Photo by Emily Osborne
Thanks to Hearts+Plugs we were introduced this weekend to the solo work of Ash Hopkins. Ash plays with Run Dan Run and has also recorded artists such as Steven Fiore, Cabaret Kiki, Ward Williams of Jump, Little Children, Cary Ann Hearst, Run Dan Run as well as many others. Hopkins first album entitled “Bellweather” features 7 songs and can be downloaded for free in its entirety from the link below. Ash currently lives in Chapel Hill, NC.
Click to Download Bellwether.
Hearts and Plugs Interview with Ashley Hopkins
Bellwether took three weeks, though the first week was more or less wasted on false starts and misguided attempts to get a grip on how the process would work. So it really took two weeks, which is no time at all, and not a single cent was spent on anything, which is quite a feat.
The 7 songs on this collection have existed in a nebulous half-life for a long time; some date back to 2002. None have ever really been recorded. As many of you know, I have had quite a lot of other projects on my plate in the interim. Cary Ann Hearst, Cabaret Kiki, Rebellion Road Studios, Steven Fiore, Run Dan Run, Owen Beverly, the road goes ever on and on and on. Well, I’ve gotten down to business now that I’m not in the haze and hustle of Charleston and have finally purged 7 songs from my ever-expanding catalog of songs and song parts. There are still enough in my stable to make at least 10 more records of a similar length.
I have always wanted to see what would happen if I tried to write, perform and record something all alone. No engineers, nobody producing, nobody mastering. After all, there’s no aspect of the recording process that I haven’t done at a more or less professional level. I have arranged songs that someone else wrote and someone else recorded. I have engineered for other producers. I have produced records for other artists. I have mixed dozens of records. I have been an instrumentalist in other peoples’ operations. I have dozens of songs and at least some vocal aptitude, so why shouldn’t I be able to just do it all?
The danger here with the full on D.I.Y. is getting spread too thin, but that challenge is really what makes the whole thing fun in the first place. How does one operate in such a way that one’s mind can be focused on tedious engineering problems for hours, then turn around and put one’s heart and soul into performance? At the end of the day I thought it would at least be an interesting experiment and good exercise for every part of myself as a musician. Every aspect of the process surely suffered due to energy siphoned off for every other aspect. But I really think that in spite of that, it turned out quite nice.
Please enjoy, it’s free to download. Tell your friends.