Renowned for his innate ability to traverse seamlessly across musical soundscapes, Ash returns with his anticipated new single ‘Under’.
Following on from a multitude of past releases, that include ‘Sing It Back’, which saw a collaboration with Naila, ‘Mosaïque’ that’s notched up in excess of 50 million streams & onto the more recent ‘Daydream’ – a record that’s currently lighting up globally, Ash’s subsequent rise is testament to his revered studio output & consistent flow of standout electronica.
We caught up with the artist to speak about the inspiration behind his new single, establishing his own label and reveals two facts which people do not know about him!
Valarie – Welcome, Ash. It’s a pleasure to have you here.
Ash – Thank you, it’s a pleasure to be here.
Valarie – You’re Egyptian born but living in Paris. How has that influenced your musical styles?
Ash – Actually, I was living in Paris until very recently and I just moved back to Montréal where I went to college. I considered the 3 cities where I lived – Cairo, my hometown, Paris, and Montreal- to have strong influences on my musical style.
In Montreal, I met a lot of artists with whom I collaborated and learned a lot from these experiences. During my last year in Montreal, I was beginning to lose touch with my creativity and was in need of a change. I just couldn’t come up with a nice melody, I would sit with my guitar or keyboard for hours with no luck. But as soon as I moved to Paris, the inspiration came back immediately and I produced most of the tracks that will be in the first album that I’m currently working on. Paris is just so inspiring in every way.
Egypt is my home, it’s where I was born and where I got my middle eastern inspired sounds and melodies from. I was very keen on having my roots reflected through my music and this is an element that my international listeners regularly comment on.
Valarie – What’s the inspiration behind your new single ‘Under’?
Ash – I was in Egypt visiting my family and I only had my guitar and my laptop. I played some chords with my laptop’s keyboard using a trumpet’s sound, then I grabbed my guitar and instantly came up with this melody. It’s more upbeat than what I usually produce but this is why I liked it for the summer. It’s like you’re sitting on the beach under the sun looking at the sea and it just feels so good.
Valarie – You’ve released an eclectic mix of music to date, that showcases your varying tastes, what would you describe your signature sound as?
Ash – I guess my guitar harmonies could be described as my signature sound. When I record a melody with my guitar, I like to record another one on top of it and a third one and maybe a fourth. It creates this kind of harmony, as long as they sound good together of course. I also use a lot of middle eastern and Persian instruments like Qanun, Kamanche, and Oud.
Valarie – Your latest single is set to be released on Ash Music. How important has it been establishing your own label?
Ash – I think in 2018, DIY (Do It Yourself) is a strong concept. Digital Music distribution services can get your music everywhere and this is where it all starts. If your music is good, Spotify curators will put it in their playlists to reach bigger audiences, they constantly listen to new releases. All you need is good music and a small team who believe in it. So, it’s mostly about the “Do It Ourselves” concept. I started on Soundcloud (which I’m incredibly thankful for) then started to focus more on Spotify and YouTube mainly. You don’t need money, it helps of course, but it’s not the most important thing, I believe it’s mostly about the music itself it does the biggest amount of work. I would like to have other artists on board who share the same vision, that in the music industry today you can also succeed independently.
Valarie – Are there any special projects or collaborations in the works and what can we look forward to?
Ash – Yes, you can look forward to my first full-length album which is set to be released by the end of 2019. It will feature interesting collaborations and I will strive to take my music into new directions while staying true to the core elements of my signature sound.
Valarie – Who would you highlight as your most admired five artists, that you grew up listening to?
Ash – When I was younger, I used to listen to a lot of Trance and House music, like Armin van Buuren, Dash Berlin and David Guetta. Later on, when a friend of mine introduced me to deep house and experimental, I started listening to Karmon, Finnebassen, and Nicolas Jaar but also very melodic and tropical house music like Kygo and Klingande. This is how I was inspired to combine electronic music with a variety of instruments that you don’t necessarily associate with this style of music.
Valarie – And finally, name two facts that we may not know about you (yet)?
Ash – Haha tough question, I actually have a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science and interned at Justin Trudeau’s constituency office in Canada. Also, when I was younger I wanted to be a magician so I know many tricks.
Valarie – Thank you, Ash, for talking with us here at T.H.E – Music Essentials. It’s been an absolute pleasure!