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  Home > New Section > ASH News 2006 Archive > Interview with Rick McMurray 11th July 2006
Ash: Making Noise Since 1977

Interview with Rick McMurray talking about the latest recording news... Taken from www.ash-official.com

Hey Rick. So, you're back in Edinburgh?

Yes, I got back from New York on Thursday morning. I think everyone's really happy with how much we got done.

How long were you over for?

Four weeks. The first week was getting the studio into shape and the last three were recording. We finished two songs, 'Suicide Girls', and 'Shattered Glass'.

Those are the two Mark said you were starting with, right?

Yeah. We picked those because they're both very different. I think 'Suicide Girls' has the classic Ash formula about it. It's very much straight-ahead pop with a blazing Thin Lizzy-esque guitar solo in the middle. And then 'Shattered Glass' is a really weird song that Tim had on an acoustic guitar which he thought was just gonna be a B-side. But me and Mark heard it and decided it was pretty damn cool, so we started playing around with it and turned into a bit of a monster. It's like a five minute epic. The closest thing would probably be 'Clones', but I think this is more anthemic than that.

So those two are pretty much ready to go on the album?

Yeah, I think so. We're really happy with where we've got them to. But the luxury of having our own place is that we could go in and completely re-record them if we wanted to.

Is your drumming going to be noticeably different on this album?

Well on the last album, a lot of people thought the drumming was a driving force. I think maybe this time we'll hold it back a bit more.With going back to the three-piece, the bass is going to be very much more prominent. Mark's changed his playing a lot too. He's had pretty much the same set-up since we started, but now he's changed things around and got rid of the distortion pedals. It sounds a lot clearer, so I think the bass is going to be driving us a lot more and I'm trying to just play around that. It's a really exciting change for the band. Also, because we're trying to record the album live, rather than layering everything up on top of each other, it gives Mark's bass a bit more room to breathe.

How's the live recording working out?

It seems to be going really good. It's exciting because it's something we haven't done since, probably, '1977' or 'Nu-Clear Sounds'. It gives it more of a band feel. On the last album I was basically in the studio recording the drums by myself. It was a bit weird.

Why do bands do it separately then?

I think to get more control over the sound. But as we've been saying in the studio, who buys a record and goes 'wow, that snare drum sounds amazing'? People buy records for the songs and if things are a bit rough around the edges, I think that actually gives it a more human feel. On the last album we had three mics on the bass drum and three on the snare, this time it's down to one on each. Sometimes I find the more basic the techniques you're using, the bigger and fuller the sound. And because we've got our own studio, we've got the luxury of time to experiment with that.

So how come you're taking a break from recording now?

Well, Tim's been so full-on with getting the studio set up and writing stuff, so he's come over to the UK for a cousin's wedding and to take a couple of weeks off. I think Mark's coming over too. It gives us time to do a bit more writing as well, even though we've got a shit load of songs already.

Ah yes, the 27. Have you narrowed it down yet?

I don't think so. There's probably another three or four that we know will definitely be going on the album. But it's great having so many to choose from. Actually, there's a good chance that some of these songs will form the basis of the next album!

Does it feel like a return to the '1977' days with it being the first you've made as a three-piece since then?

Yeah, in a way it does. I think we're genuinely excited about this one because we're in our own space and it's a real fresh start for us. The communication between the three of us has never been better. It even reminds me of pre-'1977' because it's just the three of us producing it ourselves. We've become such a confident band over the past couple of years and I think we know when we're playing well. Doing it ourselves just seems the right thing to do.

You must be looking forward to playing this album live.

Definitely. I can't wait. When we're getting closer to finishing the album, we might do a few secret shows in New York. Just turn up in a bar with our equipment and ask if we can play. It's almost been a year since we did a gig. I can't wait to get back out there.

Did you enjoy New York?

Well I didn't see all that much of it, cos I was in the studio. But the studio's really easy to get to and there's a great sushi place right across the road. Mark avoids sushi like the plague, but he's found a pizza place and he's a on a three slice a day habit now. I've been staying with Mark in Brooklyn and there's a really nice little bar near where he lives that stays open until 4am, so we can always head in there for a couple of pints at the end of the night. If we could only control the crazy humidity there, I'd almost be tempted to move.

But now you're back in Scotland.

Yeah, where it's grey and dull and quite cold - which is obviously what I look for in a summer.

What are your plans for the next few weeks?

Well, I go back to New York in September. Before that, I've got my younger brother and his friend staying for a few weeks. And Tim's coming over next week. I think we're going to a place called Chillingham Castle in Northumbria to get totally freaked out by a guy we know from Newcastle who's a psychic and says the place is full of ghosts. So be prepared for some sort of gothic inspired songs on the record!

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