TIM WHEELER

The Ash front­man re­veals why he’s harder than you think he is.

Q (UK) - - Incoming - NIALL DOHERTY

Hello, Tim. Where are you right now? I’m on Lam­bay Is­land, a pri­vate is­land just off the coast of Dublin, stand­ing on a hill­top, sur­rounded by a bunch of wild wal­la­bies. We’re film­ing a video. I came here last year when I was trav­el­ling to a lot of is­lands while I was writ­ing the new al­bum. It’s good to come back. That’s why the al­bum is called Is­lands, then. What other ones did you visit? I went to Naoshima and Teshima in Ja­pan, is­lands where the pop­u­la­tion is re­ally dwin­dling and some art foun­da­tions have moved in and built these in­cred­i­ble art gal­leries and it’s bring­ing peo­ple back. I’d heard great things so I re­ally wanted to go there. I also went to Deià, a vil­lage in Ma­jorca, San­torini in Greece and here, then to our stu­dio in Man­hat­tan. That’s quite a globe-trot­ting writ­ing set-up. Did the video bud­get not stretch to shoot­ing the video in Ja­pan? That’s gonna be the next sin­gle! What prompted your ex­plo­ration of is­lands? I had a bad break-up and I think I wanted the iso­la­tion that comes from trav­el­ling over­seas to an is­land. It’s es­pe­cially great when you go some­where you can’t even spend any money, it’s re­ally good for clear­ing your head. I wanted the es­cape. Where had the worst 4G cov­er­age? Well, the Ir­ish one, if you’re on the far side of the is­land, you’ve got noth­ing. I had to climb a big hill just to take this call. If you could buy your own pri­vate is­land any­where in the world, where would it be? It would be some­where where you’d get more guar­an­teed good weather than Ire­land. Some­where like Ma­jorca would be per­fect. I’ll take Ma­jorca! Some of Ash’s most en­dur­ing songs were writ­ten while you were still in school. Are there any lyrics you wish you could’ve stopped your 17- year-old self from writ­ing? Our song An­gel In­ter­cep­tor has a lyric that goes “I miss you”, but it sounds re­mark­ably like “I’m a shoe”. That’s the one that I kind of wish I’d thought about a lit­tle bit harder. But we fil­tered out the re­ally em­bar­rass­ing stuff. I do re­mem­ber our pro­ducer Owen Mor­ris send­ing me back to re­write lyrics at cer­tain points, so there was a cool per­son there to veto stuff. You do lots of Muay Thai train­ing. How hard are you on a scale of one to 10? I think cos I don’t look hard, I get a bonus point, so prob­a­bly like a seven. I got into it about five years ago. I’ve trav­elled to Thai­land to train in Bangkok twice since then. I’ve never had a com­pet­i­tive fight but when I’m in New York I train about four or five times a week. It’s ad­dic­tive. Seven is of­fi­cially hard. How long did it take you to get used to be­ing punched in the face? It prob­a­bly took about a year to be able to ac­cept that your spar­ring part­ner isn’t ac­tu­ally try­ing to knock you out. There’s a re­ally big en­dor­phin rush af­ter a ses­sion. It’s so sat­is­fy­ing if you ever sweep some­one and throw them on the ground. What will you be do­ing 20 min­utes from now? Hik­ing down a hill and wait­ing for our drum­mer to get the next ferry over cos his plane landed late and he missed the ear­lier boat and it’s de­pen­dent on tides when you can get here. He’s been sit­ting at the air­port for about eight hours now. Is it usu­ally him who’s late? It’s nor­mally me. There’s a cou­ple of gigs I’ve al­most missed. You should en­joy this then, make sure you rub it in his face. Def­i­nitely! Thanks for your time, Tim. Good chat­ting, cheers, all the best!

4G 2018.

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