It’s been three years since New Years Day released previous LP Malevolence, so naturally fans are getting antsy. In today’s debut of “Skeletons” from the band’s yet-to-be-titled album due out this spring, we see a brand-new NYD, one who mix almost mechanically heavy riffs with free-spirited pop. Is it what we’ve come to expect from our favorite Creeps? No. But perhaps the band are on the horizon of something altogether new and even better than before.
The song is so unexpected. I feel like it’s very different for you.
That’s what I wanted to go for. I love heavy riffs. I love headbanging. I love jumping. I love heavy riffage, but I just felt like what New Years Day never had was sing-along, fun chorus with a cool tag. It was always more about “how can I say my feelings in the chorus?” Who cares what the melody is, and if it has a hook or a tagline, but for this record, I was like, “OK, I care now.” [Laughs.] I just wanted it to be enjoyable. I’m not as mad making this record as I was the last one.
Yeah, the content of the song is very much love-oriented, wanting to be close enough to someone to see the dark parts of them.
That’s exactly it. This is the first song we wrote for the record. It’s like a year-and-a-half or two years old. I started writing for the record around January of 2017. It was around the time I was in a new relationship with Jimmy [Trigger, now fiancee], and he’s not a very emotionally expressive person, and that’s what I was feeling in the studio, you know? “I kind of wish my partner would open up to me a little bit more. I think he’s hiding the parts from me that he thinks I won’t like,” but I want a song that says “I’ll love all the parts.” It’s better to be vulnerable and honest and let someone love you fully instead of hiding stuff.
It sounds like the writing process has been different altogether for this album.
It has. One big difference is that I wasn’t rushed. Normally, with our touring schedule, all of [our] other records were like, “Oh, you have a month. And then you have to leave on tour. And if you don’t finish it, then you have to fly home on off days to finish it.” That was always our situation. Instead of choosing which songs you wanted, it was like, “The first 10 songs you wrote. That’s the record.” You didn’t really get a say. So, that was nice to be given time. Which I really took advantage of. People have been waiting three years. Touring was a big priority. So, that was different. And then this time, I got to experiment with other writers, so I went around town writing with every writer I could think of, and really put together a team of writers I felt got me. It’s pretty unusual for a record to be shared by two producers. I’m so blessed that I had Mitch Marlow [Papa Roach, In This Moment] and Scott Stevens [Halestorm, Shinedown], who are huge rock producers who both believed in the project and believed in me enough to share it.
What did they bring out in you as a songwriter?
My biggest issue as a songwriter is being my worst critic and never thinking anything is good enough, so they taught me how to be more considerate to the stuff I’m writing and not be so mean to it. I’m very hard on myself. I overthink and overanalyze stuff, and they taught me how to come up with an idea and not beat it to death—to go with my instinct first and trust that my mind and my body knows what it wants to say instead of second-guessing it. That’s hard!
How do you think that shows through in the songs?
I think that I got to be a little bit more myself than I’ve ever been instead of being like, “You have to dig deep, and you have to find your deepest emotional sorrows and turn this into a song.” It was kind of like, fun! There’s a song on there called “Miss Misunderstood,” and they were like, “If you want to say that you’re misunderstood by everybody in a fun way, don’t feel like it’s not as good just because it’s catchy or bouncy or it’s said in a less serious way.” On Malevolence, there’s really serious songs about suicide, my relationship with my dad, breakups, being cheated on…it’s like fuck, dude. At what point can I talk about my feelings without it feeling like the end of the world and kind of poke fun at it and have more fun with it?
With “Skeletons,” it almost feels “free.” I feel like I can hear what you’re talking about in that song. Do you feel that?
I do. And that’s what makes me nervous about it, because it is different for New Years Day and for me, even, and it took a lot of growing pains and learn to just embrace what kind of music my mind just wanted to come out. It’s so crazy when a song can take on its own legs and just start running. You can have an idea in your head all you want, but the second you start putting it down on paper and laying it down with instruments onto a recording track, a song changes, and sometimes, it is not in your control. We try to change it back, and the song will bite you. More than ever, I felt the songs come to life on their own on this record instead of forcing something.
This is all making me very excited, Miss Ashley.
I’m really nervous. When we went in, they were like, “What do you want?” And I was like, “I want heavy riffs, like, melt-your-butthole riffs, but when it comes to the chorus, I don’t want the idea to be heavy. I want it to be light and fun and catchy and a good time. I don’t know if that’s what the world wants from New Years Day, but it’s what I wanted.
Like you said earlier, you’re not angry anymore. New Years Day have always been a very honest band. Anything else would be lying, and you’ve always been about telling the truth.
