INTERVIEW WITH ASH
Despite your youthful looks, you’ve been around for donkey’s years – what’s been the main change in the music industry since then?
I know its an obvious answer but the internet has changed every single aspect of the music industry; from the way it’s listened to, to the way it’s promoted and everything in between. It is a double edged sword, so for every problem it’s created it has also been a solution to other things. I think the waves it has created will be felt for a long time.
You’re about to do a Free All Angels tour – what inspired that? And can we expect any more album-gigs from you? 1977 tour for example?
Its the tenth anniversary of its release and we wanted to do something around the release of our Best of… album. We thought rather than do the greatest hits tour we’d do this instead. We did a few 1977 gigs in London a few years back which were a lot of fun, and we are doing that in Belfast next month for the Alzheimer’s Society as a charity gig.
The Ash line-up has changed slightly over the years (with the arrival and departure of Charlotte) talk us through your current set up…
The set up has been pretty changeable this year; we’ve had three piece shows, four piece shows with Russell Lissack and even shows I’ve missed since I became a dad over the summer! Luckily my favourite drummer and good friend reside in the same body in the shape of Alan Lynn from Lafaro and he kept my stool warm for a few weeks. And last but not least, we have Charlotte back for these Free All Angels gigs. It’ll be the first time she’s played with us since 2005!
We’ve seen some pretty awesome gigs from you over the past year (Cardiff and Bath) how do you keep your live shows so fresh? And how do you pick your setlists?
I think the setlist for the most part picks itself; there’s so many songs we can’t get away without playing. With the size of our back catalogue we could do totally different sets each night but I think the fans would miss certain stuff if we left it out. Every gig has its own vibe and if you’re tuned into that you never get tired doing it.
You always seem to attract a decent mix of folk at gigs and still have the pulling power for teenagers as well as the 30-somethings who’ve been there from the start, why do you think that is?
I think because our career has spanned so many years we’ve always picked up new fans on each release. We’ve never been associated with just one period in time so new fans have come to us without any preconceptions.
There have been a lot of your peers reforming (Suede, Pulp etc) in recent years and others calling it a day (Bluetones, REM etc) who would you like to see reform? And is there anyone you’d like to see call it a day?
Having seen the Pixies reformed and actually ended up supporting them, I’ve not really harboured any desire to see anyone else reform. Although having said that, I was gutted to miss Led Zeppelin’s O2 show. As for someone who should stop polluting the airwaves with dreadful nonsense, I know its not a band but if you could put an end to X-Factor, I would be eternally grateful.
See Ash play Free All Angels and more at Bristol O2 Academy on Friday October 21. Tickets £18.50adv from www.o2academybristol.co.uk
by 247 Magazine