Ashtray playin guitar

Ashtray

More than happy to introduce you to Marius “Ashtray” with his wonderful song “No man can Fall” – a real, positive motivating song for the morning and in rough times.

Another fantastic song recorded during our journey in Essaouira/Morocco, 12.000 km in one month, live at Les Terrasses D’Essaouira

You will find all links and all his music below in the interview 🙂

Accompanied by his girlfriend Yvonne La Nuit who’s singing the background vocals and Manouela Menty on the Daf (click the name to get all tracks and the interview) as well as our special guest Morgan Goethals, the hotel owner on the Shaker.

Ashtray is not only a fantastic musician and a super sympathy guy but also sound engineer and co-founder at “Midnight Special Records” in Paris.

Find more about himself, his travel, his honest music and further projects:

Interview

Ashtray my friend, thank you for your time to answer some questions about you and your music, how are you today, where are you from and where are you now?

Hi Ady ! I’m feeling great thank you ! It’s the beginning of winter and for me it means studio time until spring haha.
Right now i’m in Paris, where I grew up. I was born in the south of France but my parents moved in Paris when I was very little child.

Please let us know: What was the trigger for you to start playing music and write songs?


I started to learn music really late, I think i was 16 or 17 years old. I wanted to learn how to play bass because one of my best friend was taking drums lessons, and we wanted to play together !
I think we did only two or three lessons and we were already composing and planning our first concert !
At this moment music was a really good way to meet people, to connect and share so many things.

 

Your music is so honest and when we met I can say that you come along very good with people, how important is the musician’s personality and human level for you in music?

 

For me music has always been a link between people, between cultures.
I started as a bass player, and it’s funny because you can hardly play bass on your own, you have to play with people.
So i spent a lot of time playing along with different people, in different formations, always learning new stuff, new way to play music.
I think it’s what i love most about playing music, it’s the connection you make with the people you play with AND the people that are listening ! This is one of the most human feeling you can have. 

 

Which bands are your biggest influence and which ones are your top 5 albums you listened to?
And why do you like it so much 😉 ?

My biggest influences.. I listen a lot of Pink Floyd’s music because of their way to experiment with sounds. Their first album, The Piper At The Gate Of Dawn is for me a big reference because they use a lot of objects, noises and effects, more than instruments, and it opened so many doors in my head !!

Next big influence has been Nirvana, and especially Kurt Cobain’s way to write songs. He uses very simple words and short sentences, to talk about very deep things, that blew my mind !

I also listen a lot of Ravi Shankar’s music, it’s a great influence for me because it opened my sensibility on non-occidental music. After that i continued searching for indian music, african music, asian music..

HO, i need to add in my influences Daft Punk, because « Homework » is definitely in my top 5 album that i listen to !! My father had a nightclub when i was young so i grew up with electronic music. For me, « Homework » is an other aspect of music, really important because again it pushes a bit further the limits of musicality. 

I also love Neil Young and Beck. « On the beach » from Neil Young, and « Sea Change » or « one foot in the grave » are in my top album too, Beck because he experiment a lot on his records, mixing lot of influences like i do, and Neil Young because he write the most beautiful songs, and because his recordings are more about the feeling of the moment.

 

How often you practice your musical skills, voice and Ukulele? You have some routine in it or just go with the flow? Do you play also other instruments?

 

I play everyday. My house is full of instruments, so i don’t have any routine, i like to switch depending on my mood ! I think it’s very rewarding to play different instrument because it’s sometimes a whole new vocabulary, like speaking several languages. For example when we met in Morocco i bought a Ghembri, a Gnawa instrument with only 3 strings, and a kamel skin that you hit at the same time than you strike the strings. It has only one octave, so it’s mostly to play rhythms. I play that a lot those days. But i also like to play piano, because you can create complex harmonies.  it’s two different instrument with their own vocabulary and range of sounds, coming from the culture they evolved with. And spending time with one or the other is really rich for the musicality.

 

We know that you are sound engineer by “Midnight Special Records” ( link to the page) how does it started for you to record music? Did you study in a university or you are self-taught?

 

I used to record a lot of experimentation in my room when I was a teenager, on Garageband. After i graduated, i wanted to learn more about the techniques of recording and mixing, so i studied 3 years at ATLA School, which has an Electronic music section. I learned the basics of recording music, mixing, using machines and software.

At the same time, I was playing in a band, and became real friend with the lead guitarist, Victor Peynichou.

We became roommates, and then he asked me if I would be interested in inviting band in our apartment in order to record them and release the songs on tapes. This is how label was born haha ! So, yeah, it’s a bit of both, I was happy to learn the basics in a school, but i also experimented a lot on my own.

 

Cool man ! We will make another interview to get more information to your label, so let’s go back to the song “No man can Fall” – I’m honest with you, I listen this song every morning – When did you wrote it and what does it mean to you? The story behind the song:

Aww thanks you ! I’m so glad you like the song !

It means a lot to me because i wrote this song during a time of my life when i was really down, a lot of things were changing, and i was really touched that i could count on my very close friends during this.

And i came with this idea, no matter how down you could be, no matter the sad moments, if you stick with the people you love, you will always find the strength to overcome. This is what makes us human in a way, the ability to understand each other and be strong together.

 

Thank you, and here it is for everybody!

