"Walkin' target and German angst" 

An Interview with ASHTECH


ASHTECH is a producer and musician who settled over from the Napoli area in Italy to London. Formerly he was known as the bass player of the successful Italian act ALMAMEGRETTA (Reggae, World Music) and as Producer of LIQUOR SHOP. In London he produced till now some tracks for different artists too.
In summer 2007 he released his debut LP "walkin' target", a semi-concepted dub-album in the musical tense of original dub styles and urban electronica.
A very brillant debut-album that gave reasons enough for Dub-O-Rama to talk with the artist.


about "walkin' target":

"This album draws its name from the title track which tells the story of the 'walkin' target' - the sad and true story of a mother who lost her child and did not have the time to say goodbye. This track, in the finest roots-reggae tradition, speaks to the oppressed, suffering and defenceless people of the world, the victims of a system that makes everyone a 'walkin' target'." (promotext)

You can download the fotos in original size:








(BMG Italy, 1999)

(BMG Italy, 2001)

venite venite (live)
(BMG Italy, 2002)


walkin' target
(Interchill, 2007, distributed in Germany by H'Art)

ASHTECH has worked mainly as producer, at first for Liquor Shop and other italian acts in his Almamegretta-period, later in England for acts in the tense of Pop, World Music and Reggae, too


Ashtechs own homepage

Ashtech on versionist

Ashtech on myspace

Dub-O-Rama: Hello ASHTECH, congratulations on your fantastic debut-lp 'walkin' target'. A bass players album with an own claimed music design in the tense of BILL LASWELLs and LEFTFIELDs experimental dub styles. I think it is also an album about human primal fears, critical on global capitalism and racism.

Ashtech: Thank you. This album is a sum of all the experiences and the ideas that form my background as an artist and as a person. In a way, it reflects my views on many issues. The modern culture tends to stereotype and divide between 'in' and 'out'. Most of the time 'out' is the south of the world, the oppresses. We live in a society which does not accept the diversity and still comdemns it or tends to alienate it. We should keep reminding ourselves that we have no merit for being born on the "western side of the planet". I did not start with the idea of a social or politic content for my album, 'walkin' target' simply came out from my heart bringing my view on many of these issues with itself.

Dub-O-Rama: The english language has taken the german word 'Angst' into it´s vocabulary in the nineteenth century as a word between 'fear' (german: Furcht, a concrete fear) and 'anxiety' (german: Ängstlichkeit, a mild form of Angst). It means "fear of existence". Many pop records are about it, starting with PINK FLOYDs 'dark side of the moon', some tracks of MASSIVE ATTACK, the dub music of MARK STEWART, LEFTFIELD and the complete catalogue of the industrial music. 
What was your intention to form your debut-album as it is?

Ashtech: The leading theme is the communication. I tried to express the need of clear and direct language, comprehensible to everyone. I believe that the lack of communication is what leads to this fear, to this anxiety that characterizes our age and that finally links to what we were discussing above: Imagine the possibility for different cultures to find a way to communicate and actually construct instead of clashing against each other. This idea inspired most of my production. Music is the only language that can bring an universal message - it is the universal language. I felt the need of clarity and sincerity, and I did this album as music is the way I express myself.

Dub-O-Rama: You began as a bass player. I think you made your first experiences in a band.

Ashtech: I started as a DJ when I was very young and formed my own band a few years later. My career in Italy went quite fast and soon I was collaborating with many of the biggest artists as a producer and bass player. In 1998 I joined ALMAMEGRETTA as bass player and worked with them for five years, releasing three albums on major labels including Universal and BMG, and toured the mainstream circuit in Italy and around Europe. It has been an unforgettable experience in doing what I really like to do, dub and experimental music.

Dub-O-Rama: When did you have the idea to write your own dub album? How it leads to your fantasic result?

