Artist of the Week: Ashley WallbridgeOctober 15th, 2009
There’s many faces to Ashley Wallbridge. Tingled by the infinite options of diversity, he likes to keep his productions stuck between progressive, electro and trance. If you fancy something different, UK producer Ashley Wallbridge is the gasp of fresh air you need. Fed with a strong passion for music from an early age, the Ashley of today is more than determined to climb the stairs – rising and evolving his sound – all the way to the top. Ashley: “I realized what I wanted in life and was pretty dominant I would do anything to get here.”
Fan of the EDM scene
Ashley:”I’ve always had a real strong passion for music. Even from the early age of 9, I have been a massive fan of the EDM scene. I don’t really know how I grew out of the ‘hobby stage’. It kind of just happened naturally. When I got my first computer at the age of 9 I started exploring the roots of creativity in music, as I grew older and wiser I realized what I wanted in life and was pretty dominant I would do anything to get here.” It was obvious, this young fellow wasn’t going to give up on his one true obsession. While the rest of the boys were struggling with puberty, Ashley was struggling with beats, loops and hooks. Ashley:” I started dabbling in the production side of things when I was about 10. But only messing around with sounds. I’d say 12 years old is when I started to compose songs in a proper structure. Even though they sounded really bad and my parents were ready to throw the computer out the window, 14 years old is when I started to feel comfortable with my music and made my first ‘OK’ tune.”
A kick up the arse
But besides producing, Ashley was already heavily involved with the EDM scene in a different way: dj’ing. While others start off as bedroom dj’s, it were the big clubs and hauling crowds that attracted the 15-year old instead. And where others may have been kicked out and not be taken serious, Ashley managed to get inside, do his thing and rock it. All that with the little help of the fake ID fairy though. Fingers crossed, but he actually won some renowned DJ competitions. Ashley:”Haha, yes, my fake was a bad one but was also my very best friend at the time. All the competitions were ‘over 18′ and I wanted a piece of the action, so to speak. So I got this really bad fake ID and entered. But unfortunately 2 weeks after winning the competition they found out my real age, 16, and took the position of me and wrote an article about it in the local newspaper. I thought it was funny, but they took it very serious. Oops.”
Oops indeed, but what a way to make name and get yourself a good reputation as part of the ‘big boys’. At the age of 16, Ashley already played in front of 2500 clubbers. Ashley:”It was incredible to have experienced this at a real early age. I was so lucky and thankful to have had the opportunity. At the time it was very nerve racking, and I was nearly sick before the gig because of nerves. I can remember the lights guy getting me a drink of beer forgetting my age. When he handed me the beer he then realized and got me a water, haha. But that gig was like a ‘kick up the arse’ for me. From that point on I pushed and pushed to make my career more successful.” In the meanwhile, he’s messed around with the crowds of Argentina, China, USA, Slovakia, France, Spain, India, Tunisia, Egypt and far beyond.
Let’s freeze the moment and fast forward to the Ashley of today, a successful producer/DJ with a list of underground and mainstream hits behind him, his own label and the right package to keep doing it for years. Besides a few minor underground hits, it was Ashley’s ‘Harrier’ that really put his name on the map. Ashley:”The support and feedback on this track was overwhelming. I’ve always tried to create something a little different in EDM. Pushing sounds in a different way. When producing ‘Harrier’ it was a risk I was willing to take. Thankfully people liked the tune and named it a ‘new style of proggy trance’.”
Indeed, Ashley’s tracks sound like no other. How the hell does he do it? Ashley:”I always start with ‘my chords’ I was classically trained from an early age so I love to play the piano. Most of the time I will just sit at the piano and record myself playing for about 20 minutes. Sometimes I will be in a really happy mood (‘Faces’/'Harrier’) sometimes I will be in a bad mood (‘My Blood’). This is mostly when my girlfriend does my head in. Then I look back at the recording and pick sections which I like most. I build a tune like a pyramid, starting from the top, main section of the tune, and working my way down to the bottom, intro and outro. I find this a lot easier than making beats first.” We all know about the results of that. ‘Harrier’, ‘My Blood’, ‘Masquerade’ and of course the famous collab with Andy Moor on ‘Faces’ are the clean evidence that Ashley’s ‘hybrid proggy electro trance sound’ and way of producing it, works.
In 2008, when Andy Moor took on the 18th spot in the critically acclaimed DJ Mag, he named Ashley ‘Producer of the Year’. About a year later, their collaboration ‘Faces’ would come out on AVA Recordings, taking the trance scene by storm. A little stepping stone to the top, one might think? Ashley:” Andy is one of my best friends now. He is such a nice guy and always willing to help others before him. When I was younger he was one of the guys I looked upon for inspiration. Working with him was amazing. He also makes great coffee. When doing ‘Faces’, I think we got through a full jar of coffee in 1 day. But seriously, it was a pleasure to work with him in the studio. We think a-like and our techniques are also very similar. We bounced of each-others ideas and because of this it was very easy and fluent in the studio with him. More tunes to come with him soon.”
Future & present
October 26th, Ashley’s new tune ‘Shotokan’, will be out on AVA. This outstanding progressive track with indefinable influences was already featured on Andy Moor’s ‘Breaking The Silence’ compilation, hitting in with a frisky but stirring sound that’s totally Wallbridge. Ashley:”‘Shotokan’ is named after a certain style of martial arts. Don’t ask me why I named it this. I really don’t know. It’s a big room hook driven track. With some fat bass lines. I always test my tracks out before I do anything with them. I tested ‘Shotokan’ out for the first time at the ASOT 400 party live in Birmingham UK. The crowd reaction was insane and Ruben de Ronde was next to me in the DJ box and said ‘Man, what is this track?’. I told him it was a new tune of mine and said I would speak to him about it when I got home.” We guess that worked out well!
When it comes to future release, things are looking bright to mister Wallbridge. Taking things fulltime and full throttle sees him working on an album, remixes and loads of other new productions and collabs. Ashley:” I finished school 3 years ago now. Best years of your life. In fact, I didn’t even take music in school because they didn’t use Macs and I can’t use Windows computers. I self taught myself instead. Full time music now. If I couldn’t do music I think I would probably be a window cleaner or something, haha. Upcoming years I have a lot of plans. At the moment apart from creating singles etc., I’m working on an album for 2010. Really looking forward to this. It will be a lot different than the normal EDM album. There will be a lot of classical music, soft, progressive, electro, vocal , trance and some ‘grime’. Only joking, haha! Apart from that there is loads of new tunes in the making. New collaborations with vocalists and other artists. 2010 is set to be a good year, I hope. ”
We’re pretty sure Ashley would have been one of the best window cleaners of all time, but with all these things to look forward to, we’re more than glad he chose music. Let’s bide our time and see what Ashley’s up to.
For more info on Ashley, check his website.