What is your names? I’m Sasha Smith, but everyone calls me Sash.
What is your genre of music? I know it’s become cliché to say you don’t fit into a genre, but it is very hard for me to define. If I had to pick one I’d go with pop because it covers so much ground. In reality it’s a combination of every influence I’ve had during the different moments of my music making years, plus what I’ve listened to and love. Some sort of indie-alternative-folk-pop-electronic-r&b-rock mesh 😂 I try to blend what I love from each stylistic era I’ve gone through as a solo artist, producer, and in my previous bands. Lately I’ve seen some artists described as genre-agnostic. That works.
Give us a little bio about you. I am a self-made artist born in San Sebastián in the Basque Country in Northern Spain. I was brought up speaking English at home, Spanish while playing in the street, and Basque at school, so I’m a mix of all these different cultures that come from my family and where I’ve lived. I received ,my first electric guitar at the age of 13 and was immediately hooked. That lead me into the craft of songwriting and I felt deeply inspired by legends like John Frusciante. I released two EPs with an indie rock band BASIC in 2014 and 2015 and then my solo work: Hyperpop 1.0in 2018 and #pinkfridays vol. I in 2019. Hyperpop 1.0 is an EP of 5 tracks while #pinkfridays vol. I is a collection of singles. I’ve always got so much stuff going on in my head, that I think the actual focus of making music relaxes me. There’s always a story in my songs… Even if I’m writing a fictional lyric, I’ll always throw in some detail that I know to be true in my life.
What made you go into music? I didn’t really consciously decide to start making music. It just happened. I was playing around. Having fun. Learning by doing without really knowing it was happening. Looking back, it’s true that I’ve always needed to spend a lot of time by myself. I still am that way. And music is the perfect companion for that. It comforts me and has always given me an outlet to explore my inner world. Now, why did I keep making music after those initial experiments? That’s probably the more interesting question. As in anything you start doing, I wasn’t great at first. But I think there are two main reasons I kept going. One, when I make music I concentrate fully on that. I’ve always got so much stuff going on in my head, that I think the actual focus of making music relaxes me. It’s a sort of meditation for me. What Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi calls the state of flow. The second reason is I love creating something from nothing and creating my world around it: the story, the lyrics, the characters, the interplay between songs…
Who are your influences? The list is very long, but I’ll give you a few names. Jeff Buckley. To me, the best to ever do it. -Radiohead and Thom Yorke. Particularly “In Rainbows” and “A Moon Shaped Pool”, and Thom’s acoustic performances. -Chris Cornell. All his work with Audioslave and -Soundgarden, as well as his solo career. I love “Songbook” for how stripped down and intimate it is. -Sufjan Stevens. Particularly “Carrie & Lowell”. -Phoebe Bridgers. Her emotional quality reminds me of Jeff in some ways. One of the best artists to come up in the past 10 years. -Blackbear. Specifically his vocal production and arrangements. -The Weeknd. “After Hours” was the best album of 2020, no competition. I also believe he’s currently among the best at world-building and creating an aesthetic for his projects. -The LA’s. Probably the best britpop, or pre-britpop band. Lee Mavers is a songwriting legend. -John Frusciante. His solo records are great. I love them all, but two favourites are “Curtains” and “Shadows Collide With People”. -Cage The Elephant. They keep getting better and better. Matt Shultz is up there with the best frontmen I’ve ever seen. -Jason Isbell. His songwriting and lyricism are on another level. -I’m also deeply influenced and inspired by nature, Stoicism, long walks, and painters like Basquiat and Klee.
Are you a signed? No. I’m completely independent.
You released your project ‘ #pinkfridays Vol II , tell us more about the project. #pinkfridays is a concept I came up with in 2019 as a way to release new music without the full commitment of an EP or LP. I wanted to keep putting music out but I didn’t like the idea of releasing random singles that live alone out there in the streaming ether. So I decided to collect the singles in playlists that I call #pinkfridays volumes. My own mini-projects, if you will. #pinkfridays vol. I came out in 2019 and consists of 7 singles. #pinkfridays vol. II is the project I’m working on right now. I’ve released the first 2 singles and there’s a few more to come. When I’m in between bigger projects, #pinkfridays provides me with a great way to explore ideas and stories, and blend all the genres I like to make music in. The only rule is songs come out on Fridays 😜 And pink… Well, I just like pink, okay?
