This is the 25th 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.
Closer and closer we come to the end of The A-Z Series. As of last Sunday, the final single has been sent to fans, but the band’s next album, Vol. 11, won’t be released until October 10th. Vol. 11 brings with it three new bonus tracks (and two Japanese bonus tracks) that will officially close the A-Z era of the Ash’s career. But before we can go into Single Z, we must first divert our attention to Single Y, “Sky Burial.”[audio:http://randomville.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2010/10/Ash-Sky-Burial.mp3|titles=Ash – Sky Burial]
“Sky Burial” is a ten-minute instrumental that easily qualifies as an epic. Upon the release of this track, most fans were skeptical as to whether Ash could pull off such a feat. But why? Why does an instrumental track stir such emotions? Why is it that bands like Mogawi and And So I Watch You From Afar handle them with such ease?
Instrumental tunes are most successful when they’re consistent in structure but still able to showcase the individual talents of each band member. But, most importantly, they must tell a story – a story that fluctuates, clashes, and resolves within the song’s playtime.
What makes “Sky Burial” a successful instrumental piece is that it allows an openness in its interpretation without ever compromising the fluidity of chords and drum patterns. Simply put, this song is not only an enjoyable piece of music but also a true symbol of why The A-Z Series has been a highly positive venture for the band. This track skits on the risky yet comforting waters that only truly being independent could provide.
Our guest for this single is Dutch native Lisa De Jongh, a longtime Ash fan, and one of the coolest drummers you’ll ever meet.
Randomville: What do you think of “Sky Burial,” and how does it make you feel when you hear it?
Lisa De Jongh: I think “Sky Burial” is a really unique song – there’s no other Ash song like it. That makes it really special for me! It is a really great song, and very different from the other A-Z tracks. I love it!
Randomville: Is instrumental music a venture you think the band explored successfully?
Lisa De Jongh: Ash has always been great at instrumental [music], like in the bridges of “A Life Less Ordinary” and “Darkside Lightside”. Of course, the ten-minute long “Sky Burial” is something completely different, but in my opinion a very successful song. It doesn’t get boring at all!
Randomville: Cool. Would you say that learning music helped you appreciate music more?
Lisa De Jongh: I wouldn’t say appreciate it more, I’m not sure if that makes any difference. But I do pay more attention to Rick when I see Ash play live. I always wonder what he plays on his drum kit.
Randomville: When did you discover that you wanted to be a drummer? Were you traditionally taught drums, or self-taught?
Lisa De Jongh: I have been playing drums since I was thirteen. Some of my friends had drum lessons, so I decided to go with them a few times, and I loved it! So yeah, I had lessons for the basic stuff, but once you know the basics it’s easy to continue for yourself. Drumming along to your iPod or with a band is the best lesson!
Randomville: That’s wicked. Have you ever been into instrumental music?
Lisa De Jongh: I really like watching post-rock bands play live. My Bloody Valentine was one of my favorite shows ever! They’re so loud and overwhelming, I love it. Also Sigur Ros has some great instrumental songs.
Randomville: Would you say the way a band performs live is highly important to how they will eventually record?
Lisa De Jongh: Playing live is probably the best way to grow and evolve as a band. The way a band performs is definitely important for the quality of the eventual record.
Randomville: What are some of the fondest memories you have of playing live?
Lisa De Jongh: People singing along, jumping and dancing to your songs. Not just friends & family, but a whole crowd of people you’ve never seen before. And I always liked it when my band mates did some crowd-surfing!
Randomville: With The A-Z Series concluded how would you sum up your feelings about it all?
Lisa De Jongh: I would say it was a very successful project. I truly can’t believe it’s over already! Twenty-six singles is a lot, but I think they are all really good. I just wished it was a bigger success in Europe! It’s really hard to find the A-Z CDs in stores here.
Randomville: What do you believe A-Z allowed the band to achieve that creating a new album wouldn’t have allowed them to?
Lisa De Jongh: More publicity, more fun and a much closer relationship with their fans. Plus releasing a new single every two weeks keeps things interesting. When you have your album out, it’s different. Buyers will listen to it for a few weeks, and then maybe forget about it. This way, Ash was constantly in the picture for such a long time. A very good way to show the world what they have in store!
Randomville: What would you like to see the band do now?
Lisa De Jongh: I really hope that Russell joins Ash for good and that they will play more live shows to promote A-Z: Volume II! After that… no idea! Maybe a movie soundtrack…
Randomville: A movie soundtrack? Like a sci-fi film or something? Won’t they have to fight Muse for that?
Lisa De Jongh: Nooo, not a sci-fi movie! More like Badly Drawn Boy’s soundtrack for About A Boy. Ash tunes owning a movie would be great!
Randomville: Very true! Lastly, what song immensely stood out to you through A-Z ?
Lisa De Jongh: Dionysian Urge! And not because it’s Single L. It has a great guitar riff, sweet vocals and I can listen to it over and over again. Its such a great and powerful song, from beginning to end.
NOTE: The A-Z Series will be finalized on a Vol.II complication CD which will be released on October 10th! (the same day as our coverage of Single Z!)
Be sure to order it online now! Those who order via Recordstore will receive a signed copy by the band!