When the ALMAMEGRETTA project reinvented itself I had many offers of collaboration in Italy from big artists and good labels, but I was not at my ease. The music industry in Italy is mainly pop orientated and it is just not my style.
I have been imagining 'Walkin' Target' for a long time, but looking primarily for a place with the right atmosphere to create it. I found it in London, so I moved here.
As a bass player and producer I have mixed together many years of experience gained alone and in collaboration with other artists and bands, with my current electronic and dub music influences to create an album and a sound where the heavy dubby bassline and deep grooves that characterize me in the music became the lead line rather than the sub line.

Dub-O-Rama: Your bass is the in center of the album, but it seems you have no vain to play the bass classy. 

Ashtech: The way I play the bass is very instinctive - many artists, many bass players ask me how do I get this sound. I always reply that it is the way your fingers touch the instrument, that give the right resonance to the strings.
At the beginning of my trip in music I started studying all the instruments, and I played them all: drums, keyboards, guitar, bass guitar - the bass is the one that gives voice to my sound. I have the technique, of course, I go and look for a certain note or for the right frequences and I research to find a given sound, a given resonance.

Dub-O-Rama: MC CHESHIRE CAT made a very good job on 'walkin' target'. His very present voice is on one third of all tracks, as less is more...

Ashtech: During the production I felt the desire to have a voice in the album, something roots and urban at the same time. Talking to GAUDI we thought of CHESHIRE CAT and the great job he did in 'chant of the poor man', with LEFTFIELD, so GAUDI - who knew him - called him, explained about my project and sent him the tracks. Straight afterwards CHESHIRE CAT got back to us saying that he really liked the tracks and felt inspired. 
Ten days later he was ready to record and this is the result - style man!

Dub-O-Rama: The closing track 'buzz dub' leads into oriental melodic fantasies of wellness and power. Is this the ball to your next release?

Ashtech: 'Buzz dub' is a tribute to ALMAMEGRETTA. Their sound is the result of a geografical and historical trip throughout the mediterranean, their peculiarity is the ability to mix together a melody that comes from the past with our modern music technology and project it in the future. I embraced this style and I made it mine. 
In 'buzz dub' the oriental melody is inspired to these influences from the mediterranean where I come from. In a certain way you can speak of wellness and power if you refer to the mediterranean culture and history. 
My album is heterogeneous, each track has its own focus, but there is one binding style. At first the listener will find this is dub, but at a more attentive listening, a great influence is given by electronica. For my next release I think I will follow my instinct as usual, my inspiration.

Dub-O-Rama: "
Dubstep" as a London phenomenon seems to be a "neighbour" of you, you join "him" sometimes in clubs, in the neighbourhood. What is your aspect about "dubstep"?

Ashtech: I find it is a very interesting phenomenon, and here in London it is really blowing up. Dub music is really a fertile ground for experimentation, it stays in the Urban genre, but moves on with its own style, so I can say that finally we have something new for the dance floor...

The first impression of your cover is a big basement garage, but there are no parking places. It seems to be a photo about a channel in work!

The picture is a shot from JAMES BARRELL. There is a man in the center and it is not clear if he walks toward us to get out of the darkness or if he leaves us (the darkness). It leaves the observer wondering what it is about!

Dub-O-Rama: What´s to tell about your live performances?
Do you perform 'walkin' target' also live, actual or in the future? Do you work also as DJ?

Ashtech: Actually I perform 'walkin' target' live with a band formed by CHESHIRE CAT on the voice, MAUXUAM on the sequencing, CHRISTIAN on the guitar and me on the bass. 
I also perform as a dj and I do different sets, depending on the style of the event. Sometimes I have CHESHIRE CAT with me too.

This seems your project leds to a new friendship!
You work actually on projects of RAIZ and MAUXUAM…

Ashtech: I do a lot of collaborations with many different artists. 
RAIZ is one of my closest collaborators. For him I produced the Single 'WOP' for Universal Records and I remixed a track for his new album due to be realised soon.
MAUXUAM is working on my live set and I am also working on one track of his new album due to be released next year on label Interchill Records.

Dub-O-Rama: Thank you for the interesting interview and much success for your future!

The interview was led by Bernhard Groha, October 2007 

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