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  • Vasili Papathanasopoulos

SPOTLIGHT ON SASH

Rossi is out now!

Image: Diego Andrade.


Emerging artist SASH has treated us with his brand new single, Rossi. We caught up with the musician ahead of the release to chat about the track, his artistry, leaning into hip-hop influences and so much more.


Produced with long-time collaborators Apex Martin (Travis Scott, Ty Dolla $ign, G-Eazy) and Mike Dean (Beyoncé, Frank Ocean, The Weeknd, Travis Scott), the musicians melodic flow floats above a simmering soundscape, built atop a driving hip-hop beat and dark-pop production. The track pays homage to the legendary motorcycle racer, Valentino Rossi, with SASH musing what it would be like cruising through the city at night, taking in your surroundings and having encounters with a wide array of characters. Directed by the musician alongside Diego Andrade, the songs visual places SASH within a futuristic city-scape, speeding away from the obstacles that lie ahead.



Before we get into the new track, could you tell me a bit about your musical background and what led you towards pursuing music?


Yeah. I grew up in New York, just sort of immersed in every different kind of music, even from, my dad's like a fifth generation New Yorker and is the biggest hip-hop head ever. And my mom grew up in Chicago and then on the West Coast, but sort of had like a much different musical background than my dad. So I grew up listening to like New York hip-hop and sort of like wherever those hip-hop producers took me. whether it was to like J Dilla and then ventured out from hip hop as a base. And then I was listening to The Police and a bunch of other, just like total opposite from what my dad grew up listening to. I guess hip-hop just always served as the home base for where I would explore and get into things that I love. And as I grew up it still was like that, but obviously it became more of like listening to new artists and wanted to try it myself.



I love that duality of influences. Your new single Rossi is about to be unveiled to the world. Walk me through what the song is about and the inspiration behind it. I know Valentino Rossi plays into this one...


Actually, my dad was super into motorcycles our whole young life. And Valentino Rossi is like the LeBron of motorcycle racing. So we grew up with Valentino Rossi toys, the same way you would have wrestling toys. We were so into this, we would run around on the street when we were like five pretending that we were racing motorcycles. I always grew up imagining riding through the city on whatever I was riding. It was like racing around on a motorcycle. The song to me just feels... the song was made at like four in the morning, or recorded in LA at four in the morning, but it feels to me like a midnight like almost Tron-like motorcycle ride through a city. Through New York specifically, but through a city.



You definitely get that late night, almost futuristic vibe. I've heard a pretty awesome music video is coming for this one as well. How important are the visuals, to you when it comes to representing the themes of the songs and also building your own visual identity?


Oh, abso- I mean, it's only a part of it, right? The song on its own is like, it can do so much for you. And then there's a visual that can sort of just actually bring you into the world, that's not just the song, right? There's obviously a way that I feel about the song, when I'm listening and making it initially. But I want you to feel... I want you to have your own chance to feel it regardless of a video, but the music video's for people who really want to dive into the world, who want to feel it the same way that I'm feeling it.



Rossi arrives only a few months after the release of our debut project Bittersweet, which is quite a sonically dark collection of songs that explores the duality of life. Can you unpack through the themes and concepts explored across that release and the importance to you documenting them?


Bittersweet is basically, a batch of songs about beauty and darkness. Bittersweet in itself is the duality that points to being like, there's no pleasure without pain, no virtue without vice and no sweet without sour. And that was why lemon sorbet was the precipice of that duality to me. The project was obviously produced mostly by Mike [Dean] and Apex, so it was really just us, our little group in a room being very precise about this exact feeling we wanted to have come through on these six songs. Now for this next project we're bringing in a bunch of cool people to work with, but we still are able to now carry that feeling because we set it, we set it off in that first project.



How did you go about crafting the hip-hop, meets dark pop sonic realm that your music does exist within?


I think that's just a natural progression of where I found my voice and what I liked the most. I think it was just a natural follow on of one or two songs that I had made early on that were just like, 'this feels naturally good.' And it just ended up being a certain sweet vocal tone over sort of dark gloomy beats and it was just like, 'okay, I'm just gonna make stuff like this, I'm gonna start here because this is what sounds good for me.' And I like all types of other sounds and I listen to a bunch of other stuff, but for me, this is just the world that I felt I naturally could sort of just jump into.



I love that. When you are writing do you find that you have a particular creative process or do you think that each song and each project takes on its own form and avenue?


I would say that I have the same process for being inspired. But actually creating the songs and the projects, I have a few different processes in terms of taking the inspiration and getting it towards that final idea. I love to write over just melodies, like Mike will do something on the synth or Apex will play a melody and I'll just write something, write the full song and then we'll sort of produce it after. I also like to just sort of mumble out melodies over a finished beat or an idea of a finished beat. So I have two to three processes that I'll take to get that inspiration through. But the inspiration is always the same of just like, I don't try to find ideas for songs. They kind of... I'll wake up and walk outside to go get a coffee and I see the way two people interact and that idea seems like something that needs to be encapsulated in the song.




What’s one line from Rossi you find at times could be stuck in your head? Or a line that you come back to?


Locked away and threw the keys."




You were the first artist to sign to Mike Dean’s label Apex Sound. What made Apex Sound the right home for your music, and what has been the most valuable lesson you’ve learnt from Mike so far?


I was making music with Apex, and then Mike before the label was formed. It only seemed natural to put it out together and continue making more together. The most valuable lesson I’ve learned from Mike is to not overthink. (Do more, think less.)




Now I know you've only just released your debut project, but you've already followed it up with new music. So what do you have planned for the rest of 2023?


There’s going to be a lot of music from us in 2023. We’re going to continue to build out the 008 world and explore new sounds. But mostly, lots of music.



GET TO KNOW SASH


Biggest influences?

Stevie Wonder, Bob Dylan, Rodriguez, Jay Z, Travis Scott, Frank Ocean, The Weeknd, I’d go on forever but it is rapid fire…



Dream collaboration?

Frank Ocean.



Album that has had the most impact on you?

Songs in the Key of Life.



How do you define your musical style in 3 words?

Delicately-Hard.



If you could create the soundtrack for any film, which one would it be?

The Dark Knight.



Hannah Montana or Miley Cyrus?

Miley.



What was the first song you loved to sing?

Hey Ya!



Album you would listen to on repeat on a road trip?

The Miseducation of Lauren Hill.



First concert you went to?

Jay Z (first I can remember).



Best concert you have been to?

Jay Z.



First album you ever bought?

Probably The Carter III.



Would you rather be a Spice Girl or a Backstreet Boy?

The latter.



Most memorable show you’ve ever performed?

The first time I ever performed. In a club called Up and Down in NY.



Go to karaoke song?

A Place in the Sun by Stevie Wonder.



Guilty music pleasure?

No guilt in any of it, haha.



Dream venue to perform at?

Red Rocks.



An artist you think has had the most influence on the music industry.

Drake.



What advice would your current self, give your future self, for a year from now?

Put out more music.



The moment you knew you wanted to be a musician?

First concert I saw.



Rossi is out now!


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