I recently had the honor of speaking to UK based artist Salt Ashes, we spoke about her debut album, the process behind writing music, and touring. The interview below can be read or listened to in audio form as the Off The Record podcast. Please enjoy this incredible interview with Salt Ashes.
Oscar: Where did you come up with your name 'Salt Ashes'?
Salt Ashes: Simply they were these two words scratched on the side of this boat, not really a boat but a canoe type thing on Brighton Beach. I saw those two words scratched on the side of the boat and at the time I wanted to use it as a song. It never really made it and I didn't think I could make it work and when I was trying to decide what I was going to be called that (Salt Ashes) kept coming into my head.
Oscar: Do you usually walk by the beach to free your mind and find inspiration?
Salt Ashes: Absolutely, I very often go to to the beach and I have one spot I go to and I sit there and either have my headphones in and listen to music or I just stare out into the sea. It calms me and keeps me very grounded. I like to think about life and I walk along there as well so it's a really good place to clear your mind and it's a place to people watch. I like people watching, I draw inspiration from that too.
Oscar: Do you listen to the same type of music you play? Who do you listen to?
Salt Ashes: Not really, its quite eclectic. Many musicians that I know say that they listen to everything and at the moment I've just been put on to a band called Whitney which I'm really into and I still love this UK artist called Nao and I think she's signed to to do some big things in the states. I'd say she's more similar to my stuff than any other things I listen to.
Oscar: Who influenced you? What kind of music were you listening to growing up?
Salt Ashes: It was varied. I don't come from a musical background so my musical knowledge came from whatever was on the radio or what my brother and my sister were listening to. My brother would listen to indie rock bands like Coldplay and Nirvana. My sister listened to Madonna, early Madonna and that is what influenced me most.
Oscar: I imagine you were more of a singer-songwriter type starting out, did you have any sense of direction with where you wanted to go (with your music)?
Salt Ashes: At the time I thought I did, but now looking back when I first started I was doing the singer-songwriter thing with my guitar and playing acoustically. Not having a sense of direction I just wrote songs and what came out came out. Then I thought pop-rock was my thing, I wrote loads of songs and performed it but it just didn't feel right, I don't know why I wasn't enjoying the gigs and and it made me question this "Is it because I don't like the music or because I don't want to be an artist." Soon I came to realize it wasn't the stuff I wanted to do. I canceled all of that and broke up the band as I should say and just reconnected with myself and spent a while writing and experimenting with my voice and different sounds just to try and find what I was happy and comfortable with.
Oscar: Listening to your music there is a sense of energy and fun but also personal lyrics and meaningful titles. Talk about the process of writing a song.
Salt Ashes: The song titles always come at the end for me actually. I usually write a whole song then look back over it and think what is the best title for the song. Sometimes I would write a song without even being aware of what it's about until very close to the end when I'm like "okay let me sit back now and have a look at what I've written" and what has just come out of my mouth and then I'm like "oh wow this is about that". Sometimes I'm not even conscious of what it's about until the very end.
Oscar: Now one of my favorite songs (from your album) was 'Runaway' it was one of the songs I could connect to. What was going on when you were writing that song in particular?
Salt Ashes: How do you connect with it?
Oscar: I feel for me it was about not wanting to runaway but trying to confront those fears and doubts.
Salt Ashes: That's what it is actually, its basically saying "I can't runaway because this is what is meant to be but it's fucking tough, you're the reason I would runaway but our love is so true and whatever we have going on is so intense but there is a lot of shit stuff happening". What you got from it is exactly what is so its great, good for me. (Laughs)
Oscar: With your debut album launch party, what was the feeling to finally get to play your songs live?
Salt Ashes: It was awesome, it was so humbling I was completely overwhelmed with everyone there and how it was received. It's really nice to know most of the people there would listen to the album and come on the premise of enjoying the album. What's important now is what happens next and how the album is received.
Oscar: Thank you for taking the time to talk to me.
Salt Ashes: You're welcome.
Oscar: Thank you so much.
Salt Ashes: Cheers Oscar.
To hear more from this interview, you can listen to it on iTunes, Apple News, or here on the OTR Network. A big thank you to Salt Ashes for taking the time to talk to us. We hope nothing but the best for her. To stay connected with Salt Ashes, you can follow her on Twitter @SaltAshes, like her Facebook at Salt Ashes and you can purchase her debut album now by clicking the following link Salt Ashes iTunes.