Danny Ash interview:
In your own guitar work there is plenty of melody but also bizarre soundscaping and textures. When you were doing that originally was there anyone you heard that was an inspiration, or were you more or less just experimenting with what kinds of sounds you could produce with what you had?
The essence of it was that I didn’t want to sound like everybody else. Because I remember when I was in art school everybody was trying to be Jimi Hendrix, and I thought, “One, I could never play that well. Two, I’m way too lazy to try to play that well, so I might as well take this piece of wood with six strings on and fuck with it and sound like nobody else.” Otherwise what’s the point? Otherwise you’re just like a cover band playing in a bar, which seems like a waste of time.
I remember the day I found the ebow. It was on the top shelf of a little music store in my home town, and nobody had bought this thing simply because it was a really small thing, and it cost a hundred pounds, like a hundred and thirty bucks, and nobody touched it because they thought, “I’m not going to pay a hundred thirty dollars for something so small” — that mentality. In those days the ebow was chrome. I picked it up, tried it out and had to have it. Everything changed when I got that little gizmo.
What were some of the effects you had access to back then?
Just the usual. A bit of echo. The old Watkins Copicat. Over here you had the Echoplex. The ebow was out in the early ’80s. Just the usual fuzz box and wah pedal. Not a lot of different stuff, just the way you play it. A lot of it is what you don’t play to what you play. Try not to fill it all out. I’ve always liked guitar players that were simple more than shredding. I really can’t stand that. It doesn’t mean anything to me.
That’s why I like the guitar player from The Yeah Yeah Yeahs. I happen to know he likes what I’ve done. I love the simplicity of what he does because it’s powerful. He’s direct and powerful. One note can say much more than 25 notes. I have no interest in the whole shredding thing.