EMQ’s with ASHEN REACH
Hi Everyone. Welcome to our new EMQ’s interview with Liverpool based Hard Rock band, and also ‘Ever Metal band to watch out for’, Ashen Reach ! Huge thanks to Guitarist Paddy Cummins for taking part!
What is your name, what do you play and can you tell us a little bit about the history of the band?
I’m Paddy and I play lead guitar, but more importantly, we are Ashen Reach! We sort of bridge the gap between hard rock and metal most of the time. We play intense, heavy hitting rock and metal but there’s definitely a softness that shines through too occasionally. There’s something for everyone really! We’ve changed and evolved a lot from the very first incarnations of the band really, musically and personnel-wise. Jess, our drummer, is the only original member of the first gigging line-up, which was then under a different name. From starting as a very old school classic 70’s rock vibe, the band evolved going through different members who brought different vibes and influences until you eventually arrive at what is before you!
How did you come up with your band name?
Our band name was inspired by a video game called Sea of Thieves that Jess and I play. One of the islands you can visit in the game is called ‘Ashen Reaches’. It’s a volcanic island that regularly spews out lava and giant boulders. It’s also littered with geysers that shoot scalding hot water up into the air. It’s a very dark area of the in-game world and the overall atmosphere is very misty, but with lots of glowing yellow/orange/red areas. ‘Ashen Reach’ sounded cool to our ears, had a bit more effectiveness and was a little slightly different, but also captured the punch and aggression we put into our music.
What country are you from and what is the Metal/Rock scene like there?
We’re all from around Liverpool in North-West England. The rock and metal scene here isn’t as strong as we’d like it to be. There are lots of great rock and metal bands from around here 100%, but when you tour and play in other parts of the country and see the support for this type of music and how much more it’s pushed by people involved in putting on rock shows, there’s a lot more to be done here I think on a wider scale. But there are bands in these genres coming out of the Liverpool area, so while that is still the case, there is hope!
What is your latest release? (Album, EP, Single or Video)
Our latest release is our brand new single ‘Tear It Down’! It is available on all the usual online streaming services and stores; Spotify, iTunes, Google Play etc. And our music video can be viewed on YouTube or on our Facebook page.
Who have been your greatest influences?
We have so many influences as individuals, all varying. However, we share a lot of common ground and often enjoy and appreciate the differences we have in what we love. Our greatest influences, those who we’d say have directly affected how we sound include the likes of; Alter Bridge, Killswitch Engage, Black Stone Cherry, Van Halen, Tesseract and Dorje, to name a few. We draw inspiration from everywhere though. Be it dance, classical, techno, blues, 80’s pop, wherever there is melody really.
What first got you into music?
It’s difficult to say really as music is such a big part of life, all over the world for almost everybody. From when you’re born, you’re pretty much surrounded by it. It’s in your car on the radio, it’s in TV, films, video games, shops. I think you pick up on it from a very young age and the power of melody and beats together can have a profound effect on us as people. It can directly affect your mood, take you back to a place in your mind or a time in your life, it can give you goosebumps. These are things that you can’t fake. It’s very special and an amazing thing that we have as people to share.
If you could collaborate with a current band or musician who would it be?
That’s tough really, there are so many amazing artists out there. It really depends on the nature of the collaboration. It’d be amazing to have someone like Myles Kennedy or Dan Tomkins sing on a track, or to have somebody like Guthrie Govan or John Petrucci play a solo in one of our songs. Although anything these people can produce, we’d struggle to replicate live for sure!
If you could play any festival in the world, which would you choose and why?
Personally, I’d have to say Download really. It’s not only a huge festival but having been so many times, seeing so many great bands and having so many amazing memories from being there, being a part of somebody’s festival experience in that way would be unreal. There are lots of other festivals that would be amazing though. Wacken, Hellfest, Rock am Ring, Graspop, Sweden Rock, to name a few.
What’s the weirdest gift you have ever received from a fan?
To be perfectly honest, I don’t think we’ve ever really received a gift from a fan, not that I can recall. Maybe someday we’ll have some interesting stories to tell of strange items we’ve taken ownership of, but not at this very moment unfortunately!
If you had one message for your fans, what would it be?
Thank you is the biggest thing, for the ongoing support especially in this past year. A year in which we’ve had big ups and downs! It’s really been amazing and please continue to support, share our stuff and show others what we’re bringing to the world. We have a dream to really succeed in this and it won’t be possible without the help and support of people who enjoy what we do and those who believe in us as much as we believe!
