Ashton Nyte, of The Awakening, kindly took out some time to answer MusicReview’s questions.
The Awakening, thank you for the taking the time out to answer some of our questions. You guys have played gigs in over 30 States in the USA. How do you find the reception in different States? Is there a difference in the way you guys are received in different States?
Yes, reception, attendance and accents do tend to vary from state to state. The contrast is really felt when you’re jumping 5 or 10 states between shows. America is a massive country that is effectively home to many ‘little countries’ within, each boasting its own special flavour well worth experiencing.
Interesting that! The Awakening have been consistent in touring and releasing albums, which is obviously part of your success. What are the other keys to your success?
I think sheer work ethic, dedication, coffee and lots of help from the good Lord. Surviving in this ‘industry’ is a lot of work and a lot of blood, sweat and tears behind the scenes. It’s still the best job in the world though.
Any music that is slightly darker or features dark visuals is immediately termed ‘goth’. Does this bother you?
I think it’s just indicative of the reviewer’s or listener’s frame of reference really. I’ve never been a huge fan of labels and their constrictive nature but am well aware of the need some people have to put things in boxes. The word ‘goth’ doesn’t necessarily hold any negative connotations for me, in as much as that it is a contributing influence to some of my work, specifically with The Awakening.
There is a claim that The Awakening have argued that the artistic/visual imagery of alternative music is dying. Is this true? If so, why would you say so?
I just think there is a lack of imagination as far as presentation goes, pretty much across the genre board. It’s difficult to always remain fresh or groundbreaking but I do think we should at least try.
In terms of your reception in South Africa – it is incredible that everytime we walk into a music store, there is generally always a copy of an Awakening album. Yet, many bands, many of them with new releases, never seem to be in stock. Why is this? Are you guys adamant that you are stocked in CD stores in South Africa, or is it just by luck?
There is very little luck related to having your CD stocked in stores. We merely beg and plead.
What is the one venue that you miss playing at home?
Acoustic shows at Café Barcelona in Pretoria were always special.
If you could take any South African band back to the States with you, who would it be and why?
Whichever band Matthew Fink is playing in because he is the best artistic collaborator anyone could wish for.
What is the strangest musical experience that you have encountered overseas?
That would probably relate to strange venues booked by strange booking agents. All I remember was looking up from my guitar convinced that I was in a scene from The Village (that fabulous movie with Joaquin). A quaint but somewhat unnerving experience.
Haha! That must have been memorable to say the least… If you had to give advice to struggling musicians that want to follow in your footsteps, what would it be?
Listen to more music and don’t use drugs.
Amen. Thank you for time. Where can we find out more about you?
What an awesome band! Make sure to check back with us for updates on Ashton Nyte and The Awakening’s progress.