Ash is a talented multi-instrumentalist and live electronic music artist with Egyptian roots.
He is known for having a downtempo style that’s rich with organic texture and middle-eastern melodies.
Still a young artist in his mid-twenties, he has already amounted over 600million streams while still in the early stages of his career.
Recently he joined the Cercle family after dropping the release ‘White Desert’ on their label, which also included a live stream from the White Desert in Egypt.
He recently announced his new EP ‘About Life’, which drops in February. EP tracks ‘Homes’ and ‘Mourning’ are both out now.
Excited to learn more about this talented producer, we caught up with him for this chat…
Hi Ash, thanks for taking the time to talk today. What part of the world are you currently living in, and what’s the current situation with the pandemic and nightclubs?
Hi! It’s my pleasure! I currently live in Montréal, Quebec. Well, it’s starting to slightly go back to “normal”, but it’s still not like it used to be. It feels good to have something though and be able to go out and reconnect with friends. I just hope that we don’t get another lockdown soon!
Can you start by talking about your background in music, as I understand you are a multi-instrumentalist?
Yes, correct. I started with the piano when I was 6. I used to love watching my brother play at that age and eventually wanted to learn, he was the one who taught me a few things in the beginning. A few years later, I decided to learn music production and the guitar on Youtube, then after that came the saxophone and everything else! I used to take piano courses for a few years when I started, but then decided to continue my music education on Youtube and learn everything there, it’s pretty awesome the amount of knowledge you can find online.
These days it seems that everyone is a DJ, but I’m told you are only a live act. What influenced this decision, and have you ever tried DJing?
I used to DJ of course, I actually started with that when I was around 11-12 years old. I remember finding this app called Virtual DJ on a random website, so I downloaded it and started messing around with it, putting tracks together. I was really bad, I had no idea what I was doing, but it was fun. I eventually learned DJing the proper way, but I never felt like I was satisfied with it, I always felt like it was missing something to make it more interesting. I noticed that also when I would go see a DJ perform vs a live band, DJs are awesome and they can create an amazing vibe, but I always loved going to concerts and watch bands live. I wanted to create my own music and put on a show with instruments. When I started my first “live” shows, it was just a DJ set with my guitar or my saxophone, then it progressively grew into a full-on live performance with everything else.
Talking of your career in music, I heard that you also considered a career in politics. Is it correct that you were a student intern working for the Canadian Prime Minister? I’d love to learn more about that…
Yes! I studied Political Science at Université de Montreal. I love politics, my courses were super interesting and I loved going to class. Around my 3rd year, I even took it more seriously, music was still a dream, but it felt more like a hobby, I was really focused on my career in politics, finishing my Bachelor’s degree with great grades to land a good job in the field. When I got my internship at Justin Trudeau’s constituency office during my last semester, I felt like that was it, after the internship, I’m going to find a job in politics. But around that same time, my track ‘Mosaïque’ started gaining more and more streams, and my other tracks too. My Spotify and Youtube started to pick up and my tracks were getting discovered through the algorithms. It gave me more confidence in the music and I thought that I should at least try to pursue this dream. After the internship, I moved to Paris and I gave myself a few months to make in music and it was the best decision of my life, as during those months, I actually created some of my biggest tracks.
Apparently, the only thing you like more than music is your pet cat! What breed is it, and what makes you prefer cats over other potential pets?
100%. I LOVE my cat, and cats in general. He’s a Himalayan, they’re so cute because their face is flat. I don’t want to spark a debate, but cats are just the best. Dogs are cute and everything, but cats give you just the right amount of love. They love you (ok, in their own way), but they love you and it’s very special when you’re finally worthy of their precious love. At least, I was able to achieve that with my cat, so I’m a happy man!
You’re releasing your first EP ‘About Life’, out in February. Even though you’ve had numerous singles (hitting over 600 million streams!) this is your first EP. What inspired you to put out a multi-tracker, and what inspired the music on this one?
I always wanted to release a fully cohesive project. It just never felt like the right time for it. Being an independent artist, I always felt like it was better to release singles, because with singles you can really focus all the attention on one track at once. With an EP, or an album, it’s much harder. But, I have been working on a lot of music and not releasing it for the past year, and it was all inspired by moments of my life, with the good and the bad, so I thought that it would be a good time to release a fully cohesive project with 5 tracks.
I spotted that you have also released with Cercle, how did that come about, and do you have anything else planned with them?
Yes, we did a Cercle Story together in the White Desert of Egypt and the track was released through their label. It was truly one of my favourite experiences ever, shooting this in the desert in Egypt with this awesome team and then releasing the track with them. We should hopefully have something else together in the future, there are definitely some plans!
I’m told you are into gadgets and unusual bits of music equipment; what have you bought recently, and what made it stand out to you?
I recently bought the Prophet Rev-2. It’s not necessarily “unusual” but to me, it kinda is. I didn’t grow up using or learning hardware synthesizers, I always used plugins and presets. I just couldn’t rent or buy a synthesizer growing up in Egypt so I was relying on doing it all with my computer. Now, learning the real thing, is eye-opening. It might sound basic to experienced artists who have been using synthesizers for long, but to me, it was so interesting to be able to understand and manipulate the sounds physically and modulate it all. I’m still learning, but it’s definitely not my last synth.
You are also something of a chef, and apparently, make amazing burgers (as seen in your new video for your track ‘Homes’ cooking for your friends in Montreal!) I wanted to find out what’s your ideal gourmet recipe?
Hahah, yes! I love cooking, it has always been another passion. I do often cook for my friends as you saw in the video, we always have dinners together like a family. We were all in school together at the Lycée Français du Caire in Egypt and we all moved to Montreal together for college, so whenever they would crave the home cooked meals we used to eat in Egypt, I would cook it for them. I started doing these burgers during Covid, so post-lockdown when they tried them, they said it was the best thing I ever cooked. It became almost like a tradition to make the burgers for them. My ideal gourmet recipe is a gourmet burger with Saint-Nectaire cheese, some finely chopped parsley, sun-dried tomatoes and homemade dijonnaise with shallots. I make it at home all the time!
Thanks for talking with me today, is there a message for fans or anything else you want to add before we finish?
I just want to say: Thank you so much for always supporting me and for the love you’ve been giving me on my music for the past years. I’m eternally grateful!
You can buy a copy of Ash’s track ‘Homes’ from HERE