Sydney outfit Ashes recently released their self-titled EP and are playing around the traps launching it. Next chance to catch them is at The Sando in Newtown on Saturday April 28th. To find out a little more about the EP, the band took the time to answer our On The Record questions. Expand this post to check out their answers while streaming the EP.
Tell us about the release title.
Our debut EP is self-titled. We figure we can get away with that at least once!
Tell us about the artwork.
The front of the wallet features the Ashes logo, designed by Sydney artist Crisis, presented in glorious gold foil on a purple background. Prince, eat your heart out! The liner notes feature shots of us playing a house show in our bathrobes because… well, just because. Those snaps were taken by the notorious Paul Kim.
What format/s will it be released on and how will it be packaged?
It will be available as a CD in a special purple and gold foil wallet, and as a digital download in the format of your choice.
Who will it be released through, and when?
We are releasing this bad boy ourselves and doing our own distribution, for better or worse! It was officially released on the 31st of March.
Tell us about the studio and why you chose to record there?
We recorded at Def Wolf Studios with our mate and regular collaborator Dave “I am Butch Vig” Hammer. We’ve trusted him as a producer since working with him in our previous band Me vs. You. He knows how to pull the sound we’re after and gets stoked on the tunes. He and I are both huge Smashing Pumpkins fans and that’s all I need really.
Did you go into the writing process with a clear direction in mind?
The writing process was very organic for us, we didn’t set any strict guidelines straight away. We didn’t force things either, we took our time with it. We knew we wanted it to rock, and that we wanted it to be a significant step away from our previous projects.
Were you listening to anything in particular during the writing / recording process that influenced the songs at all?
Speaking for myself, as this bands sound has developed I have been digging through all my favourite oz rock albums; the stuff that got me stoked on playing in a band when I was in highschool. Bands like Jebediah, Motor Ace, Bodyjar, and Finiscad.
Were there any albums you were referencing to aim for a certain type of sound production wise?
The Foo Fighters’ most recent album Wasting Light was something we all agreed captured the vibe we were after. A big rock sound that is a little rough around the edges. Motor Ace’s Five Star Laundry, and The Gaslight Anthem’s American Slang were also important points of reference.
How long did it take to record?
We did around two weeks of recording, but it was spread out over about a month.
Tell us a little about the recording process the band used?
We demo the hell out of all our material, and rewrite and revise our songs a lot. We put down rough versions of all the songs we thought were worthy of being on our first release, then cut it down to an ideal six. We then used the demos as guide tracks to record the EP. Along the way a lot of extra ideas get thrown in courtesy of Hammer and ourselves.
Was this any different to previous processes you have used?
Not really, it was familiar territory because we have worked with Hammer a few times now.
Any guests involved? if so, who.. and what did they do?
We had some grand ideas to get some additional musicians in, but it all fell through. Hopefully for EP number 2. We definitely envision getting some horns involved in the near future. I used to play the sax and am attempting to get my chops up to scratch again!
Any particular equipment outside your usual live gear used in the process?
They used a bunch of crazy pedals but I’m a singer and am completely ignorant of any equipment beyond my own mic stand. I do recall one guitarist acting as a human capo for the other!
Any memorable studio moments?
One of our songs features some falsetto, and it’s a miracle Hammer ever managed to get a take that didn’t include us cracking up as we tried very earnestly to sing as high as our testosterone levels would allow. I’m also haunted by the image of Hammer cackling manically as he cut together new songs made up of our overdubs and back up vocals. The man loves his job!
Any additional tracks recorded that didn’t make the cut but may see the light of day sometime?
Plenty. Some of the stuff that didn’t make the cut has been reworked and is sounding better than ever. We try and write as much as possible though, so we may have a brand new bag of tricks by the time we get to record another EP.
What track/s are you most looking forward to playing live?
Better living will always be a favourite, it’s one of the earlier songs we wrote for this new project, and I think it captures the energy and attitude of the band perfectly. It’s got some fun harmonies and just the right amount of grunt. I’m also love performing Walk Away because it’s a great excuse to dance like Bruce Springsteen.
How would you compare the final product to previous releases?
I think this release has a strong sense of identity compared to the tracks we put out with Me vs. You. Ashes is a tribute to the great tradition of Australian rock.
Anything else you want to say or tell us about the release?
It’s loud, it’s shiny, and it’s very VERY cheap.