Last weekend I interviewed New Years Day lead singer Ash Costello at Warped Tour. She spills about her recent tattoos and plans for her next, why she see band’s outfits as an important part of the show, and ripping all her favorite tights.
New Years Day are playing Warped Tour through July 10th and are following it up with their own West Coast tour. It’s been a while since the band’s 2007 debut LP My Dear, but it’s safe to say that New Years Day are back. They just put out their new EP The Mechanical Heart on Hollywood Waste Records and released a music video for the lead single “Two in the Chest, One in the Head.”
“I take clothes really seriously because that’s the way I express myself.”
“I sold my iPod before Warped Tour to buy new shoes.”
“Sometimes I worry that [my clothes] say ‘don’t talk to me.’”
“I’ll straight-up wear the most uncomfortable outfit if it’s in the name of self-expression and fashion.”
“What I love about Warped Tour fashion-wise is that people come here and they express themselves fully.”
How would you describe your personal style?
I’ve always been really different. I try to be different. I love going out of my way to wear things that people will look at and go “what the heck?” I’ve always been like that. I recently found this picture of my first day of 7th grade and I’m wearing this bright lime green mini dress with black tights and patent leather heels – at 7th grade. I was like “wow, I’ve always been kind of the odd bird out.”
I like a lot of black. Black mixed in with white. If you look at my closet, it’s just black for days. I look at my clothing as more of like a collection. I don’t just buy clothes, like I don’t just go to Forever 21 and spend like $100, I look at each item in my closet as a piece of my collection. I take clothes really seriously because that’s the way I express myself.
Is is a conscious choice to not wear any color?
Yes, it is a choice. There’s no colors that I like.
But there’s orange in your hair?
I do love orange. I did go out of my box and wear an orange dress to our record release show – it was a lot of color! I had orange in my hair and a big orange bow. So I mostly just stick to black and white. Maybe some purple because it’s opposite orange on the color wheel.
I noticed that the whole band matched on stage. Does everyone else like black and white or do you sort of force them into it?
It’s a bit of both. I’m sure they’d be playing in plaid cargo pants and tank tops because, you know, it’s hot. No one wants to wear skinny jeans here, no one. But no one wants to be lazy when we play either just because it’s hot. They want to put on a show. So I kind of force them, but kind of not.
Do you think that the way you present yourself on stage is a big part of the show?
To me it always has been because I always knew what drew me to bands. My Chemical Romance is one of my favorite bands. I connect to bands that put on the whole show. I’ve never connected to a band that just wears cut-off jeans and a band shirt. I’ve never really connected to that. For me, I need the theatrics and the costumes and the sets and the performance. So to me, clothing makes a big difference.
What are your fashion inspirations and influences?
Right now I’ve been googleing these exact words: “bad 80′s goth.” And all these pictures come up of horrible hair, it’s all big and on the side.
Not good 80s goth?
Oh no, I love bad 80s goth! Lots of lace, too much jewelry, heavy heavy eyeshadow, black lipstick. I love it! I love it so much. I kept seeing pictures of 80s goths with the side of their head shaved and their hair combed over and I’m like “I gotta do that! Sign me up.”
As far as famous people that influence me, there’s really not too many people that I look towards clothing-wise. I just like surfing the internet for inspiration.
What do you think that your clothes say about you?
Sometimes I worry that they say “don’t talk to me.” When we’re here on Warped Tour, all of the fans talk to the boys, and people I notice are kinda scared to ask me for pictures. And I asked “am I scary? do I give off a scary vibe?” Because I’m not! But I think that some of my clothes say “don’t talk to me,” especially right now (Ash points to her top which says “Be Afraid”).
I get asked a lot of it’s Halloween, like at gas stations or 7-Elevens or pretty much anywhere. They go “Is it Halloween somewhere?” I’m like “haha you’re funny.” But I love it because it means I’m getting my message across.
What are the best and worst trends that you’ve been seeing around Warped Tour?
There’s always the same trend I see every year which is the rolled down shorts and bikinis or bra tops and belly hanging out. That’s fun for me look at. But it’s hot, so I understand it. But it’s so pleasant for the eyes.
(Ash hesitates on what the best trend is. She asks the guys in the band – they say it’s girls in bikini tops!)
