The Median Man had the pleasure to sit down and talk with the guys from Ashen Reach about the band’s history and their writing style:
1. What led to the formation of the band?
The formation of this current line-up stemmed initially, from losing people from something we believed in. The desire to carry on managed to outweigh the more immediate option of letting what we had built up, simply fizzle out. 5 became 3, leaving behind the like-minded individuals, all eager, willing and committed to making amazing music and pushing a project further than anyone else was willing to push it. This led to us finding 2 more people who had the same ideology we had and the skill to take us further than ever before. Thusly, Ashen Reach 2.0 was born!
2. Who are your influences and how do they influence your songwriting?
We have many influences, far too many to name. But some standout ones are Alter Bridge, Avenged Sevenfold, Black Stone Cherry, Black Sabbath, Slipknot, Killswitch Engage, Dorje, Tesseract and Pantera. Again, these are a mere few and culmination of our individual influences. We all have varying tastes and different ‘homes’, although we often share common ground in terms of what we all like. Much of the influence comes from ‘types’ of songs and riffs. From big, long epic numbers, to 3-minute adrenaline fuelled bangers that get people amped. There is no definitive path to success, but the path to failure is trying to please everyone.
We do certainly have a small element of ‘how do we think this will be broadly perceived’ in the back of our minds and obviously we want as many people as possible to enjoy what we produce. Not every song or idea is gold dust, and you know deep down when you’ve struck gold and when something is just decent. With all of us having many years of experience, we’re used to sifting out the best stuff we create. Luckily for us, we are finding that we tend to please quiet a lot of people. Our music, albeit sometimes quite heavy in places, maintains a level of accessibility that listeners seems to enjoy and connect with, even if they don’t usually listen to rock/metal.
3. How do you approach songwriting?
Most of our songs stem from an initial idea. Be it a chorus, a vocal melody, a riff or chord progression. It is presented to the group and we decide collectively if we want to take it further. When presenting an idea you can usually tell pretty much straight away if the rest of the group are feeling it. From the initial idea we work outwards, trying to build a structure musically and eventually writing lyrics. Since acquiring new members, the songwriting, especially regarding the lyrics, has been a lot more collaborative and we’re very happy with what we’re producing so far.
4. How do you approach performing your songs live?
It’s all about being as articulated and accurate as possible, whilst simultaneously putting on the best show you can. Being animated, interesting and exciting to watch, without being over the top and hurting ourselves! It’s got to be tight, it’s got to be punchy and it has to flow nicely. The worst thing you can have is long pauses of dead air, or too much chattering. The atmosphere is built up throughout a set and it’s very quickly lost if you’re not well rehearsed and prepared. You don’t want to kill the vibe you’ve created by taking 5 minutes to tune up or going on a monologue. It’s about keeping the audience involved, whilst still maintaining control over the room and where you want to take the listeners.
5. What plans have you got for the future?
We have lots planned and many goals for the future in terms of what we hope to achieve. The immediate future for us revolves around creating our album, which will be released next year (if all goes to plan)! Meanwhile, we’ll be gigging, touring, writing and doing everything in our power to get into as many faces and ears as humanly possible. This is our dream and we’re prepared to do whatever it takes to hopefully make this a viable living for us someday.
Watch the video for Ashen Reach’s single ‘Tear It Down,” here: