This is the 20th of 26 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.
For this single we abducted loyal Ash ally/film maker Jed Shepherd. Jed is known for creating Bangers And Ash, I, Anonymous and Emo: The Movie, but he is most notably the writer of the almost mythical horror movie Slashed, starring his friends Ash during their support tour for Coldplay. The cast also includes Chris Martin and Jonny Buckland of Coldplay, Dave Grohl of Foo Fighters/Them Crooked Vultures, Moby and many others; there was no doubt that the film would find an audience outside the normal horror film demographic. Hailed as “the next big thing in horror” we talk to Jed about the latest installment of The A-Z Series, his life as a film maker, and the experiences of filming Slashed. Randomville: First question: What are your thoughts on “Instinct”?
Jed Shepherd: It is my favorite Ash song named after a deodorant. It is also most definitely the pick of the bunch from the second half of the A-Z. It’s like the soundtrack to an 80s space opera about a robot’s unrequited love. It’s also great that Tim gets a guitar solo. Actually, on repeat listens it sounds a bit like a Muse song and usually I would be completely against this! Is it okay to start this interview with me saying “I hate Muse” and that if anyone reads this wants to assassinate Matt Bellamy I will give them a hug and/or a high five? [Editor’s Note: Um, no. That isn’t okay…but we’ll print it anyhow!]
Listen to “Instinct” here: [audio:http://randomville.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2010/07/Ash-Instinct.mp3|titles=Ash — Instinct]
Randomville: Do you feel “Instinct” showcases the band’s versatility?
Jed Shepherd: I think the A-Z series in general showcases their versatility but with “Instinct” my honest answer is no. I think this is a variation or better yet a theme of stuff they have already done. It’s great, but it’s nothing brand new. All I want from the boys is pop songs and that’s what they deliver. Why fix something that isn’t broken? But I do think the A-Z series in general showcases their versatility.
Randomville: Instinct is one of the most layered tracks of A-Z. What is your favorite part from the track?
Jed Shepherd: I like the Stephen Hawking bit at the start, “I-N-S-T-I-N-C-T” Hawkings should definitely rap on more Ash songs. If it’s possible, could you put a photo of a blacked up Stephen Hawking somewhere in this interview? Thanks.
Randomville: Each single’s color is said to represent the track in a way. Do you feel this is accurate with this single?
Jed Shepherd: Who said that? Really? It’s lucky they didn’t do that on “Candy” or the artwork would have been brown. I jest of course! I love the whole A-Z concept but I don’t believe that the colors represent the content. That’s pretentious and Ash are about being a pop/ feel-good powerhouse, so there is no room for pretention, thankyouverymuch. I guess Weezer do the color thing quite well on their artwork. It’s easily identifiable and aesthetically pleasing. Did you know that the constellation of Cassiopeia looks like the Weezer logo? =W=.
Randomville: Would you agree that The A-Z Series has allowed the band to explore a lot of different avenues?
Jed Shepherd: It’s like Dogme 95! As the band knows that there is quite a short turnaround/lifespan for their songs due to the fortnightly release schedule, they have been able to experiment with musical genres/lyrics. They would never be able to do this successfully on a traditionally released album, as they would be charged too harshly. I’m looking forward to single Z, which is going to be an ambitious composition featuring Tim playing dogs like xylophones. This in itself would be interesting, but what people won’t realize (and he is going to kill me for saying this) is that they are not real dogs, but they are in fact robotic and will be woofing.
Randomville: If you could listen to one Ash track before dying which one would it be?
Jed Shepherd: “Stay In Love Forever” for sure. No one really knows it and it gets overlooked so much. It was only a b-side but I know for a fact that the first band to cover it and release it will get a big hit. It’s just a simple three-minute pop song about how great love is sometimes. It’s like the human version of “Girl From Mars.” It could have easily been called “Girl From Basildon” because its just reminds you that LOVE CONQUERS ALL. Though if I am being honest, I have a feeling that the song I hear before I die will be a Gaggle one; those girls want to kill me.
Randomville: If you had to make a mixtape of someone who has never heard Ash before which tracks would make up the tracklisting?
Jed Shepherd: 1977.
Randomville: What makes 1977 such a special album to you?
Jed Shepherd: It was the first album I got possessive over and wouldn’t lend to anyone else because I was worried they would steal it away from me.
Randomville: What did you do outside of your college classes to make you a better film maker?
Jed Shepherd: Get dumped by a series of girlfriends with escalating levels of insanity and anti-depression dependencies. Heartbreak is the best catalyst for writing, coupled with my favorite state of being: unrequited love. Creativity is spawned from pain. Pain is spawned from brunette girls. Sorry, that sounds so emo. Excuse me while I write a poem in eyeliner on my soul.
