Photos // Courtesy of the artists
To celebrate the latest release from artists asche and Seth Bishop, LADYGUNN requested an intimate interview between the two friends, delving into their unique synergy and the creative journey behind their groundbreaking burnout in the age of AI anthem, ‘break’.
In true Gen-Z fashion, the duo connected over a Facetime call for this interview, an intriguing reflection of the theme of technology within their music. Despite both being based in LA, the digital interaction added an extra layer of resonance to their narrative.
SETH BISHOP: Yo, Asche, when you first thought about ‘break,’ what was going through your mind? How’d you come up with this fire concept?
ASCHE: Man, I was deep into the idea of societal pressure and burnout, feeling like a machine about to shut down. The concept just came to me as I reflected on the overwhelming challenges we face everyday. And how we’re expected to perform constantly, like literal machines.
SETH BISHOP: Dude, tell me, what was the vibe like in the studio when you produced the beat for ‘break’?
ASCHE: I wanted the beats to mirror the emotional rollercoaster and chaos I was feeling. I was listening to Hyperpop, Glitchcore and Metal tracks. I wanted the sound to sound disruptive, distorted and emotional.
SETH BISHOP: So, Asche, did you have any ‘Eureka’ moments while writing the lyrics for ‘break’?
ASCHE: Yeah, once I wrapped my head around the concept, I had so much to say, it was pretty much an outburst of lyrics flowing through my head. The metaphoric parallel between feeling like a machine about to burnout was the eureka moment itself. Seth, when you came to my studio that day, your verse was the perfect touch of ‘humanity’ and ‘vulnerability’, I needed to complete this concept, so thank you.
SETH BISHOP: How’d you and I link up for ‘break,’ man? Share the story with our fans. They’d love to hear how this collab came to life!
ASCHE: Well, we’ve been friends for over a year now, and our initial connection stemmed from our shared interest in collaborating on music. While we had worked on several tracks together before, ‘break’ felt like the ideal first collaborative release, especially considering the challenges we both faced over the past year. This theme deeply resonated with us on a personal level, reflecting the current state of the world. I believe that society craves a piece of art like ‘break’ to validate their emotions and remind them that they’re not alone in their struggles.
SETH BISHOP: asche, when you were listening to the final version of ‘break,’ did it hit you differently? What was your instant reaction to hearing the finished product?
ASCHE: One thousand percent, as you know I’m extremely involved in this track, as I produced it myself from scratch, wrote and mixed both of our vocals. So by the time I was ready to submit the session to be mixed by Jordan Wahba, my ears were exhausted from listening over and over. This track is so complex and has so many ‘non’ melodic elements such as glitch and distortion sounds, listening to the track mixed and mastered, made me tear up. I felt like I was hearing it for the first time as a listener, because my work was done.
SETH BISHOP: Tell us, what’s your go-to process for getting in the zone and laying down those killer beats? Do you have any rituals or habits that get your creative juices flowing?
ASCHE: Well it varies, but I’m extremely conceptual, so usually the concept comes first. Then it’s a matter of creating the sounds that emulate the vibe that the theme requires. My rituals are very simple, I put on my mood lights in my studio, make sure there’s silence and I’m fully focused on sound design. As of recently I’ve broken my years long sobriety, so currently I’m california sober. So a gummy or two might be a part of the process.
SETH BISHOP: Bro, if you had to pick one line from ‘break’ that speaks to you on a personal level, which one would it be? Why does it hit home for you?
ASCHE: My second verse, I wrote it after you came to my studio. And since you brought up a more ‘human’ point of view, I figured that my verse had to be a more ‘logical’ approach to the overall theme. ‘I’m so exhausted, my mind is a maze, and I’m a hostage. I’m glitching; yeah, I started to forget things. I’m deprogramming; I’m about to force quit.’ Are probably one of my favorite lyrics I’ve ever written. They summarize perfectly, the burnout/machine metaphor, showcase what it feels like to be trapped in this vicious cycle of hustle culture.
