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“My Omega-3 oils are definitely flowing”

Published: June, 2007

We caught up with Tim in Belfast on Wednesday to get all the latest from Team Ash.

Hey Tim, how are you doing?
Really good, thanks. Although I’ve been existing on ridiculous sleep patterns.

Because of jetlag?
Yeah. Two nights ago I got half an hour’s sleep and then had to get up at 7am to do an acoustic radio session. But things are going really well. We’re finally gearing up to get the album out. The new single’s a week on Monday and then the album comes out on July 2nd.

How are things shaping up with the single?
It’s going good. We’re starting to get some really good radio play on it. Radio 2 have been playing it a lot and we’ve been getting a lot of regional stuff that we’ve never had before. It’s fucking great actually.

The video looks good too.
Yeah, I’m really pleased with how that turned out, with all its explosions and everything. We probably won’t be recreating that live! But I think it’s definitely one of our best videos.

You played the Isle of Skye festival since we last spoke. How was that?
That was cool, actually. We got to see Echo and the Bunnymen and the Buzzcocks play.

Did you hang out with them too?
Yeah. It was the first time I’d ever met the Buzzcocks. I went and drank some of their champagne with them after their gig and almost got in trouble because I was late getting on the bus and we had a ferry to catch. But it was a really good festival, even though it was pretty cold and rainy and it was a hell of a drive up there. I tried to sleep on the bus, but I just couldn’t.

Do you always have sleep problems when you’re touring?
No, this is the worst I’ve ever had it. I think it’s extreme jet lag because I’ve been going back and forth to New York so much. And probably a bit of stress before the album comes out and travelling and all that.

What else have you been up to in the last couple of weeks?
We played at a motocross festival at Slane Castle in Ireland. It was a pretty weird combination of music, castles and motorbikes, but we had a really good time. The bikers were doing some pretty insane stuff, like letting go of their bike 60 feet in the air during a jump and then getting back on it before it landed.

Did you have a go?
No, but at the end of the night Mark got on a BMX and rode all round the track. He had six security guards chasing after him. They didn’t catch him though. I think he felt very proud of himself. Then after Slane Castle we went back to New York for four days last week and finished off some B-sides. Now we’re back over in Ireland for a few Irish gigs.

How have they been?
Really good. It’s great to be doing some of our own shows to our own fans in between doing festivals and motorbike events and student balls.

Are you getting used to playing the new material now?
Yeah, it’s definitely all starting to flow really nicely. And we’ve been adding songs to the repertoire - we’ve been playing “End of the World” from the new album, which seems to be going down well already.

And it’s the Isle of Wight festival this weekend.
That’s right. But before that we’ve got a secret little gig in London on Friday night. It’s at a friend’s night at the Proud Gallery in Camden. So that should get us nicely in the mood for the Isle of Wight.

Have you played the festival before?
Yeah, we did it the first year it came back, when it was just a two day event. Our day looks really good this year, with Kasabian and Muse and Amy Winehouse. I’m looking forward to it.

Have you met Amy Winehouse?
I actually met her really briefly in Sheffield a few months ago, when we were playing in the venue next door to her. We were trying to scope some vodka from her rider. But she seemed really nice.

Have you run into any other bands in the last few weeks?
We did a ball in Dublin with CSS, which was really cool. It was good to see them, cos I’m quite a fan. She’s a total maniac too. And we ran into The Automatic at another ball in Hull. They turned out to be quite big Ash fans. I think their third gig ever was seeing us in Brecon in Wales five or six years ago.

That’s nice.
Yeah, it’s cool. With all the teenagers that have come to see us, it’s great that some of them have gone on to make music.

You might meet ’60s folk-rock hero Donovan at the Isle of Wight. He’s playing on the same day as you.
Donovan? No way! What time’s he on?

He’s three below you on the bill.
Shit! He’s a bit of a fucking legend. I’ll definitely have to check him out. Actually, my aunt is coming and she went to the original Isle of Wight festival in 1970, the one with Hendrix and The Doors and everything. So it should be pretty cool for her to be there again, although she may be disappointed by the lack of hippies on acid. But I guess it’ll be a bit cleaner.

So what happens between the Isle of Wight and the “Polaris” release?
Well, a festival that we were meant to be doing in Barcelona has been cancelled, so we might be going back to New York. And then we come back and we’re doing a load of instores and radio sessions the week the single comes out. It all seems to be building up nicely. We’re finally reaching the end of this torturous phase between finishing the album and releasing it!

Have you seen a finished copy of the album yet?
No, we’ve got fancy promo copies with cardboard cut outs of us, but we’ve not seen the final ones yet. I’m just dying for people to hear the album now. Although, ideally not through a leak. Some twat put his watermarked copy on eBay. Our label got in touch with the BPI and they stuck their anti-piracy unit on him. I’m sure he got a slapped wrist for that.

And you’re enjoying being back on the road?
Absolutely. I’m loving playing again and the longer we do it the easier it’s getting and the more fun it’s becoming. It should be a good summer. And then I can’t wait to do our own proper touring once the festivals are finished. We’ve got the London Koko shows before that, the week the album comes out. It’ll be a little touch back to when we did five nights at the Astoria back in 97.

Are you eating well on tour?
Yeah, I’m looking after myself. I’m trying to be a pescetarian. It’s been fish and vegetarian stuff. My Omega-3 oils are definitely flowing.

Have you been partying hard too?
I’ve actually been taking it fairly easy, to be honest. I’m trying to stay sane with my lack of sleep. But Mark is currently curled up in a ball in the dressing room.

What was he doing last night?
He was sitting on Derry City Walls with a bunch of fans drinking. He marched out there after the gig with a box of beer and took his place on the wall. It looks like he’s paying the price now, though.