According to a recent press release: “Ashland is a rock/pop outfit from Central Illinois. The band formed when vocalist Asia Woodward met guitarist Aaron Wood through a local Craigslist ad and began writing songs together. To create their first full length album Wildfire, Ashland teamed up with Matt Amelung (won Best Recording Studio by Riverfront Times) once again to bring back the early 2000s pop/ rock vibes from our favorite female fronted artists.” With the duos upcoing release only 14 days away, we were able to catch them both for 10 Quick Ones regarding the new disc and more…
1. Tell us a little about your latest release. What might a fan or listener not grab the first or second time they listen through? Are there any hidden nuggets the band put in the material or that only diehard fans might find?
AARON – For the most part the songs are pretty straightforward. Although, we did a TON of vocal layers so that’s something that you might pick up on the more you listen to the record. If you take the song “Got Love” and play it backwards after pitching it down a couple octaves it sounds exactly like Stairway to Heaven. I’m not sure if that’s true or not, but it’s worth a try.
2. What got you into music, and can you tell us about the moment you realized you wanted to be a musician?
ASIA – I’ve always been a dilettante. If there is an art form, I have to try it. Singing, dancing, acting, poetry, painting- you name it. But music has always been the one art form I just can’t get through a day, maybe an hour without. I breathe it. I can’t remember a time when I didn’t want to be a musician.
3. Who would be your main five musical influences?
ASIA – Right now, I would personally have to say Maroon5, The Weeknd, Katy Perry, Chris Stapleton, and Twenty One Pilots. I gotta throw K. Flay in the pack though. She’s so strange and I love it!
AARON – I like to pull influence from a lot of different directions, but the ones who have stuck with me the most are Hank Williams Sr., Brad Paisley, Slash, Katy Perry, and Joe Walsh. Most of those people probably never expected to be in the same sentence together!
4. If you could call in any one collaborator to do a song with, who would it be?
ASIA – I think we’d both agree that it would have to be 2 Chainz. Not even kidding. 2 Chainz, if you see this…please.
5. How would you describe your music to someone who’d never listened to you before?
ASIA – With the new record, there’s seriously a little something for everyone and every mood. Big vocals and guitar always hold it together, but there’s some slower acoustics, a bit of bubblegum pop and some pretty dark stuff. If you’re sad, mad, looking for encouragement, feeling sexy, or road tripping- there’s a song for that on Wildfire!
6. What’s the best thing about being a musician?
ASIA – As someone who’s always been too shy to spark up conversation or talk about my feelings, music is a major outlet for me and a great way to connect with people. When I’m sharing my music, instead of feeling like a “rockstar,” I actually realize that I’m not so different from everyone else and that we’re all people… living just to find emotion… hiding somewhere in the night… ;P
7. When the band are all hanging out together, who cooks; who gets the drinks in; and who is first to crack out the acoustic guitars for a singalong?
ASIA – Aaron is a good cook. We don’t really drink. I fancy a nice Bordeaux every now and then. But we’re pretty lame and don’t usually have singalongs. Sometimes we’re driving home from a show and someone starts humming Backstreet Boys and from there it’s just a rollercoaster of nineties jams. Or maybe I just dream that.
8. If you weren’t a musician, what would be your dream job?
ASIA – I’d be the top grossing actress in Hollywood like every year. And I’d also open a thrift store.
AARON – If I could get paid to play with dogs all day that would be my dream job.
9. Looking back over your career, is there a single moment or situation you feel was a misstep or you would like to have a “do over”?
ASIA – There have been many many many missteps. But I believe that’s because we go above and beyond to figure what suits us best as song-writers, musicians, performers, and business people. A lot of failure needs to happen on any journey to success, so I would never ask for a do-over in those moments. The only thing I would change is how long it took me to make the decision to pursue my dreams despite the fear of failure.
10. If you could magically go back in time and be a part of the recording sessions for any one record in history, which would you choose – and what does that record mean to you?
ASIA – I’m gunna go way back and say any of the Patsy Cline sessions. She was a classy woman with such a beautiful voice. Her music was so powerful and influential in a time that was especially hard for women. It would be really incredible to witness how gracefully she carried herself as an artist and a woman in an industry run primarily by men at the time!
AARON – Probably Guns n’ Roses’ Appetite for Destruction. That’s the album that made me want to pick up a guitar, and I’d love to go back and steal Slash’s guitar tone from that record.
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