact on my life is by a band called AFI and it was their first big successful album called Sing the Sorrow. That really shaped me as a front person, as a musician, as a writer, as a poet. It really shaped who I am.

Toddstar: What about that album shaped you?

Ash: Because it was dark. It was dark, but it was so catchy and it took risks. There’s one song called “Misery Macabre,” I can’t remember now, that took this huge risk. I remember when I listened to it, I was like, “Oh man, I bet they were worried if that was going to work” and it did. I was like, “I want to know what that feels like to take a risk and then watch it pay off.” We’ve definitely taken the riskier route than the generic route, that’s for sure.

Toddstar: You mentioned taking the riskier route and the little more homegrown grassroots route. But looking back over your professional career, Ash, is there a moment you wish you could have a re-do on, even if it didn’t change the end result, but you just want another crack at it?

Ash: No, I don’t think so. I’m a firm believer in everything happens the way it should. I really like where I’m at. So, I wouldn’t change it, no. I mean, even saying, well are there any magical moments you want to relive? No. They just keep getting more magical. I’m just looking forward.

Toddstar: That’s fair. At least you know what you got and what you want. You guys put “Skeletons” out there, you got an album coming. Hopefully that means more tours and hopefully another shot at me seeing you here in Detroit sometime soon.

Ash: We’re going to have a headlining tour in the spring.

Toddstar: I want to wish you well through the Holidays. Hurry up, finish that album, so your fans can get their hands on it, a And let’s get you back on the road.

Ash: Thank you so much.

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Todd ‘ToddStar’ Jolicoeur

Category: Interviews

About the Author ()

ToddStar - that's me... just a rocking accountant who had dreams of being a rock star. I get to do the next best thing to rocking the globe - I get to take pictures of the lucky ones that do. I love to shoot all genres of music and different types of performers. If it is related to music, I love to photograph it. I get to shoot and hang with not only some of my friends and idols, but some of the coolest people around today.

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