Hailing from Bristol, this self-declared new grave four piece have toured the world with the singular goal of playing music, for themselves and for their fans.
They recently brought their famously energetic shows to Southampton on tour with Aiden, and Carly-May got a chance to sit down to chat with singer and synth-master Crilly, though as the interview began they were immediately sidetracked by the volume of phallic drawings on the back of the door.
We’ve got this thing, we’re doing the Big Bad Book of Backstage Dicks, it’s going to be like a coffee table book because we see a lot of cock art. So we’re going to get it made all big and nice and we’re going to do giant screenprints of the most popular dicks because there are some true artists out there, and I think there’s going to be some… penises.
That seems like such a guy thing –
It’s definitely a guy thing.
– Because women don’t just draw their vaginas, that’s weird.
It’s definitely like.. you don’t get a lot of female sculpters in the classical world, it’s all just men carving fallices, and this is the modern version. This [the drawings]is essentially them rubbing their cock on things and saying, ‘this belongs to me’. And I like that this guy is so pleased with his that he’s signed and dated it. But it tells you a lot!
So you just had a protractor thrown on stage… do you like maths?
Yeah I use it an awful lot actually, I’m the man who runs this show, I booked this whole tour and maths without it, I’m screwed. Also I build a lot of things; light-up boxes, screen printing machines, shit that needs done in my house, so maths is handy. The first time you come across a 13 date UK tour you’re like, ‘thank fuck I know about algebra’. And like to get a Kerrang advert, how much is coming in, venue cost, these shows are a guarantee so we won’t do the advert, and a local band means we have to take out a percentage of the advert, how much goes to us, it’s ridiculous that I do this. I don’t think we should be operating as an international booking agent.
Of course, because you were in America weren’t you?
Yeah – I didn’t actually book that one, it was fucking lovely that I didn’t have to do anything but drive and sing!
Is touring different, are the audiences different?
Yeah once we got there it was fine but getting there was the biggest fucking headache, the US visa process was ridiculous, and extortionate, some of it is even luck and chance, our guitar player didn’t make the first show, we booked everything and got our passports back from the embassy the day before we flew, he missed the Black Veil Brides show. If not for a selection of dickheads along the way though we could have got a one year working visa, gone back any time we wanted this year as long as we had a years worth of work in the States, rather than going for three months. And I found out booking flights the day before is cheaper if you’re not booking years in advance.
Are you vegan? I heard a lot of talk about it before.
No, what it is I have all these opinions and thoughts. I really hate the industry around food but at the same time I really hate the industry that cuts down swathes of the rainforest, kills everything that lives there so we can grow fucking wheat, and then kills everything in that field with a giant machine threshing the wheat, done by the same shitty companies that make the same money selling us swill. So if not eating meat was the solution to all of these problems I would never eat meat again but I feel until I can come up with a sustainable solution just for me I’m just going to eat exclusively grass-fed meat because it’s better for you and them, and – you can eat a big steak, two meals a day every day, you consume less than one cow on your own, and from a grass-fed source, it’s worth more to them than the farms that don’t care about their animals.
Straying dangerously close to a serious subject! But vegans and vegetarians, just let them eat their nut roast. I love kale, I put it in smoothies, this peppery thing and if you put it in smoothies, you’ll live forever.
Is that fact?
Will taught me it and he’s still alive; ‘if you put kale in smoothies you’ll never die’.
What’s tour like?
Tour? A headache with pictures. But if I was to apply what I am capable of to any other industry, I mean I’m self-employed and managed to get me and my band to America off the back of T-shirts and punk rock, with no label or any of that shit.
Do you have advice for anyone who wants to do music?
Check that you really want to do it and if so, go and do it because there’s actually nothing stopping you nowadays. All you need to play good is to play in time and play in tune, warm your voice up, tune your fucking guitars, write as many songs as you can, practise always, play everywhere. And print your own merchandise, because one year we spent ten grand printing T-shirts.
How do you know if you want to do it?
I think you know you want to do it when you drive five hours to play to two people who don’t give a shit about you in some terrible fucking pub in some terrible fucking village, and on the drive home you’re like ‘that was awesome’. If you can do that, you love it and you’ll probably go far.
I guess it’s similar with classical, sometimes you have people talking over you and you’re like ‘sucks for you because this Tchaikovsky is spot on, and these flat and sharp notes are perfect’.
They are banging – you get it, but I guess you have to use both hands but I can just grab the table people are sitting at and drag it to the front of the stage and say ‘if you’re gonna sit and chat you’re gonna sit and chat in front of me, stare at them’.
When it is shit…
Yesterday was bollocks. First time in ages yesterday, it wasn’t really good, kinda sucked, and then someone said, ‘”you were really good”. And we were like, ‘why didn’t you respond in some kind of positive manner!?’ We’ve never been a support band other than this tour, nobody wanted to play with us so we just did it ourselves, so we do headline shit, sell out venues without anyone in the industry really even noticing, so for the longest time our shows were full of people who want to be there.
This is a little harder because you’ve got to win people over, it’s good to remember how to do that. But sometimes you have shows where people just stand there and you can tell they’re really taking it in, and sometimes that’s fine. But I don’t just play for them, I definitely am selfish and play for me. I have to do it, gotta keep doing it. It seems that people like it as well.
Didn’t Kerrang nominate you for Best British Newcomer?
Yeah that was weird, I met Rob Halford from Judas Priest and he knew who I was.
Is it weird meeting people, do you get starstruck?
Really weird! But nah, I know how to play it cool, I know when to leave as well but we did kidnap Dani Filth from Cradle of Filth and drive him round London in a taxi like, “do the voice!”. And he said, “no boys, I won’t do the voice”. We wouldn’t let him get out until he did. And he did! We were the drunkest band at the Kerrang awards for sure. Ha!
Ashestoangels end their tour with Aiden at The Underworld, London, on January 31st.