Interview by Tony Cannella
Last year the Anaheim, California based band New Years Day released their 3rd full-length album “Malevolence” and continue to relentlessly tour in support of it. It is obvious with “Malevolence” the band has never sounded better and released an album that is crushing and just plain awesome. Recently we spoke to lead singer“Malevolence” and touched on a variety of topics. Here is what she had to say…
Your latest album “Malevolence” came out last year. First, I have to say that I really love it.
Thank you so much.
How do you feel that it has been received by the fans and the media?
I couldn’t have asked for it to have been received any better. People were really excited before it even came out and when it was delivered. I feel like it lived up to its expectations. I’m the kind of person that’s never satisfied, so I already want to do one step better than that album but it got I think 4 ½ K’s from Kerrang! Magazine, it got incredible reviews. I couldn’t be any happier. Fans love it, critics love it.
I’ve read where you said that this is your most personal album to date. Can you tell me where you were coming from when you were writing the lyrics?
The writing of the album came at a time that was very dark for me because up until that point I had a very successful year with New Years Day and it turns out with success comes people that want to bring you down. I had quite a rough year in my personal life. People I had relationships with found it very hard to deal with the life I was living and either tried to take advantage of me, tried to steal money from me, I got used a lot and I had to learn how to have thicker skin in a way where I can’t just trust everybody anymore. With the success of the band came some hardships, so I was in a place where I got to write about that.
Erik Ron produced this record. You also worked with him on “Victim to Villain”. What do you like about working with him?
I trust him and that’s what I like the most. I trust very few people in this world and he’s like family to me. He understands my vision, he understands what kind of music I like and what I’m trying to say, he knows what I’m thinking before I even say what I’m thinking. What he is very talented at is getting the best vocal performance out of someone, so he pushes me further, like he pushed me into screaming a lot more, he pushed me into getting the most emotion out of my vocals. If I’m not giving my best he knows and he calls me out on it.
My favorite song on “Malevolence”is the track that starts the record “Kill or Be Killed”. The lyrics are pretty in-your-face. Can you tell us where you were coming from when you were writing the lyrics for that song?
Thank you. That definitely was the point of those lyrics. I wanted everyone to know that I wasn’t going to take their shit anymore and it was me against the world. If you’re not with me you’re against me and I have no problem cutting you out of my life, so to speak, if you’re not willing to be a positive force in it. It’s either me or you and I’m going to choose me every time.
It’s definitely a song that I think a lot of us can relate to.
The video is really cool, too. What can you tell us about that?
I can tell you we were really rushed, that’s why there is not the normal New Years Day, tons of bells-and-whistles to it. We just wanted to let the performance speak for itself and just let me showcase what it’s like to have people kind of always at your feet trying to get a piece of you and that’s what the black demon people represent, you know, having me tied up and breaking loose from that kind of negative energy around you.
Another song that I really loved was “Anthem of the Unwanted”. Could you tell us a little about that one, lyrically?
You know, that one we just wanted to be very straight forward and write a song that would be the anthem of people that kind of go through what I go through and just put what I felt on a daily basis into a kind of march; kind of like a calling for people who get treated the way we usually get treated, which is, underestimated and kind of forgotten and having to work a little bit harder than everyone else to prove ourselves, for whatever reason. We just wanted to right that song with that in mind and give a voice of empowerment to those people.
The band is influenced by horror movies. Does that influence manifest itself when you go into write an album?
I’m a very visual writer. I can’t write a song unless I can see a music the video for it, or see what it sounds like… if that makes sense. So I usually have something like a horror movie going on in my head, which helps me write lyrics. I don’t think we’ll ever do a music video that is not horror movie inspired in some way. There will always be blood, monsters and gore. There will always be something weird in our music videos (laughs).
What’s your favorite horror movie?
It would be a toss-up between “Texas Chainsaw Massacre” and “House of 1000 Corpses”.
New Years Day is about to head out on another tour. Who will you be touring with? (Note: Back in January)
Where touring with Motionless in White and Escape the Fate.
Is New Years Day working on new music or is it still too soon?
I wouldn’t say we’re writing a new album, because it is too soon, but we’re always writing new music, so the next stage of music has begun, but nothing too serious yet.
You’ve done a lot of touring in support of “Malevolence”thus far. What has been some of your biggest highlights so far?
Doing our first headliner was pretty exciting. We headlined the U.S. for the first time and it was very successful. The numbers outsold anything that anybody expected. We had a lot of sellout shows, we had humongous VIP lines.
You are currently signed to the Century Media imprint Another Century label. How do you like working with them?
We love Another Century, they’re great and they love girls. They’re not discriminatory against the fact that we’re female singers on a metal label. They know that we kick just as much ass as the guys, if not more. So we’re treated with tons of respect and it’s a very good place for a female fronted metal band to be.
I was reading an article where you were speaking out against sexism in today’s metal scene. Have you experienced a lot of that and do you consider that a problem in today’s metal scene?
You know, I wouldn’t say that I’ve experienced a lot of it and I also don’t think it’s a huge problem but it definitely still exists. I was just mostly speaking out on tips for guys and girls on how to be aware of the situation, to avoid it and how to be respectful if you’re a guy and how to be alert if you’re a female. I don’t speak out about it because I think it’s a huge problem, I just think it’s a good thing to keep conscious about.
What advice would you have for a female starting out in a metal band?
If she was starting out, to develop thick skin very quickly. That would be the best advice I have because you have to always be able to play with the boys and it’s not always an easy situation. It took me a long time before I knew how to speak up.
What are your plans for 2016?
We’re booked – touring wise – up until June of 2016, so pretty much half my year is already planned out. Just lots of touring and we want to tour the entire world. We want to keep doing what we’re doing. There is really no huge monumental stuff right now, I feel like last year was a huge step for us, so this year we just want to kind of ride that and grow organically like we’ve always done.
Who are some bands or artists that you admire?
Marilyn Manson, Rob Zombie, Alice Cooper, Gwen Stefani.
We’ve come to the end of the interview Ashley. Thank you for taking the time to talk to Femme Metal. We love the record.
Thank you. That really means a lot.
In closing, do you have any final words for your fans?
Yes, always. I can’t wait to meet everyone on the road. Keep supporting music and keep music alive by going to shows and buying records. I can’t wait to meet everybody.