Interview with Mark Hamilton - 4th January 2007
We caught up with Mark at home in NYC, for the first update of 2007, taken from www.ash-official.com.
Hi Mark. Where did you go for Christmas?
I went home for a week to Northern Ireland. It was good, if a little bit hectic, because you've got so many people to hang out with and get drunk with. But it's always good to go home for a bit.
Was Tim there too?
Yeah, but he flew in to Belfast the day that I left to come back to New York, so I haven't seen him for a wee while. But it's his 30th birthday this week, so we're going to have a party when he gets back.
Did you guys give each other Christmas presents?
Yeah, I got 'The Complete Moomins' on DVD from Rick. But I haven't got mine from Tim, because I haven't seen him yet.
Have you watched much of the Moomins DVD?
Yeah, some of it. We always thought they were funny and twisted and a little bit suspicious. I've recently been obsessed by The Backyardigans too. They're like singing and dancing CGI children's characters. But they've actually got good music.
Have Ash ever thought about making a children's song?
Oh God. We were mortified once because BBC CBeebies used 'Burn Baby Burn' as some backing music. I'm not sure if that's cool really.
So what's the latest on the album?
We did a bunch of rough mixes on the songs before Christmas, which sounded really good.
Are the vocals pretty much done?
Not all of them, there's a few to do yet. I left to go home while Tim was still in the middle of it, so I don't actually know exactly how many he got finished, but I think he got a lot done. Plus, he got all the strings done and they sound really great. He shot a bunch of video of the strings session too, so I'm going to put that up on the MySpace in the next couple of days.
Did you play any of the new songs to people over Christmas?
Yeah, I played some stuff to my mum and dad.
What did they make of them?
They really liked 'Polaris' and 'In Hell' which are actually the ones with the strings on them.
Are they big Ash fans?
Yeah, but they'll tell you exactly what they think. My dad was always into people like Led Zep and Jimi Hendrix, so he's got a rock background. And they gave the new songs the thumbs up.
It must be quite nervy playing songs to people for the first time?
It kind of is, but you can always say that they're not finished yet!
So what's happening over the next few weeks?
We have to have all the recording finished by January 15th, which is the day we start to mix.
Is it pretty much just the vocals left to do?
It's the vocals and some wee loose ends on every song, like keyboards or some samples or something. Once the vocals are done we'll pull each song up and see if there's anything else we can think of that needs to be added. So I think there's going to be a lot of late nights in the next few weeks! But it was good to have a few weeks away over Christmas, cos then you can come back and get really focused.
Is there any more news on the artwork?
Well, we almost sorted it, but now we're not sure. It's still up in the air.
And has the single choice been made?
There is a potential first single which might involve a collaboration. But that's still not been finalised either. It'll have to happen in the next week or so.
What happens after mixing?
Then the songs will be mastered, which I think will be around the start of February. After that, the single will be taken off to radio people.
So it's pretty much the calm before the storm at this point.
Yeah. I'm starting to get anxiety dreams about going back on tour! We'll have a lot of rehearsing to do in February. I should think we'll be rehearsing for at least a few weeks.
But you enjoy touring?
Oh, yeah. I think you always get a bit tired of it at the end of an album's cycle, but I can't wait to get out there again.
Are there are any firm tour plans yet?
Yeah, there will be something announced very soon.