What I love about Warped Tour fashion-wise is that people come here and they express themselves fully. That is awesome. If you want to be covered in neon paint head to toe, go for it. I saw a guy wearing a purple bodysuit that covered his face and his hands, just this purple guy walking around. I saw a guy in the Winds Of Plague mosh pit in banana suit – I mean that’s awesome. And if Warped Tour is your outlet to raise your freak flag, then that’s cool. I think that’s awesome.
How does the heat of Warped Tour affect your fashion choices?
I try not to let it affect my fashion choices. I think if I was a sane person I’d just be wearing jean shorts and a tank top, but clearly I’m not. I guess I wear a lot more tank tops. I tried to wear skinny jeans on the first day of Warped Tour and that was a horrible idea. I will not be doing that again. So just a lot of dresses and tank tops for me. But I still rock my heels. You can’t stop me.
How much are you willing to sacrifice comfort for style?
I sacrifice comfort, definitely. I’ll straight-up wear the most uncomfortable outfit if it’s in the name of self-expression and fashion.
How much clothes do you pack for Warped Tour?
Too much. I did really good last year. Last year I was so proud of myself, I just had this little tiny suitcase. And then I don’t know what happened this year. I have one giant suitcase and another little suitcase and I still don’t feel like I brought everything that I needed. So I overpacked. And still, it’s all black.
What’s your one must-have item for Warped tour?
Crop tops. Except I don’t wear them like I wish I could wear them with shorts with my stomach hanging out. I’m really pale, so no one needs to see that.
But I thought you wanted to be pale?
Well I do, but I’m not going to go around blinding everybody either. So I think crop tops, and your Vans obviously, everybody needs a pair of Vans. I really like the Hello Kitty vans that are out, I really want a pair of those. Have you seen them?
No, I’ve seen the Hello Kitty Dr. Martens
They are so cool. I want Hello Kitty Doc Martens too. I wish they would come out with Mickey Mouse ones, I would buy all of them.
Why do you love Mickey Mouse so much?
Because of where I grew up. My family is a big Disneyland family. My great grandma, my great uncle, they all worked at Disneyland. My great uncle Eddie worked alongside Walt Disney developing the art form. My grandma was a can-can dancer. My mom worked there for a little bit, I worked there for a little bit. I just love it. I grew up like walking distance down the street. My family and I used to go to Disneyland like 3 times a week. I remember times when my mom would pull me out of school to go. So it just reminds me of being really happy at that time in my life. I can’t let it go.
Do you think that being a musician gives you freedom to wear clothes that you might not wear in other situations?
I want to say yes, but I don’t think that it’s right. I feel like anybody should have the freedom to wear whatever they want whenever. I think that if I wasn’t in a band I’d definitely still be dressing exactly the same. But it definitely helps because I feel like I can get away with a little bit more. Actually sometimes I feel like I can get away with a little bit less too, because I know if I walk out the door and somehow a picture gets taken it will get on the internet. Sometimes it limits, and sometimes it makes me feel a lot bolder.
If you could raid a celebrity’s closet, who would it be?
Taylor Momsen! Taylor Momsen, Russell Brand, Rob Zombie, Marilyn Manson, and Gerard Way. I would want all of their outfits in my closet.
When did you start getting interested in fashion?
Always. I’ve always, always, always been interested in fashion. Even when I was little my mom would let me dress myself and I wool wear the most ridiculous stuff. I would embarrass her. And in junior high I made my own clothes. I remember one time I made my own dress because I really wanted a knee-length skirt. And at that time it was before Hot Topic, and I couldn’t find one anywhere so I made it. But I sewed it together with yarn. And then I wore it to school and my best friend was like “if you ever wear this again, I’m not gonna be your friend anymore.” I found that I would get told that a lot because I would wear such ridiculous clothes.
Do you make any of your own clothes now?
Oh yeah. [The dress I'm wearing now] is hemmed. The dress I wore on stage today I made. The dress in the “I Was Right” video we made. The dress in the “Two In The Chest” video was made. I just got lucky with a lot of friends who are good at tailoring. And they believe in the band and they will volunteer their time to help me with stuff. And the vest that I wore on the first day of Warped Tour, it had spikes on the shoulders and it was kind of military, I had that made. I would love to have a clothing line, just so I could make my own clothes that I wish I could find. Because I’m not like a big shopper, I don’t go to Forever 21 that much, or the malls really, because I feel like it gets really uniform. And why shop where everybody else is shopping? I like thrift stores.
What are your favorite stores?
