New Year's Day Ash the REAL Villain

Dark goth metal rockers New Years Day have been around for sometime now and have got an all new album "Victim To Villain" underway. Their style has lead them to tour, write, and record music non-stop with even further plans to expand their unique ways of music making. Frontwomen vocalist Ash was the one to discuss the matters of the new album, touring plans, and other matters.

1. Introduce yourself, tell me what you do in New Years Day, and how long the band has been together.

Ash: My name is Ash Costello, and I sing and song write in my band New Years Day. We started in 2007 but really became a serious working band in 2009.

2. Your style of choice is considered dark theatrical rock/pop, why go in this direction for making music?

Ash: I feel that most music is a representation of the person writing it and I have always been drawn to the darker aspects in life, ever since I was very young. I loved horror movies, and haunted houses, scary stories, dark clothing, completely was un-attracted to anything mainstream or trendy. Those are the things that really, get my fire going, so of course when I perform, its my way of showing what my world is like to the people who are listening and watching, in hopes to draw them in and maybe, in a way, to create the world the way I wish it could be.

3. How did the band get the name New Years Day, does it have any reference for the holiday of the same name?

Ash: When we formed this band, it truly was a dark time in our lives. Each of the founding members, including myself, were going through bad break ups, in our relationships and in our former bands. And we were all sleeping over at our guitarist house every night, kind of wallowing in our sadness about it, and we wrote this very mean song called “Ready Aim Misfire” about gouging out cupids eyes and thanking him for nothing. The song was so good, we formed a band specifically to play it! So it felt like, we had all been offered a second chance at something amazing, in a way like a new beginning, to us New Years Day represents getting a chance at starting over.

4. What lyrical theme do you guys use in your music? What message do you want to send?

Ash: I tend to only write lyrics when I've been hurt or upset by something unfortunately. Its the way I deal with myself so a lot of our songs have a kind of therapeutic since of releasing that anger out, not always towards relationships, but most of the time. And sometimes I take it a bit far, describing how I would murder someone, or how someone deserves to be buried alive. Despite the lyrics being a tad bit gruesome, the message I want to send, is not one of a sadness over hardships, but empowerment.

5. What bands have influenced your band and its sound?

Ash: My Chemical Romance has had the most influence on this band for sure. I grew up listening to them, and how each album is a world, it all coincides with each other, the artwork, the story, the stage show, right down to the way they look. When I started New Years Day, I was heavily influenced by them. AFI, The Used, and mostly theatrical bands like Rammstein, Alice Cooper and Marilyn Manson.

6. Is there any story or concept behind the Victim to Villain title?

Ash: I tend to write the best when I'm writing a story. Our new album, “victim to villain” tells the story of a girl who has been victim to everything you can think of. The movie “Carrie” had a big influence on me while writing. Picked on in school, lost, beaten by her mother, just a victim in every aspect of her life. And finally, well, we all know what happens at the end of Carrie! She becomes the Villain and owns her power and her strength and nothing can scare her anymore. Being a villain to me, is not a bad thing, its an empowering thing. The theme of the album is all about, owning that sometimes we can play fault to being a victim, and that all it takes it just saying out loud “I will no longer be a victim, but a villain.” This year was a hard year for me personally, I HAD to make that transformation and I chose to not allow myself to be pushed around anymore. So I became a Villain.

7. Erik Ron produced Victim to Villain, what was it like working with them?

Ash: This album was the first time we worked with a producer outside of our house! So we were nervous and unsure at first, but Erik Ron quickly became the 6th member of our band. The problem we had in the past with trying to find a producer is that no one ever seems to “get” New Years Day and every time, we have to fight to stay true to who we are, because producers want to change us to fit a mold that already exists, instead of seeing the potential in breaking all molds are trying something new. Erik Ron just got us. He took what we are, and made it 1,000 times more amazing. He is an incredible songwriting and I really learned so much.

8. How do you think Victim to Villain, differs and compares to your previous releases, and how has the sound between them evolved?

Ash: Victim to Villain to me, is the most honest I have ever felt, lyrically and musically. I feel like I just got to go wild and write whatever I felt like writing, with no holding back. Its darker, and heavier and at points a bit more sad then what anyone has heard from us in the past. Its more grown up but also at the same time embraces the weird circus horror vibe that makes us who we are even more than ever before. Its the most confident I have ever felt in my voice, I tried and accomplished techniques I never thought that I could. I'm incredibly proud of it.

