Ash-A-Tack has, quite literally, been there and done it when it comes to music and DJing. Since playing lovers and rare groove as a 15-year-old, Ash has played sets from boat and house parties to sold out arenas. Known for his Bassdrive.com radio show, he is also a producer, but his own productions have taken somewhat of a backseat in recent years. This is set to be corrected with the release of his first release in 10 years in his own name, the Memories EP with Alibi, on his very own Directors Cut label. We interviewed Ash recently, and he sets us straight on the release, his hook up with World Class Management, and future plans, and he takes time to drop a mix for us as well.
Hi Ash, how are you? For those that might not be aware, can you tell us about your career up to now?
I’m all good thanks mate! Well a brief summary would be that I started my career playing Rare groove for a sound system called ‘Midnight Express’ in my teens. I moved on to d&b over 25 years ago and have been part of the scene since it started really. I got most of my links from selling ice poles in events back in the day!! I also worked with Horrace in Camden Market selling tunes, Lucky Spin and moved on to BlackMarket Records over 20 years ago.
Over the last 25 years I have been lucky enough to be part of some of the biggest ever jungle/d&b promotions from Monday Club, Telepathy, World Dance, Thunder & Joy, Perception, AWOL and CMC @ Notting Hill Carnival to some more recent events such as Breakin Science, Moondance, Raindance, Best Of British, Innovation & Bassdrive! To be honest we would need hours to go through all of the promotions I have worked for so sorry to anyone if I haven’t mentioned you!
I’ve also played in most countries worldwide including Germany, France, Spain, South Africa to name but a few, I’ve hosted a few events such as ‘Spirit of The Jungle’, I was part of Life Record’ over 10 years ago and have been for the past 20 years part of CMC Matrix Crew who do Notting Hill Carnival on All Saint Road.
You have your first release in your own name in over 10 years coming out soon. Tell us more about this.
Yeah it’s been a while since my last release with Life Records!! I have been working with my partner Alibi for years but haven’t felt the industry was following the kind of sound that we like to produce. Since I have started Directors Cut, I feel that I’m ready to release what music I like and both me and Alibi are really happy with our latest stuff and ready to let people hear what we have been up to.
What made you decide to release the EP now?
It’s just the right time! We made some stuff with Courtney Dennie a while back and it got wicked feedback and his vocals are always heavy on everything he features on, his is a wicked songwriter so along with some of the harder stuff we have on the EP we just feel that we have enough diversity on it to let it run.
And how did you hook up with Worldclass Management (WCM)?
I have been with them since they started in 2007, I needed someone that could help me with various different things I wanted to do. I have been with a few agencies over the years but I like the fact they do everything it’s not just about bookings. They are management of me and my label and are good at their job. I like the fact they are focused on creating a network and not specializing in one genre of music. They run a tight ship, are honest and I really like working with all the artists on the roster. They invest a lot of time in their artists and are cutting edge with their ideas, they have grown a lot over the past few years and their future projects and consistency make them strong and that’s what me and my label need.
How have your ideas and motivations changed over the last 10 years?
All my ideas are happening and I have changed a lot musically over the last ten years. I found that I started to be branded as only an ‘old skool’ DJ which was really my motivation to get my tunes out and start my label. I love old skool and it’s where I come from but I also play a lot of upfront and didn’t want to be categorised as an artist.
Old skool is really special to me but I try to stagger my performances in that genre as I got my label to promote. I’ve also felt under pressure as a artist as I am one of the only DJ’s that didn’t have a label or tunes out over the past 10 years, although I have dabbled in it previously I have had to keep my name out there based on my DJing and not because I have a tune out and that has been hard with the industry being so producer focused. My label hasn’t been launched because I need to keep up with the times it’s been launched because I know what music I wanna be playing and have artists that are likeminded, we just wanna do something different.
You’re well known for your radio work. What keeps the fire burning on that front?
I love my radio show, love my listeners and love the freedom I have musically. Radio for me is intimate, the listeners have a choice to listen or switch off and since doing my show I have an amazing following of people who like the same music I do, they like my weekly jokes and regular catchphrases. Bassdrive have always been really supportive of me as an artist and of the music I play, we are a tight team and they have always allowed me to breathe and try different things that I can showcase to a growing, worldwide audience.
For anyone who hasn’t check it out yet you can catch me every Thursday 10-12am (GMT) on www.bassdrive.com
And you are continuing to DJ all over the world. What have been some of the highlights of your international work?
I have been really lucky as a artist and have performed in so many countries but a definite highlight for me was a tour in South Africa, I always enjoy my European events as well as I get to meet up with some of the Bassdrive Family and get a honest reaction on some of our forthcoming tunes.
And how are things with your own label, Directors Cut? Any new tracks dropping?
Oh yeah! We got a serious release schedule that started with Mr Explict ‘Tear Da Roof Off EP’, we got Command Strange ‘RockStar EP’, ‘Memories EP’ with myself, Alibi & Courtney Dennie out now!! We got EP’s coming out of our ears over this next 12 months.
The label is doing wicked, we have had such a good reception from DJ’s and listeners, luckily there is a huge following for the style that Directors Cut is releasing and I have every faith in the artists we have on the label. We got a good team who understand what we are trying to achieve and are working their butts off to help push it all the way.
We’ve also got an event that we have just started called ‘Final Cut’ which is about the artists and giving them a outlet to express themselves and stay true to the DC style. Our events aren’t about who is the biggest name, there about the music we are pushing forward and to give Directors Cut a home. We hope everyone that loves the tunes we are releasing will come down and join us as when the Directors Cut team are together it’s such a wicked vibe! As well as being wicked producers, all of the guys on DC are wicked DJ’s and anyone that went to our launch party with Kmag will know how we roll.
Who is hot right now on Ash-A-Tack’s radar?
Obviously the resident artists we have forthcoming on DC are definitely hot for me at the moment! We got label residents Alibi/ PhilBee/ DSide/ Kalm /Verdikt/ RealDeal & our vocalist Courtney Dennie all deep undercover, working on Directors Cut Beats and we got special guests on the label; Command Strange/ Cabbie / Roygreen& Protone /Savage Rehab / Explicit / Jaybee/ Nitri/Jam Thieves/Mystical Sound /Furney /Flaco/Intelligent Manners, all definitely hot out there right now and producing what I want to hear.
Finally, are there any shouts or messages for the readers?
Of course a massive shout goes out to my label partner Tony Damage who is working hard right now and Worldclass Management for their strong management and direction of me as an artist and the label.
A big shout out to all of my artists for believing in DC and what we are about!! A massive shout to all on www.bassdrive.com, the management team and the chatroom crew! Big Up to Lee & Victor and all at Believe Digital.
Thank you also to KMAG for all of your support, I hope you guys enjoy the mix!! Thank you to everyone else who has always supported me as a DJ!
For more information on bookings or the label check out the following links:
And you can check Ash’s exclusive mix right here:
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