I really like Buffalo Exchange. I love that, it’s like one of my favorite vintage stores. I like Goodwill, I spend a lot of time at Goodwill. And I’ll go to Forever 21 every now and buy basic pieces that I can personalize with some other things. And right now they’ve got a lot of cool Mickey Mouse stuff.
I notice that you have some new tattoos. When did you get that?
The one on my hand? It’s new. It’s still peeling, it’s kinda gross looking.
Have the ones behind your ears always been there?
Yeah, I got these on tour like three years ago. We were playing at this club in Colorado called the Black Sheep. I was bored, and there was a tattoo parlor next door, so I walked in and I said “I’m in a band, I’m not from here, if anyone want to tattoo me for free, have at it.” And a guy volunteered.
I would be kinda sacred of getting a free tattoo without researching!
Yeah it was a bad idea. I think that these hearts just totally suck. You kinda get what you pay for.
And the one on your arm? What does it say?
It says “Everything was beautiful and nothing hurt,” which is from one of my favorite books of all time, Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut. Before this one I would have said that tattoos don’t hurt, I really like the feeling, but this one hurt so bad. I don’t know if I’m like turning into a pansy.
A good friend of mine Baba — he’s actually a really famous tattoo artist, he tattoos Hollywood Undead and I think he’s done The Devil Wears Prada or Drop Dead, Gorgeous, he’s done a lot of bands — he came up to me and offered me a free tattoo for Warped Tour. It’s like the biggest thing ever. I know this doesn’t make sense, but I didn’t realize it was so big when he free-handed it, and then he started going and I was like “oh wow, I just ended up with half a sleeve, and I don’t even know how.”
So are you going to get a full sleeve?
I can tell you’ve got everything on one arm, you’re getting there.
It’s too cluttered. I won’t ever go to [my other] arm, or anywhere else. I don’t want to be that girl with tons of tattoos. I just started on this arm and now I can’t stop.
Well you’ll run out of room eventually!
And then I’ll have to stop, and I’ll be ok with that. The next tattoo I’m going to get, I’ve always wanted a Haunted Mansion tattoo and I finally thought of something. I’m going to “Foolish Mortal” from the Haunted Mansion speech.
So what is the tattoo on your hand?
This is the first time I actually get to tell the story behind it. My boyfriend has the other one. We realized I’m going to be away on tour for 5 more months. So we wanted to have something where it’s like a little piece of each other. So when we hold hands they connect.
I would be scared to get a couples tattoo too, those can end badly.
Yeah, I always have been like that, but then for some reason this time I was just ready.
What’s your beauty routine for Warped Tour?
I think the best beauty routine for Warped Tour is lots of baby wipes. Lots of makeup remover wipes. For instance yesterday Warped Tour was in a dirt field, so now showers and no water. So baby wipes and any type of mineral makeup, because you’re sweating and it doesn’t really clump that much or anything like that.
So my routine is: wake up, desperately try to find the showers, if there are none – baby wipe myself to death, and then go get sweaty. That’s the routine. I kinda just have to go into Warped Tour thinking “I’m going to be sweaty, I’m going to be ok.” And then you just accept it.
What’s been your biggest splurge purchase?
There’s so many things, it’s really bad. I sold my iPod before Warped Tour to buy new shoes – the boots I had on stage today. I had to have them, and I just couldn’t spare any of the money I had saved, so I sold my iPod. I have so many pairs of black shoes it’s ridiculous. I don’t need any more black shoes, but somehow…
I’m a big shoe person. I’m a firm believer that you can wear a ripped up pair of tights, a ripped up boyfriend shirt, and a ripped up pair of shorts, but if your shoes look really good and your bag looks really good then you’re ok. I’m a little sad about these boots, my Jeffree Campbell boots. These were a splurge too, and they’re not surviving. But that’s ok, that’s what rock and roll looks like. I’m ok with it.
And I just splurged on pair of tights that were $60.
Yes! I love Wolford tights.
I can’t bring myself because I know I’m going to rip them!
My favorite tights that I used to wear, they look like black thigh-highs but they’re not, they don’t make them any more. They’re so delicate. I would buy them in bulk, I’d buy like 5 pairs at a time. And so I ripped my last pair and they stopped making them.
What fashion advice would you give to my readers?
To completely be yourself. That’s the best fashion advice – is to not be scared and wear what you want and who cares what other people are going to say. Because most of the time they’re probably thinking you’re awesome for thinking out of the box. And to not be scared to shop somewhere else besides Forever 21, Hot Topic, and Wet Seal; and venture off into thrift stores.