Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Introducing: Asp - Bournemouth's Live And Unsigned 2011 hopeful

Bournemouth based band Asp, have made it through to the area semi finals of Live And Unsigned 2011, one of the largest national music competitions for unsigned bands.

Describing their sound as ‘kind of AC/DC meets Kiss’, Asp are a four piece classic rock band who formed back in 2007.

Front man Adam "The Yeti" Phillips met guitarist Paul "Brains" Gow at college through a friend. “We didn't know each other but after playing music together we became really close friends” said Adam. The band then grew, with Bassist Rob "Guns" Boivin joining in 2008 and drummer "Demon" Stephen Warr – who Adam says ‘was just too good looking to turn down’ – joined in 2009.

Complete with their rock ‘n’ roll nicknames, the band released their debut self-titled three track EP last year which they followed up with a mini tour of the south of England. They also, quite literally, reached new heights last summer when they became the first band ever to play 500ft in the air inside the Bournemouth balloon. Adam said “It was terrifying and yet an unforgettable experience.”

Since then, Asp have been busy recording their brand new six track mini album "Let's Get This Show On The Road" which is due to be released next year. The album was recorded at the 896 Coffee Bar in Boscombe, Bournemouth, and was produced by Nick Bryson (of Fearne) and Russ Gannicott (of Nemesis). “Every track is different, with elements of 80's metal, blues and funk” said Adam; “It’s a ballsy, high energy, classic rock party album and should always be joined by a cold beer.”

Asp are heavily involved in the Bournemouth music scene and list The Winchester as one of their favourite Bournemouth venues. “The Bournemouth music scene does its best for all bands, there are some great people to work with and gig along side in the town” said Adam.

Music is clearly a massive part of the boys’ lives as when they are not making music as part of Asp, Adam and Rob volunteer as youth workers at The Lighthouse in Christchurch, providing tuition for guitar, bass and ukulele. “Asp grew up at The Lighthouse” said Adam; “We practiced there and learnt there and when we became too old to attend we were so attached to The Lighthouse that we decided to stay as volunteers. We wanted to give back to them what they gave to us and pass on our experiences to new musicians”

And the boys all have day jobs too; Adam is a carer and teaches music at an after school club at Christchurch Junior School, Paul studies physics at Southampton University, Rob works at Langdons Electric Music and Southern Ukulele Store and Stephen works for Apple Conservatories.

Now Asp are through to the semi finals of Live and Unsigned 2011 and if they get through, they will get to play live at the final which will be held at The O2 in London. “To think we're in the semi's and one step away from London's O2 is completely surreal” says Adam; “but we are excited about the opportunities this competition can provide for us.”

To get to the final, Asp must put together a 3 minute 30 second mash up of two songs for which they have chosen a brand new Asp track ‘Bad To The Bone’ and a cover of  Led Zeppelin's ‘Whole Lotta Love’.

If they are eventually crowned the winners of this year’s competition then they will win a comprehensive music management package which includes; festival slots (including representing the UK at the biggest festival in Asia I rock), a UK tour exposing their music to over 40,000 people and a recording contract with Future Music, with up to £50,000 investment.

However, if they don’t win, the boys are determined to push forward and will be gigging around the south of England as much as possible. This will include a big show at Christchurch Music Festival on Saturday 2nd July. “Apart from that we’ll just be saving our money and writing new songs, putting it all towards what shall be our next album!” says Adam.

The Live and Unsigned 2011 semi finals will take place at Portsmouth Guildhall on May 21st. Tickets are £7.50.

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