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LIVE

Ash

by Felicity Hughes

Proving they’re far from burned out, indie rockers Ash return to Japan next week to promote the release of “A-Z Vol. 2,” the culmination of an ambitious project that saw the band releasing a single every fortnight via digital download.

Not being bound to an album concept has allowed Ash to explore a variety of genres including disco, electro and even heavy metal. “A-Z Vol. 2,” the band’s second compilation, was released Oct. 11 and drummer Rick McMurray was excited to experiment with so many of different styles.

“Unlike (our other) albums, we wanted the music to take many different directions,” he says. “It kept the whole project feeling very dynamic, for both us and the fans.”

McMurray and bandmates, vocalist/guitarist Tim Wheeler and bassist Mark Hamilton, are excited to be headed to Japan again.

“I think this must be our 20th visit!” says McMurray. “In 1995 we’d just finished school a few months before going to Japan, so it felt like a huge culture shock. We’d just experienced a little bit of success in the U.K. but going to Japan made us feel like The Beatles! We had hundreds of fans outside the hotel every morning and people following our every move. These days it’s not as crazy and we’re used to the Japanese fans. I’m looking forward to having some great Japanese food and a few drinks with our label and promoters. Maybe we’ll fit in a trip to Kamakura!”

Old-school fans need not feel left out, as Ash still plans on breaking out their catalog of hits.

“Although we’ll be playing a lot of ‘A-Z’ material, we’ll be cramming in as many older songs as we can. I think these shows are going to be epic!”

Ash perform at Liquidroom in Shibuya, Tokyo, on Nov. 22-23; Club Quattro in Nagoya on Nov. 24; and Big Cat in Osaka on Nov. 25. All shows start at 7 p.m. Tickets cost ¥6,300 in advance. For more information, visit www.ash-official.com.