Full written interview.
Hey, very happy to welcome you to the Radio Show and Podcast community. Tell us a little bit more about yourself. Introduce yourself to the community.
Firstly thank you so much for this opportunity. I really appreciate it. My name Is Ashwin Smith and I am from Cape Town, South Africa and I do music. Just your typical friendly neighborhood music head.
One thing that I’m always interested in, when I sit down and chat with artists is, what their defining moment was that they knew that they wanted to be in music… What was that moment in time for you?
I can’t remember exactly when that moment was. I do know it was right after I picked up playing guitar and that came from seeing one performance Prince did of his song “Dreamer”. I remember that was on the Tonight show with Jay Leno. I don’t know how you can watch that and not want to play too.
Do you mix and master yourself or do you have an engineer or a producer that works with you?
Yep. I do all of it myself even though sometimes it is a chore but for now I’m doing it myself. Once I can afford to have someone do it for me, I’ll definitely want to lighten the load and just focus getting the music down. I’ll probably still wear the producer hat but the technical stuff I’ll leave for someone else to do.
What motivates you? Not just in your music but in your normal life as well.
A lot. Remarkable people, historical events, other creators in all the artistic fields. I love listening to Startalk. It’s a podcast I listen to whenever I can. It is great for if you want to create a sense of awe or wonderment because that in turn helps spark ideas and helps with your imagination. All these motivates and inspire me.
I am personally on a mission to get good music heard by everyone. What is one thing that bothers you the most about trying to come up in the music world today and, do you prefer being underground or, is the mainstream something you strive for?
Great question. One thing I think a lot of upcoming artist will agree on bothers them most is getting people behind you in the early days and having to constantly put yourself out there. Most of my artist friends are introverts or empaths so it can get draining very quickly. I don’t think I want to be mainstream. I think what I’ll be most happy with is to just have enough support of my music to sustain me and not necessarily have excessive fame.
Who, musically, is one of your bigger influences?
I have a lot of musical influences and they change in terms of the context. I think my biggest overall one is probably Prince. Then I have influences that are more specific to each genre I gravitate towards. There’s Kimbra, Tame Impala, Michael Jackson, Terrence Trent D’arby, The Beatles, The Weeknd. There is a whole lot more. I am influenced by a lot of music. My recent obsession is indie pop so Dayglow is a big one now.
One question that I like to ask artists is, how did Covid affect your music in particular and the music scene in your area?
The Cape Town music scene was affected a lot as a lot of artists relied on live performances. I only started releasing music in 2020 and I am fortunate enough to have a day job to pay the bills. A lot of people had to adapt and find new ways to work but I think this is something that happened all over.
I, myself, personally think that there’s too much social media out there to keep up with. I understand why it’s necessary but there’s a ton of it out there. What are your feelings on social media and music today?
It’s a double-edged sword. We have a lot more tools to make music a career and get in front of more people without the help of signing your life away to a record label. At the same time, we we’re not supposed to take in all this information at one time. I don’t think that we were built for that. It is pretty bad for your psyche.
Do you create music often? When can we expect another release?
After “Joker & Murray” I’ll release a 3 more singles and end the year off with an EP. I also have a few collaborations planned with music videos in the works too. I have a lot of music that I haven’t released yet which I will eventually.
I grew up in the 90’s, I listened to everyone from Dr. Dre, to Weezer, to Pink Floyd, Metallica, Cypress Hill and back again. I truly believe that the 90’s were one of the greatest era’s for original music. Which era of music is one of your favorites?
Oh cool yeah one of my favorite bands is Nirvana. For me it’s between 70s and the 80s but I’m leaning towards the 70s. There was a lot of cool things happening on all spectrums. Pop, Rock and Soul.
If you could swap yourself into a different artist, who would it be?
Björk. I think it’ll be cool to be her. There is no one like her and only she can do what she does. I think it will be interesting to see how she looks at the world. She’s another big inspiration.
What tips or advice would you give someone that’s just starting out in the music game?
Keep at it and always try and acknowledge to progress you have made. Make mistakes and learn from it. Mistakes are good when you learn and improve.
I want to thank you for this Q&A, Is there anything you want to say to everyone out there? Shout outs?
Thank you to everyone who’s listening. I feel like I’m only starting out now so It’s great to have support and I hope that somehow my music helps make life a little bit more enjoyable for you.
Follow, Ashwin at the following handles:
Spotify: Ashwin Smith