9. Who did the cover art for Victim to Villain and how much input did you have on it?

Ash: All of the album concepts and imagery come from my twisted little mind, so I had 100% input with it. We shot the cover with photographer Jeremy Saffer, and my graphic designer Brooke Walters helped me create what I was seeing in my head come to life. I imagined a girl being taken over by the darkness inside of her, the villain emerging and coming to life and what that would look like. Black spilling from her eyes and mouth and slowly taking over her body starting with her hands. Its all about the transformation from dead to alive, weak to strong, victim to villain.

10. What are your expectations for the CD?

Ash: Its always hard to say, but I do feel for the first time, that we are on the cusp of something special. Something just feels really different about this album and whats going on in our lives right now. As long as we can keep touring and continue to create music and art, then my expectations will have been met.

11. Tell me how did New Years Day come to getting signed with Century Media Records, and how does it feel to be a part of their family and releasing your fist debut release under them?

Ash: Its quite the story! In 2009, my band members and I snuck about 500 demos into Warped Tour and handed them out to anyone who was willing to take them. I saw William Francis from the band Aiden, walking out from backstage, I ran up to him and introduced myself and handed him a demo and he emailed me the next day. The next month we were staying at his studio in Seattle in the middle of the woods songwriting together. He really believed in us right from the straight and put us on an Aiden show that was showcasing for Century Media and told them that they MUST check us out and the rest was history. He really did play a big role in the career of this band! Thank you Will!

12. Can you tell me why you wanted to go and style your hair in a red/black combo, does it have a meaning behind it at all or was it something "you" wanted to do?

Ash: I've always had to stand out. Even in elementary school, I was sent home for dying my hair with kool aid. I feel like I own this evil and good, angel and demon side of me, like a harlequin who is completely out of her mind, so it just made sense to dye my hair to match the way I felt. A juxtaposition of both sides of the spectrum. Angel to some, demon to others.

13. How about the incident with Blood On The Dance Floor, what happened while on tour with them and has everything been settled since then?

Ash: Its really hard for me to talk about. To be honest, if I even try to speak of it, I get lawsuits thrown at me from their team and a shit load of internet hate from their fan base. But as for what happened on the tour, I will say that I felt incredibly uncomfortable and unsafe around some of their members, and also saw behavior from that band that I did not agree with so I stood up and made the way I felt known and it resulted in us parting ways from the tour. Ive never been the kind of person that just sits back and does not stand up for themselves or stays quiet when I see someone behaving in a way that I feel is less than human. I did what I thought was right and I stand by it 110% and so does my band and team. Has everything been settled? No, I dont know if it ever will be settled, its one of the most disturbing situations I have ever lived through.

14. This summer is the Van's Warped Tour, what have you done to prepare yourselves for this tour?

Ash: Well, this is the first summer we will NOT be doing warped tour in a van, so we are pretty excited about that! We want to bring something different to Warped Tour, so we have been putting a lot of thought and effort into how to add some surprises to our live show. We like to have a lot of fun and we like to get bloody, so don't expect to leave our set clean. I bought a black umbrella and am stocking up on SPF 5,000... otherwise known as SPF goth so I should be okay.

15. What are you looking forward to about working with so many bands on this tour?

Ash: We are the band that most bands tend to support and bring under their wings, like a bands band, so we are really looking forward to just making new friends and of course seeing old ones, like Hawthorne Heights, Reel Big Fish, Set It Off. You always end the tour having made some best friends. That's what its all about. I'm really excited to sing with Set It Off everyday for the song I did with Cody Carson called “Partners In Crime”... I've never sang on stage at Warped with anyone other than my band and it sounds really fun!

16. Once this tour in the USA is over what do you have planned afterwards?

Ash: We are starting to plan for our first UK tour! And of course more several more U.S. tours, we like to stay busy and on the road, for us, that is when we are happiest.

17. You guys have toured a lot over the years but where hasn't New Years Day set foot in, or would like to tour?

Ash: We have never been to the UK, or Japan but honestly, I have high hopes to get to Brazil and the Philippines because apparently we have a huge following there! So we hope to start working on that too.

18. Any final words of wisdom?

Ash: Stay beautiful, but keep it creepy. Be your or die. Always stand up for yourself and what you feel your deserve and never let anyone take your dreams away from you. I love our creeps, and everyone else can either get on board or stand by and watch us turn this nation into Halloween Town.

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