If you could bring one Metal/Rock star back from the dead, who would it be?
It’s hard to pick one really. I think the obvious one is Dio. He had such a huge impact on so many artists and is so universally loved and appreciated for what he did for the genre of heavy metal. Jimi Hendrix as well! What he did for guitar players and that whole world was incredible. Not many people can honestly say they’ve impacted something as much as Jimi did with guitar. Prince is another one, one of the most underrated guitar players ever. An honourable mention would be Tom Searle, founding guitar player and songwriter from Architects. Some of the songs he wrote, especially towards the end concerning his stance on coming to terms with death. It’s very powerful stuff, harrowing and raw.
What do you enjoy the most about being a musician? And what do you hate?
I love bringing ideas to life. We recently recorded ‘Tear It Down’ which we’ve just released, but we also recorded another song called ‘Prey’. The music for that song has been around in one form or another for years, long before the advent of this band. Being in the studio with such an amazing group of people, bringing something from my brain to life and building on it and making it as massive and epic as I ever could’ve hoped! It’s incredibly rewarding. I’ve never really been a lyricist, but I’ve never had to be in the projects I’ve been involved with. My focus and passion has always been on riffs, solos, structures, chord progressions, arrangements and all-round guitar-based stuff. Collaborating and being more involved on the lyric writing front has been very interesting and super fun, alongside the other members. Branching out and using the other members as something to lean on whilst exploring a new area of creativity is brilliant and I’m very lucky to have the opportunity to do so.
There isn’t really anything I hate about being a musician. I suppose hoping that one day, people will hear you and a grander scale and appreciate your art and the time you’ve spent honing your craft can be daunting and almost get you down sometimes. Through fear of it potentially never happening, I guess. I think everybody wants to be appreciated in some regard in life, particularly for something they’ve invested and sacrificed so many countless hours, so much money and effort into. However, we are doing everything we possibly can to make our dreams a reality and we are very hopeful!
If you could change one thing about the music industry, what would it be?
I’m not sure what I’d change really. As with all industries there are many positives and negatives. One thing about the industry that has a positive and a negative side, is the ability to get your music all over the world via the internet. The advent of social media and streaming services mean that it’s easier than it’s ever been to make your music accessible and available to people. Or it should be. The problem, however, is that there are so many bands, so many artists, all doing the same thing. It’s extremely saturated in places like Facebook and Instagram and that makes it a lot harder to stand out. Those sites aren’t necessarily aimed or geared towards musicians or artists either, which means you must find a way to stand out amongst other content too, like clickbait ‘news’ sites, memes or cat videos!
Obviously, the problem with streaming on things like Spotify, is that artist gain fractions of income via listens of Spotify. Of course, as a consumer it’s brilliant! Free, or a £10 monthly subscription for premium, and you can listen to all the music you want by anyone who has music up there, all at your fingertips. Streaming also takes some of the magic away from buying music. Going to the shop, buying a record in a cool enclosure with artwork and info and possibly goodies! Vinyl has made a bit of a comeback recently which is cool, but overall, I think music has less value to people these days, generally. As with anything with such accessibility and surplus, it’s not as intensely sought after. Unless you have a dedicated group of proper fans, people who will defend you and who swear by what you produce, anxiously awaiting new music and tour announcements. There will always be those people who love and appreciate it what goes into it of course, and they are the people who allow bands to do what they do. It does mean however, that artists make most of their income nowadays through things like touring and merch sales. This in turn, means if you’re an up and coming band, recently signed and being pushed by a label, you’re more than likely not going to see much of your home for the better part of 3 or 4 years. Family is the most important thing in the world and being away from them for extended periods is always difficult, but as with anything, to be successful requires some sort of sacrifice in one area or another.
Name one of your all-time favourite albums?
One of the standouts of all my favourite albums is, “Fortress” by Alter Bridge. I remember being in high school, and being so insanely excited for the release, more so for any other album before. Every song on it, is amazing. Nowhere does it even hint at the idea of filler. Every song is a strong as the last if not stronger and front to back it’s huge, powerful and had all the movement any great album has. “One Day Remains”, “Blackbird” and “ABIII” were all incredible so they had some work to do following all of those. They went above and beyond all my expectation with it to be honest. For me, the songs are still as amazing now, as they were when that album released and for me, it’s still their strongest overall album they have written.
