The band’s new single “Floating Away” is out Friday, May 1st
Meet Ash – a lively, seven-piece pop/R&B band from New York City. Meet Ash again – that is, the songwriter Ash McMillan, who was born in Northern England, and is now based in NYC.
The band Ash was formed while all seven members were studying at the Conservatory of Music at Purchase College in New York, and now perform her original music about the pains and joys of everyday life.
Strong, Vulnerable, Powerful.
Ash’s new single “Floating Away” is set to be released this Friday, May 1st, and you can pre-save the song here. The songs comes from Ash’s recovering from sexual assault. While the lyrics are honest about her grief and the feeling of losing herself, the song fits with their upbeat sounds. The contrast of heartbreaking lyrics accompanied with a jazzy composition creates a unique and unexpected sound.
cw: sexual assault
Welcome Ash! To begin, how are you coping/managing your time during this period of social distancing?
At first, it was pretty disappointing. I’m still at university, so it was hard to suddenly say goodbye to my friends, professors and schedule. I had two albums and an EP I was supposed to produce, so definitely a bit of a bummer. However, I’m home with my whole family, even my sister left her apartment in Manhattan to move back to the suburbs with us (and she keeps making banana bread, so double win).
Everyone is healthy, and we have been having plenty of movie and game nights. I’m still trying to get some work done. We have a big backlog of songs we recorded as a band this past year, so I’m still working with my co-producer, Todd Siesel, to wrap some of those songs up remotely. My school has become a zoom university, so I’ve spent a lot of time doing class in my pajamas. Overall, its not too bad, definitely missing my life, but I’m grateful for the little things keeping me going.
You’re from England, and are now living in New York City. I would love to learn more about your background.
I was born and raised in Northern England until I was nine, when we moved to the states. It was really a dream of a childhood. We lived on a quiet street with a dead end, and we would come home from school and every kid on the street would come out and play on their bike. We went to Wales on the weekends and go to the beach. We saw my family often, everyone came to our house for Christmas, it was really just a lovely upbringing.
Moving to New York was pretty magical. I remember craning my neck to look up at the skyscrapers, and the first time it snowed, me and my sister went out and danced in it. Not to say we don’t get snow in England, but just so you understand how rare it was to get a proper snow, once we got about 2 inches when we were kids, and my mum kept us home from school so we could play it in. I’m really grateful we moved when we did. I feel like I got this amazing, quiet childhood, and then we came to bustling New York, which offered just so many new opportunities for us.
Since we’ve moved, I feel like my parents have been able to build a life they have worked so hard for, my sister became a first-gen college graduate, and I’ve had all this exposure to the NYC music scene. I’m insanely grateful for my parents, for working so hard their whole lives and for giving me just the best childhood they could.
Tell us about your new song Floating Away. I would imagine that would be quite the experience to write a song about sexual assault recovery. Would you be open to letting us know how that process was for you?
Usually when I write songs, it’s more after the fact, but this song I wrote about four weeks after it had happened, when I was going through the worst of it. The night it happened I wouldn’t say was the worst day of my life because it feels more like a movie I watched than something I experienced. However, the weeks after were some of the hardest days for me. I’m very sociable, and suddenly I was terrified to go out with my friends on the weekends. I felt so emotionally disconnected from the people around me, and I was mostly just going from soccer practice, to class, a couple recording sessions, and then back to bed.
One of the lines in the song is “my friends say they don’t see me round no more, quite frankly I don’t know where I’ve been” and I wrote it because that was really happening. Friends that didn’t even know what had happened noticed I wasn’t around anymore, but I was so out of it, I didn’t realize how much I wasn’t present in my life anymore. I flung myself into creating this song, and our other music.
We started performing again, and suddenly I started to feel like a person. We had this one weekend in November where we played 3 nights in a row. It was after that weekend that I felt like I was really getting parts of myself back, and could recognize myself. I don’t feel like I’ve recovered yet, and I think it’s going to be a long road, but I am so lucky. My family has held my hand through all of it, my friends have had my back, and my professors were so supportive and understanding on my bad days. I really don’t know what I would have done without all these amazing people in my life.
What is next for Ash (I know that might be a tough question to answer for right now!)?
We are all pretty spread out right now, and I miss the band a lot, but it gives a lot of time to gear up for new releases. We have almost a whole album almost completed, and my vocals are really one of the only pieces left, so I’m looking forward to finishing that up and getting on to mixing. It has also given me a lot of time to start writing new material. I’m really excited for things to open back up and to start performing.
Performing is always the best time. Our horn players always choreograph something for the shows. I remember when Marty, our trombone player, got a wireless mic for his horn, and in his text to me he was most excited that he had more freedom to dance during shows with it. Once we are all back together, I’m also looking forward to dragging everyone on a photoshoot. It’s hard to get us all in one picture, and I don’t think I actually have a single picture with everyone, so definitely ready for that. For right now, I’m just glad everyone is home and safe, and that even through quarantine we have exciting things coming up.
Thank you for sharing and being open and vulnerable Ash <3
And don’t forget to stream “Floating Away” on Friday!