- Words Notion Staff
Salt Ashes speaks on her powerful single "Lucy", how male musicians can be better allies, second album, 'Killing My Mind', and more.
Salt Ashes knows a thing or two about healing. Her very moniker signifies the process of renewal, rising like a phoenix from the ashes. Nowhere is this inner strength clearer than on her new album, ‘Killing My Mind’, and especially on the emotional track “Lucy”.
Tackling the subject of sexual assault, consent, and objectification, any woman who hears “Lucy” or watches Salt Ashes’ self-directed music video will resonate. It’s also a necessary song for men too, that artistically and impactfully lifts the curtain on acts that are horrifically commonplace and need to be stopped. “I knew it would be a difficult subject to tackle, especially with the Sarah Everard case being so raw right now for everyone but behaviours need to change and change starts with a conversation… So we shouldn’t be afraid to talk about it”, Salt Ashes explained.
Notion spoke with Salt Ashes to dive deeper into the story behind “Lucy”, her DIY approach, and how her personal journey over the past two years inspired her new album.
Your new single “Lucy” tackles violence towards women. How important do you think it is for musicians to use their art to speak up on topics like this?
It’s insanely important. Music is a universal language with the biggest audience of listening ears. Through this so much can be expressed and communicated and in a way in which people might be more open to listening. Serious subjects can be communicated in a pleasurable way which means you can enjoy the music and the way it makes you feel as well as sit with the topic and its impact. It’s beautiful really.
It seems like it’s always women having to speak up for other women. How can male musicians be better allies?
This is a tough one for me as most of the men I know are great allies. I think men, not just male musicians, can do things like calling certain behaviours out if they notice their friends or anyone disrespecting women in any way… try and change this intrinsic objectification of women. I think there’s also an ongoing underestimation of women in the industry and our capabilities in comparison to men which really has to stop. If you’re a great musician it’s because you have talent and have worked fucking hard, it’s not because of your sex.
The song was written as a response to your experience of sexual harassment. Did you also feel inspired to write the track in the wake of the news surrounding Sarah Everard and Sabina Nessa? Or had you worked on it for a while but felt now was a poignant time to release it?
I wrote the track soon after I had one of those experiences but these issues are happening day in day out for me and other women out there so it’s really something that I’ve wanted to write about for a while. I think I felt most passionate about writing it more so now because of the recent news on Sarah, Sabina and other horrific events even though I felt apprehensive because we are all feeling so raw still and I wasn’t sure how it would be received. But I always say that change won’t happen without a conversation so we need to keep the conversation going. Like we said earlier, what better way to spread that than through music.
You directed the music video for “Lucy”. How long have you been directing for and what is it you love most about the craft?
The first music video I directed was for my single “Save It” which was released 4 years ago now and since then I’ve directed 6 more of mine. I never thought I’d ever direct a music video let alone seven, so that is pretty cool. For me, it’s all about the finished product and the story and emotion that’s been conveyed. I’ve realised that I don’t like producing as it gets too much when you’re doing everything else… but sometimes there’s no choice but to produce it and style it and choreograph and be the art director and be a makeup artist! But yeah, seeing the final product and seeing people’s reactions to the video makes it all worthwhile.
Let’s rewind – can you tell me about your journey? How did you get to where you are today?
It’s been a journey of self-discovery, grief, heartache, moving cities, loss, illness but constantly moving and always working in the industry somehow, whether it’s writing for other artists or adverts, session singing, or teaching in the studio. I’ve been doing music for a while now and since my first album, I have been a full-time artist which is awesome.
What’s the meaning behind the moniker Salt Ashes?
Salt Ashes represents that journey I explained earlier. It signifies every single up and down I’ve ever experienced and the ride of emotions that came with them.
You recently releases your sophomore album, ‘Killing My Mind’. Can you dive into the story behind the title?
The album was written about the last 2 years of my life which again had a lot of loss and feuds and turmoils. Within those turmoil’s, I was giving myself a very hard time for one thing or another and suffered from a lot of anxiety and self-doubts. ‘Killing My Mind’ summarises what I think I was doing to myself through that time. Now I can look back and see the damage I was causing myself and look forward and work on ways to change that behaviour and patterns.
What can we expect from the record?
A tornado of feelings and some sick bass and beats.
What do you want people to take away from it?
I just want people to feel hard when listening to this. Whether it’s rage, happiness, energy, sadness… Feel it and don’t shy away from emotion. If you’re going to dance, then dance hard.