Ash Grunwald is working hard on a new album after having a massive 2016 but is stepping away from the studio to play at the Magic Mirror Spiegeltent at The Garden of Unearthly Delights for what promises to be a special night for those who head down. Ash reflects on last year and what the new album holds in an interview with Hi Fi Way: The Pop Chronicles.

Doesn’t get any better than kicking off your gigs for the year by playing the Adelaide Fringe?  / What is it about this time of year that keeps you coming back to Adelaide?
I’m super stoked to come back to Adelaide! The people of Adelaide have always been so great to me; from shows at WOMAD to gigs at The Gov. I’m stoked to playing at The Fringe Festival in the Spiegeltent too. It’s an amazing venue and it brings something special to the performance that I don’t think you can find anywhere else. It makes me want to put on more of show and have a stronger interaction with the audience. Really looking forward to it!!

Reflecting on 2016, what were you main highlights for the year?
2016 was a great year all round. I spent a lot of the time I wasn’t playing shows in Australia, over in Bali so that was amazing. I also got to play a ton of great festivals in 2016, including Falls Festival, Port Fairy, Blues Fest and Queenscliff Music Festival. I also had a really amazing time at the end the year when I did a super fun surf trip with some surfing legends like Simon Anderson and  Luke Eagan. We got to film the whole trip and that’s going to be coming out a doco on Foxtel in a few months’ time. All in all it’s been a great year.

There’s a mention on your website that you’re recording a new album, how is that going?
I started recording a new album in the States but I’ve also been working on a new record while I’ve been home in Australia as well. It’s a similar vibe to one I was working one in the States but will go back to more of the bluesier roots sort of vibe.

Does the process get any easier with each new album?
It does and it doesn’t. I’m on my tenth album now, so it’s definitely getting easier to start the writing process and to know what types of things you need to avoid, but it’s always going to be a bit of a challenge!  The biggest thing is making sure that I’m constantly progressing and trying new things – it can be easy to fall into a pattern and just go with what has worked in the past. It can be tricky to find the balance between trying something new, but not straying too far from your roots.

Do you have set ideas or is there scope from which you build on? / Do you find you learn a little more about yourself on each new album?
I use to go into the studio with a rough idea of where I wanted the record to go and then build the songs in the studio with a producer, but this time I’ve tried to mix it up. I’ve tried to incorporate some more electronic elements into the works and started bringing a live band into the studio with me so I could develop the songs on the fly in a more communal environment, but on the new record, I wanted to strip it all right back to the bones.  It’s all a learning curve; I think I’m constantly learning more and more about myself and my music every time I’m in the studio.

How would you describe the album you’re working on?
Bluesy, raw, barebones, minimal.

Is it likely to come out this year?
At this stage I’m not one hundred percent. Fingers crossed for the end of the year!

What can fans expect at your show in Adelaide in March?
I have been working on the dynamics of my show and will be putting something special together for Adelaide. Some of the mellow of my material will be in there and of course some party tunes.

Interview by Rob Lyon

Ash Grunwald plays the Magic Mirror Spiegeltent at The Garden of Unearthly Delights on Wednesday 1 March. Tickets at Fringe Tix.




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