Australian blues and electronic musician Ash Grunwald takes the stage at the Royal on February 10.

Five questions with Ash Grunwald

[vurb] editor Megan Cole interviews Australian blues and electronic music wizard Ash Grunwald who plays The Royal on February 10.

What kind of music did you listen to as a kid?

Well, my parents listened to country music and pretty much Australian folk music, which isn’t very popular here. It’s kind of considered to be pretty dorky kind of stuff. But I think there’s a good song writing influence from some of that stuff. I pretty much got into blues, kind of on my on accord from when I was about 12 and stayed with that for a very long time, and probably in the last 10 years, well even when I take a lot of inspiration from different genres for the production and for the beats. But the soul of it comes from blues, I guess.

What drew you to blues music at such a young age?

A combination of things. One was seeing a movie called Crossroads – which is a pretty cheesy movie probably – but it was all about Robert Johnson and different stuff. I remember I got a B.B. King CD once which was pretty influential. Even now I don’t do anything like B.B. King anymore. There was really good radio stations in Melbourne – where I grew up. They were really independent and you could actually tune in and listen to a lot of really good stuff, and that educated me as well.

What was the first instrument you started playing? I know you play a lot of instruments now.

Definitely guitar.

Why the guitar?

My granddad played and he used to show me stuff and I used to play bass for him as well. And he’d be endlessly soloing, but I took to the guitar. The first thing I ever did was sing I guess. The guitar has always been a vehicle to get out what I want to get out. It’s one of those things that’s always been a whole thing for me. I’ve always written songs and played. I was doing the one man band for some time which leads you to be pretty inventive with the instrumentation that you use. There are a lot of new instruments for me to learn at the moment.

How did the progression happen from your early albums which are more stripped down and acoustic to now, where there are more electronic influences?

I do think I probably had an inkling that that’s how it would evolve over every album, because it was a conscious effort or idea at the time with my first album to really strip it back and I knew that that wouldn’t be the last album I’d make and that wouldn’t be every album. Before I even played music in front of audiences I was jamming when I was a teenager with a mate and he was just fully electronica, that’s all he was into, and I was fully blues, that’s all I was into. I got a real kick out of the fusion of the two, and that’s always been something I knew that was going to come out of me.

Ash plays at the Royal on February 10. Doors open at 8 p.m. Tickets are available at Urban Legends, the Royal Espresso and liveattheroyal.com.

This story originally appeared in the February 3, 2012 issue of [vurb].

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