After swearing off albums in favour of singles in 2007, Ash sprang back onto the scene this year with full length studio album Kablammo!, and man, have we missed them. Having showcased the new tracks at Isle of Wight and Reading festivals and a sold-out tour over the summer, it’s clear to see that their fan-base is stronger than ever, and the hits just keep on coming. So what better time to team up with smart-mouthed indie rockers We Are Scientists to take on the world! Or at least Europe…
The Masters of the Euroverse Tour sees the two superpowers join forces for a twelve date stint through Europe in mid-November, which we can only imagine will consist of countless one-liners, fantastic beer and a set-list that’ll be every indie kid’s wet dream rolled into one. I grabbed a quick chat with drummer Rick Murray while he prepares for Euro-domination.
Hey Rick, it’s been a while since you released your last conventional album Twilight of the Innocents, after which you said you wouldn’t release another album. So, why now?
Twilight was written and recorded during a bleak time for the album format. In 2007 album sales were dropping of the proverbial cliff. We felt the industry response to this was simply to stick its head in the sand so we took it upon ourselves to come up with a new way of releasing music which evolved into the A-Z series. In the years in between it felt like the album had become viable again with the resurgence of vinyl. It felt right to go back to the format.
Well it’s about time, Kablammo! is great! What were you listening to for inspiration leading up to it, and how was it being back in the studio?
Weirdly I think the biggest inspiration has been ourselves. The pressure of going back to the album format meant we needed to justify the return from a musical point of view. We felt the new album had to live up to our most loved work.
Have you been working on any personal projects in the meantime?
Becoming a dad in the intervening years I guess counts as a pretty big personal project! Also musically I’ve been working with Thirteen Seven, who are an Edinburgh based band. We’ve been working on the debut album on and off for the last 18 months. It may or may not be finished.
So your fans have stuck with you for twenty years now, how does it feel to have that kind of loyal following? Do you feel they have certain expectations when leading up to a new release?
It’s amazing to have such a loyal bunch of fans. It’s great that they trust us enough to pay for the album before they’ve heard anything. That also became a good pressure to live up to that trust. I think our fans are quite open-minded musically so we can push things if we want to.
Speaking of a band with a loyal following – you’re teaming up with We Are Scientists for a co-headliner across Europe, are you looking forward to reuniting with the guys after your charity project?
Yeah we’ve known those guys for quite a while now. I think we first met back in 2007 over a few jaegers at a festival in Germany. We see those guys pretty regularly in New York but this will be our first time living together on a bus. What’s going to happen?! Probably a few beers and an early night…
You party animals. Was there any particular reasoning for the co-headline tour?
Well sharing management made it pretty easy logistically speaking. The reasoning is pretty much because we can.
But being notorious Archbishops of Banterbury, are you expecting any japes from We Are Scientists on the road?
I feel kinda bad for their fans! Both bands have the same set length; I just hope they play a couple of songs in between all the wise cracking.
I’ll be at the opening night in Amsterdam, what can we expect from the show?
I reckon you’ll witness something pretty special on opening night. It’s going to be pretty…. spontaneous, is the word I’m looking for. We’re planning a bit of a supergroup thing at the end of both bands set. It’ll either be a glorious car crash or a surprising display of competence. And who wouldn’t want to see that?
That sounds brilliant! And finally, who do you think would win in a fight – WAS or Ash?
Those guys are jokers not fighters. And Tim has been learning Muay Thai kickboxing for a few years.
Thank you very much for taking the time to answer these, I can’t wait to catch the show in Amsterdam!
See you there! It’s going to be memorable!