Ash Grunwald

Ash Grunwald

Since announcing his arrival on the Australian musical landscape in 2002, Ash Grunwald has never been shy to push the envelope of musical genres. By blending his own elements of Blues, Hip Hop, Soul & Electronica, he’s managed to create one cluster fuck of a unique sound, that he can truly claim as his own. Hot on the heels of his latest project, ‘Gargantua’, a 10 track balls to the wall rockin album, featuring The Living End’s Andy Strachan & Scott Owen,  Ash Grunwald is once again on the road. Ash catches up with FNQ MUSIC PRESS’s Andy Parkinson for an interview on the eve of his latest sojourn to North Qld.

Ash 2Anyone familiar with Ash’s back catalogue would be quick to point out the marked difference in sound from his debut effort, ‘Introducing Ash Grunwald’ to it’s follow up, ‘I Don’t Believe’. Questioned whether there was a particular moment or artist that inspired this change or if it was just a natural progression of growth, Ash goes onto explain “I’ve always been keen on a cross over of genres & simply wanted to make my music as bluesy, soulful & genuine as possible. He explains that he “consciously held back the Junk percussion, with a stripped back approach on his debut, before “developing the confidence to mix things up & use a hip hop producer, which led to me grabbing whatever random metal objects I could find & turning it into a free for all with the last few albums”.

Explaining how his collaboration with the Living End’s rhythm 833The_Living_Ashsection came about, Ash explains that he’s connection with Scott Owen goes way back to the days when the pair were in a cover band together with Mikey Bee from Mt Warning,  & Ben Gillies from Silverchair fame. As the two were working together again for a charity foundation, laying down a cover of Gnarls Barkley’s, Crazy, they thought it would be fun to get Andy Strachan over for a jam & in his own words, “it sounded amazing!” The next day, the trio were playing together at St Kilda festial to over 6000 people & it “was one of the funnest gigs ever”.  Realising they all had a week spare in their schedules, the trio decided to record 10 songs together which consisted of renditions of some of Ash’s greatest hits, as well as a few covers, including an insanely great cover of ‘Black & Blue’ by Australian Blues royalty, ‘Chain’.  The end result was ‘Gargantua’, which was recorded in just 6 days & released in June 2013. The 3 have just finished playing gigs across the country together, which now leads into Ash hitting the road solo for a series of intimate, raw, stripped back solo shows, without beats for the first time in a long time.

With Cairns one of the last cities to host Ash as he nears the end of his extensive Australian tour, he explains that he will then be setting his sights on the American market and is about to embark on his “first major crack at the U.S market”. He confides that he isn’t at liberty to announce anything just yet, but hints that an official announcement containing “massive news” will be made soon. He ambiguously explains that he has just secured a a major support slot across America, which will see him play a series of shows across the US of A.

In what is clearly an exciting time for the humble artist from Melbourne, I ask if there’s any concerns that potential international success could lead to a change in character or Australia being neglected in the future. He explains that his ethos has always been about “keeping control of your ego”. I have been around the world, seen some amazing things & gone a lot further than I ever dreamed possible. As long as I never forget my family & my love of surfing, where’s the harm in trying to make a dent outside Australia?”

Catch Ash Grunwald at Tanks Art Centre on Friday March 28th.

Andy Parkinson