Let’s play a word association game. When I say “surf rock,” what comes to mind? You’re thinking California, Brian Wilson, the ‘60s, maybe Dick Dale, right? I’m willing to bet you’re humming “Wipeout.”
Point is, you’re likely not picturing two twentysomething dudes from Fort Worth, donned in tie-dyed and Zeppelin T-shirts. This is exactly how brothers Brett and Braden Reddell appeared to me recently, perched on a plastic bench outside a coffee shop off Magnolia Ave.
As Ashes, the brothers have been making music together for over four years, and the pair told me that from the beginning, it’s always just been the two of them.
When asked why they chose to forgo adding a bass player and conforming to the garage-rock standard power trio, drummer Brett laughed and replied, “We didn’t have a third brother.
“We never really met anyone else that we wanted to play with,” he continued. “We had a lot of people ask, and we always said no, no. It was nothing personal. We just knew what we wanted to do and what we wanted to accomplish, and we didn’t need anybody else.”
The brothers are set to release their new album, Texas Space Rock, by midsummer. This will be their first record on vinyl, something the pair of avid vinyl collectors are beyond stoked about. To them, putting an album to vinyl was the next step in becoming a more legitimate, professional band. The two have been also honing their personal skills as musicians and pushing themselves to improve as a band.
“We started as a garage band, and that’s an energy we still keep with us,” Brett said. “On this record, I feel like I’m advancing, though, crawling up the ladder a little bit as a drummer.”
As with everything else Ashes has released since the band’s inception, Texas Space Rock was recorded and engineered by only the brothers themselves, at their home. The entire project is as grassroots and organic as it gets, and by now the brothers are experts at producing DIY rock music in their bedrooms.
Texas Space Rock is a bit of a deviation from the raw, more surfy sound the brothers have been so far known for.
“We pulled out these pedals we had never really used before,” said guitarist/singer Braden.
Up until now, most of what the brothers have recorded has been pretty raw and unfiltered, but they’re excited to incorporate more effects and complexity into their sound. Evolving from surfy-garage to more of a fuzzy, shoegaze sound is something the Reddells have been looking forward to trying for a while now, and the pair are really proud of how they’ve accomplished that on this record.
The two have been hard at work prepping the record for release.
“We’re literally one song away from doing it, and we plan on doing that song within the week,” Brett said, “so as quickly as we can get it mixed and stuff, and manufactured, the release will be then. Before the end of the summer, in our hands, hopefully. That’s the hardest thing. We could release it now, for streaming if we wanted. Because the music is done. It’s just a matter of if we wanna release it to digital first or just really push those vinyls, which is kinda what we’re trying to do.” The duo has been expertly navigating the growing pains that come with being a band that is just breaking into the scene. Right now is arguably one of the most difficult times (at least in my lifetime) make a name as a gigging musician. As everything begins to re-open, most groups are struggling with re-integrating into the slowly recovering Fort Worth music scene, and that’s certainly something that Ashes is feeling.
“I think the next thing is just to get playing live again,” Brett said. “We would love to play some shows to just get another under our belt. We’ve been writing, we’ve been making albums, and we can always do that. The next thing is just to play a couple of live shows.”
“We have sort of a newspaper philosophy,” Braden added. “You know, in an ideal world, new music would come out every week, like the newspaper. We’re always writing. We’d love to be able to find a way to do that.”
The two are cautiously optimistic about the release of Texas Space Rock. Sonically, it will be different from their earlier releases, but they’re excited to introduce listeners to the new era of Ashes.