Randomville: What is your favorite movie of all time and why?
Jed Shepherd: The 1984 Tom Eberhardt classic Night of the Comet. I remember being a kid and it came on TV at about 2am (yes my parents let me stay up that late) and from the moment I saw Catherine Mary Stewart playing the Tempest arcade game in the cinema she works in (every part of that sentence is perfect) I was hooked. This film has everything any sane person could want from a film. It has two wisecracking girls in a post-apocalyptic world where they fight zombies, shoot machine guns, steal cars and raid the mall. It is the only non-John Hughes film that spoke to my formative mind. There has been talk of a remake and a sequel and I want in. Don’t mess this up Hollywood. At the moment all I watch is French Horror. The extreme horror movement out there is inspirational; in fact Europe is poised to steal the crown of horror from the Japanese and Koreans. I don’t really enjoy anything film related that comes out of America unless it is made by Troma. If it has Troma on the DVD cover you know you are in for a treat.
Randomville: How did you originally meet the band and become the notable ally that you are today?
Jed Shepherd: I first met them at an aftershow I think. I used to write weird stories about their manager Tav and put it on their website. They seemed to like the fact that I invented a whole persona for Tav and some of the made-up facts about him have still stuck to this day. Then I think I sent Mark a zombie screenplay as he liked my writing so he could read something while on tour somewhere. I think that is why he asked me to write a slasher for them. It was only meant to be a little film that no one really cared about. Then Coldplay got involved, and then Dave Grohl. Once you have Dave Grohl the world is your oyster. I wrote Moby’s scene (including a really bad Winona Ryder joke) on a plane. When I got home I emailed it to the band. When I woke up it had already been filmed. I wrote a whole scene for Snoop Dogg as he was due to play God in one scene. He backed out and I think we tried to get Cedric The Entertainer but ended up with Matt Sharp from Weezer/The Rentals. So he had to say all of Snoop’s lines. =W=
Randomville: How did it feel to have footage from your slasher film, Slashed, being used as an alternative music video for previous radio single “Binary?”
Jed Shepherd: It felt great! The reaction has been incredible. I don’t think people can quite comprehend all of these stars in a weird little low-budget slasher. Whoever did the marketing getting that video around did a good job. It was everywhere! Love that it hit all the horror blogs too. As a matter in fact, if you even have the slightest interest in horror blogs than you must go here. If you are not interested in horror blogs then you and I are not going to be besties.
Randomville: If you were not pursuing film making then what would you be doing now?
Jed Shepherd: Writing. It is the only thing I have ever been good at! I am currently in the middle of a lot of projects right now. I have written a children’s book called Junko with the beyond genius illustrator Keith Noordzy. It is the story of a little boy who lives in a scrap yard. He spends all of his days making a spaceship out of junk and he talks to invisible monsters while people point and stare, but he gets the last laugh. I am really excited about this book and it will look beautiful. I am also working with another illustrator on a comic. He has worked with DC and done a lot of cool titles. I work best when I am collaborating with someone else because I like spreading the blame. The most recent thing I am doing is working on a horror film for the girl group Gaggle but I really can’t say much about this because it will ruin it and Deborah and Allie Bailey would kill me. I will give you one clue though: DIY Abortions.
Randomville: What was your favorite scene that you filmed for Slashed?
Jed Shepherd: All of the Sherbet Bones (Chris Martin) and Datsun Ford (Jonny Buckland) stuff as FBI agents is incredible. Chris is such a good comedic actor; he gives the whole thing a bit of gravitas. The final confrontation with the axe-wielding ghost bride is perfectly offset by the pipe-smoking rhyming couplets of FBI Agent Ford. So that and the Charlotte Hatherley shower scene. Randomville: What would you say is your trade mark/signature when it comes to your film work?
Jed Shepherd: I am the go-to guy for horror/music mash-ups. If you’re a band and you want a horror film then hook me up. There is another project I can’t talk about right now that involves music and horror and it’s been in the works for ages! It involves some drills and some kills. I haven’t quite found the right band yet though (I’m still on the prowl!).
Randomville: I’d get axed for not asking but when will we see more of Slashed?
Jed Shepherd: I’m not sure how much I am allowed to say but you don’t have to wait too long. It really is worth the wait. Who doesn’t want to see Chris Martin hacked to bits in his boxers?
Randomville: Any last words for fans of Ash and your films a like?
Jed Shepherd: I <3 Daisy
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