Excuse Ben Bruce's constant coughing; the Asking Alexandria guitarist has just come down with pneumonia while on tour in the United States, having to drop off the final dates of the band's tour with Alesana and The Bled. "The last day of the tour the doctor said I was really close to being hospitalized, which sucks," Bruce says.
But Bruce has no time to sulk about his ailment. Asking Alexandria debuted at No. 5 on Billboard's Heatseeker's album charts last month after selling 3,000 copies first week of their debut album, "Stand Up and Scream," released on Sumerian Records. The set currently sits at No. 42 with 5,000 units moved to date.
Now, the Yorkshire, England-based quintet is about to embark on another U.S. tour with Evergreen Terrace starting on Oct. 20 in Houston, Texas.
Asking Alexandria formed after Bruce moved back to the UK from Dubai in 2006, where he played in several bands. "I moved back to the UK when I was 18 and I was on my own," Bruce says. "I really missed playing in a band and I wanted to do it for a living. I didn't just want to have a normal job."
So Bruce set off to form a band. He recruited his MySpace friend and eventual roommate, Danny Worsnop, on vocals, who brought in college friend Cameron Liddell to play guitar, who then enlisted best friend James Cassells on drums. The final member, bassist Sam Bettley, was playing in a band with Worsnop at the time when he was asked to join Asking Alexandria.
"Stand Up and Scream" combines elements of two popular British acts that have also found success in the States, says Bruce. "Enter Shikari tends to have a lot of synths and although Bring Me The Horizon doesn't really have any synth, they have the heavier side of the music," Bruce says. "There's European synth breaks that we incorporate into the album. We also put European trance in there, we do sing a lot more and we try to put in catchy choruses and things like that, hopefully opening a few more people's eyes up to the genre. Mixing the two bands together, though, is what kind of makes us stand apart from each of them in itself."
While Bruce is unsure of the group's quick start, he does credit the group's fans for spreading the word. "Kids just found us one morning and started telling their friends," Bruce says. "It sort of happened overnight really -- we could tell the difference. People started recognizing us when we went out. When we play shows, people actually come to see us and they know the words. It was a very sudden thing -- it didn't happen too gradually."
Moving forward, Asking Alexandria looks to continue touring in the States, stating that the options back in their native UK aren't as broad, and continue expanding their fanbase.
"We love the UK and would love to be back home and tour there as much as we tour here, but the fact of the matter is it's a much smaller country," says Bruce. "We figured if we take down the big guy first and we try our best over here, hopefully success will follow us back to the UK after we've established a name for ourselves. We'd like to open more people's eyes to the music we play and help make it more mainstream if we could."