ASHEN: "The metal scene in Perth has always been quite active, especially for such a small place in the middle of nowhere surrounded by deserts"
Australian death metal band ASHEN already got some well-deserved attention with their first EP and the previously released singles, which grew the anticipation for their upcoming debut album, "Ritual of Ash". Glad about the opportunity to dive into the band's history and development with their guitarist Shannon.
Welcome to learn more about them here:
Hey, thanks for making time to answer my questions today. Could you please introduce yourself and ASHEN to our readers?
Thank you for the chat :-) Sure, my name is Shannon, and I play guitar in ASHEN, which is a four-piece death metal band from Perth in western Australia. We officially formed in 2019, and released the EP "Godless Oath" for Bitter Loss Records in 2021.
You’re set to share your debut album on January 13th. How do you feel about it, and how was the reception so far?
We're really looking forward to this, since it's been a while coming for us. "Ritual of Ash" was originally meant to be released last year, so we're keen to get it out finally. The reception has been really good so far, and we're excited for people to hear it.
Let’s take a look at the stunning, gloomy cover artwork. What can you tell us about its origins, and how does it reflect the album thematically?
The amazing cover art was created by Giannis Nakos of Remedy Art Design in Greece, he's a very talented dude.
The artwork for "Ritual of Ash" ties in with the first cover he did for us on "Godless Oath" - It's the same place from another twisted universe. Worth checking this one out too, it's a bloody beautiful art worm.
Indeed! Could you dive a bit into the album’s topics with us, please?
That's really Richard's domain, he writes the lyrics. But I can summarise, they're are all pretty dark, and supernatural or horror themed. Most are not too specific, deliberately leaving the rest to your imagination.
Your music is clearly rooted into death metal, comes along mighty and brutal, but nevertheless with a good pinch of melody. What is your musical background, and where do you see your main influences?
Thank you. Well I grew up in the 90s, so a lot of that permeates I'd say. I was big into Swedish death metal, like Entombed, Edge of Sanity, Dismember etc, and also into Florida stuff, like Morbid Angel, Deicide and Death. Lots of classical music in there too.
I started playing guitar around 11 and played in bands from 17 onwards. No formal training, self-taught mostly.
Could you briefly describe your writing and recording process please?
Typically I'll come up with a sketch for a song, which is me recording some riffs in my home studio, put down what I think could be a good foundation, and add some rough drums. If the guys like it, we'll develop it into a full song from there, this can happen in the studio or rehearsal room.
We'll repeat this process until we have a bunch of tracks, pick the best to be released, and record those properly at my home. At the end, we'll send them to Marko Tervonen in Sweden for the mastering (Studio-MT and The Crown).
Let’s make a little time trip. When and how did you guys get together?
I met Ben and Rich from a melodic death metal band we used to play in about 15 years ago, which was called Vespers Descent, and Josh seperatly through another band Ben and I played in. We all started together as Burial Ground, and then changed the name to ASHEN - Here we are now lol
How did you come up with your name, and is there a deeper meaning behind “Ashen” for you?
It's very deep hahaha…nah actually it's the name of a cat Rich had as kid. Death metal and cats, they go well together.
Let’s talk about ASHEN live: What was your most memorable concert so far?
So far it would have to be playing a couple of shows as support for Skeletal Remains here in Perth. They were great shows, and really cool dudes to hang with.
How would you describe your local rock / metal scene, and is there anything special about it? Did you notice changes over the past years?
The metal scene in Perth has always been quite active, especially for such a small place in the middle of nowhere surrounded by deserts lol. You can find a lot of talent here, and some really great bands.
There was a time when different metal styles didn't really mix or associate much with each other. Now everything is all in together, which is very cool - People have a broader taste these days it seems.
Sounds great. What can you tell us about your future plans?
We definitely want to get the word out there, and hopefully share our music with a lot more people. And we'd like to tour again later this year.
Do you have any further thoughts you’d like to share here?
We've been fortunate to have a really welcoming response from the international death metal scene, and I'd like to say thanks to those who have supported us and spread the word about ASHEN.
You're most welcome :-) Thanks again for your time, and all the best for you and the release \m/