Band Name: Ashes Fallen
Members: James Perry, Michelle Perry, Jason Shaw
Answers by band leader James Perry
Ashes Fallen song you are excited about right now
James: I love all of our songs! I’m really happy with “Start Again”. That was the very last song we put together for the album, and we barely got it together in time, but it turned out great. I love how it sounds, the lyrics are something I really wanted to say, and I’m so proud of us for getting it done in time. Sometimes that pressure and focus from a deadline can really inspire something good.
What singers or bands inspired you growing up?
James: I grew up in a house filled with classical music. I think being exposed to the classics still inspires a lot of how I write. Like most kids of my generation, I was all about the Michael Jackson “Thriller” album. He was just so cool. Later, the first time I saw on MTV, it changed my life. I wanted to be an electric guitar player. A little later I got into Pink Floyd (like many high school kids do) and they were a huge influence… the huge sound and sound effects, the simple melodicism of David Gilmour’s leads, the depth of the lyrics… Everything changed for me again at age 15 or so when I first heard Skinny Puppy. They were my gateway drug into all this spiky, black hard-edged music I’ve come to love.
Who are your favorite artists today?
James: I still enjoy a lot of metal. Devin Townsend is my favorite musician of all time and he’s still doing amazing work. There’s so much great new dark music happening now. I just heard a post-punk band from Berlin called the Golden Apes for the first time the other day and they were just great. An amazing voice, really dynamic songwriting. A few years ago, Michelle and I saw a post-punk band from Mexicali called Silent and they completely blew our minds. Such great music and such a powerful force onstage. There are so many older artists that are still out there doing amazing work. Gary Numan’s most recent album “Savage” is possibly his best work ever. Killing Joke’s last album is just so good too. There are so many great bands here in northern California too, in and out of the goth scene. Believe me, I could go on and on.
What non-musical things inspire your music?
James: My songwriting tends to be autobiographical, so a lot of what’s inspired my writing has been my own life experiences. I occasionally get inspired just watching films or shows, sometimes I’ll hear a snippet of the soundtrack and think “what if they went THIS way instead of that way?” I find film soundtracks very inspiring anyway.
Is there a place where you go to be inspired?
James: Michelle and I are fortunate enough to be homeowners, and she loves working on the house. She’s making it a space where we can both be inspired to create.
What’s been the greatest achievement of your band?
James: We’re a very new band, so at this point it was just getting our first album finished in such a short time! We’ve only been a band since February 2019. In July, we did a brief tour with our friends 13th Sky, and I really wanted us to have our album finished and ready to sell for those shows. It took one hell of a lot of time and effort from everyone to get there, but we did it!
Where was the coolest place to play? Where did you enjoy yourselves the most?
James: Every show is fun in its own way! As of today, we’ve only played nine shows as a band. I think the coolest place we’ve played so far was Batcave S.F., held at the Knockout on Mission Street in San Francisco. It was wild! Lots of cool bands, drag performers, an awesome crowd… I think the most fun I’ve had at a show so far was the time we played Powerhouse Pub in Folsom on a Wednesday night. We had a decent turnout for playing late on a weeknight, and the club’s got great sound and a nice big stage which is always inspiring, and even though it was late and hot and we were all tired, we were just ON that night. Looking forward to more shows!
What are your favorite horror movies?
James: I enjoy the classics. Dracula. Frankenstein. Nosferatu. I just love the imagery and craftsmanship of those early films and what they were able to do with limited technology. Michelle showed me “Shadow of the Vampire”, a horror film about the filming of Nosferatu and I thought that was really great. I’m not into any slasher stuff, give me something atmospheric and psychological, not blood and guts. Michelle’s a huge fan of vampire films and has a massive collection. She’s also a huge fan of the Hannibal and Penny Dreadful TV series, and we’re both looking forward to the new Penny Dreadful City of Angels.
What was the scariest night of your life?
James: Maybe scary isn’t the right word, but the night I flew to New Zealand, unannounced, to ask Michelle to marry me was pretty nerve-wracking! I was so nervous she’d figure out what I was up to. But somehow I pulled off the surprise!
If you could play anywhere in the world, where would it be and who would be your opening band?
James: Anywhere and everywhere! I live for this stuff. I played in Guadalajara, Mexico as a fill-in guitarist with 13th Sky earlier this year and that was the wildest show of my life, such passionate music fans down there! I’d love to get Ashes Fallen down there as well. I also really hope we get to play in New Zealand some day so Michelle’s old friends can see her owning the stage! As for an opening act? We love it when we get to play shows with our friends. Maybe for my birthday one year I’ll set up a big show and have us and all our friends’ bands play.
What are you working on now for future release?
James: We’re pretty fully engrossed in playing live right now, but we do hope to have a new EP or single out early next year. I’m writing a few riffs here and there and thinking about which old, unfinished songs I’d like to try to explore with this band; believe me, I’ve got a ton of them! I wrote a lot of the songs on our debut album myself before we were a band, so I’m definitely looking forward to us doing more writing as a team. We’ve also been talking about putting together a proper music video for one of our songs, so watch out for that! We’ll be sharing more video footage from our live shows as well.
Final Thoughts / Anything you want to tell the listeners?
James: Go out to a show! There are so many great local, national, and international bands out in the clubs giving it their all to half-empty clubs that are struggling to keep their doors open. I love seeing shows and playing live so much and I don’t want it to die out completely.