SETH BISHOP: I fully trusted you with the concept and artwork for ‘break’ and you blew me away, what inspired the visuals?
ASCHE: Well, funny enough. The visuals for ‘break’ came before the song. When I thought of the concept, I had imagined all those visuals of the human vs. machine rhetoric. I wanted to convey the metaphor of humans being machines, about to physically break down and burn out.
SETH BISHOP: How did the idea come about to incorporate AI elements into the visual representation of the song? on those AI artworks that look exactly like you and me? How did you pull that off? Tell us about the process of infusing technology into your art.
ASCHE: Given the fact that this song is a criticism of the current hustle culture and societal expectations for humans to perform like machines, I thought it would be so fitting to let AI interpret my vision of this theme. Once we finished the song, I revisited those visuals and after long hours of training an AI model to learn what myself and you, Seth, look like. I managed to create the concept for it. I was so happy that you loved it as much as I did. When it comes to infusing tech into my work, AI isn’t going anywhere, so we must learn how to use it, and use it to our advantage. I think learning how to be in control and be ahead of the curve is very important in this day and age.
SETH BISHOP: Dude, you’re a jack-of-all-trades! From writing and producing to singing and creating those stunning artworks, how do you manage to juggle so many creative roles? Share your secret sauce with us!
ASCHE: Well thank you for saying that. I get so immersed in the creative process that I often forget that my skills are considered special, so I struggle to take the compliment. Though it’s hard work, it comes naturally to me, I can’t picture putting out any body of work that I didn’t fully envision and execute myself. My secret sauce is, create something you’re passionate about, the skills will be acquired along the way.
SETH BISHOP: Can you walk us through the creation of the teaser trailer for ‘break’? What inspired the cryptic messaging and the juxtaposition between man and machine? Give us a behind-the-scenes peek into the thought process behind it.
ASCHE: Yes, I had SO MUCH FUN! Creating that teaser, some of our fans thought we were starring in a Marvel movie together. I knew I wanted the teaser to feel cinematic, and I worked with AI to animate those pictures I had created for the release. Shout out to Paige Piskin who is an incredible AR/VR/AI artist, she inspired and helped me so much with tips on how to animate AI images. So once I had created those scenes, I started to piece them together into a mini script and wrote the treatment for it. Then I edited the clips together and worked on the sound design and narration. The overall message was to pose a question to the audience, of who is in control? Are humans operating machines, or is it the other way around?
SETH BISHOP: Let’s dive into the message behind the lines, ‘In a world ruled by machines… If you can’t beat them. Join them… On the outside, we’re not that different. But how much can you take? Before you start to break?’ What sparked this thought-provoking message, and how does it tie into the overarching theme of ‘break’?
ASCHE: I see how we often ‘give in’, into pressure and overall societal norms when it comes to work, success and productivity in general. I wanted this message to inspire audiences to think about how much of ourselves we are willing to forfeit, to achieve these goals that are imposed on us.
SETH BISHOP: Could you elaborate on the concept of ‘ascheverse’ and how it relates specifically to ‘break’? How does this unique universe play into the narrative and emotions portrayed in the song?
ASCHE: The ‘ascheverse’ is essentially a metaphor for my brain. It’s a place that exists in my imagination, so every time you hear the tag ‘welcome to the ascheverse’ you’re about to get a glimpse of what goes on in my brain. ‘break’ exists in the ‘ascheverse’ because obviously it is a product of my brain, but also because this ‘imaginary place’ is essentially a reflection of the world through my lens. So this song is how I perceive and interpret experiencing ‘burnout’.
SETH BISHOP: If there was one message, you could leave our fans with, from ‘break’ what would it be?
ASCHE: I’ve been in situations in my life where I had to work weekends, late shifts, to cover my basic necessities financially, so I understand ‘self-care’ and ‘rest’ are a luxury. But I would like our supporters to know that it’s ok to slow down, to take time for yourself and prioritize your mental health. And that no money or job in the world is more important than your well-being.
asche and Seth Bishop’s song ‘break’ is out now on all streaming platforms, you can listen to the track here.