This is the thirteenth of twenty-six exclusive reviews of the A-Z Series by Northern Irish band Ash. Type “Ash” or “A to Z series” into our search engine to find our other articles on this topic.
At first listen, “War With Me” could be mistaken for your typical pop-ballad, but the experienced vocals of Tim Wheeler literally submerge your ears in an infectious splendor as his piano carries the track. This is a single about the heartache of love and asking the simple question that burns through every lover’s mind at least once: “Why do you want a War With Me?”
This is also one of those rare moments where a track, for all intents and purposes, would be considered indie if not for the pop-y “oh yeahs” and overall optimistic presence created in spite of apathetic lyrics. If you’re looking for a track about heartache, but don’t want to feel like a cliche, then look no more; this is the track that will instantly click with you.
Simply put, this is a solid single that will be played on repeat constantly (this writer has already made it to 36 listens on his iTunes), and if you’re a fan of Ash tracks such as “Tracers”, “Sometimes”, or “A Life Less Ordinary”, then “War With Me” will not disappoint.
For this single we interviewed one of Ash’s most well known allies: Steve Timmis (AKA jedisteve) is the web master of the band’s official website.
Randomville: What do you like about “War With Me?”
Steve Timmis: It’s a perfect slice of Ash pop, but it also shows another side of Ash that we haven’t seen that much before with how piano driven it is.
Randomville: What do you feel about the colors for the A-Z artwork representing the tracks? Do you feel this plays well?
Steve Timmis: It definitely makes for some great artwork! For anyone that doesn’t know, when Tim writes each of the songs, he picks out a color he feels matches it. I think the fact that each color actually has a meaning behind it makes the artwork more special. It’s more than just some design guy picking out 26 pretty colors.
Randomville: Could you compare it to any past Ash track?
Randomville: What was the first Ash track you ever heard? And is it still a favorite to you?
Steve Timmis: “Girl From Mars.” My sister played me it way back when, and along with “Lose Control,” it’s always remained my favorite, though “War With Me” and “The Dead Disciples” are catching them up in my iTunes play count.
Randomville: You are known to be one of the band’s closest allies. How did this come to be?
Steve Timmis: It all came out of my work building up the Ash guitar tab website Ash Tabs.
Randomville: What other bands/musicians have you worked with?
Steve Timmis: No-one else as closely as Ash, but I do some work for Ash’s international guy, recently for The Mummers and Sean Rowe. Just waiting for the design through from Stu Bell (guitarist of Panama Kings) and then I’ll be putting some stuff together for the Panama Kings.
Randomville: Other than seeing the band live, what other fond memories do you have with them? (or one that sticks out the most)
Steve Timmis: The last couple of tours have been filled with them, but it’s probably gotta be going on stage before the 1977 show at the Roundhouse and confronting Darth Vader! There are a few other proud memories, launching the current version of www.ashofficial.com down at the Ricoh Arena and being involved in my first Ash release “Return Of White Rabbit.”
Randomville: Do you feel The A-Z Series is something you’d say you’re proud to be a part of?
Steve Timmis: I’m extremely proud of what we’ve done, everyone involved in the band has worked hard to make this happen, and what Ash are doing shows they’ve got balls and that they’re more alive than ever. I guess for all of us the A-Z Series has become our lives for the past six months and we like to think we’ve taken the fans on the same journey.
The support the band has received from the fans has been great, but some of the (frustrated?) criticism from some of our own has been hard to take at times
The fans get so much from Ash: the quality of the singles is so high (wait till you hear some of the acoustic versions and how the likes of True Love 1980 hold up while being striped back), plenty of bonus tracks and what seems like weekly competitions, and they want so badly for the band to do well and get the recognition they deserve. I guess it’s easy to lose sight of the fact that Ash are their own independent label now. Without the resources and backing of a major it makes promotion a bit harder. Everything we achieve now is through very hard work.
And though there have been teething problems with the UK digital distribution, I don’t believe these would have been any different on a major, as on the whole it’s been people external to the label dropping the ball!
Like Sally (who runs Atomic Heart) says, this is what it’s all about, why people get into music, to work for an independent label not selling your soul at a major.
Randomville: Fan interaction is big with the band, would you say this is just as important to you?
Steve Timmis: Of course, being a fan myself I understand how much this means to people. Ash have always been close to their fans and involve them with most things. And now that they’re independent, it allows them to do that more than ever.
Randomville: What would you say sets apart the Ash fan community from other band communities?
Steve Timmis: You’ve read the forum right? It’s always had a reputation. I like to think Ash’s fans feel very close to the band and a part of what we’re doing with the A-Z Series.
Randomville: How would you say the first half of The A-Z Series has gone?
Steve Timmis: The reaction to the first half of series has been really positive and we’re now looking to spread the message to a wider audience. I think the quality of the songs stand up for themselves and prove it’s something worth buying into. Plus with all the bonuses we’re giving to subscribers, it’s a case of get in now or you’ll miss out!
Randomville: What can fans expect from singles N-Z?
Steve Timmis: Some more amazing songs! Single N (“Dare To Dream”) is out on Monday and I reckon it could well be the strongest of the series. I can’t give too much about the style of what’s coming but there’s definitely something for both fans of new and old. There’s one you probably won’t want to put on in the car with your Mum….
Randomville: What would you like to see the band doing when The A-Z Series is over?
Steve Timmis: I already know what it is, and I approve.
NOTE: The band played a sold out gig at Santos Party House here in NYC this past weekend. They are headed to Europe for touring all throughout April and May. There are also rumors of future US gigs and some South African dates. Remember to keep yourselves informed at www.ashofficial.com.
For photos of the gig go here
Also here at Randomville, we will be giving away the same masks you can see in the “War With Me” music video of
Details on how to win will be coming soon!