Skip to content

Andrew Ashong brings live music to The Ends

December 6, 2019

Andrew Ashong

ANDREW ASHONG is a man who you either know, have seen or have heard through his music. If it is in fact none of the above, he is certainly someone where the conversation will flow as it did for us when we met up for a coffee.

GHANA – FOREST HILL – FLOWERS – THEO PARRISH – DJ – ARTIST – MUSICIAN – YOGA – COMMUNICATOR – FRIEND – THINKER – INSPIRED – INSTRUMENTALIST – SINGER

For those that have crossed paths or caught a conversation with him, any one of the above words can almost certainly be affiliated with him. Ironically after sitting down before his anticipated gig at one south London’s newest venues ‘The Front Room’ tonight, Friday 6th December, we discovered that like his music Andrew isn’t someone to be defined by labels. It is perhaps this openness and sense of freedom that comes through his music and attracts music lovers to his sound and infectious shows. Here is what went down when we spoke:

How has the year been for you and how is Andrew?

This last year I specifically embraced the word “no” and backed away from gigs. I put live performances and DJing on a back burner as:

I wanted to put myself back into the studio.

After years of doing loads of gigs, I wanted to make sure I was back on recording. I have always been recording so much music so I never felt the urgency to release it. But through doing so many gigs I realised I wasn’t doing enough writing and recording. Before this, everyday would involve some sort of music making so I’ve enjoyed getting back in to the studio.

The studio:

“In the studio you’re exploring things; indulging. All of my songs have been very immediate without too much overthought and have not been ‘over-laboured’. I press record and it would flow out”.

“Recordings are a moment in time. Then when you perform them they become a different thing”.

Now when I record, at the back of my mind is ‘we might be playing this live at some point‘ so that affects the mindset whilst in the studio.

Live shows:

AndrewAshong1-2000x1333

“Previously I had done so much of the indulging that the gigging was a whole new discipline. It took me a few years to get in to it fully and wholeheartedly but on stage the songs take a whole different life”.

If there was ever a reason to check out Andrew’s show this evening at The Front Room, it would be to see the songs evolve on stage in front of you. He performs with a band that he quite often rotates. With this in mind each musician will bring their own interpretation to the performance, which means that each show is different.

“All the stuff I’ve released it’s only me. That’s why when I play live it’s very much a different beast. It’s entirely exciting and spontaneous”.

You’re good to let that be?

“Absolutely. That’s what makes it interesting. Everything is an interpretation”.

As he says this, our minds wander back to when we caught Femi Kuti on stage earlier this year at Royal Festival Hall. It’s something special when you can witness an artist on stage almost acting like a conductor of an orchestra but in this case allowing a sense of freedom amongst the band so as to create something unique on each occasion.

Femi Kuti, Live performance

In constantly evolving times, how do you stay relevant to your fans and new audiences?

What is relevance? J Dilla’s appreciation shot up since his passing.

“You can shape yourself to be what you think is relevant but in reality relevance is always moving so we’re always playing catching.

A way to answer this question is to look at what just naturally happens. By saying this, I find that people reach out to me and just by being out and about, I do meet a lot of people and get in to conversation. People may reflect on a recent gig of mine they went to, or a song they could relate to.

Also I’ve been in the music scene for a while as it’s gone through it’s different iterations. I’ve been DJing since I was 15 years old and I’m constantly meeting people in this capacity, as a vinyl collector, at shows, after my shows”.

Andrew-Ashong-1500-1500x750

It is such a ‘DIY’ home made thing I’m doing. Some time may go by and I almost forget what I did then someone recalls what a track meant to them. So it’s a real blessing to hear this“.

Music and his sound…

“It’s always felt quite personal. It’s particular people that related to it in a personal way. My sound has never really been part of a particular genre. Also even till now some people are not aware that I play all instruments on the records. I guess this is becoming more infrequent these days”…

Interacting with people and fans keeps Andrew relevant and creates that connection that is becoming all too less transparent in the world of social media. 

How do you retain your audience?

“Someone did come up to me at a record fair and congratulated me on ‘Flowers’ which in her world was one of the last tunes everyone was able to enjoy without any social media assistance at all. There was something that changed around that time.

“After 2012 I reluctantly went on it at the time. Social media now appears to be essential, which is also why it’s funny with my first release where people didn’t know who was behind it. It was good for me to see people respond to just the music”.

“The marker of whether is music connecting beyond skin, genre, local communities – this is where one can really resonate with the human condition”.

What can people to expect from The Front Room gig?