Two singles are released, tell us about each single you dropped ? “if i’m honest” was created over a year ago during a rough time in my life. I put it to the side and revisited it last September. I like to look at it like a polaroid of the night it was originally tracked. I feel like the vulnerability and rawness of the lyric and the vocal take are what make the song, so I couldn’t go back and mess with it. “guru boy pt. II” is part two of the guru boy saga – part one was featured in #pinkfridays vol. I. The saga follows a guru character based in the hills of LA. Part one introduced us to the “guru boy” from the point of view of someone just deciding to become a follower. The problem is that the guru’s vision of a departure to another dimension didn’t come true… And his followers (who had an inclination for fire 🔥😅) weren’t very happy about it… Part two is the continuation of that story. It takes place decades later when “yellow boy”, an admirer of the original guru boy, is set on making things right. He believes he’s the prodigal son the guru never had and he takes it upon himself to embark on a tale of revenge against those who murdered the original guru boy…
What was the writing and recording process like and how were they different for both? They are two wildly different tracks – which is a common theme in #pinkfridays releases. “if i’m honest” is the most vulnerable and raw song I’ve ever released, whereas “guru boy pt. II” is a completely made up story. For “if i’m honest” all the writing happened in one night at the studio, from 12AM to 7AM. A pouring out of emotions and insecurities. It’s me trying to say the uncomfortable things I needed to say. The drive home afterwards was very cathartic, with the sun coming up. Making music is the best outlet for my emotions I’ve ever found, and writing this song proved it once again. The writing process for “guru boy pt. II” was very different. I essentially have the whole guru boy saga planned out, story-wise. My intention with this second instalment was to open up a new timeline, so that we have the “guru boy timeline” and the “yellow boy timeline”. When you look at it all together it reads more like a script than songs, but I found the idea of releasing it in music form divided into parts over the years quite exciting. I’d love to turn the whole thing into a film or limited series at some point. For now though, I’ll keep exploring the saga releasing a new part with every new #pinkfridays volume (“#pinkfridays vol. III” will bring us “guru boy pt. III” and so forth).
Describe each track in two words. “if i’m honest“. Vulnerable. Raw. “guru boy pt. II“. Psychopathy. Delusion.
Who did you work with on the tracks? I wrote and produced the tracks myself. Then they were mixed with the same engineer I’ve always worked with, Víctor Sánchez. In “if i’m honest” my friend Edu from the band Leven played the piano. The artwork design for both singles is by Adrián Viñas.
Will we see a music video for any of the track? No official videos are on the horizon for these tracks. I will be releasing unplugged live videos of the tracks though. I’ve got a big project in mind video-wise for my next EP, so that’ll be my return to official videos.
What else can we expect in Early 2021? I’m releasing a new single in #pinkfridays vol. II every month. Next up is the third single “been waiting so long”. It’s a song about waiting, loneliness, and invisibility, sprinkled with the odd glimpse of hope that comes and goes. It feels a little like screaming out into a void. I’m not expecting anything to come back or change; not even anyone to hear me or help me. It just serves the need for an outlet for all the emotions that rack up year after year of trials and failures. This single is the first in a trifecta that explores death, insecurities, and angst. The next two tracks will continue to explore and develop these themes.
Where do you see yourself now in 5 Years? I see myself living in a house in nature, with my girlfriend and our dogs. Perhaps I’ll be a dad by then? Who knows! I’m not a big city or party guy. I’m quite happy to live a simple and tranquil life. I value my time over anything else, so that’s always going to stay front of mind. 5 years down the line I expect to have released a few LPs. One big project per year seems to be a good rhythm for me right now. Most of my favourite artists have a vast catalogue and release (or released 😭) music very consistently. That’s why my focus in music is geared towards long term creation of a big body of work, rather than a quick burst and burn out. I want to be able look back on my career in 20 years time and see, well, 20 albums. That’s what excites me, not any sort of gimmicky attempts at fame and hype. As of right now, I’m finishing #pinkfridays vol. II. Then I’ll go straight into my second EP, which is a concept piece about Millennials and will come paired with a short-film. And I’ve actually got my first LP written to release after that, but don’t tell anyone 🤫😉
What quote or saying do you always stick by? “The chief task in life is simply this: to identify and separate matters so that I can say clearly to myself which are externals not under my control, and which have to do with the choices I actually control. Where then do I look for good and evil? Not to uncontrollable externals, but within myself to the choices that are my own…” ― Epictetus
When you are at a gig, what are 5 things you cannot forget? -To be present. -To sing like it’s the last gig I’ll ever play. -To be thankful for the people who came out to see it. -To enjoy playing live with the other musicians. -To make sure everyone is safe.
Do you have social media accounts so your fans can follow you?
I’m @sashasmithxyz everywhere. I’m most active on Instagram and YouTube though.
I also work a lot on my website where I have sections for each project and every song, going as deep as you want to go. That’s definitely the best place to learn about my music and me.