New Years Day’s latest album, Unbreakable, has an unmistakable survival theme, one forged by vocalist Ash Costello and the myriad of travails she has encountered in her career. Many fans and critics have picked up on the album’s heightened viciousness and personal nature of the lyrics. Simply put, Unbreakable is nothing short of a statement of intent.
“I hope other people hear the album like it could be very mainstream, but it could also scare everybody,” she tells Cassie Whitt in AP 369. “And thank God for that! Because the only thing I didn’t want to do was play it safe and do that ‘New Years Day thing’ that’s been working. And that’s why we scrapped the whole record we’d already written right before Warped Tour 2017. It was too safe. I just knew it wasn’t the way to go.
“I went more literal [with the lyrics],” she continues. “With Malevolence, I used to go, ‘Here’s what I want to say, but what’s a cool way to say it? What’s the deep, poetic, metaphorically dark way of saying that I’m really pissed off? Why can’t I just say I’m really pissed off?’ That’s how I’m feeling. In a way, it’s more obviously me, because I’m not hiding behind poetry anymore.”
Costello describes the creation of her band’s previous release, 2015’s Malevolence, as “the worst, darkest, nastiest place I could ever imagine in my life. Rock bottom. The songs are not happy, and there’s not a lot of hope going on in that album.”
She reveals that she had been betrayed by a former lover, leading up to tragic circumstances.
“I had just found out I’d been cheated on a bunch by the person I was with in pretty horrible ways,” she says. “And during the making of Malevolence, I lost a child. I had a miscarriage in the two weeks after I found out I had been cheated [on].
“No one really knows that,” she explains, “but it’s something I want to talk about because I’ve done my healing on it. If you had asked me a couple [of] years ago, there’s no way I would have ever talked about that. But I’ve done all my inner work, and I’ve danced with my shadow self, and now I can live with my lighter self, and I’m really proud of that, because that’s what I want people to take away from this record. Go back and listen to Malevolence and what I went through. Unbreakable is so much more like, ‘I survived! I fucking did it!’”
If there was ever a Truth In Advertising music award, Unbreakable would clearly grab the statuette. It was Costello’s faith in herself and the love from her bandmates that got her through this opaque time.
“A lot of people would give up,” she asserts. “I somehow made it through, and it turns out, I am unbreakable. It was severe loss. I saw no light at the end of the tunnel. I saw nothing at all, nothing to look forward to, nothing to keep me going. And then I found the light by simply getting up every day still. And even though that day would suck and I’d spend the majority of it crying, I lived every day. That was it: Just keep going. Keep trying. I wish I didn’t remember that time so vividly, but I do. I remember thinking, ‘Just keep going. Today sucked. Tomorrow’s going to suck, too. Just wake up.’”
Check out the entire New Years Day feature with Ash Costello in AP 369 (with cover star YUNGBLUD), which is available here or below.