INTERVIEW: Ash Grunwald

By Lucy Smith

What happens when you combine a Skrillex drop with raw blues? Ash Grunwald is discovering just that on his latest Australian tour following the release of his new album ‘Trouble’s Door’. Collaborating with Fingers Malone, Grunwald has perfected his acoustic blues style, which has been influenced by “driving dancefloor rhythms, buoyed by hip-hop beats and slammed by the dubstep crunch.”

Growing up in country Victoria, Grunwald nurtured his talents of singing and playing guitar before moving to Melbourne to make a name for himself and commence touring. His first release ‘Introducing’ (2002) established his roots in acoustic blues, however the influence of non-stop touring and festivals saw Grunwald experiment with a dance style with the agenda of “trying to make a really big sounding one man band.” Despite modifying his set with a band for several years, Grunwald has kept the nucleus around his solo show, saying “there’s a particular thing about playing solo that you can’t do with a band, you’re just way more connected to the audience.”

Grunwald has had many significant achievements over his ten-year musical career. From supporting Jack Johnson and James Brown, to an array of awards including the MBAS Blues Performer of the Year and APRA’s Song of the Year.  His consistency and hard work has lead to his “greatest achievement” – the creation of new album ‘Trouble’s Door’. Grunwald describes his work as “honest and bold” and “a bit more of a social commentary”. The production of beats by Fingers Malone sees the album dabble in the integration of new styles of electronic music with a rock-feel, whilst still maintaining the traditional unique blend of roots and blues. After a decade of performing Grunwald is “stoked to be doing something new, it’s like I’m just starting…and I want to just keep learning.”

After a very successful few weeks of touring, Ash is excited about the hybrid between being “on one hand a blues guy, and on another hand almost a DJ”. Combining the old set up using the kick drum and slide guitar, as well as DJ’ing beats from the albums into the show, Grunwald is thrilled with how it has been so well received – “I dreamt it up a couple of years ago and I’m just so stoked that I’m now doing it…I have a range of fans from all ages so I did wonder how it would go, but I’m so happy it went really well.”

The performance at The Patch on Thursday 21st of June will be a Triple J ‘Live at the Wireless’ event, with Grunwald promising a “more diverse show over all”. Keen to return to Wollongong Ash expects the night to go off; complete with “bass-heavy, bad-ass sounds” and acoustic dubstep jams, this is a performance you cannot afford to miss.

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