FORMED just a few years ago, No Hot Ashes from Stockport talk to Olivia Walsh about their music, image, and staying true to yourself.
No Hot Ashes are Isaac Taylor, lead vocalist and guitar, Luigi Di Vuone, lead guitar, Jack Walsh, bass and Matt Buckley, drums.
The band have played gigs all across Manchester over the last few months. Their first gig of the year back in February at Sound Control, they then went on to sell out Jimmy’s bar with their two-day headline slot, even playing a pre-match gig at the Etihad on the 8th April, and more recently the Blind Tiger in Bolton on bank holiday Sunday.
Speaking of how the band initially came about, they “formed in 2014 properly” according to Isaac “and we released Goose [that year] but we were kinda doing bits before that. We met at high school, but I’m the only one who could remotely sing at school and I had a nice afro, and then we recruited Jack a little bit later.”
They come from Stockport, not Manchester, and they want you to know that. “We’d prefer to be known as being from Stockport rather than Manchester”
Isaac: “I was actually born and raised in Levenshulme but yeah we’re from Stockport, we’re 7 miles out from Manchester so it’s a big difference. Conrad Murray who manages Blossoms and the Courteeners and Cabbage makes an effort to put in that distinction between the different places, like the Courteeners are from Middleton, and he tries really hard to make the people in Middleton have some kind of primal love for the band.”
— NO HOT ASHES (@nohotashesband) April 26, 2017
“People from outside of Manchester don’t know where anywhere [around Manchester] is.” Says Matt.
“And it’s nice like some people from Stockport who are our fans and then they see you around Stockport [and recognise us]” says Luigi “and they say ‘oh my god are you from No Hot Ashes?’ And you go yeah I’m just trying to go to work”
“Some people are shocked when they see me getting on a bus in the middle of Stockport town centre” says Isaac “but erm that doesn’t happen a lot, once maybe twice [all laughs]”
The band’s sound is very distinctive, an eclectic mix of pretty much everything, and according to the band their influences are varied, and the reason why they wanted to become a band is unclear to them, almost as if they just all knew that was that they wanted to do. “We all listen to massive variations [of music]” says Isaac “Jack listens to dub I listen to a lot of funk and soul, 80’s, 70’s, and obviously indie.”
“We went to a really early gig… first time we bonded at a gig” chips in Luigi “Oh yeah me and Luigi went to see a bad called blood red shoes I dunno where they are now” reflects Isaac, “yeah we went before we even started a band and they were just a two piece but they were really cool. We’re all big Nirvana fans got big love for Kurt Cobain and we love the Pixies as well, there’s shit loads [of influences].”
Playing gigs and performing in front of people is what they live for. “We always look forward to playing gigs we always enjoy playing gigs always. I want to play at the Albert Hall. I love that venue but that’s a while away I think for us” says Isaac.
“I like deaf institute, it’s the best backstage venue” says Matt
“Shout out to Bingley festival, they looked after us” says Luigi
“Yeah deaf institute we’ve played before, we’ve been to Y Not? and Kendal Calling and played there and they were both real cool” says Isaac, “We’d like to play Reading and Leeds as well, if you could write that [laughs] in bold caps [all laughs]”
— NO HOT ASHES (@nohotashesband) April 3, 2017
Image and getting signed are the biggest issues facing the band right now, their fan base is big and based around Manchester, they have everything an up-and-coming bands wants, just not the record label.
“We just really really wanna get signed, we just don’t wanna do anything else, we just wanna be in a band.” Says Isaac “If it was easy [to get signed] we’d be there, but yeah there’s loads of over-saturation in the music industry now, especially with you know, the rise of the internet and home recording and all that shit
“We’re just shit scared of fucking up, labels don’t wanna sign you because if they sign you and give you £100,000 to record an album and go on tour and it fucks up then someone’s getting sacked you know what I mean, so yeah it’s hard to get signed.”
When it comes to image and the ‘look’ “sometimes it kinda helps seeing bands that kind of don’t give a shit about their image and the music carries them and then there’s band that get signed purely on aesthetics. Says Matt “It’s an important factor but it isn’t everything but at the end of the day they’re trying to find something that they can sell, so if you look homeless then no, but sometimes that can sell as well, it’s a weird one. You’ve gotta have a concept and it could be anything but if they can sell you then you’ve got it.
“If it can help you [changing your image in order to get signed] we’d probably do it straight away, but I don’t wanna come across in a bad way for saying that we’d change our look to get signed but I think anyone would really and if bands say they wouldn’t then they’re lying I think it’s the way you come across and speak to people that matters more.”
“Image is far bigger than if you wear a turtle neck it’s about politics and who you are, we’ve met a shit load of bands. Have you heard of the Sherlock’s? Don’t like them, we met them and they were very rude.” Says Isaac “Like nirvana they look like shit, probably smelled like shit but they made an entire generation dress the way that they did.
“I think with image, and the way you dress, it’s a load of bollocks and people are disenchanted by what they see, if you go to a Blossoms gig you’ll see a lot of people wearing turtlenecks and black do you know what I mean. There’s a lot of bands that push through, I’m not slagging them off, but Catfish and the Bottlemen and Blossoms they have a very definitive kind of look you know, but with us I mean we try a bit but, it’s not as important.”
With Blossoms coming from Stockport as well, the town has become more well known for its music scene. “They’ve [Blossoms] done us a favour, the younger ones are getting into music and stuff now, it’s just nice to have a band from where you’re from.”
“We both come from different sides [of Stockport] they’re from the posh bit though.” Says Luigi
“Different sounds as well” says Jack
“Everything’s different about the two bands” says Matt “Everyone sees them and they’re like oh let’s go to Stockport and they get here and its shit”
Matt says, “It was a stupid 15-year-old’s choice but I prefer NHA, just the initials, it rolls of the tongue better.” “I think we all hate the name, says Isaac “you see it’s on wheelie bins, if you check your wheelie bins it says no hot ashes, it’s hard to say with a Manchester accent. When we were younger we’d get called No Moustaches [laughs].”
Even though they’re a relatively young band, forming just three years ago, their sound has no doubt changed as they have grown older. It’s all a learning curve. “Every singles been pretty different, but I think we’ve got better.” Says Matt Don’t like to spend too long on a song so if we can’t write it quick enough we kinda just drop it and then a good song will come.”
“One groove which we thought was sick, you play it for like four hours and then it just wouldn’t go anywhere then we get annoyed” says Luigi
“We’ve got better at writing songs, people don’t seem to agree because everyone’s still listening to Goose [laughs] but I think we’ve done better, spent more time on [the sound] it used to be [hard to write songs] but it’s quite easy now I’ve gotten used to it. Sometimes it’s hard but sometimes it’s alright but we all right the music and I write the lyrics. Our new song Bellyaches is wicked cool with a cherry on top.”
By Olivia Walsh