Editors’ Notes On their sixth record, Asking Alexandria look back on their turbulent past and celebrate their hard-won rejuvenation. Like a House On Fire is the British band’s second album since original vocalist Danny Worsnop returned after a well-publicized departure in early 2015 that lasted nearly two years. “The album title has a double meaning for us,” guitarist and band co-founder Ben Bruce tells Apple Music. “When Danny came back for our last album, we had a great experience but were sort of getting used to working with each other again. With this one, we were quite literally getting on like a house on fire. We also managed to rebuild bigger and better after everything burned to the ground.” As such, they felt inspired to make a record that recalls the youthful energy of their 2009 debut, Stand Up and Scream. “That’s what this recording experience felt like for us,” Bruce says. “It was the five original members back in the same room together, and we threw the rulebook out the window. We didn’t make this record for our label or our manager or for critics—or for anyone other than us and anyone who wants to listen to us. Just like we did back in the day.” Below, Bruce walks us through the flames.

House On Fire
“We’re doing a bit of soul searching on this album. On our first album we were just kids; we were learning what we’re doing—and we were well and truly thrown into the deep end of the music industry. The stereotypical drug addictions formed, and alcohol abuse, and it was a dark, downward spiral from there. But this is the first album we’ve ever written sober. None of us do drugs or anything anymore. We’re clean, we’re happy, and we’re healthy. So ‘House On Fire’ is kind of reminiscing and looking back at everything we’ve been through.”

They Don't Want What We Want (And They Don't Care)
“This song was originally called ‘Panic’ but our record label convinced us to change it. But as a band, we still call it ‘Panic.’ The song takes me back to my first day of high school, when the head teacher’s first words at the opening assembly were, ‘By this point I’m sure you’ve all outgrown those ridiculous dreams of wanting to become a sports star or a rock star and you're well and truly on your way to doing something meaningful with your life.’ I thought that was terrible. It broke my heart. So this is about not doing what they want you to. Be your own person, make up your own mind, and follow your own path.”

Down to Hell
“This is a straight-up rock ’n’ roll song that would fit perfectly on our third album, From Death to Destiny. I absolutely adore that record, but it wasn’t created in the way I hoped it was going to be created. It was a terrible fucking time. We were at the peak of our drug addictions and there were internal fights daily. So now that we’re all in a different headspace, I wanted to revisit that ‘I don’t give a fuck’ rock ’n’ roll vibe, without being clouded and depressed and drowning in our sorrows.”

Antisocialist
“We must’ve had a crystal ball when we wrote this one. But no, obviously we didn’t know there was going to be a pandemic and a global lockdown, but the song is talking about all those things in life that slowly grate on you as you get older and make you just want to say, ‘Fuck you.’ The more days you live your life, there's more things that get under your skin. We all need those stress-reliever songs—when I was growing up, mine was ‘Break Stuff’ by Limp Bizkit. Instead of punching the wall, you can put this song on and let out your aggression.”

I Don’t Need You
“If I had to choose, I’d say ‘I Don’t Need You’ is probably my favorite song we’ve ever written as a band. We’ve got Grace Grundy on this track—she’s an up-and-coming British singer, and she is phenomenal. Every time I put it on, I still get goosebumps when Grace is singing that bridge with Danny. It’s a beautiful song. It’s easy to write a ballad where you’re declaring your undying love for someone else, but this song is more about self-love, which I think is something that’s hard to not only write about, but actually do. It’s about realizing your worth and your value, especially in a relationship that you might not be happy in.”

All Due Respect
“I’m really happy this song made it to the record, because it almost didn’t. As a whole, it’s quite an uplifting, positive album, but this song is a little bit darker. But I think it’s important to be honest when you’re writing music. There are still things in life that can and will get you down, and this song is addressing those people that, for whatever reason, thrive when you’re not succeeding. They want to hold you down. So this is saying, ‘I see what you’re trying to do, and it’s pointless at the end of the day, because I’m going to end up where I need to be, where I want to be, where I’m working to get to.’”

Take Some Time
“Like ‘Antisocialist,’ there is no deep hidden message behind this one. It’s literally a song about having sex with someone and forgetting everything else. Nothing matters outside of those four walls. I think it’s important to discuss in this era we live in where we’re always distracted, always on our phones. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t guilty of it too. Some mornings I wake up and the first thing I do is grab my phone. But do I really give a crap who emailed me this morning? Maybe I should take the time to give my wife a kiss, go make her a cup of tea, and live in the moment.”

One Turns to None
“This is kind of similar to ‘All Due Respect,’ but just not as dark. It’s about proving people wrong. It’s about setting a goal for yourself and saying, ‘I will get there. I will be where I want to be, and nothing's going to get in my way.’ Whenever I listen to it—and this is funny, because I’m English—I think of American football, where someone is running the length of the field and just knocking everyone out of their way to get that touchdown. It doesn’t matter who’s coming at you or what life is throwing at you—you’re deflecting, crashing through it, and nothing’s going to stop you.”

