In 2009, a group of finely-groomed guys from Yorkshire grabbed metalcore with both hands and booted it into the stratosphere. Asking Alexandria’s debut album Stand Up And Scream instantly made them one of the hottest metal bands on the planet, thanks in large part to lead single The Final Episode (Let’s Change The Channel). Even if you don’t think you know it, you definitely do.
Here, guitarist and founding member Ben Bruce remembers how the song came together and change the band forever.
It was written in different countries over several years
“It was written all over the place. It’s one of the first songs I ever wrote for Asking Alexandria, 10 or 11 years ago. I remember I was still in Dubai when I wrote the main, long, chuggy bass riff. I wrote the chorus’s chord progression in my previous band. Then I hooked up with James [Cassells, drums] and Danny [Worsnop, vocals] and mixed and matched bits and bobs that I’d been writing over the years and it just turned into this monster of a song that launched our career.”
It launched Danny’s career as a vocalist
“Danny was the guitarist with me and Cameron. There we were with three guitarists, no bassist and a drummer and when we went into the studio to record The Final Episode we realised we didn’t have anyone to lay down any vocals. We were like, ‘Who wants to give it a try?’ So Danny went into the vocal booth just to see what would happen and when he came out we were like, ‘Right, you’re the singer of the band.’”
It was the perfect way to introduce us
“It showcased a little bit of everything. Back when we were younger, it showcased James’s technical ability behind the drumkit, it had a big, memorable chorus, it was fast, aggressive, heavy, it had a synth break. We wanted to introduce the world to the whole band, not just a snippet of us, and that song captured all the different elements of us at the time.”
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It defined a genre
“It was a genre-defining single and I don’t feel like I can’t say that. We didn’t write it going in there thinking, ‘Yes, this is going to change the world’, but it really did for the small corner of the scene that we were in at the time. There are a lot of young bands that came out listening to that single and Stand Up And Scream and it sculpted their careers, and for me, that’s amazing.”
The ‘tea-smashing’ video was unforgettable
“It wasn’t particularly a big-budget video, but it was our first video and we were excited to see the behind-the-scenes magic. Then you get there and you realise there’s not really much magic, just a bunch of dudes in a warehouse headbanging. The cups of tea actually stick out more than anything because we were like, ‘Wait, why are we drinking tea while we’re headbanging in a warehouse?’ The label were like, ‘You’re English, that’s what English people do.’ And it wasn’t even tea, it was Pepsi. We were like, ‘This doesn’t even look like tea, it looks like coffee.’ We didn’t understand it but we didn’t want to argue with the label, we were afraid that if we argued they might pull the plug. So we were like, ‘Yeah, let’s smash cups of tea!’”
It changed our lives forever
“It will forever be the song that launched our career. I don’t foresee us taking it out of the set. It took us to all these different places around the world. Even now, 10 years later, we’ll go onstage and no matter where we go there’s a venue filled with people that know and love that song. The volume in the room increases, everyone knows what song it is and for that split second, you travel back in time to when you first heard it and there’s this overwhelming sense of nostalgia throughout the venue. It holds a very special place in our hearts.”