The word ‘gesticulation’ is defined as; a gesture, especially a dramatic one, used to emphasise one’s words. And an emphasis on words is very much at the forefront of the newest musical project for Graham ‘Asho’ Ashton, whose long-standing musical involvement in the Brisbane grassroots punk rock scene has seen him most recently put out music with his other project, The Shambolics, whose 2019 album, ‘Be Careful What You Wish For’, was an exercise in rootsy garage swagger, underpinned by a knowing turn of phrase and a wizened heart of punk.
The first fruits of his newest endeavour, Gesticulations, comes in the form of a debut single, ‘Stay Curious’, which strips things back musically and puts even more of a focus on the ruminations of its lead protagonist, creating a lineage between the edgy beat-poets of yore and todays new breed of sassy orators such as Courtney Barnett and Kate Tempest.
We recently threw a few questions Asho’s way, and here’s what he came back with.
Can you fill us in on the inspiration behind Gesticulation’s debut release, ‘Stay Curious’?
There is a Nick Cave lecture called ‘The Secret Life Of The Love Song’ where he discusses a Portugese word for longing – Saudade. In my mind the inspiration for this song is based on a joyous kind of longing for a long lost and loved friend.
You hooked up with multi-instrumental marvel Benny D Williams on the track. How did this come about? And are you working with him on any more tracks?
I heard and loved Benny’s production work with Amy Elise and after seeing his multi-instrumental skills in action live I thought he would be the perfect foil for this project. We did a little pre-planning but mostly the song came together in one session of fun spontaneity.
In your other musical project, The Shambolics, you make mention of your admiration for beat poets such as Charles Bukowski and Jack Kerouac. Have their literary-punk stylings been an important influence how the Gesticulations project has taken shape?
I have had a lifelong love affair with the beat poets. In saying that I feel that modern female poets like Kate Tempest and Courtney Barnett have had more of an influence on the direction of GESTICULATIONS.
I understand that ‘Stay Curious’ is the precursor to a full-length album of Gesticulations material. How far along the road are you with it? And are these tracks embryonic or did you have a bunch of ideas left over from your Shambolics output?
Yes there is a GESTICULATIONS album in the works, with the working title ‘Sense Of Purgency’. The new SHAMBOLICS album is a little further along and I plan to take turns in monthly recording sessions for both albums. I’ve been writing lots of songs lately and have about 20 allocated to THE SHAMBOLICS and close to 10 for GESTICULATIONS.
What else is happening in the world of ‘Asho’ in these current crazy COVID-19 times, musically or otherwise?
I’ve been spending most of the time on the Sunshine Coast helping care for my elderly parents. Thankfully I have connected with a very talented old friend and have been singing on his album while he helps me with demos for THE SHAMBOLICS and GESTICULATIONS album. The madness of the world will certainly have a positive impact on song writing. I can’t wait to hear what my favourite artists come up during this time of challenging inspiration.