It's Not Me (It's You)
“There’s a lot of self-belief and self-love on this album, and the song title is obviously the opposite of the line everyone uses, ‘It’s not you—it’s me.’ People say it because it’s a nice thing to do. It’s like, ‘This hasn’t worked out, but it’s not your fault—it’s my fault.’ And everyone knows that’s a crock of shit. So this song is being honest about it: ‘No, it is you. I’m not into you; I’m not into this situation. Sorry, it sucks, but I’m out.’ People try to tiptoe around it and be nice, but as my mom used to say, ‘Just rip the Band-Aid off.’”

Here's to Starting Over
“This really ties in well with the album title, and it’s about celebrating new beginnings. As I said, this is the first record we’ve done sober, and we’re clean of drugs. I’m married and my third kid is on the way. Our bassist just had a kid. We’re all in really good places in our lives, and this is a song to celebrate that. Everyone has a crazy journey and everyone thinks that theirs is the hardest, but in reality we’re all going through it. It’s a song about finally finding yourself.”

What's Gonna Be
“It’s like an autobiography of Asking Alexandria. We were children when we started this band. I remember when everyone told their parents, ‘Okay, we’re leaving.’ I was 17. Sam was 16. Danny was 16. We told them, ‘We’re going to America and we’re going to give this a go.’ Our parents were super supportive, but they thought we were crazy. My parents and Danny’s parents actually bought us an RV, and we lived in this RV in a Walmart parking lot in New Jersey. So basically the song tells the story of going from living in that parking lot to where we are now, playing in arenas and rock festivals around the globe. It’s supposed to encourage people to follow their dreams. You don’t know what will happen unless you try.”

Give You Up
“This is kind of the sum of what we’ve been talking about on this record—self-belief, following your own path, not letting other people dictate who you should be. Every song should be personal to the listener, but when I listen to this song I think of my wife and kids. Had I not changed my ways, got clean from drugs, and done everything I’ve done to better myself, I wouldn’t have my family. They’re there as a constant reminder. Every now and again there’s temptations that pop up, but I would never do those things, because what I’ve gained from leaving that toxic world behind has led me to something more valuable than anything else.”

In My Blood
“This goes back to when we got into drugs and alcohol. I’m going to say it’s safe to assume that growing up as a kid no one thinks, ‘You know what? When I grow up, I want to be a fuckup. I want to be a drug addict.’ I don’t think that’s on anyone’s to-do list. So when you slip into behaviors that aren’t necessarily you, you think, ‘This isn’t the kid my mom raised.’ When me and Danny were teenagers, we didn’t even drink really. We definitely weren’t cool. But over the years we slipped into this pattern and cycle that wasn’t who we are. We had become what was expected of us, being quote-unquote ‘rock stars.’ And it wasn’t a particularly nice feeling. So in this song we’re saying that we were never what people were perceiving us to be and now it’s time to get back to doing what we set out to do in the first place.”

The Violence
“This came out last summer, and it was originally supposed to be a stand-alone track. But when this record started coming together, we realized we wanted ‘The Violence’ to be a part of the overall story because it fits perfectly with what we’re saying. It’s basically about the constraints put on us as humans. I think there’s always an agenda and people try and put these fences around us by saying, ‘Well, you’ve got this color skin, you’ve got these beliefs, you’re a male, you’re a female, you’re gay, you’re straight.’ And this song is saying, ‘Fuck that. We’re all people; we’re all here together. Why are we allowing people to manipulate us and pigeonhole us? We’re all human, and we’re all going through the same shit.’”

Lorazepam
“‘Lorazepam’ is the off-the-wall-sounding song of the record, but I think it's the perfect way to end this chapter, because while a lot of the record focuses on positivity and self-belief and valuing yourself and following your dreams and making your own path, this song at the very end of the record reminds you that everything can be great, but you're still going to have shit days. You might have a shit week, month, year, a few years. You know that those are inevitable, but you can't let the bad times drag you down. It’s just a reminder that there’s light at the end of the tunnel.”

SONG
House On Fire
1
3:33
 
They Don't Want What We Want (And They Don't Care)
2
3:15
 
Down To Hell
3
3:16
 
Antisocialist
4
3:36
 
I Don't Need You
5
3:42
 
All Due Respect
6
3:55
 
Take Some Time
7
3:25
 
One Turns To None
8
3:04
 
It's Not Me (It's You)
9
2:55
 
Here's To Starting Over
10
3:17
 
What's Gonna Be
11
3:25
 
Give You Up
12
3:33
 
In My Blood
13
3:31
 
The Violence
14
3:28
 
Lorazepam
15
4:02
 

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