New Years Day’s ‘Ash’ Costello reflects on the group’s forthcoming 2024 album and bonding with ‘Kiss of Death’ tourmates

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WHEELING, West Virginia (WOUB) – New Years Day is a rock band from Anaheim, California noted for their pioneering use of the internet to promote themselves.

Formed in 2005, New Years Day was in the perfect position to capitalize on the MySpace era. Doing so carved the band a foothold in the competitive modern rock landscape; one which they have maintained ever since. Over time, their sound has shifted from pop-punk to a harsher modern metal sound.

Their new record Half-Black Heart is their first studio album since 2019, set to be released March 1, 2024. The album features the return of the lineup behind 2015’s Malevolence, the band’s highest-charting record to date.

Three singles from the record have already been released: Vampyre, Hurts Like Hell, and Secrets – all of which showcase the band’s continued blend of melodic flare with uncompromised brutality.

WOUB’s Nicholas Kobe spoke with New Years Day lead vocalist Ashley “Ash” Costello before the group’s performances in Johnstown, PA and Wheeling, WV, where they are supporting Avatar, In This Moment, and Ice Nine Kills on the Kiss of Death 2023 Tour.

Find a transcript of the conversation edited for length and clarity, below. 

A promotional image of the band New Year's Day. They group is posed in a dark room and wearing the kind of clothes you would associate with a heavy metal band.
New Year’s Day [Photo by Matt Akana]
Nicholas Kobe: If you had to describe New Year’s Day in one sentence, what would you say?

Ash Costello: Complete and total chaos. Sprinkled with just a little bit of fairy dust.

A little bit of fairy dust, but complete and utter chaos. What makes you say that?

Costello: Because we are our chaos on stage – and just in general, like the way we look. We’re not trying to be a polished band. We love chaos. We are punk rock kids. That’s how we grew up, and we want to stay beautiful, keep it ugly, you know what I mean? We’re not trying to be this polished, perfect band. We just want to go up there and have a fun time, but we’re also super sweet and we have catchy songs, and so that’s where I think the fairy dust comes into play.

Speaking of your songs. You’ve just announced a new record. Now that you guys are kind of through the recording process of that, what’s your favorite memory from recording the record?

Costello: Well, I was very fortunate. I got to live in Nashville with my producer and my guitar player, and I’m from California, so it’s a big difference for me. We just had such a good experience living there and writing together. It really was very eye-opening to me as a songwriter, and just as a person.

The album artwork for New Year's Day's forthcoming "Half Black Heart" record, which shows a woman holding an anatomically correct heart.
[Courtesy of the artist]
What was different about being in Nashville as compared to California?

Costello: A much better vibe. California is not my vibe.

It’s not your vibe?

Costello: No, it’s not my vibe at all. The last record we did was in LA. That was not my vibe, let me tell you. I’m not an LA girl. In Nashville, I just felt different. I felt more in touch with my musicality. I felt very intuitive.

So you felt more at ease and more in touch with yourself?

Costello: Yeah, more focused, and more in touch with the musical side of things.

What’s something new or just something you guys did on this album that you’re particularly proud of or particularly excited to show?

Costello: Well, it wasn’t necessarily something new per se, but our original guitar player, Jeremy Valentine, re-joined the band. It was like we got our actual sound back, the sound that made us who we are. So having our original lineup back together definitely created some magic that was missing on parts of Unbreakable, because Unbreakable had to be on my own a little bit. Everyone kind of left the band to do their own life. They joined the band when they were fairly young and touring is hard. They wanted to just kind go and be with their girlfriends or their wives now and just focus on that. But they returned and now we’ve got our sound back. So it just felt very magical to go back to what made us, us – but evolve it with all the stuff we’ve learned from life.

Makes sense. What’s something that you hope that fans will take away from the new album?

Costello: A sense of relief. I feel like that’s already happening. We just released two songs, Vampyre and Secret. I’m getting a lot messages of from people saying that it’s made them feel better about their situations in their life that are similar, especially women.

So you’re hoping the rest of the record continues to kind of resonate with people on that level?

Costello: Absolutely, yes. That’s my goal.

So you guys are currently out on the road with Ice Nine Kills, In This Moment, and Avatar. What’s something you particularly like or find interesting about touring with this group of bands?

Costello: Well, they like to party, and so do we. We’re kind of the party band on this tour. Everyone has really nice, fancy buses, so they don’t want to mess up their buses – but our bus is the party bus, so everyone comes to our bus and hangs out and drinks and dances. In the past we were the kids on the outside being like, ‘Hey, we’re cool. Let us hang out too.’ And now we’re the cool kids. So that’s been a lot of fun. We’ve been touring with both bands long enough that we’re all comfortable with each other and close with each other. So now it’s like a family.

Just kind of looking back on your guys’ career, what do you think has changed about the alt-rock or metal scene since you started the band and kind of blew up?

Costello: Women are more dominant now. I feel like when I started, it was like, ‘Oh, we already have one girl in rotation on the radio,’ or ‘we already have one girl on the tour,’ ‘we already have one girl in the festival.’ It was always like, ‘we already filled the girl quota.’ Now it’s like New Years Day is not a ‘female-fronted band,’ anymore, it’s just another awesome band.

I feel like when I started, it was like, ‘Oh, we already have one girl in rotation on the radio,’ or ‘we already have one girl on the tour,’ ‘we already have one girl in the festival.’ It was always like, ‘we already filled the girl quota.’ Now it’s like New Years Day is not a ‘female-fronted band,’ anymore, it’s just another awesome band. – Ash Costello

It’s definitely a good change. And are you optimistic about the future for that?

Costello: Of course, yes. It’s only going to keep getting better for sure.

What’s next for New Years Day?

Costello: Well, what I hope is next is just riding this record for a while and traveling the world because that’s our favorite thing to do. We love our new fans and old fans and to travel and play shows and that’s why we do this. So we’re just hoping there’s a lot more of that.

New Years Day performs Friday at the 1st Summit Arena in Johnstown, PA and Saturday at the Wesbanco Arena in Wheeling, WV. Find a list of full tour dates on the band’s website