 

Lyrics

might be a burden that you carry

might be pain from your lost lover

 

I say don’t worry now

And have no fear about it

Because if we hold on together

No man can fall


No man can fall

If we hold on together now,

No man can fall

 

Sometimes you hurt

And that makes you wanna hurt

Sometimes even a secret

Get so heavy to keep

 

But i say don’t worry now

Have no fear about it

Because if we hold on together

No man can fall

 

No man can fall

If we hold on together now,

No man can fall

 

And sometimes you’re lonely

Or just far away from home

Life itself gets so heavy sometimes

 

But i say don’t worry now

Raise you hand

Because No man should ever face the ground

 

That’s why

No man can fall

iI we hold on together now,

No man can fall

No, no man can fall..

 

Wonderful, do you like to tell us about your favorite experience on the road, something unusual that happened  ? Do you play also outside France?

I played a lot in Europe, Brasil, Mexico, and the US. What i like most is the feeling when people start dancing, no matter if you don’t speak the same language, if you’re not from the same culture, you’re playing music, giving everything you can to those strangers, and they feel it, they smile at you, they dance, or clap their hands, and at this moment there is this exchange between you and them, for me it’s priceless.

 

That’s amazing, music is the universal language man !
How is the music scene in Paris, lot of concerts where people stick together or rather concurrence between musicians? Is it possible to live from playing concerts?

 

Right now Paris is very strange. There is a lot of musician, and it’s very interesting for that, but lots of venues are closing, and it gets harder to get payed well. I mostly live from playing concert outside of Paris.

But still there is this idea that you need to be in Paris to meet the right people and find a bigger audience or a label.

I’m pretty confused about it myself ! I guess it depend on what type of music you’re playing..

I listened to your Album on Bandcamp and it’s very creative and surprising man, congratulations and respect! “Monkey War” and “Tarantelle” are my favorite, shoots me right to the desert.

How was the recording process for you, is it “self produced” and recorded? 


Thanks so much !! Yeah I do most of the stuff on the album haha. We started recording the songs with a drummer in his basement, we spent maybe one day to record all the tracks, just drums and folk guitar.

Then i got home and added everything else ! I wanted it to sound really home made, naïve.
I didn’t know how to play piano at this moment so a friend helped me to record the wurlitzer.
The rest is just me with a microphone going crazy in a house full of instruments !
After that i went to my aunt house in the mountains to do the mixing part, with a small portable studio on my back, juste an analog console and some rack and effects.

Who is the Band behind? Since when you play together?


There is no actual band behind, on this album I do most of the instrument except those i don’t know how to play ( yet ! haha ). We used to play a lot with Thomas Broda, who play all the drums, i love how he plays drums so i’m glad that he could record the album with me. Same for Malvina Meinier who did the keyboards, and Foucault De Kergorlay on harp. I love how they play, so i’m very thankful that they could appear on the album.

Impressive man ! And how long does it take for you from the first song written to the final CD?

 

way too long !! haha, i’m always postponing my personal work so it takes for ever !

 

If you could play a concert with someone of your choice, pat or the future, who would it be?

 

mm.. i think i would say Jack White ! Or Neil Young .

 

And with who you would like to make a record if you could choose anybody, from Elvis to now?

 

mm.. i think i would say Jack White too lol. Or Neil Young !!

 

Please let us know your approach for songwriting, when did you wrote your favorite songs?
Sitting at your desk, thinking for hours or just spontaneous before the morning coffee?

 

I think sometimes I get overwhelmed with a feeling, or an idea, and i start writing about it.
If i have an instrument near i start playing along and usually it doesn’t take too much time to make a song.
I wrote several of my favorite songs after ( or during ) a long walk. I like to wander in the streets in Paris, or in the forest or the mountains, it gets you in a special mood where your spirit goes around and through ideas, and emotions. And sometimes, you just feel like you could sum up a feeling, with a word, a sentence or a melody.

Do you plan another Album in the future? Maybe you are already writing new songs ..  ?

 

Yes ! I’m finishing the recordings of my third album this week !! It took me 2 or 3 years to record everything, because i was always on tour or working for the label, but it’s finally close to the end i think i will release it in the end of 2019.

I’m super excited about it because i used the same process than the first album, but i could add more complex arrangement, because meanwhile i had met so many musicians that i love !! In the end there is way more people recording on it, so more keyboards, violins, choir..  and it really gives an other dimension to the songs.

 

What comes first to you when you write a song, melody or lyrics?

 

It can really depends on my mood and what i want to say.

Sometimes a feeling is too abstract to form words, but sometimes just putting words on a feeling sums up everything.

Man, I ask everybody the question and I love honest feedback, especially from Sound Engineers with experience.

How was your experience to record with “Hit The Road Music Studio” and how you like the result?

Man, I LOVED it ! I think what you do with Hit The Road Music Studio is an awesome idea, but also it’s a real important work when you see how the world goes nowadays.
With everything going world wide, different cultures meeting each other, i feel that your recordings are testifying of this evolution, this big mix of Humanity, and it’s important that people can see that !

Also i’m amazed of how you work, all the recordings sound super natural, really catching the moment.
Great job !

Brother, thanks so much I try my best and beyond and the reactions are very touchingDo you like to greet somebody?

 

I would like to thank you an Kassia again. It was such a pleasure to meet you and discover your project ! Also a big thanks to Morgan Goethals who made everything happens in a way haha

And ho yeah off course the wonderfull people that agreed to play with me on that song, Manuella Menty and Yvonne la Nuit !

I hope to see you soon for a good Bordeaux and wish you all the best, thanks man!

For sure man ! Thank you

 

You can find and follow and book him here:

Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/ashtraymusicpage/

Instagram

https://www.instagram.com/mariusashtray/

Bandcamp:

https://ashtraymusics.bandcamp.com/album/ashtray-bumblebee

And all the other stuff 😀