City of Ashes interview

Some of you may have seen that our current featured artist City of Ashes have given us a track by track of their debut record – here, the band’s frontman has a chat with us about the band and the album.

For those aren’t familiar with your work, can you sum up the music City of Ashes make?
Rock music really. Maybe alternative rock. We’re pretty vocally driven but other than that we’ve never wanted to tie ourselves too much into sub-genres as it’s pretty restricting in terms of writing music.

You were going through an incredible rough time before and whilst producing the album – what kept you going through it all?
I sometimes wonder that myself! Haha. I think the fact that my brother is in the band was enormously helpful. Also that all three of my band mates we’re so supportive. Even then however I still felt very alone and spent most days just going through the proverbial motions. A huge factor was actually the making of the record. Even days when I didn’t want to do anything I knew I had a record to finish and that probably kept me in touch with some kind of emotional reality.

You previously mentioned that they were, “18 months in my life, which could almost have been funny if they weren’t so tragic”. How does that work?
Even at the time I remember thinking that it was like a bad comedy movie where the only law is Murphy’s: Anything that can go wrong will go wrong. I honestly said at the time, and feel now, that if I had written it as a script and turned it into a Hollywood agent they would have turned it away as being too unrealistic.

All of the tracks on your album are very close to your heart from what you mention in your track by track. Any personal preferences?
I really like them all for different reasons. Some have lyrics that I’m very pleased with or a great flow or are fun to play live… They’re all our babies really so it’s hard to pick one out after we worked so hard on all of them and say that that particular one is more favoured than others. They all hold very different memories for us.

How do your favourites off the record compare to your fans’ favourites?
One of the nice surprises has been that a lot of the tracks we picked to be singles have really resonated with people. It’s such a blast to see people that you both have and haven’t met singing along when we play. I’m sure the answer is different for each individual you could ask but I’d have to say there’s a pretty close correlation between some of the ones we love playing and what our audience love hearing.

Where did the title All We Left Behind derive from?
‘All We Left Behind’ was really a statement about moving forward and trying to put so many of the things that I and we had gone through in the past. It was a tough experience for all of us and I had been wallowing in it for lyrical content for long enough. To me, it was also my way of giving up ownership of those songs a little bit when it was released. As an artist it isn’t really my experience that I’m concerned with, it’s how I can communicate something for other people to experience. Judging from the reaction to our album so far, I feel we hit the mark.

And, finally, what’s next for the band?
We actually have just started writing and demoing again which we’re excited as hell about!
We have done about four tours this year plus a couple of video shoots and releases and too many stand alone shows to count so (with the exception of two more shows) the rest of the year will be looking at beginning a new chapter.
Also we just announced our February tour and the reaction to that has been amazing! We’ve never announced a tour so far in advance before and it’s been really amazing how many tickets have sold already. We can’t wait for February to come around!

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