Gareth Asch is the lead songwriter and frontman of South African band, K, Ray and the Bird.
Describe your music in five words or less:
Quirky, harmony, deep, fun, chordie.
How old were you when you first started writing songs?
7 or 8 years old. My first song was called “Someone’s Got a Crush on Me”.
How has your songwriting changed and developed over the years?
Yes. A big step was when I started playing guitar at the age of 15/16 years old. Before that I used to write and perform rap songs from the age of 13 – 15. Then I developed progressively by playing alot in churches, playing in 5 bands and writing lots of songs and many genres too. It also helps to immerse yourself in lots of music by listening to many different artists to let yourself be inspired with regards to song writing.
What’s the one song you wish you’d written?
For the longest time (Billy Joel); Objects in the review mirror (may appear closer than they are) (Meat Loaf); Off he goes (Pearl Jam); Blue (The Jawhawks); Prayer (Petra); Somebody to love (Queen). Could not mention one, sorry.
Approximately how many songs have you written, in total?
300/400 (though I recently read that you shouldn’t do a stock take).
What’s your favourite of all the songs you’ve written, and why?
“His Love is All You Need” – I remember loving the song when I wrote it in 2004 as it was inspired by real life circumstances and the song really took on a life of its own. I could not stop singing it in the shower and playing percussion on my torso at the same time. It has an old school swing groove, it is very uncool, but I just love it. I love that it is inspired by a friend, then it references Hannah (in the Bible) and then even indirectly references Jesus too. Oopsy, I think I gave the whole plot away.
Which five artists/bands have had the biggest influence on your music?
The Jayhawks, Radiohead, Cat Stevens, The Beatles, The Avett Brothers. (P.S. This was hard as I could easily think of 15 artists.)
What’s been the most memorable or exciting moment of your music career to date?
The gig (our first CD launch) when I realised it was possible for listeners to enjoy and appreciate what K, Ray and The Bird do. Up until then, it was mainly friends and family support and I wasn’t sure if what we did could be attractive to people. It was a big personal breakthrough and very encouraging to know that we could find a market that liked what we do.
Finally, what advice would you give to any aspiring songwriters/musicians reading this?
Write loads (the more the better); work with the best (sub-standard passion/talent will slow you down); Enter lots of competitions and take every possible opportunity; Gig a lot and get a manager (the last 2 tips I got from Elton’s John).