10 Questions with… Rise Ashen
June 30th, 2013
Rise Ashen, from Ottawa, Canada is the next of our artists to answer our infamous ten questions.
What musical projects have you been working on lately?
I have been dancing a lot, taking classes and going to NYC and still soaking in the deep house music and dance with my mentors. Been getting into training with the Regiment Bartendaz... Building a rig in my back yard. I have been working on are more re-edits and bootlegs with Jojo Flores and Rom under the name Jamsteady, and some new original material with a couple of singers in Ottawa, May-Jun and Tara Porter and a bunch of remixes. I produced a record for an Ottawa band called Bhavan2 that makes music for Yoga, mostly old chants in Sanskrit, and I have been performing with them as their percussionist, as well as DJing for some yoga classes with a teacher called Ichih Wang. Delving deep into that tradition and the music associated with it, it's been fun. Also DJing some festivals this summer.
When did you start making music and what made you start?
My parents put me in recorder flute lessons with a crazy Montreal Jazzman called Jeffrey May when I was 7. 1981. His approach was very free, all about improvisation, grooving and vibing and listening to others. He is the musical equivalent of a street dancer. Around then I started hanging with this kid on my street whose dad was a Jamaican DJ and collector. I never knew any of the names of the music we listened to back then, but we would dub stuff onto tapes from the radio. Now I won't keep a piece of music unless I know the name of the artist and the song. We would bboy (or try to learn) and pop in the street on some cardboard and spend the whole summer just dancin and listening to music. We had this beat up tape player it would always shred the tapes sooner or later. We would try to splice them back up... Learned to splice that way before going to recording school... My mother bought us this casio keyboard and we used to sample animal sounds and fart noises for hours and pitch them up and down and mess around. I remember the first time i heard Kraftwerk's Tour De France. We were like WHOOOOAAAAAA.
How would you describe your current sound?
The crossroads of traditional music and futuristic dancefloor mixology.
Who are your biggest influences; musical or otherwise?
In life my wife Tangent, my parents and my sister, the life coach Steven Covey, the Buddha, my Kung Fu Teacher Kiem Hoo Lee, my many Yoga teachers and dance teachers. Musically some of the big ones would be (in no particular order) Tony Allen, King Tubby and Lee Scrath Perry, James Brown and Clive Stubblefield, Suba, The Realworld label of Peter Gabriel, Tony Allen, Boddhi Satva and Osunlade, Talvin Singh, Kahil El Zabar, Jojo Flores, Stephane Lefrançois, Miguel Graca, Trevor Walker and all of the amazing artists I have been blessed to share time playing and learning with.
What is an average day in your life?
Wake up, Kung Fu for an hour while my wife and I drink tea and plan our day, stretch and joke around. Go to work in the real world (continue until the people of the real world are tired) then go to the dance studio, learn or teach, train, eat a late supper, come home and work in the studio til i am zonked, sauna and run outside and breathe deeply that fresh Ottawa night time air, especially in minus twenty, shower and cuddle and deep sleep, wake up and repeat.
What are some of your pet peeves?
I try not to have them. I learned that those were usually reflections of something i did not like in myself. the more i work on me, the less of those i have. Life is beautiful, Attitude of Gratitude.
Thinking back to your childhood, what were your first experiences with music? What songs do you remember most as a child?
Already touched on those, but definitely the bass and the hands on the cardboard. fat laces, the spraypaint, the BASS. turning up the sony walk-man up to 10 on the bus and wishing there was an 11. Kraftwerk, RUN DMC, Bambaata and all the early hip hop and then jazz and blues and afrocuban and african music.
Do you have any other interests or talents that you would like to share?
I think people sell themselves short of what they can do in life. Just because you are good at one thing, doesn't mean you can be good at a hundred others. Sky is the limit. In the old traditional societies, nobody did just one thing. Everyone had a field to plow, children to feed, dreams to chase, maybe they danced, wrote, drummed, told stories, sewed. But then again they didn't have 20 hours of TV to watch every week. That's a good place to start cutting if you are looking for more time.
In the words of Seneca 2000 years ago: "Life is long enough, and it has been given in sufficiently generous measure to allow the accomplishment of the very greatest things if the whole of it is well invested. "
How do you like to relax when you are not making music?
I like to relax by jumping around til I hit VO2max in nightclubs in NYC with some of the originators and future soul souldiers of house until my legs are so sore I can barely walk down the steps to the subway. I like to do Bikram's beginner sequence. I like to sleep.
Is there anything else you'd like to tell us?
Thanks for reading this! Seize the day! Never stop growing... You are here on this earth to manifest your inner divinity. The body is a terrible leader and an excellent worker. Push yourself hard and the rewards will be limitless...
When he wrote that the life expectancy in Rome was 25.