Interview with musician and Top Boy star Ashley Thomas ‘Bashy’: ‘ I’ve come from grime but I’m now in 2013′
It’s been quite some time since West-London rapper Bashy, otherwise known as Ashley Thomas, graced the music scene with his definitive vocals and epic rhyming style. But he’s making a swift return and he’s doing it in the most memorable way.
Sampling Danny Weed’s legendary Creeper instrumental for his recent release These Are The Songs, the Kensal Rise rapper effortlessly collides an old school pure grime sound with a new era of music which is meshed perfectly with his vocals.
There’s no doubting the difficulty in being an independent artist, however Bashy has managed to overcome these hurdles and set himself apart from other artists by showing a continued determination and enthusiasm for the arts.
Blessed with not only a musical gift, Bashy also has the ability to portray many roles on screen, such as the recent success of his part in Top Boy and his role in Black Mirror. I caught up with the humble artist who amongst other things gave me some invaluable insight as to why urban artists are being given a lot more airtime than they had previously had.
When did you fall in love with music?
I fell in love with music probably when I was about four or five. I was a huge fan of Michael Jackson, in fact in my head, when I was that age, I was Michael Jackson. [Laughs] I used to go to my Grandma’s house as well as having quite a young uncle who was into hip-hop.
What does music mean to you?
For me music is like an extension of my personality, the way I express myself as a being. I’ve been blessed with two talents, one to act and one to do music. I would say they are my right and left arm, I just love them. They are my foundations.
What’s it like being an independent music artist?
There’s pros and cons to it. Being independent you don’t have the budgets or the machine behind you to get you to certain places which is a bit hard to navigate through when the money is literally coming out of your own pocket. It’s not easy at all. But with being independent you definitely have the creative freedom and you get to be resourceful. I’ve had meetings with people and they can’t believe that I’ve shot certain videos for example, but I just have to get on with it because it’s what I love. I feel like the money and everything else, the perks of it is just a bonus, I love being in the studio and creating something from scratch
Tell us a bit about your intention behind your latest release These Are The Songs?
Well for me it’s about trying to find myself as an artist. I’m an independent unsigned artist, so a lot of the stuff is just real talk and me just learning. I’m putting out music and I’m just learning, trying to evolve and trying to become a better artist, somehow I feel like I’m in a really comfortable place in terms of my management team and the sort of process we have when we’re working together.
It’s a team that I really trust. In the song, I really wanted to show my journey and say this is where I’ve come from, I’ve come from grime but I’m now, I’m in 2013. I don’t think I can be spitting about the same things I was spitting about when I was like 18 but I guess I want to include those elements in my music moving forward and just show people where I come from, where I am and what makes me as a person. There’s a few other fusions with my music of stuff that I’ve grown up listening to from my childhood, but that’s basically what These Are The Songs is about and my thinking behind it and then Jareth just gave it a banging hook.
What’s your EP called and is there a theme that runs through it?
I’ve got the name but I’m just keeping it close to my chest until I’m ready to put it out. The theme on the other hand, is basically a juxtaposition of being independent to everyone thinking I’m signed, a juxtaposition of working so hard for your dream, for example when I was a postman and a bus driver in comparison to the lifestyle I wanted which was freedom to do my music. It’s mainly based on opposites.
You appear in a leading role alongside Kano and Ashley Walters in Top Boy. It seems like UK arts culture, and more specifically, the ‘urban arts’ culture, are presently at an all-time high. Musically, urban artists are being given a lot more airtime than they had previously had. Why do you think this is and what does it mean to you?
I think we are to a certain extent. I still think things can improve, I still think that the shift of it is still not equal and we’re working towards it every day. I think a lot of music artists are independent and working really hard, but we’re all at a certain age where people are more sort of willing to support each other now, we have more of a scene now. Especially at this moment in time people have gone up and come down and so on. I think everyone is more mature now and so everything has grown up, so when grime or this sort of generation of hip-hop first came out we were like only 18,19,20 and so a couple years later we’ve all grown up and so our business acumen is better. I think that’s why.
Everyone can have their own definition to what they deem to be a top boy, but what is a top boy to you?
A top boy is someone who is happy within themselves. They stand on their own two feet, they don’t need to rely on anyone else but people can rely on them. So when I say that, I mean like your mother, brother and sister can rely on you. You’re the guy that people can come to and offer not money but wisdom and if it is money then some financial assistance. I think that’s a top boy.
If you could travel in a time machine would you go back to the past or into the future?
Wow, that’s a great question. I would go back to the past because the knowledge I have now if I had it back then it would be good. I’d go back to the past and invent the iPhone and make Facebook. [Laughs]
Night Owl or Early bird
I’m both. I go to bed super late and get up early.
What are your pet peeves?
Liars and timewasters and I’m talking from experience. [Laughs]
Finally can you finish these sentences…
The world needs: to eradicate poverty.
The person I want to be most proud of me is: my family
I’m willing to forgive: those who have betrayed me but I will never forget.
Music is: my life
I want my legacy to be: that I exceeded or transcended my potential and I inspired others
These Are The Songs is out now
For more info go to www.Bashy.com
Tagged in: Ashley Thomas, Bashy, These Are The Songs, Top Boy
Recent Posts on Arts
- ArcTanGent Interview: ‘It’s like being part of a secret club’
- Indian rickshaw fetches £100,000 for wild elephants at Prince Charles hosted auction
- Vennart Interview and album stream: ‘This album is more focused on vocals and guitar rather than pounding your head and complex riffs’
- India’s old moderns keep the art auctions buoyant
- Scottish Book Trust: Ask the Illustrator with Debi Gliori
Latest from Independent journalists on Twitter