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GATRS Exclusive: Ashland Interview in the wake of album release “Over The Moon”

Photo Credit: Lindsey Byrnes

The Girls at the Rock Show were given the amazing opportunity to interview the pop-punk band, Ashland. Following their debut album Wildfire released in 2017, Ashland have now given us another great gift. Their album Over The Moon released December 13, 2019. This Illinois band have provided us with the right amount of electronic beats, distorted riffs (our favorite), and captivating melodies to place a beautiful bow on this gift.

Check out our interview below together with the Over The Moon:

1. How did you choose the name Ashland?
Aaron: I wish we had some crazy interesting story behind it initially, but when we were trying to come up with a one-word name “Ashland” just stuck. Though later, Asia’s grandma told us about how many towns that had been destroyed by fire in the past were renamed Ashland when they were rebuilt. So now, to us, the name represents light and positivity after overcoming struggle and devastation.

2. How did you all meet?
Asia: We met online, technically. I was checking out a forum looking for musicians to form a band and I saw a post about a band looking for a singer. So I reached out and we started talking and sending demos back and forth. And we’ve never really talked about this part- but we kept making all these plans to meet up and then I would cancel. That went on for a really long time haha. But they didn’t know at the time that I was struggling with social anxiety disorder and I was so terrified to sing in front of people that I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. Eventually, I told Aaron I was going to be gone for awhile and I’d check in with them in a few months if they hadn’t already found a singer. Depression & anxiety had pretty much ruined my life so I ended up going to rehab for nearly a year and doing that was the most badass thing I’ve ever done. As soon as I graduated from the program, I contacted the band and was like “let’s f****** do this.”  

3. Who are your musical and non-musical influences?
Aaron: I have so many musical influences, but as of right now I’ve been jamming The Weeknd’s new stuff, The Eagles, and Kacey Musgraves pretty steadily. 
Asia: I’ve been really into Chris Isaak lately. I love anything sultry, moody and classical sounding. As far as non-musical influences…Mab Graves. I was first drawn to Mab’s painting style which has influenced my own art. But over the years I discovered that she’s not just a great painter. She’s an artist through and through. She does everything from wood work to needle felting. Sometimes she’ll go collect a bunch of trash from the side of the road and turn it into something beautiful. I seriously believe she has to be an angel. Her journey with Endometriosis constantly inspires me as I deal with quite a bit of my own health issues. Definitely check her out!!

4. What was the first song you ever played together as a band?
Aaron: You would think this would be something that we would remember but we don’t haha

5. Which comes first, music or lyrics?
Asia: Sometimes the music comes first, sometimes the lyrics do. If I’m playing guitar or piano just for fun, sometimes a whole song comes out of that. And sometimes I’ll just be singing in my car and it’ll spark an idea for a song. In those cases, I usually take a voice memo and can’t wait to get home to try and put music to it. That’s always really fun for me.
Aaron: Yeah like Asia said, it really depends on the song. Sometimes I’ll write most of a song instrumentally and Asia will write vocals to it, sometimes she writes the whole song and I just add to the arrangement, or sometimes we write a whole song from scratch together. We like to mix it up as much as possible to avoid getting burned out.

6. Tell us some of the ups and downs you have had, if any, on working on your new album “Over The Moon”.
Asia: We’ve had a lot of cool things happen. Going on tour with Our Last Night and recording “Someone You Loved” with them was so amazing. I’m very grateful for that opportunity. We’ve also seen our music videos in a lot of places we frequently go to- Journey’s, Planet Fitness, Foot Locker. That’s been incredibly cool to see! I think we’ve actually come to realize with this album that EVERY album cycle is going to have ups and downs. It seems like every single time, we’re like man..this one has to be THE hardest. But this one, even with all the cool things that’ve happened, has without a doubt been the most difficult. One of our best friends, who produced all of our past music and part of the new album and helped guide us through this industry since the beginning, passed away from cancer while we were working on Over The Moon. Things just haven’t been the same since.

7. Describe Ashland in three words.
Asia: Ouch. My. Heart.
Aaron: Is. There. Pizza?

8. What can we expect in the future from Ashland?
Asia: I’m seeing….LOTS of attitude and music videos in our future.
Aaron: What Asia said. And hopefully Elon Musk will send us to space to play so we can be the first interstellar band.

9. How did you choose the name for new album “Over The Moon” released on December 13, 2019?
Asia: We first named the song “Over The Moon” before we decided on it as the album title. When we finished tracking all the demos, we listening through the whole album. The song Over The Moon seemed to really just stand out sonically from all the other ones. We absolutely loved the name and it just felt like a good title- moody but still exciting.

10. What is the one thing you would like people to take away from Ashland?
Asia: We just want people to enjoy the music and know that they’re not alone. I recommend listening to Motivation and Gotta Go for encouragement.
Aaron: We are really cool I swear.

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