Ash Orphan : A Man who fell from the Moon

By MAD

Ash Orphan_ Interview Can you tell us how it all started and how you started your solo project?

Well I guess everything really started when I picked up the guitar, 15 years ago. Far away from how and what I’m playing now, but I’ve learned the basics (how to do chords, how to strum, standart tuning of course ; everything you need to know to play with friends around a campfire). The real deal began in 2005 when a friend and I decided to buy a software to record ourselves and created what became 4 years later my really first band: Huxley Met Soda. That’s where I let my composition and music awareness blossom so to speak.

Musically speaking, I was more of an electric guitar player and bass player and in 2013, I got the opportunity to join the band Tarah Who? as their bass player and settle down in Los Angeles for a few years. I discovered Ben Howard back then and 4 years ago, started learning fingerstyle guitar. From there, I played more acoustic and ended up singing to accompany myself; forced myself to show that at openmics and 2 years ago, I composed my first acoustic songs that decided me to stop my other projects and starting a solo project: Ash Orphan.

Who are your favorite artists? What’s your inspiration? You seem to have multiple styles and cultural references…

With no hesitation: Tool (especially the Lateralus album), Tom Waits, Cult of Luna, Massive Attack, Archive, Trentemoller and so many more. I usually discover a band/artist I love, more than being into one specific music genre. My inspirations are multiple. I come from a really blues and prog-rock/post-rock/metal background from my electric guitar playing but I used to sing in a religious choir when I was a kid and thanks to my first band, I discovered the electronical music. I’m just trying to do make my music, something that brings me to an “happy place” without thinking about where the music comes from. I try to listen to as much different sounds as I can and take some time to process everything and see what I want to use, what I wish I could use, what I can’t use. Experimentation is the key word. And I’m only talking about music there. But I get inspiration from everything. I open my eyes and try to learn and stock as much information I can. Cultural references would be of course the classic French one as I grew up here, but also the nordic, the native american and the japanese cultures that I don’t know enough and I’m curious about.

How did your previous experience with the music groups Huxley Met Soda, Tarah Who?, Jane Gray Black Orphaninfluence and build your current aerial artistic univers?

All the bands I’ve been into taught me a lot of things. Huxley Met Soda is my first one so I’ve learned pretty much everything about being in a band, composing with other people (we were 7 in the band), dealing with other people (and we don’t talk a lot about it but finding the right persons musically speaking is a challenge; finding the right persons humanly speaking on top of that is an eldorado). I’ve learned the stage, the good gigs but also the terrible ones. Mistakes and failures are an important part of the growth. Don’t put myself down but learn from it and get better. Being surrounded by a band helps a lot when you learn this part as you can share and support each other. I’ve learned how to make an album, and learned how to fail about releasing it to the world.

From Tarah Who? I’ve learned the professionalism. I quitted everything I knew and discovered a whole new world: musically speaking AND personally too. I decided to pursue a musical career when Tarah offered my the opportunity to join the band, and I decided to leave Paris where I grew up to follow the band in a country I wasn’t looking into at all. I discovered how much work you need to put into your music to be as good as the other bands were. I’ve learned the non-stop gigs and the touring part. The independent side of music as well as the business side of it (Los Angeles = business). I’ve met so many talented musicians, professional or not, that made it or not and it forced
me to think about my decision of being a full-time musican too. And so much more things!

Jane Gray Black Orphan is a bit special as it is still on but on hiatus at the moment as I’m pushing the solo project. But this band is where I’ve started learning self-confidence and where I’ve started pushing my composing and my experimentation further. I always stayed in the back and never pushed my ideas as the main source of music material but this band has been created for this. I had no other choices than composing and pushing the ideas to my bandmates. The band is in pause at the moment but I already have enough guitar material to make the first album (we kind of release an EP before).

The invitation to a journey is your leitmotiv. You personally used to travel a lot between Paris and Los Angeles… What is the real spirit that you are passionated about transmitting?

The first time I picked up the guitar, it brought me to a place where I was feeling good, safe. I was able to disconnect from my reality and feel something bigger and safier. That feeling, I already knew it from reading books, and that’s maybe why I connected that fast with the instrument. I used to read so much, I could spent whole days just reading in my bubble.
Music gave me that back when I needed and after years, it became a journey and not a way of going away from reality.
I’m really into storytelling, taking people into amazing world and make them use their imagination. I love the good old “sitting near a fire and sharing stories”. Traveling is a way of learning. Learning about others (culture, people, worlds) but also about yourself. I guess I’m going in that direction of a storyteller, a soul-guide. Back in the days, we had shamans, druids and other guids that shared the stories and the knowledge. I like that idea and to be honest, that’s the theme of my next album (spoiler alert!).

Could you tell us more about your next artistic projects such as your debut album “The Man Who Fell From The Moon”?

So two years ago, I felt a rush for composing my own songs and that’s how The Man who fell from the Moon was born. I wasn’t planning to make it an “album” (physical release and all) at first as it was just experimentations and personnal achievement. But when I started playing them live, I got surprised about the feedbacks and hopefully, last year, I met Henry Blanc-Francard, the craftman behind the mixing of the album. We got along right away and he worked on my recordings and sent that to Resonant Mastering in the US. The actual project is the release of this album on CDs and vinyls and a tour to showcase the album. Play more and better. Grow up. Experiment. And you’ll get the next album (already in the process).

What is it in MAD that you relate to? Why did you join the MAD community?

I love the idea of combining different art forms and collaboration between artists. As you may have notice with my act on Live with MAD #6. I got to perform with Hélène and Joel, 2 incredibles dancers. I look forward to collaborate even more with them. And that’s why I’m in the MAD community. I’m curious and I love discovering new creative people and create new art-based relationships!

Thanks again for having me at the Live with MAD session!

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