The Rock and Roll Report Band Of The Week is “Ashtray”

ashtray front line 300The compelling blend of Ashtray’s melodic hard rock fused with straight edge metal has brought a new era to the creative force of their musical composition. Originating from Quebec City and now residing in Montreal.

Ashtray have taken over the underground alternative / metal scene and displayed a loyal following after releasing their debut album “End This” in 2007.

Gaining momentum for their signature sound of pulsating guitar crunches, hammering drums and catchy vocals. Ashtray are breaking the walls down one brick at a time with their upcoming and self produced EP “Sessions”.

Be ready for Ashtray!

Shaz : What’s the name of your band and what’s the origin of that name?

Ashtray: We are Ashtray and the story behind the name is…well it`s quite long story but I`ll try to make it short. After a band meeting, we had come up with a bunch of name on a list, but all of them were pretty shitty (such as Gain, Direct Thumb, Probe, The She male was Pregnant…just to name a few), but we were going over them and arguing over them while sipping a few drinks and everybody was going in a opposite direction. But at that time Dom, our singer, was going out with a girl from the US and we wanted to teach her the word ashtray in French (because we are francophone) cause she was asking for it all the time. So after repeating it a million times Ian (guitar player) got a vision about the band being named Ashtray…not because of its meaning but basically how it`s pronounced, he said : “ Imagined a big crowd screaming ASH TRAY ASH TRAY ASH TRAY” and we all said….That would be totally insane!!.  So that`s the story behind it but I did spare a few undisclosed details, in fact the whole process took the whole evening!!!

Shaz :  Could you please list the name, and respective instrument of each band member.

Dom : Lead Singer

Ian : Guitar

Pat : Drums

Madly : Bass guitar

Vince : Guitar

Shaz : What genre of music do you consider your work to be and who are your major influences?

Hum…That`s the question every band hates but I guess we`re doing Hard rock!!! In the end for us it`s all about the energy of a good kick in the Ass when we`re playing live, it`s refreshing and diverse, it`s really reflecting who we are has a band, Cause We`re just huge fans of music!

Influences, there`s a ton of them and I think it shows on our music, cause we all have a different musical background. Ian and I grew up together and we were metal heads when we were kids, listening to the likes of Megadeth, Metallica, Slayer, Carcass, Judas Priest, Iron maiden, Dream Theater, Sabbath, Guns, Soundgarden and has we grew older we expanded our vision to Led Zep, The Beatles, Blues, Jazz Classical stuff and pretty much everything else. Speaking for myself my biggest influence has to be Metallica and Ian is Megadeth and Hendrix!

Pat grew up in a musical environment his parents were listening to a lot of music and he had known since day one that he wanted to be a musician and his musical influences has evolved but he was a huge fan of Rush, Peter Gabriel and Led Zep, Soundgarden…He even had  little The Cure period!! Yeah, but I`m probably worst, the first album I bought was the album from Kriss Kross!!! Lol

Madly his a big fan of every reggae rooted style of music mix with a metal end of course. That why he has dreadlocks but don`t stuck them, in a hat!!! But is main influence are Sublime, Bob Marley, Metallica

Dom was a big fan of metal bands like Metallica, Megadeth and Maiden but he always has listen to good singer, he was pretty diverse too!

So in the end we`re pretty eclectic but we`re all have the same love of the music and our shared influence are mainly hard rock and metal bands, so it`s reflecting on our music with and individuality that is a big part of Ashtray!

Shaz : How did you guys meet and what was it that inspired you to become the Band you are today…

I have known Ian since kindergarten but we really bounded when we picked up a guitar when we were 12-13 years old, and since then we’ve been in many cover bands but Ian really got me into doing originals and that was a project that we`ve been sharing since then…Thanks to him. Pat, our drummer he`s my cousin, so he was always around and he was a big part of my musical evolution showing me that there was something else then Metallica out there!!lol!! For me it was obvious that when we were looking for a drummer he was high on our list, but in fact we hired him has a sessions drummer for our first album be we thought he was good so he joined the band, but he was bringing Madly with him cause he has been playing with over the last 5 years in many different musical projects. But we did get along with madly and he was a good Bass player even though at that time he had shitty gear!!!lol And then we started looking for a singer and found Dom on the internet cause he had posted an add on a web site. So we booked him an audition and after the audition I thought he was too young and didn`t see that he could fit in our band, but Ian had a totally different point of view. So after realizing he was older then I was we did some did some recording and he`s been part of Ashtray since then.

