What inspired you to first start making music? And how did you come to be in your current incarnation? Or if you prefer, a brief bio about you.
Ash: I met Charlie at a ceramics evening class and pretty soon after that we decided to move into a house together and start recording music there. At some point we met Patch and James who helped us to build out the sound on bass and synths. Turns out we all grew up making music in small towns around Oxford. In a way, our music is a reaction to our shared experience of suburban boredom. I think it’s an interesting vantage point to write pop music from.
Provide us with some info about your latest release…
Ash: Everything’s Alright in the Evening is a 7-track EP that brings together a collection of songs that explore love and loneliness in a twilight suburbia. We recorded everything in our home studio, and then I spent some time in a remote cottage on the edge of a farm to finish production and vocals on a few of the tracks. Pretty much every track also has field recordings hidden in there, some more obvious than others. We wanted to transport the listener into the environment that each song inhabits.
Which ones would you consider your main influences both music-wise & non-music-wise?
Charlie: Music wise I’ve always been influenced by a lot of old pop music as well as soul and R&B from the 80s. Bands like Toto, Tower of Power, Sister Sledge and Steve Winwood definitely influence the way I play. Recently I’ve been paying a lot more attention to songwriting as well. I think that writers like The Japanese House, Blake Mills and Dijon have an amazing way of capturing the emotional detail in every day life that I find really inspiring. Non-music wise I try to read a lot. At the moment I’ve been getting into a lot of John Cheever and it’s making me kind of obsessed with that period of 20th century American culture and society.
James: My influences tend to come from the ambient end of the spectrum. I’m really interested in how samples and sounds can be used to form a collage – it’s why I’m really interested in the work Kate Bush did with the Fairlight on Hounds of Love and the tape loop experiments of Brian Eno – using the studio as an instrument. More recently, the intricate atmosphere building of someone like Burial, whose work has a real visual quality. In a non-musical sense, in film I’m a fan of David Lynch, and the films of Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger, ‘A Matter of Life and Death’ and ‘Black Narcissus’ are visually astounding. The photography of Lee Miller has been a constant for me too, there’s a lot of brilliant surrealist work there but also a rich seam of war photography which is absolutely extraordinary.
In what way does your sound differ from the rest genre-related artists/bands and why should we listen to your music? In other words, how would you describe your sound?
Ash: I suppose the music we make is essentially pop music, but projected through a warped lens of bedroom recordings on shitty equipment and with an interest in songwriting from the 70s and 80s. We try to do what feels natural and not think too much about genre.
Please name your 3 desert islands albums, movies & books…
Ash: Paul Simon – Still Crazy After All These Years. Oliver Sacks – Uncle Tungsten
James: The Savage Detectives – Robert Bolano, Another Green World – Brian Eno, A Matter of Life and Death.
Do you prefer studio or performing live and why?
Ash: My favourite part of being in the band is working on a song with Charlie in my bedroom at 1am on a weeknight.
Charlie: I much prefer performing live in general. I like the adrenaline rollercoaster that live shows bring, and I just really enjoy playing drums and hanging out with the band. There’s also something incredibly exposing about being in a studio and hearing your playing back in close detail. Really exposes all the flaws!
James: It’s all good. Nothing quite beats the buzz of a busy, attentive room, but when something falls into place in the studio it can be really special and the only thing I think about for days.
Patrick: For me, it’s live…but in rehearsal! I like it when one of Ash and Charlie’s 1am ideas comes alive with all the interesting accidents that happen as we’re working it up into a live tune.
Is there any funny-unique story you would like to share with us, always in relation to your music ‘career’?
James: Grant Mitchell, Joffrey Baratheon, Hermione Granger. These three fictional characters have all been at a gig I’ve played at, but only two watched the band I was in.
Patrick: I once played on a session with a guy called Albert Ross. He had a white guitar that he called the ‘Albatross’. He taught me a lot.
Which track of your own would you point out as the most unique and why?
Ash: We re-created a sample of a classical Chinese orchestral piece to use in Reflection of the Moon, and then paired it with some of the most abrasive production we’ve ever done. But uniqueness is not really the goal. Emotional connection is the goal.
James: I think the most unique BG track is an unreleased one called ‘My Sis’ which is built around a few field recordings and a honey-kissed vocal from Ash. One for the future.
Would you like to share with our readers your future plans?
Ash: We have a couple more music videos on the way, and hopefully some fun promotional things around our recently released EP coming. Other than that, we already have our eye on the next series of songs and visuals. Hopefully we can go out and play some shows by the end of the year too.
Free question!!! (Ask yourself a question) you wish to answer and haven’t been given the opportunity…
Why do you make music?
Ash: Music is a vehicle for emotional connection with other people. I feel like music, art and humour open a side-entrance to our minds where words and concepts can pass between people with so much more strength and clarity. I listen to music and make music out of a compulsion to find those connections which I struggle to find through the use of normal speech.
Curated by: Christos Doukakis
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