Bashy: word to describe accomplished actor, grime artist and man dabbling in fashion. I dropped Ashley Thomas, aka Bashy, a quick line to discuss these three subjects, although we focused more on his music because ‘Bring The Lights Down’ has been released this month and is available to on iTunes now!
Your first vocation was to be an actor. Having gone to BRIT school was music always in the back of your mind?
Yeah always somewhere lurking because saw it as way to express myself & what I was thinking.
When did music as a professional endeavour come into the mix?
(Laughs) I thought I was a pro from the get go! But probably when I quit my job as bus driver & I haven’t looked back since.
Your sound is your own; we know it’s you when we hear your tracks. What inspires your sound and your lyrics?
Yeah most definitely, I’ve got a unique sound to my voice too, which makes me instantly recognisable on tracks. I guess that comes from being from west London, growing up in a west Indian home & genes. Everything, everyone & anything can spark my lyrics. They’re usually just my thoughts, views or experiences. They come from a real place & whenever I speak from that real place people relate. Sound wise just whatever I hear & whatever I grew up listening to, Lovers Rock, Garage, Grime, Jungle, Hip Hop and Ragga.
How has your sound formed itself during the years?
Yes 100%, I think I’m more comfortable with myself on a whole as an adult, which reflects in my sound. I was trying to find my way in this big world got lost for a bit but I think I’m on the right path in life & that comes through musically.
You’re well known for advocating hard work to succeed; where does your work ethic come from?
My mum & dad I reckon, I never saw them slack plus the will do something positive with the talents the universe has given me. If I don’t work hard it’s like a slap in the face to the universe & my grandparents who came here from the West Indies in order to provide their children & grand children with better opportunities then they had.
Being an independent artist and self-funded is hard work, but is it a blessing to have that freedom to make music that is real, without no big business music minds sticking their nose in?
Yeah it’s a blessing & a burden sometimes. Musically & hustle wise it’s like we can do what we want when we want whenever we want, but financially & influence wise it can be tricky because we don’t have the same power as a major label; they hold the key to radio, marketing and man power. We’re self funded so we obviously don’t have the same money but our blessing is that we’re blessed with good ideas, talent & the listeners respect our movement so we can always make the right noise.
You looking to stay as you are, or you waiting for the right person to sign with?
We’ve always been open to deals & labels because we understand how the industry works and still are open but we just can’t be getting bumped, so it’s either we work together where it can work for both parties & we all win, or we grind it ourselves like we’ve always done & it’s Ragz 2 Richez Ent to the end!
How do you feel about the UK grime scene at the moment? What you bringing to the table?
It’s cool, Grime birthed a lot of talent in the UK. It’s the most organic sound from the roads in the UK. It’ll never die, its like Hip Hop, has many similarities & some of the artist float between the two with ease such as myself. I’ve always brought my take on it to the forefront of the scene & will continue to do so.
Fire In The Booth was sick! Charlie Sloth and 1Xtra are advocates of your music; how does it to feel to have that support?
Crazy!! The support has been nuts, I can’t lie; calls & tweets from major label MDs, footballers, other artists…to big men & women stopping on the road. Big up Charlie Sloth & 1Xtra for setting that up.
You’ve released ‘Bring The Lights Down’ this month of May so tell me about your plans for this year. Give me the lowdown on dates for more releases and gigs.
Yeah people can get ‘Bring The Lights Down’ now from itunes so they should do that 100%. No festivals because I haven’t put out enough music this year to get booked for them but next year for sure. I’ll be working on my album over the summer for a potential 2015 release so fingers crossed all good.
Lastly, at Spindle we include a lot of fashion and you’ve got your own hoodies and Ts! Do you love a bit of fashion Bashy? How would you describe your style?
(Laughs) we got snapbacks too now, did a collab with Starter, big up Duane Jones for setting that up. My style is forever evolving, I’m getting more into fashion everyday, learning & getting inspired. Right now I just like sports luxe cos it’s relaxed & I don’t have to think about it too much, I just throw it on. I’m lucky, I have a very slim build so clothes fit me pretty well, now I just gotta stay away from the junk food.
Feature photo: Juan Jose Ortiz