Xavier and I got Crilly, self-proclaimed Head of Misery and Acoustic Guitars, from Ashestoangels in for a Surge Session, on a very busy day during freshers. After showing him the wonders of The Café’s all day breakfast, being ‘handed’ one of his black business cards with black text, and sticking some capybara and dinosaur stickers on his guitar, we heard some lovely acoustic songs from him and squeezed an interview in too.
Could you tell us how Ashestoangels formed, when, and why?
I could tell you, but it’s not very exciting. Instead, I could make something up!
You could go for both stories… We could have a game!
One will really give itself away by how dull it is… What about we do it like multiple choice, like one of those stories where it says things like ‘turn to page 36’. Ashestoangels started back in-
That’s definitely not right but I’m going to roll with it, we started in 1996, grunge was still in the front of everyone’s mind, everyone was still pretty sad about Kurt Cobain when I started the band at the tender age of… 9, according to this. The origin story isn’t that exciting, it’s more like a war of attrition against the odds of realising it’s a terrible idea. I absolutely love it but I started this band a long time ago and it took me a while to find the right people.
Wasn’t your guitarist 9 when you started the band?
Yes, when we started Josh was 9 but he’s always been really tall so he was still able to play the guitar!
I thought you were going to say he’s always been 9! What about your name, how did that come around?
Ashestoangels? Well we had our single first band practise and went “Well, that’s plenty, time to book a show!” The thing about booking a show is you really need a name to put on the flyer and I really really really love David Bowie, and ‘Ashes To Ashes’ is a very good song. I suggested it to our drummer and he was like “What about Ashestoangels?” And now here we are, we didn’t change it later, and I’m now fiercely attached to it.
Now we’re ‘on your team’ [Crilly made us sing on one of his songs] does that mean we can embarrass you? Would you like to tell us any embarrassing stories?
The thing is outside the context of people knowing me, some of the shenanigans I’ve gotten up to in the past just paint me in kind of a negative light but you guys are understanding! I’ll try to think of something to tell you, there’s a lot of pressure though because sometimes you tell a ‘crazy’ story and the person you told are like “I’m just sad”.
We do have these rockstar expectations.
That’s the thing the age of outrageous rockstar behaviour was actually always stupid and I never want people to think I’m boasting about ridiculous exploits that I’ve gotten up to – if I was to throw a tv out of a window I’d hate myself. I’ve never trashed a hotel room, I definitely have too much respect for the people who clean it afterwards. I hate the idea of ruining someone else’s good time with nonsense. Which isn’t very rock and roll, is it?!
But I reckon I have the record for the most hotel keys acquired in one night. I literally had a fistful! I was really drunk and I’d run from one side of Edinburgh to the other because everyone had left in a cab without me and my phone was dead. I ran miles and miles and miles, got back to the hotel just looking completely insane, sweating bullets and looking like a lunatic, I had an alcoholic beverage in my hand. I just couldn’t seem to hold onto a room key, I had to keep going downstairs and I think they thought I was pulling some kind of scam. Even the payoff of that story isn’t exciting! I behaved irresponsible, ran really far which I guess is quite good for you, and ended up stealing a bunch of room keys.
Ashestoangels How To Bleed is available now.