Portugal’s prog rock band Ash is a Robot is booming in Europe right now, still supporting their self-titled record which was released a few years back. They’ve played many shows in Europe, and toured with other acts such as The Color Morale. They are planning on releasing their second full-length album Return of the Pariah: The Chronicles of Edward in early 2017, and we at Bucketlist had a chance to chat a little about it and their future plans.
Hey guys! First of all, thanks for taking time to answer some questions I have for you. I’ve been following you guys since the beginning, and I am amazed at how far you’ve come. It’s been two years since the release of your first full-length, self-titled record. You’ve decided to go a little more conceptual with the second record, Return of the Pariah: The Chronicles of Edward, which seems to tell a story based on each song having a chapter title; it even comes with a graphic novel. What is this based on or inspired by?
It’s basically a sci-fi story about time travel and conspiracy theories, with also a lot of autobiographical secrets! Just to give you guys a little bit of what’s coming.
You guys have really broadened your sound with this record. Every track has a different feeling or element. One that stood out for me in particular was “Chapter IV: The Chrononaut Phenomenon Feat Maik Czymara (An Early Cascade)”. It starts out with almost a retro sound. What was the process like when making this album vs. the first one?
Well, the first album was based on the style of a previous band from our previous guitar player Renato Sousa (who also participated in this album, but unfortunately isn’t in the band anymore). Our composition process was still pretty immature at that time. We just wanted to release something that would expose our sound and style more.
We grew up, in time, to feel that we needed to work more on the details. We are all big fans of progressive rock from the ’70s – ’90s, so we decided to implement those tasty riffs and big reverb sounds in some of our songs; “Chapter IV: The Chrononaut Phenomenon Feat Maik Czymara (An Early Cascade)” is one of them. But we knew we couldn’t go that far. We also wanted to keep the punk attitude in the songs. We were, I believe, careful enough, and the end result is this album.
You released the first video for “Chapter V: Schrödinger Whale – Featuring Garret Rapp (The Color Morale)” – what was it like working with Garret Rapp?
We met Garret when we were one of their support acts on a European tour they did in early summer of 2015. We became good friends with the band during that time, and one night after the Munich show we were talking backstage and we showed them the video for “Schrodinger Whale,” and they really liked the song! We decided to just ask straight away if he would like to do a feature with us, and he immediately accepted it! He tracked the vocals back at home a couple of months later, and we loved the result.
Do you plan on releasing music videos for the new record to coincide with the stories told on the record? When is the next one?
We plan on releasing a music video for each and every song of the new album, and the videos may or not be related to the story itself. But in one way or another, we will try to convey the spirit of the song on video and the chapter in question. The next one will probably come out next to the album release date.
Do you feel like you have progressed as artists over the years? Will you continue experimenting with different elements?
We think we have evolved musically over the years since the start of the band, and that shows in our new sound. We definitely have more melodic elements; for example, Cláudio is singing a lot more. And we will never stop exploring new elements because we just love many types of music, and we think it’s okay as long as the essence of the band is still there.
You guys have played a ton of shows over the last few years, mainly in Europe. Do you have any plans for any upcoming shows outside of Europe? Canada perhaps?
Well, there are plans for a European tour after the album’s release. Shows outside of Europe are a little bit out of our reach at the moment, but we would love to tour the US and Canada!
You guys have ridiculous energy when performing on stage. How many times in total has Claudio Anibal hurt himself on stage?
Cláudio’s injuries include a deep cut on the face with a cymbal, a broken finger, and the infamous heel injury that took a lot of time to heal!
What is left on your Bucket List?
A lot is left in our Bucket List! We would love to do a US tour, a Japan tour, play some big festivals, and continue making music together! Everything is possible!
Thanks again for taking the time to answer these. I wish you luck, and we will keep hoping you guys play a show here in Canada!!!
Written and Compiled by Liz Imperiale
*edited by Kate Erickson