Hailing from central Illinois, Ashland is a four-piece, female-fronted rock band comprised of vocalist Asia Dupuy, guitarist Aaron Wood, bassist Zebulan Griffith and drummer Tanner Leggett. BRP’s Lauren Van Houwe sat down with the band for an exclusive interview to discuss everything from the band’s beginnings, touring, and what the future has in store for the group.
How did the band start, and how long have you been together?
WOOD: We’ve been playing since 2013. We’d known each other for quite awhile. Funny story: We found our vocalist, Asia on Craigslist.
DUPUY: Yep! They were looking for a singer I was looking for a band. We ended up actually knowing mutual people in the music scene around central Illinois. So it all worked out perfectly!
Where are each of you from?
LEGGETT: I’m from Clinton.
DUPUY: I’m from Champaign.
WOOD: I’m from Sullivan.
GRIFFITH: I’m from Shelbyville.
How would you describe the sound of your band?
WOOD: That’s tough! I’d say it’s creepy-rock. We like to incorporate a lot of strange instrumentation for the genre like accordion, trumpet, marching snares, orchestral strings, and Asia really like 50’s ‘doo-wop’ style background vocals.
Out of the venues that you’ve performed, which ones have you discovered to be the best? Or what areas do you normally play?
GRIFFITH: We really enjoying playing at The Firebird (St. Louis, Missouri), The Castle Theatre (Bloomington, Illinois) and Pop’s (Sauget, Illinois). We play pretty much anywhere from Missouri to Indiana.
What do you see for the future for your band?
LEGGETT: We really hope to be touring in the next year as well as releasing our first full-length!
“We’re avid connoisseurs of smoked meats. We’ve probably tried every beef jerky brand in the Midwest and could rate them on a scale of one to ten if anyone asked [laughs].”
Where are you guys thinking about touring? West Coast, East Coast, or maybe staying in the Midwest?
WOOD: Wherever the road may take us. Anywhere honestly [laughs].
How many releases do you have out now?
GRIFFITH: We have one release, Interim. You can find it everywhere.
DUPUY: We also have two recent music videos that we released this year: Our single from Interim, “Eyes to the Sky” and our cover of “Bad Blood” by Taylor Swift.
Who do you record with? Or would you consider yourselves a DIY band?
WOOD: We recorded with Matt Amelung at Encapsulated Studios in St. Louis, Missouri! He’s an absolute genius. We do our own pre-production, so does that count as half DIY? [laughs]
I’d say it is [laughs]. You mentioned your Taylor Swift cover. Why did you choose that song? Was 1989 a random inspiration?
DUPUY: We’d been wanting to do a cover for a long time so we checked out Billboard. Bad Blood was No. 1 so we went for it!
That’s really cool. I think the cover was pretty good! What’s one thing people don’t really know about you as a band?
WOOD: We’re avid connoisseurs of smoked meats. We’ve probably tried every beef jerky brand in the Midwest and could rate them on a scale of one to ten if anyone asked [laughs].
DUPUY: Our addiction is pretty serious. We’ve actually discussed creating our own line of beef jerky!
That’s the most random thing! But still cool. When you guys play, do you have to have a guarantee from that specific venue to get paid for the performance or do you just play to have the experience?
DUPUY: Some gigs are paid and some gigs aren’t. Just depends! BRP
Check out Ashland via the band’s social media below!
Written by Lauren Van Houwe
Edited by Chelsea Renee Scofield