Photo Credit: Hristo Shindov

Returning and ready to fight back, New Years Day had every reason to be excited as they released their new album Unbreakable last month. We caught up with vocalist Ash Costello to talk empowerment, having a voice, what it was like growing up in Orange County and more.

You’ve recently released your new album Unbreakable, in the run up to an album release how do you usually feel? Nervous? Excited?

I generally feel pretty excited to release new music. I got a little nervous the day before Shut Up, but I felt very excited. Especially after seeing the reaction to the first couple of singles.

Yeah you seemed to have had an incredible reaction with the singles. 

Yeah, really good.

The album title, Unbreakable, has some very powerful connotations and you’ve said on this record there is more of a focus on empowerment and fighting back. Was there something specifically that flicked the switch on your mindset?

Erm, not really because there was such a long period between albums. It was more just living life y’know? I’d gone through some ups and downs, gone through some break ups, got through some good things and bad things. It was kind of a gradual realisation.

You worked with Mitchell Marlow and Scott Stevens on the new record. Did that come about through your touring with Halestorm and In This Moment? 

No actually, I met Mitch Marlow at a barbecue! We both live in the same area so that’s how that came about. It was an industry barbecue so that’s why there were producers and singers there. Obviously the metal genre is small, so I very quickly learnt that he’d worked with In This Moment and I was very excited to possibly work with him in the future. It took maybe a year or two from the moment of meeting him to actually getting to work with him. Scott Stevens came about because I was trying to find a more poppy writer. So my label had reached out to people they thought were good pop song writers, and when I met him we clicked instantly. It was a match made in heaven.

So what new elements did working with them bring to the recording process? 

They let me have a voice, which I wasn’t too used to. They let me voice my likes and dislikes, direct and lead where the songs should go. I was really happy with that, instead of what I was used to.

In that case do you think this is your favourite record to date? 

Yeah, but I always say that about the new record because I’m always very excited about it. So yes, this is my favourite record.

Can you share a story or a fact about the album that we might not know?

I think most people wouldn’t realise that most bands only get thirty days to make a record. Y’know, a record is paid for, the producer is paid for, the studio is paid for so they want you in there for thirty days. Write a hit record in thirty days. It’s very hard, it’s not fun and it’s a process that I have never, ever, ever once enjoyed. So for the first time ever on this record I didn’t have to do that. They let me write the record on and off for over a year, which allowed me to alleviate the pressure and just write the music I wanted instead of forcing it.

That’s great, although we read somewhere that you wrote Shut Up in one day, is that right?

Yeah, Shut Up was just one of those songs that took one day.

What was the reason for that?

It had a good team on it. It was one of those moments where everyone’s clicking and everyone’s vibing. The song is just perfect and it’s very quick and easy to record.

It’s definitely one of our favourites. 

Thank you!

Your single Comeback is a fight back against negativity on social media. You’ve been a band since the days of MySpace, how has social media developed since then in your eyes?

Well when I started this band I was just a kid, so there wasn’t even internet really. Then we kinda grew up with MySpace. Social media allowed us to get our band out in front of people all over the world instead of just passing out flyers to the people in our town. So that’s been very helpful as a band.

Do you think the positives of social media are outweighed by the negative aspects? 

No, I just think it’s a double-edged sword, with anything there are pros and cons.

So going back to the album, which new songs are you most excited to play live?

There’s a song called Unbreakable and I’m really excited to play the riff live.

You’re from Anaheim in California so you grew up very close to LA, which is known for it’s very vibrant music scene. What was it like growing up there and launching the band in that sort of scene?

Well Orange County have a very unique music scene. It’s very ska and punk rock, but it’s also very rockabilly, so you have a lot of underground subcultures and that’s it. It was uncool to listen to anything on the radio back then. It was very looked down upon if you listened to radio in the Orange County music scene. So it was definitely very different to what it is now.

Thank you so much for taking the time to chat to us today. Do you have a final message for our readers?

Yes! We’ll be touring with Halestorm and In This Moment in the UK and Europe in November, and we can’t wait to see everyone there.

Interview by: Hannah Gillicker 

A 30-something year old journalist and freelance PR often found at a gig, a festival or holding a dictophone to a band and asking them all kinds of questions. I'm a sucker for whiskey and vinyl.