Wednesday, March 07, 2012
Interview with Ash Soan from supergroup Producers
So, you’re sitting there one day and someone gives you a call to see if you’d like to join a band to play a couple of pub gigs. Sure, why not? Who’s in it? Oh, says the caller Trevor Horn, Lol Creme, Steve Lipson...
I’m sitting here chatting to the remaining piece of this supergroup puzzle,(now known as Producers), Ash Soan, one of the most in demand drummers around right now (and a ruddy lovely chap to boot) who’s recently been pounding the skins for that little known singer/songwriter Adele. The whole set up seems difficult to believe but, minutes later, Ash joins three of the biggest producers of the last few decades to run through a selection of tracks old, new and, thanks to a cover of will.i.am’s cover of Video Killed The Radio Star, just a little bit blue.
“In the beginning Trevor and Steve just wanted to play for fun” Ash explains “they don’t get to play that often and they wanted a simple pub band. A friend of mine (Chris Braide – one of the vocalists on the band’s new album) called and said do you want to be in this band, they’re just playing a few gigs round Camden”.
After revealing the line up one word sprang to Ash’s mind. “Wow”
Getting together for the first time they just played stuff they liked, some 10cc tracks and some of Trevor’s productions before playing a gig in Camden. Will Young popped down to do a number (Ash is Will’s drummer too...yes, I know, busy bloke) and, in Ash’s words “We had a cracking time”.
It’s not hard to see why. Horn, Lipson and Creme are collectively responsible for producing some of the biggest names around. Back in the ‘80’s Horn was Mr Midas, adding a unique pop polish to ABC and Frankie Goes to Hollywood, moving on to work with Seal, Robbie Williams, Paul McCartney, Cher, Grace Jones, Pet Shop Boys...the list goes on...and on. Lipson worked closely with him and co-wrote the stone cold classic Slave To The Rhythm for Grace Jones. As part of 10cc Creme penned the number one Rubber Bullets and featured on I’m Not In Love before jacking it in and conquering the music video business with Kevin Godley (directing vids for Duran Duran, The Police, Herbie Hancock and...oh yes...The Beatles).
With a few decent gigs behind them Ash explains that Trevor casually came up with the idea of recording some original material “We put two lots of two weeks aside and went to Trevor’s studio, threw some ideas around, wrote some tunes and here we are, album done, mini tour and lots of excitement”.
It all sounded so easy. I had to dig for dirt. Surely you can’t have so many successful producers and musicians in the studio without, at the very least, some mild fisticuffs and hair pulling? “Well you’d think that would be a problem, maybe ego wise and in terms of opinions but it was a very smooth process I have to say”. Damn. There goes my Pulitzer.
“We’re on tour now though...it’s early days!” he adds. Somehow I doubt there’s any danger of Gallagher style punch ups though.
So, what’s the band sound like, what are their influences and style? Ash ponders a moment, taking a swig from his beer. “Somebody said prog pop music, definitely pop type production but some of the arrangements are more than three minutes...there’s other stuff on the album that’s more acoustic, so it’s quite an eclectic mix”.
The album’s due for release in May but, true to form it seems as though Trevor and Steve in particular are reluctant to switch off the mixing desk and let it go. “It’s great we’ve got a deadline really, because they have to stop working on it!” There’s always room for a remix album I guess.
What’s his personal hope for the band right now? “To have a massive hit and tour the world! Ha! I think my personal hope is just to keep doing it, keep having fun and for people to like the record...there’s been some great feedback on Freeway (the album’s teaser track) so far. Maybe do another record, there’s lots of talk of things coming up. It’s just a case of fitting it in with our bonkers schedules”.
Ah yes. There’s the rub I guess. Away from the band Ash drums for a whole bunch of people. As well as being Adele’s go to guy he’s just about to hit the road with everyone’s favourite Twitterer Sinead O’Connor and he’s clearly drawn to the more ‘real’ kind of artists, name checking the hotly tipped back to basics country blues band The Civil Wars as one of his current favourites.
Speaking of which, is there anyone else he’d like to brandish sticks for? “McCartney, Elton John and Kate Bush...I absolutely adore Kate Bush”. I’m sure Kate reads this site so it’s only a matter of time...
Given that we were in South Birmingham College (in a ‘giving something back to the kids’ stylee the whole tour takes place in colleges across the UK) it seemed fitting to end up with some advice for aspiring musicians. Just how do you ‘make it’ in the big bad music biz these days? “It’s amazing how lucky you get when you’re playing, so play as much as you can, meet as many people as you can and just keep going”. Given that, in just a few minutes he’s about to join some of the biggest producers in pop, it’s not a bad bit of advice eh?