What’s best? Vinyl, Cassettes, CD’s or Downloads?
As a consumer, downloads 100%. You can enjoy the glory of your favourite artist, without moving an inch! It’s still fascinating and amazing thinking about how we’ve harnessed and developed technology and the power of the internet.
What’s the best gig that you have played to date?
I’ll have to insist on 2 and say that easily, the best gigs I’ve played were the 2 Russian dates with Bullet For My Valentine. I mean, to play alongside such giants of the metal genre, in such a wonderful and interesting country. And to a total of over 12,000 people! It was incredible. The fans were unreal. Warm, welcoming, excited to see us even though they had not come specifically for us. They were everything we could’ve wished for and we went down a storm with them. We met tons of them afterwards, took pictures, signed things. It felt so strange having people ask for photos and signing and things like that, but the whole adventure was amazing. From the gigs, to the sightseeing and exploring St Petersburg and Moscow! I will cherish those memories forever. I can only hope we can experience it again in the future.
If you weren’t a musician, what else would you be doing?
In terms of a career, I don’t think I’m old enough or busy enough to know really! I’m only 22 and I’m not making a living as a musician yet unfortunately. I’ve been learning about site engineering for several years now. Basically, working on sites as a chain man under a few different engineers! If I didn’t do it all the time, I ended up forgetting little things as losing my confidence. I haven’t been doing it long enough or consistently enough to engrain the information in my head. I knew a lot about it, enough to do the job, and I certainly didn’t think it was beyond me. The issue was definitely with myself and the confidence/trust I had in myself to get it right. The job is very independent and comes with a lot of responsibilities. There is nobody to check your work, in fact you’re doing a lot of the checking and supervising as well as making sure all your calculations are spot on. The work was never consistent enough really to boost my confidence to where I felt I could make the jump up to doing engineering myself. With the introduction of robot instruments and handheld units to operate them, there is less and less need for a chain man. Between that and band commitments I didn’t really have tons of opportunities to work. I’ve recently started a new job with a bit more consistency and stability so hopefully this works better in the meantime! In terms of hobbies I’d be doing if I’d never picked up a guitar, I’ve always wanted to learn to paint. I love Bob Ross and his style and how he creates such amazing pieces so quickly.
Which five people would you invite to a dinner party?
Another tough one really! I think I’d have to invite; Derren Brown, Frankie Boyle, Myles Kennedy, David Attenborough and Elon Musk. All for completely different reasons of course, but I think they would all be equally amazing to talk to and all have interesting stories to tell.
What’s next for the band?
Next for the band is writing for our upcoming album, “Homecoming”. We recently played our single launch show for ‘Tear It Down’, and our first gig back as the new line-up. It was amazing and it felt so good to be back on stage. The crowd were brilliant, and some came from far and wide to see us, which was massively appreciated! Now that is behind us, we’re going to continue writing and preparing for the recording early next year, doing a bit of gigging in the meantime. We are super excited for what’s to come and we hope there are some of you out there as excited as we are!
What Social Media/Website links do you use to get your music out to people?
Mostly Facebook for us! That is our main area of effect, there and Instagram. We pushed our new music video the most, through Facebook. Mainly because of the fact people don’t have to follow a link. Our society now is so revolving around the premise of instant gratification and we were worried people wouldn’t be bothered with clicking a link, as opposed to the video already being there to view. Additionally, videos usually auto-play on Facebook, so people don’t even have to click at all. The less steps the better really. It worked though and we got up to and above 21,000 views in a little over a week which is utterly amazing, especially for a band at our level! For anyone interested you can find us at:
As for our music, that can be found on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCFlbbAaHImz5Vuedd6h0EIA
and all big streaming services such as Spotify, iTunes and Google Play etc.
Jaffa Cakes! Are they a cake or a biscuit?
I think they are definitely more like a cake, than a biscuit. They have a softness and a squishiness that biscuits, such as digestives, just don’t have. Honestly though, they are their own thing altogether really.
Thank you for your time. Is there anything else that you would like to add?
Thank you! Thank you for your time and your questions, and to anyone who takes the time to read this. Hopefully I’ve managed to spark some sort of interest in what Ashen Reach are doing and what we’re all about and hopefully we’ll see you soon! \m/
Disclaimer: This interview is solely the property of Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this interview, unless you have the strict permission of said party. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.