Few days before the release of their new video “Waves”, City Of Ashes (https://www.facebook.com/cityofashesband) did an interesting interview with us about their lyrics and the latest album “All we left behind”
RYL: “Waves” video will be released in few days, how was its preparation? Any fun “behind the scenes”?
CITY OF ASHES: Yeah, we’re really keen to get it out! We actually shot it at the beginning of June so it’s felt like a while coming now. The filming was great! We shot out in Dublin which is an awesome city anyways but seeing as it coincided with our first non UK show and also spending some time with Orion’s family it was really pretty special.
We’re really pleased with the result too. There are some great shots in there of James, Dan and Freddie playing on the edge of a cliff… What you don’t see is the fact we had a 4am call time for set that day and had to drag our equipment down the cliff for 90 minutes to get there! Also, as Ori will attest to, the Irish sea is very VERY cold!
RYL: How have you written its lyrics?
CITY OF ASHES: Waves is actually the last song on our album and lyrically is really a discussion of trying to find the strength to take the next step.
Given that the journey of the album was such a tough one personally, writing ‘Waves’ was kind of bittersweet. I guess in my ignorance I had wanted to be further ahead in my recovery than I was by that point however it was also one of the first songs that I really got out of my own way during the writing of.
I stopped judging the ideas coming out of my head as critically as I had done in the past and just allowed them to flow. I think it made for a pretty powerful and honest song.
RYL: Which is the last song you wrote?
CITY OF ASHES: Well we’ve been quietly working on a couple of new songs behind the scenes. We’re really excited about the direction on them at this point. I think people will really like them when they come out.
RYL: Are you planning to release a new album soon?
CITY OF ASHES: No, not for a while yet. Our debut album ‘All We Left Behind’ hasn’t even been out for a year so we’re still very much focused on supporting it right now.
RYL: Which is the best verse you wrote (or the one you like the most)?
CITY OF ASHES: That’s really tough! I love so many of them for so many reasons. It’s kind of like asking which of your children you love the most, they’re my babies! Haha. The first on that comes to mind as you ask now is the second verse of the song ‘Recovery’ on our album – It’s definitely one I’m proud of.
RYL: Do you remember the day you wrote “In Retrospect” ?
CITY OF ASHES: Yeah, I really do! It’s a very hopeful song, if slightly naive. Basically since a deluge of bereavements, super rare auto-immune sicknesses and relationship break-ups had been been happening all around me I had basically completely shut down emotionally.
I wrote ‘In Retrospect’ after meeting a girl who, for the first time in as long as I had been able to remember, had made me feel something. Of course, I quickly screwed the whole thing up but it was definitely a “light in the tunnel” moment. I often wondered if she’d have any idea it was about her if she heard it! Haha.
RYL: “Hourglass” is the fan’s favorite according to Itunes charts, why in your opinion?
CITY OF ASHES: It’s one of our favourites too and not one we get to play as often as we’d like. I think I’m right in saying it was the first song the four of us put together as a group and the direction we were going in was still a little uncertain.
I think that created a real melting pot of styles and influences within the song and there’s something very rich and satisfying about that. There’s also something a little raw because we were still yet to learn how to put together a song properly!
I think with hindsight people can discern what we learned from the experience and hear how we developed into our newer material which is pretty cool for our fans.
RYL: Are you planning a tour this fall/winter?
CITY OF ASHES: Absolutely, we cannot wait to get back on the road! We have ‘Waves’ coming out this month as you mentioned and another video coming out next month which we’re really excited for and then we tour the UK during October. We’ll be visiting some places we have before and some new turf.
RYL: How do you usually write the lyrics of your songs?
CITY OF ASHES: I don’t really set out to write a song about subject A, B or C… I usually think the right subject is the one that jumps at you the moment you hear a chord or think of a line or melody. Sometimes I’m not even sure what it’ll be about as I start but it turns out there’s usually something in my subconscious trying to get through.
I find that’s the best way to get something really honest and I tend to believe that our human journey emotionally is not that different from one another so if you can hook into that you can produce something that other people can understand.
RYL: Tell us everything about “Falling Star”
CITY OF ASHES: In so many ways ‘Falling Star’ was the start of our band. It was the first song written for the album and completely changed the way we did things. It is also the beginning of the story of the album in a narrative sense.
I had been in a long term relationship that had ended pretty badly which, compounded by a series of tragedies at the time, had totally destroyed me. Looking back though, the benefit of being so low was that my brain just completely switched into some kind of auto pilot. I didn’t sit for hours agonizing over what the next line should be, I just knew and I got my critical self out of the way. The result was a song that was direct and unapologetic; A song that knew exactly what it was and what it was about.
We shot the video in our practice room starting at 7pm one night and finished at 5am the next morning. It was such a sweat box that we were actually dripping between each take and had to quickly wipe our faces before the next “action” call. Hilariously if you go back and watch it you can actually tell which shots were taken later as our hair is completely soaked! I don’t think any of us will ever forget the smell in that room by the time we were done.
It was only after it was released that we went to play a show (I think in Guildford) which was considerably busier than we were used to. I remember thinking that was unusual and it wasn’t until we were on stage and everyone began singing the song back to us and we realised that they were actually there to see us and we’d really done something that connected with people.
That was a really special moment for us and we’ve been lucky enough to have more and more since!