NF - PERCEPTION
As the year wraps up, we got ahold of Asking Alexandria guitarist Ben Bruce to talk about life, music and what he’s been listening to in 2017. And we’ve gone and put everything he said in this nicely shaped end of year review for you lot, because that’s what we do when the year ends.
“There’s been a lot of emotions for me this year,” Bruce told us, ”I’d definitely say it’s not been a bad one for me, in any sense. I had my first baby boy, which obviously is incredible, and Asking Alexandria created an album that I’m absolutely in love with. Because of that record I feel that everything has had a lot of momentum around it, it’s made us constantly look forward to what comes next with enthusiasm, and it’s also making me very excited for what comes in 2018 and getting to play the new songs to people,” he says.
“At the same time, it’s been a very tough year for a lot of people, there’s a lot of anger and upset out there, and you can’t help but be affected by that as a human being, even if it hasn’t directly touched me like it has some. It’s also very much been a growing year for me. I’ve learned a lot about myself and life in general: having my first kid last year began to teach me about being a dad, but with the second more than ever I’m learning a lot about responsibilities and putting my family first. I’ve learned that my own needs come second, even with relatively small things like quitting smoking. I quit, and then I started again, and now I know I need to quit again but not for me, for my kids, and I’m embracing these changes, and with these lessons I’m learning I’m happy with where my life is right now.”
Ben’s life is in a pretty healthy, and happy place right now, which is great to see. However, when it comes to music in 2017, and the industry as a whole, he’s got some strong words about its current state. “I think it’s been a tough year for music and the people making and putting out records. A lot is changing in this industry, and it doesn’t really know what it’s doing right now, and that has knock on effects. It reminds me of when I was a kid and DVDs started becoming really popular but everyone still loved their VHS tapes and wasn’t sure what was going on.”
“Right now, it feels to me that so many people are asking the question should I be streaming or should I not be streaming? Is streaming bad or is streaming good? Or should I keep buying MP3s? Or CDs? Or records, since they’ve come back into fashion? Because of that I feel like every album that’s come in 2017 out was surrounded by a lot of bullshit that doesn’t matter, and I think there could be a few more tough years before music gets its feet back on the ground, and particularly in the rock scene. Pop and rap artists have embraced it, they’ve changed with the times, while our genre has been very reluctant, and that’s really shown through this year. I told our label I don’t want to put out an album, I just want to keep putting out singles, and they said no, we can’t do that. We have to follow the formula, put out a record and do a cycle. I’m there asking why? Pop stars are putting out singles at the drop of a hat, and that’s working, it’s great, and hopefully in two years time rock will catch up to where I think it should be.”
Words: Dan Slessor