Stockport lads No Hot Ashes have taken the time out of their busy schedule to have a chat with us just to get to know them a bit better. Brandishing a blend of synth melodies and never-fail indie-rock attitude that creates a sound which is pretty hard to get out of your head.
They talk about their influences and song-writing process as well as what is to come in the next few months.
Tell us about your aims when creating music, and where does that aim stem from?
Since we first started writing as a four piece our aim has always been to produce music that makes people want to dance, this ideology comes from our love of funk & dance music.
What was the catalyst for picking up instruments and wanting to start a band?
All of us started playing our instruments very early on from the ages of 7-9 so music has been a massive part of all our lives. We all started playing in bands around 14/15 and that led up to NHA becoming a serious band in 2014.
Were you very influential to music when growing up or did you establish your own musical preferences?
Like many our first experiences of music came from our parents. There is a massive love for 80s Funk, Pop & Soul music in the band. As we grew up all of use went through phases (some not so good) but at present, we feel our music shows a fusion of all our influences.
Tell us about what it was like when you first started writing?
At the start we found it easy, when we were like 15/16 we released a 9 song demo (ridiculous, we know) but we quickly realised a lot of the 9 songs were terrible. We really regard “Goose” as our starting point in terms of writing good songs. Since then we have developed into better and more diverse songwriters.
What’s the music scene like in Stockport at the moment? Any band recommendations?
In terms of a “scene” there isn’t really one within Stockport but we hope one day there could be. All the bands from Stockport flock to Manchester because of how many venues there are to play there.
You have a number of tour dates coming up over the next few months how excited are you get back out touring?
Since the new year we haven’t gigged an awful lot as we were concentrating on the release of our new single “Bellyaches” but now we have hit March we have loads of dates booked in up and down the country and we cannot wait to get out there. We`re making our debut in London which is exciting for us.
What and who influences you musically?
There’s a wide spectrum of influences within the band musically, not all of them come out within the songs but personally, they have influenced us as people. We were influenced by a lot of Funk, Pop & Soul music from the 70s & 80s like James Brown, Luther Vandross, Chic, The Doobie Brothers but growing up as teens bands such as Arctic Monkeys, Foals, Red Hot Chili Peppers and all the early 2000s Indie Bands really inspired to pick up our instruments and play in a band. We like to think of ourselves as a Funk Band hidden behind an Indie Band aesthetic.
Describe your song-writing process?
Our song-writing process hasn’t really changed from the start and it formed the foundations for all of our songs to date. Initially, Isaac or Luigi will come up with a chord sequence or melody or a hook and they`ll both form the spine of the song, that then gets recorded very roughly in Isaacs bedroom studio and Matt/Jack will then pick up the idea in full band rehearsals. That’s the point when all 4 of us will write together to complete the song.
What was it like recording your new single ‘Bellyaches’?
Lyrically “Bellyaches” was an exploration of how you get drunk on no budget; and then how you get home, and then the bellyaches after. In terms of recording the song it came together quite easily, we had been road testing the song at gigs for a couple of months and decided we loved to play it live and it was going to be our next single. As ever in the studio we got experimental and tossed around a lot of ideas. We decided that the use of synths would complement the disco/pop feel to the track and paid homage to our love of 80s Synth-Pop. We recorded the song with Gavin Monaghan (Editors, The Twang, Ocean Colour Scene) we love this guy to bits and he has been a big part of us developing as a band.
Although you are in a band, do you still have to work day jobs in-between live shows?
We all have Jobs/University Degrees to balance with the band life. Obviously, the aim is one day be lucky enough to drop all of that and pursue our musical endeavours. Until then we`ll keep doing what we do and striving to be the best we can be.
How would you like people to respond to your music? Do you wish to connect emotionally with the audience or is it just about having a party?
You have to be able to do both. There are a lot of good bands out there who might be very one-side. Like, they may be an amazing live band but on record people wouldn’t listen to them. On the flipside, there might be bands that create amazing music in the studio and are heavily over-produced but we have always strived to be equally as good live as we are in the studio. To be commercially great you have to be able to connect with your audience both visually and emotionally. We like to think we do both. But we would say that wouldn’t we? We guess that is up to the listener to decide for themselves.
Do you ever see your sound changing from the type of funky rock you write?
Personally, we feel our sound has changed on each single we have written to date. Although the basis has been on the funky element to our sound we have always been complimented on our ability to write “individual songs” and not have a set which can be easily merged and pigeon-holed. We have big ambitions to keep developing and progressing musically and we would love the chance to work with more musicians and instruments and produce ambitious and thought provoking music.
For more on No Hot Ashes’ latest single ‘Bellyaches’ you can check it out here!