Combine songs about getting drunk with pals and defiance against the prevailing Tory regime and you’ll get the majority of bands that are produced in the North of England these days. Add a slap bass and a funked up rhythm, and you’ll get Isaac, Luigi, Jack and Matt - AKA No Hot Ashes.
With beats you can’t help but bop along to followed up by Isaac’s raspy vocals, these boys have a chance of becoming your new favourite Northerners. So what’s their story so far? “Isaac, Matt and myself all met in school and messed around with bands until around early 2014 when Jack joined us,” explains guitarist and backing vocalist Luigi. “We were approached not long after by our now long term producer Gavin Monaghan (Editors, The Twang, Ocean Colour Scene) after he heard a few of our early recordings and saw potential. We then went to record with him at Magic Garden Studio’s in Wolverhampton. Since we released our first single 'Goose' and B-side 'Skank' in 2014 we haven’t stopped.”
Take a closer listen to tracks like ‘Easy Peeler’ and ‘Skank’, and you’re sure to hear something reminiscent of early Noughties indie bands such as The Ordinary Boys, but what sets them aside from your standard indie upstarts is their impressive incorporation funk and soul into their music. “Individually we all have quite different music tastes, from 80s pop, funk and soul, to Dub and sound system stuff... but together we all have a mutual affection for funk and guitar-based music,” says bass guitarist Jack. “We are pretty much an amalgamation of all our influences put into an indie/funk guitar based aesthetic.”
Like any good indie band, the boys have a strong social media presence, and even though they aren’t boasting hundreds of thousands of followers just yet, their following is loyal. With their new single ‘Bellyaches’ being released at the beginning of this week, and band tees selling at an impressive rate, their Twitter game is strong. And this could be down to No Hot Ashes being such relatable lads. With ages ranging from 18-21 and lyrics about love, heartache, getting pissed and politics, they are the poster boys for a new age of Indie Twitter. Lyricist Isaac explains some themes behind their songs: “'Bellyaches' was an exploration of how I get drunk on no budget; then how you get home; then the bellyaches after. Goose was an outright love song. 'Skank' was about being sad and from Stockport… 'Smooth' was about a state of political freedom in which you didn't have to surrender to a certain regime and 'Cool Cat' was about being poor and (again) politically dissatisfied.”
As well as down to earth, these boys also have the salient quality of being incredibly humble. “We have been really lucky so far to play some very cool gigs and festivals, we tend to take memories from every gig we play but in particular I think we all agree on a few really great moments as a band, Kendal Calling and Y Not Festival in particular stand-out for us,” says Jack. “We had fairly early slots at both festivals but the crowd we managed to pull in so early in the day was incredible and we felt very humbled by the crowd response from both sets. We have also played numerous Sold Out shows in Manchester to our home-crowd and there is nothing better feeling than having a full room of people jumping and singing along to your music.” We suspect the dancing part comes easy when you’re listening to such vibrant, intrepid sounds.
So what’s in store this year for No Hot Ashes? “Like any unsigned band we would love to be able to drop our day jobs/university and pursue the band full time - until then, we will be constantly gigging, recording, and spreading our music as far as we can.”
What: Bold, raspy vocals fuelled with melodic authoritative riffs
Get Three Songs: 'Bellyaches', 'Skank', 'Smooth (No Bits)'
Fact: Isaac has a five inch long tongue…
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Words: Laura Copley
Photography: Justin Garner @PhotographyJags
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