Harnessing their instruments as ramrods to shatter surface assumptions now entrenched within the conventions of heavy music, Ashlynn is emerging from the foundational layers of their regional scene to unleash their blend of Northwest positive post-hardcore. With the 2010 release of their 5 song debut EP The Existence, Ashlynn continues to build upon their own acclaim while rising with a network of local artists committed to elevating their scene. Hailing from Kelso, Washington these 5 young met are thrashing stages and inciting crowds with danceable beats that carry a distinct edge.
Kendall doubles as player and manager, working with AAP Booking & Management to promote local music throughout Washington and Oregon. What have been some of the key lessons for you in mastering the business side of music at the local level?
Kendall (guitar/vocals) Well I have made a lot of mistakes, and I am still learning so much everyday! But ever since I started playing music I have been booking shows for all my previous bands so its just kinda normal now. But everyone’s experience is so much different when it comes to this kind of thing. I have had good times and really bad times as well. The best thing I can say is, “Just go big!” And learn along the way.
Your debut EP “The Existence” recently dropped, is this simple title an invitation to a hunting party whose participants wrestle through questions of origin and purpose or is the theme significantly more modest than that?
Alex (vocals) I do a lot of thinking and searching my own life when I write. The title is based more around the concept of my writing. Every one of our songs contains a positive message as well as a lot of hidden metaphorical stuff. And I feel very strongly about the things I write about “The Existence” to me, is the passion “existing” within our music.
If you were summoned by the galactic heavy music tribunal to represent your sub-sector of the hardcore genre, what would you propose as the core tenants of post-hardcore?
Kendall As musicians who come from all different musical backgrounds, we don’t really work inside the boundaries of one genre or another. To be honest we couldn’t really tell you what we consider ourselves to be because we just play what feels right. But to answer your question, We feel that the post hardcore label, for us anyway, is to contain aspects of a heavy feel while still giving the listener something ambient or “catchy” to grab hold of.
Ashlynn brings plenty of heavy for fans to dance to but also mixes in elements of harmony and alt-pop, what about your approach and delivery makes your sound unique?
Kendall This is where our different musical backgrounds come into play. Our singer’s vocal style is much different for the music that is very popular in the scene today. We feel our sound hints at a modern style and structure but has a dreamy/ambient feel as the forefront.
From whence does the name Ashlynn derive?
Kendall We were all sitting down one day trying to come up with a band name and “Ashlynn” accidentally came out and it stuck from the start.
“We Are Walls,” has a line which states, “We will never fail if we never try.” What is the inspiration and message of this song?
Alex I approached this song from a sort of “Anthematic” stand point. Being that I wanted a song that got the listener involved by saying “We” and “us”. When people feel that something needs to change, they can’t complain about it if they themselves havn’t tried or voiced their own opinions. That is kind of the quick explanation of what the song means to me.
Playing in a band is a sexy thing to do, yet the truth is that to be this sexy requires a lot of hard work. What do you do as a band to keep the machine running when the energy isn’t automatic?
Kendall Well it really wasn’t a problem until we hit the road for a couple of weeks on our west coast tour. We always had our eyes out for truck stops to shower but even then we didn’t always get to bath, so we always had hats and heavy clothing (Mainly in the night time or when it wasn’t to hot) to cover up the greasy hair and the bad smell. But to be honest half the time we where on tour we still probably where not looking very good haha.
There appears to be a move in music to join with causes or to support certain movements, how important is it to the members of Ashlynn that your music impacts the scene/people around you with something positive?
Kendall Its very important! We are always sending a positive message in our songs. We are not involved with any specific group or organization but we are always trying to set an example and push not only ourselves but our fans and supporters to follow their dreams and be the best that they can be. We also believe that our lives have been bettered with the love and acceptance of Jesus Christ and we try to show that to as much people as possible. We don’t preach or anything and we are all far from perfect, but if the moment and environment is appropriate, we will share how much of an impact God has made on our lives and in our music. But when Alex is writing lyrics he does have a deep thought about what he is saying and is always sending a positive message! So we are always trying to reach out and connect with our fans and let them know that anything is possible and that they are a big reason that we are where we are.
What’s next for Ashlynn, what are you looking forward to as we enter the final months of 2010?
Kendall Overall we are trying to expand our fanbase to everyone and anyone possible! We are also writing new music and will be recording two new songs here soon to start promoting our next EP or LP and to start planning our next tour, maybe make a music video and start shopping and selling ourselves to buisnesses and organizations. We feel our new songs were written much better and have potential to be accepted by many people of all kinds! We are also adding more little things to our live set, like a new intro, interludes and getting more in sync with each other with our performance.
Ashlynn (Post Hardcore – Kelso, WA) is: Alex Johnson – Vocals; Kendall Johns – Guitar/Vocals; Joel Rambo – Guitar/Keys; Dave Thomas – Bass and Grant Rinker – Drums.
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I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. – Jesus