Alix was recently given the chance to interview Sasami Ashworth, a classically trained musician who in her own words: “fucked a bunch of people on tour and wrote an album about it”. But her eponymous debut album, released back in March 2019, is much more than that.
Originating as a string of demos she recorded straight to her iPad whilst on tour playing keys and guitar with LA rock band Cherry Glazerr, the songs poured out of Ashworth in stream-of-consciousness fashion. In truth, they were the culmination of decades of hard work. She’s played music all her life, transitioning from an elementary school music teacher into a rock star: “If you can keep like 30 kids with tambourines entertained, [doing it for] a room full of drunk adults at a rock show is nothing.” She plays YES (Manchester) in September and if you’re ordering her a pizza – top it with mushrooms and rocket.
LET’S INTERVIEW SASAMI!
Alix: You play a multitude of instruments, which did you learn to play first?
SASAMI: Piano when I was 5 because I’m Korean, and then acoustic guitar as a child.
Alix: You’re clearly close to your family with your brother credited on your album but even cooler to have your grandmother starring in the video for Morning Comes – how did that come about?
SASAMI: [I learned] a lot from my brother Joojoo. My Grandmother is just a boss ass bitch and I have been wanting to document the process of her very special signature kimchi making for a long time. So I decided to use my label’s money to do just that. Thanks Daddy!
Alix: Who was your biggest musical influence growing up?
SASAMI: Martha Argerich and Brian Eno. And a lot from watching Fleetwood Mac live videos.
Alix: Which albums have helped shape you as an artist?
SASAMI: Fleetwood Mac’s Tusk, Rumours, Tango In The Night. The Beatles Every Single Album. Steely Dan’s Pretzel Logic and Can’t Buy A Thrill. Ella Fitzgerald every Best Of and standards albums I could get my hands on.
Get your hands on these classic albums yourself, with help from The Journalix:
Alix: Having studied music, does it make the process more methodical or is it still an organic thing for you?
SASAMI: It took a long time to shake off the theoretical and methodical part of my music brain, but now I feel like I’ve come to a place where my studies and my natural inclinations for music feel complimentary and free.
Alix: The album was sat waiting for release for a year – what was the delay in releasing it?
SASAMI: Finding the right label, making music videos and just being on tour a lot.
Alix: You’ve been the member of a band and supported other artists on tour – how does it feel to headline?
SASAMI: Like a lot of work. But it’s a job, and it feels good tomorrow. Also, people let me say whatever I want.
Alix: We understand you were a school teacher before embarking on your music career… What skills did you learn in the classroom that you have been able to apply to making music?
SASAMI: Making a fool of myself for the greater good.
Alix: How do you handle mistakes during a performance?
SASAMI: I did it on purpose.
Alix: Did you leave Cherry Glazerr on good terms?
SASAMI: Yes. I learned a lot a lot. To not give a shit.
Alix: Is the door open for a return?
MANCHESTER AND POP CULTURE
Alix: What are your experiences of Manchester? We’re rather proud of our musical heritage around here…
SASAMI: I mean, of course I am a fan of New Order, Joy Division, The Fall, etc! So I guess I’ve been channeling some Mancunian musical energy for all these years.
Alix: We’re a pop culture website and as we move into the 2nd half of 2019, what do you think defines the 2010s?
SASAMI: Shit storm. A shit storm of the western empire.
Alix: Can you remember the last good book you read, film you saw and music you listened to?
SASAMI: Book – All About Love by Bell Hooks. Film – Amazing Grace, the Aretha Franklin live gospel performance. Music – Tierra Whack forever.
Alix: What does the future hold for Sasami?
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