Danny Worsnop is best known as the former frontman of metalcore bruisers Asking Alexandria, but the eight months since leaving the lads behind behind might be his most productive yet. When not crossing the world with his new band We Are Harlot, Worsnop is in the studio hammering out his debut solo album. Oh yeah, and somewhere in between, he found time to appear in the horror musical Allelujah! The Devil’s Carnival. AP caught up with Worsnop during a rare spare moment in the studio to find out how, exactly, he intends to do it all.
Everyone knows you as Danny Worsnop: rock ‘n’ roll beast. But now you’ve added “actor” to your resume. Alleluia! The Devil’s Carnival is the second film in the Devil’s Carnival series. Were you a fan of the first?
When the first one came out, Darren [Lynn Bousman, director] and Terrance [Zdunich, screenwriter] and Sean [E. DeMott, producer] invited me to the premiere in Los Angeles, and I had no idea what was going on. It was my first premiere—I was really excited. I expected it to be like, you know, a fucking big old, red carpet movie premiere, because I didn’t know anything about the project. It was very different than what I expected it to be. It was a lot of fun.
After the movie, we were talking, and they were like “we’d really like you to do the second one.” I was instantly very excited [but] by the time it got to figuring out when shooting times were, I was on tour. So we had to cancel it. And then, when I had a tour cancelled last minute, I hit them up. So Terrence scrambled and wrote me into the script real quick.
So they actually ended up writing the part just for you. Let’s talk about that part. You play a blacksmith-type character called the Smith. What’s his deal?
He believes himself to be a lot smarter than the other minions of Hell, and he’s very unimpressed by what they think are genius and foolproof plans and ideas. He sees through it all. He’s just waiting for them to fail, so then the plans can really come into action. He’s a very loyal guy. I think there’s a lot of story left to tell about him. There’s a lot there to explore. I think that he’s going to be a very pivotal character. I’m not at liberty to say or speculate what’s coming in the next installment, but I feel like he’s going to shake some feathers. He’s going to make some waves.
You’re not the only musician in Alleluia!—the cast includes everyone from Mindless Self Indulgence’s Jimmy Urine and his wife, Morningwood frontwoman [and former AP columnist] Chantal Claret to rapper Tech N9ne. While you were shooting, did you have a chance to hang out with any of the other musicians?
Me and Emilie [Autumn] usually got in makeup at the same time, so we talked a bunch. When we were going into makeup, she [required] a lot more than me. By the time I was out in prosthetics, she was still looking like a regular human. So then [on set], I’m talking to this girl in makeup, and I’m like “I wonder where [Emilie] went? I haven’t even seen her once today.” And unbeknownst to me, I’ve been doing scenes with her the whole day! I had no idea!
It sounds like you had a lot of fun shooting the film. What’s the final verdict on Danny Worsnop, Movie Star? Are we going to see more acting out of you?
Absolutely! I fell in love with it right away. Afterwards, I went and got a manager and an agent, and we’re looking for my next project right now. There’s a few things on the table. But it’s tough, because part of me wants to do a TV series so I can really get involved in something for a long period of time, but that makes it very difficult with touring. The Rock is remaking Baywatch, I’d love to get a part in that. But who knows? Maybe I’ll end up being a really drama-oriented, emotive actor and it’ll be really weird for everyone. You’ll see me on the street and I’m covered in tattoos, I’m all drunk and lairy, and then on film, I’m a super-intense, Helen Mirren-type.
In the meantime, you’re also in the middle of recording your solo album. You’ve made references to it being a country album. Where does that interest come from?
[The solo album has] still got some of that typical snotty flair going. I’m still, for the most part, singing the blues. But I went into it with country in mind. I’ve always loved country. In England, I grew up as a country boy. I was in a small village of 200 people. The lifestyle goes hand in hand with the music all over the world. [But writing] it just never crossed my mind. Obviously, of late, I’ve made a lot of life changes, where I’m exploring new things. So it seemed like an appropriate time. I had some time off, I was jamming on the guitar and I had some ideas, and I was like, “Fuck it, let’s take this and run.”
You’re working with songwriters like Hillary Lindsey (Carrie Underwood) and John Paul White (The Civil Wars); you’ve got a legit producer, Jim Kaufman, behind the boards. This clearly isn’t just a vanity project. Have you started thinking about how you’re going to integrate your Harlot obligations with your solo work?
The song we just got done before this call, I’m starting to prepare my VMA Award acceptance award speech right now, because I feel like it should definitely get “Song Of The Year.” We’re definitely going to push to radio a lot, do videos. [The solo project] is definitely something I’d like to make a lot of money doing and get to do more of. If it’s not a success, I doubt I’ll have much opportunity to do it again. [But] there’s no plans to tour, per se. Maybe just shows here and there. So it’s nothing that’s… I know I’ve said this before, and it ended with me leaving the band. [Laughs.]
You tweeted something a few days ago about how people should find what they love to do and figure out how to make a living doing it. But you clearly love a bunch of different things. How do you make it all work?
I’ve been petitioning for a long time for there to be more hours in the day. All I want is a break or a vacation, and then the second I get one, I’m bored in an hour and I have to find something to work on. I’m definitely a workaholic. I’m an artist and an entertainer. I like to create and make people feel something, no matter what that feeling is, and I like to do it through my art. So no matter what, I’m going to do something.
There’s never one thing that takes priority, however much Roadrunner and Atlantic Records will hate me saying that. They want [the priority] to be Harlot. But my agent wants it to be acting. And Sumerian wants it to be the Danny Worsnop album. All of them are fuckin’ right and all of them are wrong, because each one is as important to me as the other, and that’s the way it will always be. Because at the end of the day, this is my life and my art. It’s all special to me. alt
We Are Harlot are on tour throughout the US from now until the end of October. Alleluia! The Devil’s Carnival is also touring in U.S. theaters until the end of October.