Every Monday we will be bringing you an unsigned singer or band as part of our Independent Music Monday feature. This week, we caught up with Shlomi Ash to find out more…
Where are you from and how did you first get into music?
I’m originally from Tel Aviv. After relocating to London a while back and recording a debut album with Chris Potter (the Verve, Blur), I currently spend my time between these 2 cities making music, recording and performing. I got into music at a very early age, listening to my father’s CD collection that included anything from the Beatles to 70’s Progressive Rock and Middle Eastern music. I was fascinated by the sound of guitars that came from these records and began writing simple songs and melodies when I was 9 or 10.
Who were your musical influences when you were growing up and who are your influences now?
Growing up, Rockn’roll was a big part of my life. The first time I heard a Led Zeppelin or a Beatles record were moments I’d never forget. I simply couldn’t believe 4 musicians could make such strong, emotional and endless songs. It really struck a chord with me (no pun intended), and I knew it was a world I wanted to be in. I spent a lot of my childhood listening to the biggest Rock bands from every decade, from the Doors in the 60’s, Bruce Springsteen in the 70’s, the Smiths in the 80’s, Oasis, Chili Peppers and the Verve in the 90’s, and the Strokes and the Libertines in the 2000’s. My childhood was pretty much one big greatest hits collection of rock music! It was only in my 20’s though that I became obsessed with poets who are also musicians such as Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen. They had a big influence on my life and on my music up until now.
How would you describe your sound?
I make lyrical, melodic guitar-driven rock and folk music. I aspire to write both big, loud guitar pop songs and intimate, acoustic melodies about things I care about.
What is your latest single called and what was the influence behind it?
I released my 1st single Taking me Over, which is also the latest, in July. Lyric-wise, it’s all about getting back on the horse after staying home for way too long. Most of the songs from the album were written a long time ago, and I felt it was about time to get out there and do my thing without hiding behind the comfort of my home and my daily routines. For me it’s all about that. The music was written several years ago at a time when I was very much into Funk and American Delta Blues. The main riff came one day while fiddling with the guitar, and the rest of the music was developed out of that.
What’s your local music scene like?
I think there's a good guitar indie music thing going in London at the moment which I really like. A lot of great female-led guitar bands such as Wolf Alice, INHEAVEN and Heavy Heart who bring a really fresh vibe.
What do you have planned for the next 12 months? Any albums or festivals?
Quite a lot really! We’ll be releasing a new single along with a very untraditional music video in the coming weeks, which I’m very excited about. Besides that we plan at least 2-3 more releases in the coming months, and the full 11 track album sometime next year. We’ll also definitely have a tour in Spring 2019 so be on the lookout for that!
Is there anyone you’d love to collaborate with?
Wow, too many to mention. The big dream would be a duet with Bruce Springsteen, as I’m a big fan. His ability to make such emotional music out of simple, daily life events is something that always inspires me, plus his live shows are the best I’ve seen anywhere. I’d also love to play with the Strokes or the Arctic Monkeys as they were a big part of my high school soundtrack. Besides that, I would love to play a song or 2 with the Fleet Foxes, they are a great band I’m really into at the moment.
Any funny stories surrounding your live performances?
Not much to tell about live performances to be honest, as I’m just starting out, unless carrying a big amp and 2 guitars to a show in a small bar is funny 😉 I do have some funny stories from recording though! I spent 2 months in Bournemouth with my producer Chris recording the album, so there was a lot of days when it was just me and him doing 12-13 hours in the studio alone eating nothing but cheap sandwiches and working until we were completely exhausted. In the last week of recording, we decided to record hand claps for several tracks, and since it was just me and him in the room, we turned on the mic, played the tracks in a row and spent a good 30 minutes just clapping together in the hallway trying not to laugh. It was only after we finished that we realized we didn’t press RECORD, so we had to do it all over again. The 2nd time wasn’t as successful, as we both kept on laughing the whole time. To cut a long story short, we ended up spending almost half a day clapping until we got it right. I think we became quite masterful at clapping by that point – I offered Chris to join me as a hand clapper on tour, he still haven’t refused 😉
What is the one thing that you want readers to know about you?
Outside of music, I live a pretty ordinary life. I get up, go to work at an office, spend time with my beautiful and brilliant wife, drink some wine and the next day do it all over again. Everything I have to say about myself is in my music, really.