Monday, October 22, 2012
Seven questions with Ash West-Mullen aka Mender
Photo shamelessly pinched from FD2D.com (which is recommended reading btw)
I connected with Ash West-Mullen after reviewing his album 'the subtle sting of change' a wee while back. An interesting fact is that my netlabel ... weareallghosts ... is named after a lyric from one of his songs of that album.
I found him to be a fascinating and highly prolific musician whose musicianship was only surpassed by his love of music and, in particular, the love he has for his craft.
I recently received an email informing me of his next release entitled Asembulus. I've had a wee listen and was impressed ... so I grabbed the opportunity to ask him my seven wee blog questions ... this is what Ash had to say:
1) Who are you and what do you do?
My name is Ash West-Mullen and I write and produce electronic music.
2) What are you working on at the moment?
I'm busy promoting my new release Asembulus which comes out in November. I'm also busy trying to figure out how to play my songs live. Luckily I've enlisted the help of two very talented guys, Dave and Ed who are making the process much more tolerable. In fact, I'd go so far as to say that it actually sounds quite exciting!
3) Who inspires you?
- Name an artist who has inspired you.
I get inspired by a lot of artists. It's hard to narrow it down to one. I certainly don't sit there and try to sound like anybody but I do worry sometimes whether I'm obviously ripping off Four Tet with some of my tunes. Then I figure that Four Tet and Caribou sound very similar to one another and I stop caring. Either way, Keiran Hebden's music is deeply affecting to me.
- Name place that has inspired you.
I play drums in this math-rock band called Alright The Captain and we saw some crazy places on tour round Europe. My favorite was this converted paper factory in Groningan, NL. A lot of the squats we played were full of hardcore vegan punks and girls with dredds but this place was slick, organised and hospitable. The residents were professionals and masters students using wood work and engineering skills to renovate this awesome building. The audience were attentive and enthusiastic. Music communities like that put UK audiences to shame.
- Name some "thing" that has inspired you.
I recently bought a new bit of hardware called the Native Instruments Maschine. It's opened up worlds for my music and sent my workflow into over-drive. Inspiring stuff indeed!
4) What drives you to do what you do?
Some people read books, others play Skyrim. Some people go to football training. I spend that time writing tunes on my computer. Seriously, I'm one of the most prolific people I know! That's not to say it's all good but I'm definitely driven by an unquenchable desire to simply write something else. Since September 2011 Iv released 4 albums and 4 EP's. There's not much else to it.
5) What values do you wish your creativity to express?
I guess with most electronica there isn't always an obvious subtext to the music. I'm not political or particularly technical. Perhaps a little egotistical? I tend to be very blasé about the way I improvise a lot of stuff which could be seen as either sloppy or arrogant by some people but honestly, it comes out of being consumed with a moment and a feeling. Perhaps the value I want to express is introspection. Yes. I'm willing to go with that. Introspection.
6) What role does community play in what you do?
A very strong one indeed. You can't do this kind of thing on your own. I am grateful to all the bands and friends of ATC who have helped me push Mender in the right directions, not only because they dig the music but because we are part of a wider musical community and have a mutual respect for what each of us are trying to achieve. I've found the Netaudio community to be incredibly interconnected, making it easier to get the word around. Without this sense of community, musicians might as well be playing to themselves...or with themselves.
7) What is next for what you do?
Our first live date is on December 8th for bUTTONpUSHER Bookings in Nottingham. I'm hoping to land one or two other dates too along with a few live sessions and video blogs if possible. I'm working on the video for one of the new tunes with a film-maker called Phil Formby. Then there's the new ATC album, the debut solo EP for an artist called Major Kid Sun that I'm producing and Im working on a new record for my other electro side project Rysic Cygo on Dedpop.co.uk
I like to keep busy.
You certainly do, Ash. Thanks for taking the time to complete the interview.
Asembulus will be released on 12th November via Ash's Bandcamp page.