Interview: Tim Wheeler of Ash

We had the chance to have a chat with Tim Wheeler, front man of Northern Irish alternative rock band, Ash. We spoke about their upcoming Australian tour, their new record Islands, and some of their previous tours in Australia.

SR. You guys are coming to Australia soon, are you looking forward to that?

Yeah, for sure man. The last time we were there was 2016 on an album tour, and then the time before that was 2013. It’s been a few years since we’ve been there, so I’m really happy. I wish we could go every year.

SR. What’s your favourite thing about Australia?

It’s a combination of things, we’ve got great fans over there that come to all of our gigs, and I love the culture and the vibes over there. It feels pretty different over there compared to the UK and Ireland, and the weather has always been lovely when we’ve been there. It’s very laid back, and the people are so passionate about the music.

SR. I’m from Adelaide myself, and you’ll be playing here at The Gov, have you played there before?

Yeah, I’m pretty sure we have. If it’s the venue I’m thinking of, it’ll be our third time playing there.

SR. Have you got any fond memories of Adelaide?

Yeah, last time we were down there, our sound engineers sister was there, and she plays for an orchestra in Adelaide. We all went around to their house afterwards, and played a Hilltop Hoods song, which led me to check those guys out. Their music was an education of Adelaide culture *laughs*. I had a really great time last time I was there.

SR. You guys have a new record out called ‘Islands’, how has that one been received so far?

Well it got into the top twenty in the UK again, so that was really great for our first record in a little while. It’s been great to play live, the crowds have seemed to enjoy it a lot. It’s been great to reconnect with our fans and share some new music with them. It’s a great record, and it gives us a lot to live up to on the next one, it’s a good challenge.

SR. So your fans over in Australia are going to get to hear some new songs that we haven’t heard live before?

Yeah, absolutely. The new ones will be fresh for you guys down there, and we’ll also play our hits too. There will be something for everyone.

SR. Do you have a favourite track off the new record to play live?

I love playing all of them live, especially when you sing and you can hear the crowd singing it back to you, that’s pretty amazing. This new record has a really good groove to it, and the audience seems to love rocking out to it.

SR. The album has some pretty cool artwork, can you tell me about the concept for that?

Yeah, it’s loosely based off of the latest Star Wars movie actually. It’s from when one of the characters is out in the middle of nowhere in a place that kind of looks like the Atlantic. Since the album is called Islands we thought of this little island we know of with this really distinctive rock formation. It’s a shot of that island flipped upside down, I think it turned out really cool. I love how it looks, especially on the Vinyl records of the album.

SR. Do you know who your support acts will be on the Australian tour?

I think it’s going to be local acts in each city. We would have loved to bring some friends over, but that’s pretty expensive. We like meeting local acts in each city though, it’s great. We usually have input on which bands play, they contact us and we pick some.

SR. What type of music did you grow up listening to, and how has that influenced your songwriting style?

I listened to pop music when I was a kid, and when I was a little older I started to get into heavy metal, like Iron Maiden, as well as hard rock and grunge. In 1991 I started to get into alternative rock and bands like The Pixies. Then I was in my own band, so I guess all of those past interests lead up to what I write now.

SR. You’ve got your single ‘Cocoon’, which has a music video too, have you got any more videos in the works at the moment?

We’ve got a really fun one in the works at the moment, it’s got a bit pf humour in it. I think it’ll be the last one from this record, unless some more inspiration strikes. We’ll do some more next year when the new album is finished. We have a lot of creative control over most of the videos that we do. We find directors that we know and trust, to make sure we get input. We’re generally given free reign, but we need a director to help us make that happen.

SR. Do you have any final messages for your fans over in Australia?

We can’t wait to get over to Australia, it’s one of the highlight from any album release, and we always look forward to heading to Australia with new material. We can’t wait to have some good times, show you our new music, and say hello to all of our fans!

You can see Ash live in Australia this November. Keep up to date with Ash by following them on social media of via their website. Check out their new album ‘Islands’, which can be purchased on iTunes or streamed on Spotify.

Get tickets here: metropolistouring.com/ash-2018