Yeah. There was nothing I was really angry about, but there were definitely topics I wanted to touch on. 2018 was a hard year. It started off so beautifully. I got engaged, and it’s the happiest I’d ever been, then life struck. So, I still had a lot to say, but I wasn’t angry. I’m in a place where I’m less angry about it, and more like I’m seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. I’ve been through the worst of the worst in my life. How bad could it be? I’m a strong person, so I get through it instead of feeling a lot of hopelessness like on Malevolence, which was like, “You made me this way. You fucked me up. Now this is who I am.” Now it’s like, “I lived through that and came out of it, so whatever you’re going to throw at me, I can face it.” If I had to choose a theme, that would be it. There’s not an album title yet, though. We still have a two weeks left of recording, but there’s a lot that can happen in two weeks.
You’re also leaving for your tour with Halestorm and In This Moment in a couple weeks.
I know! Down to the wire, as usual. I’m always like, “No! Let me see if there are any more ideas,” so I push and push and push until the last minute, always. But, it’s been a year officially this month [that we’ve been touring with Halestorm and In This Moment]. I’m really honored to be with these women, because I’ve learned a lot, and it’s hard to sell tickets these days, so a lot of bands have a hard time selling out venues, and it’s crazy to me that there are three girls together selling out arenas. I had no idea it was going to be like that. I had no idea what to expect. I knew In This Moment and Halestorm were big, and New Years Day are growing, but I was not expecting that. It’s been a lot of fun.
As I was thinking about your touring with Halestorm, I was remembering sitting on your BandWagon on Warped Tour before the APMAs when you were rehearsing your Garbage cover over Skype. There was such an understanding and a connection there.
I remember that! God, we were so nervous. We’d never practiced it, and everybody in the music industry was watching us perform it having never rehearsed it. That was pretty nerve-wracking, but it went pretty well. Lzzy is just so talented and just gets it. The way she, Maria [Brink] and I all communicate with each other is so understanding. I tell you what: I’ve never been on a tour that’s gone this well. Never been on a tour where everybody is just cool. And when I say that, I mean: No one has an ego, no is “cool guy”-ing anybody. We’re all just big dorks, and we just want to spend time with good people. Whoever we tour with next is going to have big shoes to fill, because we’re used to being treated just normal. It’s crazy to say because it’s how it should be, but dude, I’ve toured with smaller bands who have bigger egos.
It’s so rad that you are selling out arenas together. Back in the day, you had your idols like Gwen Stefani, and you guys are not only opening that gateway in the same way to young girls, but also doing it together. That’s so dope!
You just reminded me of a memory that I totally forgot I had! I went to see an all-girls tour. It was No Doubt’s Rock Steady. They had Garbage and the Distillers opening.
I’m now living my 15-year-old girl fantasy. Isn’t that crazy? I’d totally forgotten I’d been to an all-girl arena show! It was fucking Gwen Stefani, Shirley Manson and Brody [Dalle]! Gnarly!
Little baby Ash grew up and is now doing the same thing!
It’s fucking nuts!
“Skeletons” is available now, and you can check out the track below.
New Years Day are back on the road with Halestorm and In This Moment this month. Tickets are available now, and you can view a full list of dates below.
11/16 – Norfolk, VA @ Constant Convocation Center
11/17 – Camden, NJ @ BB&T Pavilion
11/18 – Pittsburgh, PA @ Rex Theater^
11/20 – Indianapolis, IN @ Old National Events Plaza
11/21 – Fort Wayne, IN @ Allen County Expo Center
11/23 – Syracuse, NY @ Convention Center
11/24 – New York, NY @ Hammerstein Ballroom
11/26 – Cleveland, OH @ Cleveland Masonic Auditorium
11/27 – Detroit, MI @ The Fillmore
11/29 – Saint Louis, MO @ Stifel Theatre
12/01 – Broomfield, CO @ 1st Bank Center
12/02 – Park City, KS @ Hartman Arena
12/04 – Springfield, MO @ Shrine Mosque
12/05 – Lexington, KY @ Rupp Arena
12/07 – Hammond, IN @ Horseshoe Casino
12/08 – Minneapolis, MN @ The Armory
12/10 – Tulsa, OK @ Brady Theater*
12/11 – San Antonio, TX @ Aztec Theater
12/12 – Dallas, TX @ South Side Ballroom
12/14 – Orlando, FL @ Amway Arena
12/15 – Fort Lauderdale, FL @ Revolution Live*
12/16 – Saint Petersburg, FL @ Mahaffey Theater
^ w/ Dematus
* No Halestorm