“I like the idea of every gig being a one off moment of presence. It’s only happening now so I tailor make  performances to that particular moment. The Front Room is set up to be a standing audience so I’m going to make sure the show will be lively”.

“Croydon as a destination is constantly evolving. It is so big in itself and is taking on a cultural shift, where it has all the makings of a self-contained scene where people stay local”.

Who would you most like to collaborate with?

“I guess I relate to someone with the mind like Prince. There aren’t that many single instrument musicians out there. For me everything is about the collaborative sound. If there was the one individual for me to pick then it would have to be Jorge Ben – I just love his general musical sensibilities and how he approaches everything. The fact that he never really falls into one style sound or genre. He’s one of these guys that moves – He’s a bit of a Don”.

Jorge-BenJor-02

What is the best advice you’ve been given?

Andrew pauses and properly contemplates here…

“A friend of mine that’s an A&R and a great musician and has been involved in some successful projects and with the best artists, said to me when I was first doing my live shows that…

“…you’re the artist and it’s up to you how you want to do the live show. You’re just showing you now. It hasn’t got to be what it will be in 5 years or 10 year’s time when you’ve built it into this beautiful unique thing. When you’re making a song all you’re doing is what you’re doing now. You mustn’t get too stifled or distracted on what it can be. You mustn’t be intimidated by the idea of ‘perfection’ It’s a snapshot – a photo of where you’re at today. They are coming to see you what you decide to present to them. It’s up to you and there aren’t any rules”.

“Anyone I meet who’s in the music game especially those on the rise, I try and remind them of this. It’s important to let go of the hunger for perfection”.

Catch ANDREW ASHONG performing tonight at:

V E N U E :  T H E  F R O N T  R O O M

A D D R E S S : 3 7 – 3 9  S T. G E O R G E S  W A L K, C R O Y D O N. C R 0 1 Y L

T I C K E T S :  C L I C K  H E R E

FOLLOW ANDREW ASHONG ON:

F A C E B O O K

I N S T A G R A M

Y O U T U B E

S O U N D C L O U D

Courtesy of ‘The Thinker

ANDREW ASHONG THE FRONT ROOM

#BritishFashionAwards2019 #BestDressed

December 3, 2019

Big names at the 2019 Fashion Awards didn’t let London’s arctic temperatures deter them from delivering bold choices on the red carpet. The event celebrated the best in fashion this year, with celebrities, models and style icons showcasing strong sartorial looks by nominated designers, from the UK and beyond.

Here let’s take a look at these special attires selected by these famous stars and celebrities:

Julia Roberts in Armani Privé:

IMG_2299

Rihanna in Fenty:

IMG_2303

Rosie Huntington-Whiteley in Bottega Veneta:

IMG_2301

Cate Blanchett in Armarni Privé:

IMG_2298

Naomi Campbell in Alexander McQueen:

IMG_2300

Sara Sampaio in Armarni Privé:

Sara-Sampaio-at-British-Fashion-Awards-2019

Emilia Clarke in Schiaparelli:

IMG_2310

Alexa Chung in Alexachung:

IMG_2302

Nathalie Emmanuel in Preen:

nathalie-emmanuel-fashion-awards-2019-red-carpet-in-london-12_thumbnail

Adut Akech in Valentino:

adut-akech-fashion-awards-2019-red-carpet-in-london-0

 

Courtesy of ‘BAZAAR

#EdwardMongzar #ReadyToWear #HandMarbling

November 29, 2019

Fashion has been an area we constantly concentrate on and work to make an impact. As creative entrepreneurs ourselves, we understand that this journey can be exciting, frustrating, and hard. It can be lonely. You get the highest highs and the lowest lows, sometimes both before breakfast. But if you are on a journey with friends and people with genuine support, and if you are creating something uniquely yours, every moment of that journey is worthwhile.

As always, we give our genuine support to artists and fashion designers. Today, we are honoured to interview the designers of Edward Mongzar–A UK based hand-marbling womenswear brand.

Each piece possesses serene luxury, encompassing the belief of unfading elegance, effortlessly. Edward prides himself upon creating pieces that are gentle, ethereal and poised, using marbling as the medium to translate his vision.

Marbling represents Edward’s core beliefs as a designer. The gentle swirls of the marbling, juxtaposed with the unpredictability of the dye, represent his belief that womenswear should be soft and gentle, as well as freeing and liberating. He views the marbling process as a representation of the ideal ‘live and let live’, with the water and dye acting independently but coming together to create something beautiful. Edward Mongzar has successfully brought the mediums of marbling and luxury fashion to life, combining the two to create unique and individual pieces. Edward hand marbles each piece of fabric for his collections himself, so each garment he makes has a personal touch.

