MTTM: Your EP, No Early Nights, is set for release 15th November. How are you feeling about the launch of the record?
Ethan Ash: I suppose I’m excited about the launch but also apprehensive as I don’t know what people will think about it because it’s a lot different to my first EP. Music is so subjective…some people will like it but some people may hate it. I just have to accept that’s the way it is otherwise you can become paranoid and it can affect what you do.
MTTM: You have a full UK tour lined up over the next couple of months, are you looking forward to hitting the road?
Ethan Ash: Yes, a lot. I like being on the road. It’s different from playing most gigs where afterwards I normally go home if I’m within a 3 hour drive. I like road trips but they can be very tiring and there is only so much Red Bull I can drink! I’m going to be playing a few gigs in Scotland as part of the tour, one of which is in Aberdeen, and that’s a long way from where I live in Cambridge.
MTTM: What do you want people to gain from your music and seeing you play live?
Ethan Ash: Enjoyment. I want to people to enjoy what I do and to relate to my music. I want them to get out of it what they want and not what I might think they may want. Watching my live shows is much different to listening to my recorded material as there’s much more energy in a performance. I also concentrate on interacting with the audience as much as do on playing the music as I want the audience to be on my side, I believe if I don’t do that then they may not listen to the recorded music or come to a gig again.
MTTM: What does No Early Nights mean to you personally?
Ethan Ash: The EP is a stepping stone and a continuation of a very uncertain but interesting journey. It provides a tangible audio memory of the next step in my music but not the definitive step as it’s an evolving process. The songs are also important to me as they’re about my own and close friends’ experiences, albeit sometimes expressed in metaphors.
MTTM: Where do you find inspiration for your music and lyrics?
Ethan Ash: I find inspiration everywhere and from everything but more often than not from things that happen to me or other people, things and events that I observe or read about, and even mundane day-to-day things. The music itself can come from the same source but usually a riff comes from playing about on guitar or piano. I also find inspiration from artists and bands I respect for their music.
MTTM: Were there any unique influences behind No Early Nights?
Ethan Ash: There are no particular influences but I did want to keep the recordings intimate, raw and effectively “naked”, that’s why there is no production on the EP and it’s only acoustic guitar, drums and vocals. I wanted the EP to sound as close to a live gig as possible and although it hasn’t got the energy of a gig at least sound-wise it’s close to it.
MTTM: It’s been a busy and impressive year for you; the shows you’ve played (Secret Garden Party and Edinburgh Fringe Festival), sharing the stage with acts such as Nick Harper and, of course, the release of a brand new EP. Do you feel overwhelmed with all that’s happened? What do you think you’ve gained or taken from it all?
Ethan Ash: It’s just over a year since I decided to commit full-time to the life of a singer songwriter and I haven’t had time to get overwhelmed but I must admit it’s been a good year. I’ve been playing gigs since I was 12 years old and even as a teenager I had some good gigs so maybe overwhelmed won’t figure in my psyche.
What have I gained from it? Overall, probably experience by moving-up to another level gig-wise because each gig is different and as an artist I have to be able to adapt to all kinds of environments and audiences. I’ve also gained a good team of people to support me because an artist cannot do everything himself anymore.
MTTM: Finally what are your plans following the UK tour?
Ethan Ash: After the tour I intend to reduce the number of gigs I play and focus on writing new material for a couple of months but after that it’s important I carry on trying to raise my profile by getting bigger and better gigs, with hopefully support slots, and, of course, doing my best to gain a bigger fan base.