Tell us more about your upcoming album “Gemini Nyte”, what was the most difficult moment while preparing it?
Ashton: Mark and I first started working together on the first MGT album, “Volumes” which featured Mark’s music and a range of guest vocalists / lyricists.
I contributed 2 songs to that album and we just kept writing.
Most of what has become the Gemini Nyte album was actually written within the first 3 or 4 months of meeting each other, which I think speaks for itself.
I’m excited to see the album come out in February. I’m very proud of the songs and we have a few wonderful guests on the album as well.
Mark: it was surprisingly easy actually, as Ashton pointed out, once we started writing together the songs just poured out. Probably the most difficult thing for me was mixing the album – especially ‘Armageddon’s Sideshow’!
Are there any ‘crazy’ behind the scenes anecdotes from the album sessions that you can share with us?
Ashton: I do have a memory of the first time Mark pitched the idea of doing the Soft Cell cover to me.
I think I still have the iPhone video of an impromptu “on the couch” acoustic version with me butchering the lyrics whilst trying to channel my inner torch song singer.
Not exactly ‘crazy’ but brings a smile to my lips.
Mark: Yes that was hilarious!
Is there a link, lyrically speaking, between all its songs?
Ashton: I think dystopian themes run through most of the album.
It’s difficult to suppress those feelings with all that continues on our planet. That’s not to say the album is all grey tones and militant oppression.
There are songs of hope and songs celebrating love and other human connections as well. But what can I say, I like sad songs.
What is the best verse you ever wrote?
Ashton: My opinion on that would vary from moment to moment. “Best” can mean so many things.
I think if a connection is made and you are able to truly engage, inspire or even transport the listener then I’m doing my job well enough.
And the one of your favorite song (not written by you)?
Ashton: My favourite song of all time is Rock ‘n Roll Suicide by David Bowie.
Lyrically and melodically “Running to stand still” by U2 springs to mind along with a number of Roger Waters’ Pink Floyd tracks.
Mark: Hard to name just a few, being a guitarist I tend to lean towards great guitar driven songs, such as ‘Ziggy Stardust’ by Bowie or ‘Children of the Revolution’ by T-Rex.. also ‘Breathe’ by Pink Floyd, ‘Across the Universe’ or ‘Imagine’ by Lennon etc.
How do you usually write the lyrics of your songs?
Ashton: I don’t have a set formula.
Sometimes the lyrics simply appear and I write them down. Sometimes the music comes first and then vocal melody and the lyric.
Sometimes vocal melody first and then I fill in the music. With “Gemini Nyte” Mark generally sends me semi-complete pieces of music, some more developed than others.
I then write the lyrics and vocal melodies and make any arrangement changes necessary to fully realize my vision for the song, and then send it back to him.
We then essentially keep adding and editing until we feel like the song is there and then it is mixing and remixing and remixing and remixing time.
What is the last song you wrote?
Ashton: On “Gemini Nyte” I think it was Trading Faces or Dystopia… Mark, do you remember?
Mark: Probably Dystopia was the last we completed, although I think Trading Faces was also one of the last and was quicker to complete..
What does music mean to you?
Ashton: It has been my passion and either the lifeblood or backdrop of my entire existence.
I am a compulsive songwriter and for better or worse seem to see almost everything in terms of its relationship to a song or piece of music.
I have tried seeking help, but have resigned myself to the fact that this is simply who I am.
Mark: Music is either in your blood or it isn’t. I’d have to be writing songs and playing guitar even if I had to pay to do it.. and sometimes we have to! it’s a great place to lose yourself from the troubles and stress of the world and there’s such a fantastic sense of achievement and well being when you work on a great song.
What makes you happy in life?
Ashton: My family and loved ones. My art life can be fulfilling, frustrating, euphoric or debilitating. Family makes me truly happy and keeps me sane.
Mark: Guitars! I have so many of them. Too many ha ha! That, and my loved ones of course. And the sound of laughter.
Are you planning to tour soon?
Ashton: We are indeed. I’m not sure what we are allowed to announce at present but March 2018 will see us hitting the road here in the USA. I’ve already picked out my outfit.
Mark: I’ve got my onesie ready. See you all soon!