Friday, April 18, 2014

Wishing Everyone A Great Easter Weekend

I just wanted to wish everyone a great Easter weekend. It's not really one of my favorite holidays but I know it's very important to some. I look at it as a time of renewal and change. I am more excited about Spring, the weather warming up and everything coming to life again. Wishing you and yours a wonderful weekend. -Rhett Ashley

Friday, February 14, 2014

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Where's The Music Rhett Ashley?


A lot of people have been contacting me - asking the same question. "Where's the music?" I announced a little over a year ago that I would be recording my material for everyone to hear. I have been doing just that but the process can be slow at times. The album "RETRO" is primitive compared to today's over-produced pop albums. I have been writing the entire album on a synthesizer that was popular in the early 90s. In fact, the Ensoniq SD-1 keyboard was first produced in 1990. I have used no outside computer software to enhance the sound of the album. I have put no auto-tune on my vocals. It's raw electronic/alternative music just like you would have heard back in the 80s. The sound is great but getting there takes more time.

I own and manage a toy store in Pennsylvania. I also do small business consulting and website design on the side. I'm a busy person but at least four nights a week I get into the studio to write and record. It has been over 15 years since I last recorded in a studio or performed live. The process is quite different now from my early days of recording in the 90s. It's actually a lot better but I'm my own worst enemy. I want every sound and vocal to be perfect. I have changed things a million times. Lyrics have been rewritten and changed back again. I've wiped out major instrumental sections of songs. And then - just to decide which songs would make the final cut. I've gone back and forth so many times, I should have called the album "Roller Coaster".

We had set to release "RETRO" at the end of March. It had been downgraded to an E.P. instead of a full-length album. Five songs would be easier than twelve songs to release. Unfortunately, a sinus infection set recording back by weeks. My voice had completely gone but this was a blessing in disguise. A month later when I got my voice back, I started recording again. I also decided to let a few select friends hear the five tracks I had chosen for "RETRO". One song on the album called "Hard Chore Sexual" would NOT make the final cut. Everyone was in agreement that the lyrics and subject matter were too controversial. I had literally spent more time on this song than any other. This sent me on 48-hour downward spiral. I thought I had figured out everything I wanted to capture on "RETRO". The album was suppose to represent the innocence of the 80s and how innocence was eventually lost. Basically, the story of my life and many other people out there. I came to my senses a few days later. The song would have to go. I would record "Hard Chore Sexual" but it just couldn't be on "RETRO". So I went back to the drawing board and went back to my original plan to release a full album. Ten to twelve songs that would be retro in approach and appreciation of the 80s. So that's where I am at now with everything. Still recording...always writing...and trying to sing my best. I hope to have "RETRO" out very soon. It will be worth the wait. I promise.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Inspired by John Carpenter's Halloween

In 1978, my parents took me to see a little known horror flick called Halloween. I was 8 years old at the time. I hid in my jacket for the last 20 minutes of the film. When we walked out of the theater, I could not get the soundtrack out of my head. I went home that night, sat down to the family piano and figured out how to play the theme to Halloween. I was hooked on the simplicity of the song and how effective it had been in the movie. I would later find out that John Carpenter was not only the director behind Halloween but also the composer of the soundtrack. I remember getting a copy of Fangoria Magazine about a year later with an advertisement for the soundtrack. I wanted that soundtrack so bad. It would take over 10 years for me to finally purchase the Halloween Soundtrack on cassette tape and then eventually on CD. John Carpenter's musical score absolutely fascinated me. From his films to his soundtracks, there was just something that always worked for me. My parents took me to the The Fog and then later I saw Escape To New York. I would go home after seeing each film and try to recreate what I had heard. I loved movie soundtracks - especially ones by John Carpenter. I would discover other movie soundstracks through the years from all sorts of genres. Horror movie soundtracks were the ones that I always gravitated to.

As I prepare to release some my music at the end of this month, I am seeing influences from all over the place that I never recognized before. I am presenting two decades worth of material that was inspired by New Wave, Electronica and those early days of trying to play the Halloween theme on an old piano. I have been in the studio almost every evening. I'm looking so forward to making my music available to the public after all this time. Critics and fans of my music have said for years that I have a "movie soundtrack kind of sound". I'm not quite sure what that means - but I guess I can thank Mr. Carpenter for that.





Saturday, January 26, 2013

A Few of My Favorite Bands

A lot of people ask me who I think I sound like - and that's a tough one. I think I sound like me. I like all kinds of music and I draw off of several styles even though I am primarily Electronic music. I feel like if you are a true artist you will listen to about anything but keep your favorites close to your heart. I grew up in the 70s and 80s so I love music from those 2 decades the most. Some of my favorites are Blondie, Duran Duran, Pet Shop Boys, A-ha, New Order, Depeche Mode and The Eurythmics.

The 90s did very little for me - so I kind of skipped a decade until I discovered Robbie Williams, Rufus Wainwright, Mika and a "little known" performer named Lady Gaga. I sure hope she makes a name for herself one day.

Since I decided to start writing music again it has opened me up to a multitude of talented artists from all over the world. I really love what I am hearing. I am more excited about music now than I ever have been. Groups like M83, Foster The People, Neon Indian, Django Django, Florence and the Machine and Gotye are really making me a very happy boy. It gives me hope even though the music industry still doesn't put enough push into marketing some of these talented groups. It does make for a wonderful discovery however when you come across some good music. It seems like there are a lot of hidden gems out there these days. That's fine with me - as long as I can still find them. 

Thursday, January 24, 2013

So Here I Go Again...

So after 14 years - I have decided to start recording music again. It's been difficult juggling my responsibilities at my toy store this year. That's right - I own a toy store also. It has been one of my primary sources of income for the last 12 years and does very well. I do love toys, business, marketing and retail - but my real passion lies with music and the media. It always has. I have learned so much in the last 12 years of being a self-employed business owner. I hope to take those lessons and incorporate them into my music. I have not stopped running my toy store in the least. I have just taken on a work load which would normally make the most well-rounded person completely crazy. I'm a workaholic and proud of it! When I was child and teenager I remember saying all the time "I'm bored". I have not said that in over a decade.


So what's going on now? I am in the studio recording my first project in over a decade. The album will be called "Retro". It will feature old songs revamped and a couple of new tracks. At the same time - I am recording an extensive library of older songs I wrote back in the 90s. That project will be called "B-Side & D-Lites". My ultimate goal is to eventually compose musical works for movie soundtracks. Stay tuned - life has always been good to me - so I am looking forward to where this road takes me.