Sunday, June 6, 2010


Since the dawn of modern music, artists have been flocking to New York City in droves from other parts of the US and the world to gain attention and make it. Over the past 10 years it seems that every musician from every corner of the world has arrived in New York and settled in Brooklyn all to make a name for themselves. Hell at this point, why not! Brooklyn is a hot bed of new music and has the spotlight on it right now. Yet, instead of just wanting to be labeled another "Brooklyn band," the boys in Asa Ransom arrived from Indiana to New York a few years ago and settled right in Queens. Leaving behind a strict upbringing, their working class families and looking into the unknown abyss of the music world. Asa Ransom has no desire to stop and look back to turn around. Since arriving in New York, Asa Ransom has toured constantly, released two EP's and caught the attention of BBC, Brooklyn Vegan, FEARLESS MUSIC, NME and now the Yuppie. The bands style is infectious dance rock with a dramatic blues edge to it. I had the opportunity to speak with Asa Ransom front man Jacob Bills as we discussed the bands music, acclaim and what happens next. Take a look at my interview with Jacob below.

Where does the name of the band come from?

JB: Sounds.

Off the band your style and sound is so unique, who are some of your influences?

JB: Off the top of a mind:
fela kuti, mahmoud ahmed, ganesh, t.s. eliot, darkness is good, kate bush, intimations of the east and future, steve reich, david bowie, noise and silence, invisible cities, al green, esg, sandinista, oskar schlemmer, strobe light honey, brian eno, afrika bambata, angels and demons at play, sanctuary & naima, lee scratch, linval thompson, kraftwerk, howlin' wolf, ida cox, anne sexton, rabindranath tagore, shostakovich, satyagraha, terry riley, re and not re, tony duquette, anna ahkmatova, gitanjali, les fleurs du mal,

You guys met in College in Indiana, what brought you to New York City?

JB: The Indiana thing is misleading. Three of us met there...but we formed in NYC after individually living in New York for sometime. We all moved here in the pursuit of living our lives. Looking to remove social and creative conventions.

Was there ever a “what if this doesn’t work” moment with the band in NYC? Did that never even cross your minds and you just kept plugging along?

JB: There are fears and doubts in all genuine endeavors, but this is our blood. Insecurities are something to reflect on, get through and find greater perspective from.

Each of you have very strict upbringings in Indiana, what kind of liberation did you have coming to New York? Were your minds completely blown as soon as you arrived?

JB: Again, the Indiana thing is misleading. Two of us grew up in Indiana...and even then it was for only part of their lives. Liberation, or that opening up of ones self, has always been our personal goals. Finding ways to fully extend our creative and emotional selves. To be less cautious of joy, sorrow and the unknown. Finding freedom and breathe in compassion. i think moving to New York is one of many ways to challenge your surroundings in order to further challenge yourself. Choosing to live and exist with disorder as opposed to blocking it out as many try to do. It was often overwhelming.

You did a tour last fall that took you across the country and in a month long residency in LA. Did the change of atmosphere from New York to LA have an impact on you?

JB: It certainly did. LA is much less compact. People are much less cautious, though it can be put on. There is less of a weight of history, it is less critical. It is much more open to the new, though that often waters it down. You can walk out side and pick an orange or avocado on your way to meet a friend. In New York you're lucky to find fruit that carries a scent. LA is thick with physical phenomena that it has been adorned with.

After each show your live performances gain you more fans, you have hit BBC, Fox’s FEARLESS music and been blasted all over the radio. How does this make you feel?

JB: Like there is a lot of work to do. We celebrate our successes, but we all carry the knowledge and the charge that the long journey is always ahead of us.

Do you consider yourself a buzz band?

JB: That is a really strange question. we are five people who have devoted our lives to each other in order to pursue creative and personal growth together. We share everything in our lives and really struggle for each other and for what we're pursuing. a word like buzz band is in another world than we are. It’s not relevant to us because we are a real living and breathing thing. We are always growing and pushing.

Are their plans for a full length debut in the works?

JB: Right now we're writing and working on a new recording. It will most likely be a new ep, but we're digging into volumes of we'll see how it shows it face. Music is a way of life, the album is an art form of it's own. There is so much to learn and pursue.

What is next for Asa Ransom?

JB: Nothing short of everything.

Special thanks to Asa Ransom and Leah Marchesano for the interview!