Shaz: Are you a member of any music organizations?

No!! That`s an easy question!!!

Shaz: Where have you performed? What are your favorite and least favorite venues? Do you have any upcoming shows?

Toronto, Ottawa

Montreal (Café Campus, The saints, Blankfest charity event)

Quebec city

Sherbrooke

Trois-Rivieres

Our personal favourite was when we played at the Café Campus in Montreal the bar was full and we all had a really good time, it was one of those crazy nights!!

Our least favorite was in Montreal as well, when we were just started 4 years ago (I won’t name the place) but the only 2 people who showed up (the barmaid and her boyfriend) enjoyed the show ha ha ha and at least we did sell 2 cds!!!!!

We are playing on August 1st in Toronto, Ontario for the U-turn festival in downsiew Park.

After that we will take a short break to work on our second album which should see the day in fall 2009. We’ll be entering studio in probably less than a month. So you all have to stay tune for the next Ashtray record, cause it`s gonna be totally insane compare to what we`ve been doing so far.

Shaz: Who is it that sits down and writes your songs? Or is this a joint effort…

Ashtray’s main composer would be Ian, he works at his apartment, builds up great sounding music and sends it back to us so we can work on adding our own personal touch. From then songs evolved after jamming them all together, and then me often test a few of them to get the crowd reaction on our live gig.

Shaz: Could you briefly describe the music-making process?

Like I said Ian writes most of the music, and I co wrote a few songs with him and Pat. But everyone can come up with any good idea that can turn into a song, so it`s not a unique way of working. After we have some songs done, I write down most of the lyrics and sometimes I co-wrote a few songs with Dom and Pat. Basically I listen to the song and then feed on the emotion, the vibe the energy that`s within the song and end up with many different type of lyrics and hopefully our fans will get the most out of them.

Shaz: How has your music evolved since you first began playing music together?

We’ve all evolved in the same way, we fused up as a team not individuals just playing their instruments. Every day we enjoy our music and try new stuff so we can all go in the same direction and eventually make it to the next level. Being in Ashtray can be hard at some time, but when we all focus on the right thing it`s train that can`t be stopped!!

Shaz: What has been your biggest challenge as a band?

Approaching our next album will be our biggest challenge so far. We wanna bring it to another level. We`ve been learning from our past experiences and know we want to go in a different direction. We`re now seeking a producer to work with, who could help us get where we want to be with our sound.  And with all the new songs we`ve been writing that`s gonna be a huge challenge, but all our work will pay in the end.

Shaz: And last of all guys….What is the most way out thing that has ever happened to you while playing a gig or on the road…….

Humm, well, the last time we went in Toronto there was a little mishap with the car keys. After the gig, we were loading the van trough the back door of the venue and I was picking up the trash in the van and went to throw them in the garbage can. But the garbage can was in fact a big cooking oil recycling bin, and the keys we`re still in my hand so when I threw the trash and yes, the keys went in it. But we were lucky enough to retrieve them. We used a plastic bag as a glove….we were really lucky we could have been stuck there.

Shaz:Is there anything else you would like to add that we your fans would be keen to know about :o))

Stay tuned and get in touch with us, our new album is gonna be totally awesome. We`ll have a video blog starting really soon so we you`ll be able to follow us trough the whole process.

You can reach us at:

www.ashtraymusic.com

www.myspace.com/ashtraymusic

www.twitter.com/ashtraymusic

www.reverbnation.com/ashtraymusic

www.youtube.com/ashtrayvideo

Thank you guy’s this has been so awesome and it always rocks to catch up with you……..Hugs Shaz x