Katy Ashe Blends Industrial Rock and Pop Together with Her Latest Upcoming Single, “Connected”

NORTH CREEK – Some people wait in the shadows for their art, looking for that moment when the time to release that of which they poured their creative heart and soul has finally arrived. One such person is Katy Ashe, who, when not performing live or recording music, is a music teacher in Johnsburg, NY. After a fairly long wait, Ashe is set to debut yet another intriguing track entitled “Connected.” We over at Nippertown got a chance to get our ears on the song ahead of release, and rest assured, it’s fascinating. Throughout the song, Ashe displays her songwriting ability to write a compelling – and unusual in places – melody that easily captivates audiences upon first listening. A tune that mixes industrial rock instrumentation with the ethos and sensibilities of a pop song, “Connected,” is as unique as it is catchy.

I had a chance to sit down with Katy recently, and we went over not only the new single but other irons she currently has in the fire. What follows is our conversation.

Artwork for “Connected.”

Lucas Garrett: Thanks for taking time today to talk about your new single, your music, and what you’re doing! It’s been a while. How’ve you been?

Katy Ashe: Good! But busy. Not much to put out, and now I’m just trying to let it all… I’ve been recording a lot of stuff, just not releasing it.

LG: Do you find it hard to hold on to things like that?

KA: A lot of what I’ve been doing for the past few months has been live-centered, live recording with other musicians. It’s not been as instantly gratifying. It’s not my timeline – it’s everybody else’s. We’ve all got lives, so it’s been hard to get everything completely finished. There are a lot of starts to a lot of songs on a lot of different things. Haha. It’s just getting it together and completed.

For solo stuff, from start to finish on the new song, “Connected,” I started working on it a month ago. It was over the course of two days I worked on it steadily. I’m now finding a little more time, as you know, now that your work is done, the real work begins!

LG: There’s a lot going on in “Connected.” I like the melody a lot.

KA: Thank you!

LG: When’s that coming out?

KA: It’s coming out on April 21st on all digital platforms. I like to do a soft release on Bandcamp because it’s artist-direct, and I don’t have to wait. It gives me an idea of how people are going to feel about it from a marketing standpoint.

It’s been cool; so far, the feedback has been really good, which I love.

LG: One of the more important things, I feel, is making a melody that is, for one, memorable, and two, unpredictable. At the end of this song, you’re hitting a minor note that is unexpected for a phrase that is being heard. How’d you come up with that idea?

KA: I had the melody for the chorus before anything else was written. I was driving, and it just kinda hit me… those words. I don’t know, it just felt right, and I find myself as a songwriter, lately, really digging things like Mixolydian… hahaha.

LG: I felt the Mixolydian vibes!

KA: That wasn’t accidental – it was very intentional. The song’s subject is about these two anxious souls connected to each other from one lifetime to the next. In my soul, I felt those scales, those modes, that told me, “Hm, maybe that’s where it began.” I let it come… songwriting for me, especially in the last two years with young children running around all the time, it’s not like I can say, “OK, I’m going to sit down and have a quiet space and sit and write a song.”

LG: Right.

KA: It doesn’t exist, so I just let it come as it does. That chorus came on a drive and then a couple of conversations, and it just resonated. That’s how it all happened. When I started recording the tracks, the music also drove the melody – it felt right.

LG: There’s a lot going on musically, including a bass guitar that sounds like it’s being played pretty hard on the recording…

KA: It’s a sample!

LG: Oh yeah?

KA: I use a lot of synth-loops for this stuff. If you’re listening to my other projects, everything is very different. But for me, being able to use samples, I spend more time finding the right sound than actually writing the melodies and playing those parts. For me, that’s the fun part. And it really allows your mind to go as far as you want it to go: there are no limitations.

LG: I heard you’re also working on a lot of other things in the background. Can you elaborate on that?

KA: Last Daze is back in the studio after a very long hiatus. We actually had a record ready to go right before COVID. We were supposed to go out to Rancho De La Luna out in California with David Catching to record that. In the midst, we had a lot of stuff happen – one of our members was really ill, and now his health is back; I had a couple of kids. We had a lot going on, and COVID through us all for a loop, and then all these extracurricular things called life got in our way. Finally, we’re all in a place to get back together. What was really nice is that we hadn’t played together – the four of us – in a really long time. In one afternoon, we put together three new songs. I’m really excited for that to happen: being out with Last Daze again.

LG: When’s the last time you played out with Last Daze?

KA: I think we did a show with the Blind Spots at The Strand Theatre in Hudson Falls in August 2018. Before that, the last show was 2017’s New Year’s Eve Eve. I was five months pregnant. I’m super missing the stage. I’m just putting all that energy into the right forces. But I’m also doing a lot of directing at my school. I just finished directing a musical. All those things take an incredible amount of energy.

LG: You’re all over the place with your music. With your solo stuff, a lot of it is industrial, but there’s also this weird pop aspect to it as well. I don’t normally hear industrial and pop together in the same song.

KA: I’ve always been an industrial fan – that’s the stuff I’ve always listened to. But I also love a good pop song. I’m hoping to get that little niche of “Oh, a catchy melody with words and a relatable thing with this heavy stuff in the background.” It’s like, “Follow me if you eventually want to really like Nine Inch Nails.” Hahaha.

LG: Ha.

KA: With my songwriting, I’m always trying to improve. Melodically and lyrically, there’re rules to follow: make it singable, make it relatable, and make it easy to remember. I’ve definitely been employing that. This song, it’s pretty simple, but it definitely has a pop vibe. It reminds me of that early 1990s pop.

LG: True, but I definitely hear Nine Inch Nails in there.

KA: I hope Trent Reznor hears it and says, “I should produce that girl and possibly marry her.” Hahaha, I’m just kidding. We both love Trent.

LG: The new song comes out on April 21st, and Last Daze is getting back together. When can we see you out and about?

KA: I don’t know yet – we have nothing booked. I just mentioned to Jeff and the guys that with the recent passing of Wayne Bukovinsky, it’d be really good for us to play Waynestock this year.

LG: Oh my god, I didn’t know he passed!

KA: Yes, it was a couple of weeks ago. It was very sudden and unexpected. That’s Jeff’s cousin, so it’s a lot. It was winter, Luke. A really tough winter; we lost a lot of really good people. Our community is definitely feeling that loss. I hope we play before then, but I think we’re waiting to see what comes our way. First, we need to get our music finished, and then that gives us a reason to play out.

LG: Thanks for taking time out of your afternoon!

KA: I appreciate you! Thank you very much!

LG: No problem! I’ll be in touch.

KA: Bye.

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