3

1. When did you start your fashion label? Where is it based? Where are your products manufactured?

‘I started the Edward Mongzar the label in 2016. Edward Mongzar is based in the U.K. and we currently manufacture in both the U.K. and India! I’m really proud to be able to support manufacturers here in the U.K. but I am equally as happy to be supporting manufacturing in India as it’s my home country and it’s exciting to be a part of the change to ethical manufacturing there too!’

2. Where do you get the inspirations from for your designs?

‘For me nature is a huge inspiration, I get a lot of inspiration on long walks and during my travels. I am also really inspired by the phrase ‘live and let live’ which is what inspires me so much about hand marble dyeing. You can never completely control the way the colours swirls across the water and this lines up perfectly with my belief that clothing that I create should be freeing for the women who wear them.

I am also really inspired by classic silhouettes and really like to stick to them whilst designing for a timeless look.’

3. How do you find your designer/entrepreneur life in the fashion industry?

‘Actually I can’t imagine doing anything better, I feel blessed every day to get the standard of education my parents were able to give me and that I am able to do what I love every single day.

Of course there are challenges, especially in fashion, it’s a crazy industry where everything can and does go wrong but somehow we creatives always manage to thrive under pressure and work everything out in the end!

The people in the industry also make it worthwhile, owners of other labels, boutique owners, customers and everyone in between are so lovely and it really feels like a supportive industry most of the time so I’m really grateful to be a part of that too.’

4. What is the biggest challenge you have found on this journey?

‘Being an independent label and having big limits on what we can do in terms of keeping up with the pace of the industry and always being pushed into trying to match big brands in terms of that. It’s really hard as a creative person to be constrained in what we can do due to not having huge budgets, a big workforce or access to certain things that much bigger brands have.’

5. Any advice you would like to give to prospective designers who want to start their own business?

‘Of course, for me I would say it really important to get a degree or at the very least a foundation course in fashion design because it teaches you so many useful skills and it really does give you a well rounded view of what being a designer entails.

I would also say that in this day and age business classes are probably also a must and are something I wish I had done before launching the business.

It’s also great to make sure you are well connected and before you even launch you should try to get connected by attending panel talks, discussion groups and socials such as those set up by UKFT Rise as having the right connections can make things 100 times easier. You can sometimes get really lucky and achieve something through a connection that you didn’t think was possible yet. Networking is a must!’

Here are the designers behind the brand Edward Mongzar: Josh Tuck (left) and Edward Mongzar (right).

EdwardnJosh

 

Images Courtesy of ‘Edward Mongzar

Interview Notes Courtesy of ‘The Designer

 

@rchinouriri from ‘Bedroom Tales’ to ‘The Front Room’ #livemusic @frontroomspace #CroydonMusicCity

November 27, 2019

Croydon, Music City, Croydon, Timeout London, Phase, Mixmag, The Front Room Rachel

Croydon’s very own Rachel Chinouriri graces the stage at the first of what is a double header of quality talent to hit the stage The Front Room. The venue grows in stature in attracting top artists, and we are sure that the crowd will give Rachel a warm welcome as she brings her soulful vibe to the space.

“Her soul-influenced take on the singer-songwriter rulebook places her alongside Nilufer Yanya in giving the solo musician with a guitar a new feel in 2018” – DIY

“The 19 year old South Londoner has a deftness of touch, a softness of execution that seems to render fresh intensity to her every move.” – Clash

It was only a couple of years ago where she wrote an EP and recorded it on her laptop using a 20.00 pound microphone, mixed it on her mums laptop and dropped it on Soundcloud. The EP is aptly named ‘Bedroom Tales’, and saw support from BBC Introducing pretty much instantly, establishing Rachel as an act to watch.

WHEN: Friday 29th November

WHERE: The Front Room, 37-39 St Georges Walk, Croydon. CR0 1YL

TICKETS: Available from http://www.frontroom.space or http://www.ticketweb.uk

#MondayMotivation

November 25, 2019

#Frozen2 #Tomorrow!

November 21, 2019

 

@TubbyBoyMusic LIVE as Croydon Calling returns #livemusic

November 20, 2019

Croydon, Music City, Croydon, Timeout London, Phase, Mixmag, TUBBYBOY, MR FOX

Tubby Boy will be performing at Mr Fox on Saturday the 23rd. Part of the Croydon Calling series of events bringing live music to south London. The event is FREE to enter.

WHERE: Mr Fox

WHEN: Saturday 23rd November

%d bloggers like this: