We had a chat with the Alternative Rock band Astral Cloud Ashes to talk about their single “Moonphase Bloom“, taken from their forthcoming album !
Hello guys. Hope you’re doing great! Could you please introduce your band to our readers? Hi! Doing great thanks, sure! The band is called Astral Cloud Ashes and the music is mostly written and performed by myself – Antony Walker. Jason Neil has also been involved since the start, he sings backing vocals.
How did you put this band together? I started recording songs in late 2015/early 2016 for the first album ‘Too Close to the Noise Floor’, I live on a small Island (Jersey) near the UK so Jason had to catch a flight over for a week around that time to record his vocal parts.
Could you please tell us more about your forthcoming album? There will be even more fluidity in terms of tempo-shifts and chord changes. There’s more use of organic sounds like ukulele for example which you wouldn’t necessarily hear at the forefront of the songs, I’ve used the Uke with saturation effects to create ‘melodic sound beds’ that sit underneath quieter sections or even run underneath the entire chorus of a song like in Moonphase Bloom.
There’s also a bit of a Japanese influence, I love the sound a Koto makes (traditional Japanese stringed instrument) I’ve used it on a couple of tracks on the album. The album cover will also be ‘Japanese themed’, the artwork is made up from multiple sketches inspired by Japanese architecture sent back and forth between myself and Alexey Chistikov, a Ukrainian artist.
How would you describe your song writing process for this new record? I’m less afraid now of radically chopping up musical sections. I used to be hesitant to change things which were already working musically but what I’ve realised is that destructive processes often yield creative and unusual results. Of course, working with digital allows you to archive copies of your session arrangement at every stage – so that helps!
Other than this I would definitely say I’ve put more effort into the lyrics. I think I’ve prioritised melodic content over lyrical meaning in the past, but I feel like I’m re-dressing that balance with the new record, It just means more time tearing up more sheets of paper and distilling lyrics further and further into poetry; it can be frustrating and time-consuming but I think I prefer the results.
What about the recording process? Any funny story from the studio? One person who made me laugh quite a bit whilst mixing a track on the new album was Josh Harrison at Brighton Electric. Josh mixed a song from the next album called ’A Reformatted Heart’ and he was just very accommodating and funny in his approach you could tell he enjoyed mixing rock music in general, which helped me focus on production.
In a nutshell, that is how Astral Cloud Ashes works in terms of recording; I write/track/record everything in Jersey (this is the bit that takes 90% of the time), then I’ll take the stems away with me and mix each track with different engineers in studios in the UK ; usually somewhere I’ve never been before. The day we mixed in Brighton was my first time in that city. Mixing for Astral Cloud Ashes is generally finished in a 10-12 hour day.
What do you hope your fans will take from this new record? I’m not that attached to how people relate to it, but what I would say is that I am focussed on filling the record with things that mean a lot and are quite deep to me. I’m packing all my pent-up passion from 2017 in to the new songs so if someone does want to go deeper and really listen critically then there will be a lot to unpack.
You released, in July, your single ‘Moonphase Bloom’. How has the response to it been so far? It’s been great! It’s been out for nearly 3 weeks and I’m really happy with the reaction so far, It’s been picked up by a few radio stations and people have said some nice things. Tapetown Records have very kindly invited me over to Denmark to do a song with them after hearing Moonphase Bloom, which is really nice of them.
Which of the new songs are you most excited for people to hear? Any particular reason? Yes definitely, there’s a song called ‘Old Moods’ which I’m looking forward to people hearing. It’s really energetic and totally honest lyrically. The reason is just that the song came together easily compared to the other ones, there was minimal reworking, I was just happy with the early takes.
What bands or artists are you into at the moment? Would you like to collaborate with any of them? Right at this moment I’m massively into two albums, The Hotelier’s 2014 LP “Home, Like Noplace Is There” and Camping in Alaska’s 2013 release “Please Be Nice”. Collaboration? sure!
And to finish… What’s up next for your band? Next up is the album release, I’m aiming for an October digital release followed shortly by the CD and possibly will be pressing some limited Vinyl and Tape for this release too which will all be available to order from the Bandcamp page – https://astralcloudashes.bandcamp.com/