An Interview With BEAUTY IN THE BREAKDOWN’S Front-Woman, CHASTITY ASHLEY!
Posted On 04 Oct 2017
Chastity Ashley hits like a girl, and the world is much better for it. The renowned percussionist takes her talents center stage in her formidable electro-pop outfit Beauty In The Breakdown and the results are electrifying.
Half a decade working with a ‘who’s who’ of rock & pop’s most successful musicians has enabled Chastity to absorb a unique range of influences that create an arresting brand of intelligent pop music. Debut EP “NEON” (2015) received rave reviews from Music Connection, who hailed Chastity’s “Weapons-Grade” percussion effects, and earned them “Best Dance Song” in the prestigious Hollywood Music in Media Awards.
This east-LA girl of Mexican/Apache descent radiates warmth and positivity in person, so it’s no surprise that her music is bound together within an ethos of letting go of your inhibitions and connecting with those that bring out the best in you. Beauty In The Breakdown have a contagious enthusiasm and consider it their mission to spread this message with as many people as possible. 2017 could certainly do with some positivity and Beauty in The Breakdown are here to deliver.
“I had the pleasure of sharing the stage with Chastity, [her] boundless energy added an exciting and vibrant element to our shows and her expert percussion playing helped keep our audiences on their feet night after night. It’s so great to see her coming into her own as an artist and sharing her music with the world. We’re looking forward to hearing what she has in store!” – John Taylor, DURAN DURAN
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Learn more about Beauty In The Breakdown in the following All Access interview with Chastity:
Thanks for your time! Where does this interview find the band today? Is there music playing in the background? Absolutely. Listening to some Alina Baez….Smooth!
What music do you all like to listen to when you are relaxing or answering interview questions?
Actually, I love to listen to solfeggio tones in the hertz of 528 or 639 as they do everything from repairing the inner dna structure to bring clarity and awareness as well as creating harmony balancing.
How does 2017 so far compare to last year?
Did you all approach this year differently then you did 2016? We certainly did. We spent a majority of the year really hunkering down, developing our sound, and dissecting our creative processes. We worked on lots of new material and even filmed two large-scale production videos for two of our new singles. One is for Firebird, which was just released a few weeks ago, and the other is for Thinking Bout You, which has yet to be released. We still made time to connect and play shows for the fans but the new music creation is where we spent a majority of our time as we’re really working on an elevated studio and live music experience.
Growing up, did you always want to be musicians? Can you recall the moment you realized that you could really make music together and be a band?
I really feel like I can speak on all of our behalves because if you see pictures of us as kids we all have instruments in our hands. Its collectively all been our passion to play music for the masses and share and celebrate our art which is representative of the experiences we have had while being on planet earth. Music has just always been the ultimate best friend to us all and has always been there for us when nobody else was. Because music was the glue that helped us stay sane in this life it inspired us to be a part of it on another level which was to create it. To find our own voice and to report on what we have observed and celebrated. I remember listening to everywhere from Bob Marley, The Cure, to No Doubt and to Prince just thinking, I want to do what they do. The drums were a primal part of my soul since ever I can remember so as soon as I had my moment and I sat on a drum set I was instantly hooked and positively obsessed. From there I studied funk, rock, latin fusion you name it.
Why do you think your name truly represents this group and the music that you create?
Its the very fabric of our movement. To inspire people and share what we can all relate to and that is what it’s like to be at the bottom with no hope in sight. But that there is something greater that arises from those shadows when you have to be faced with the authentic you. From there it creates a humbleness and clarity because the only place you have from bottom is up and we all represent that by encompassing the name Beauty In the Breakdown because that’s what we are creating.
I always like to ask artists how their hometown has been an influence on the kind of music they make and really what kind of a band they are today. So how do you think your hometown of Los Angeles has affected you?
It’s affected me greatly. Everything that I have become has been either directly or indirectly related to my neighborhood. The experiences that I had shaped me into wanting to strive for more but it also taught me how to respect the process and the wise ones whom shared their knowledge with me. These people came from meager means like I did but they had a wisdom and sincerity that touched my spirit and has always made me to never forget where I came from.
How does your experience in this band Beauty In The Breakdown compare to anything else you have been a part of?
Really it’s in its own lane. Its unlike anything I have ever done and it’s also been one of the hardest things I have ever done. It’s challenged my musical process and ability to really see outside the box in regards to the approach I have taken creating edm music while remaining true to my latin and world percussive background. It’s also the most free I have felt because I have been allowed complete artistic freedom so its allowed for me to share my voice, vision and truth. It’s been one of the hardest but also one of the most rewarding experiences to date.
What are your plans for the rest of this summer? Do you have any tour dates scheduled?
Just finishing up our new EP and getting wrapped on our next Video for our next single “Thinking Bout You” which we can’t wait to share. It’s about how one can survive and be stronger than ever after a devastating breakup from your significant whom leaves you in the blink of an eye with no explanation in sight. In the interim of that we are also getting geared up for our 2018 tour dates. We have really been expanding the live show experience so you’re going to see some exciting things in the coming year including a state of the art light show. Can’t wait!!!
Where do you think you are happiest- on stage performing, in the studio recording new music or elsewhere?
It’s always on stage performing. Creating and recording is wonderful but it can also be strenuous and somewhat stressful, lol!. When I’m on stage I truly feel that’s where I let all my inhibitions free. I feel liberated. I love being able to absorb the vibrations of the audience and then in turn send out the energy I have within which creates a synergy and bond that is boundless. I love sharing and banging my drums with all that I have within and watching the emotions of the souls whom are around me. It’s a high unlike any other and I wouldn’t trade it for the world.
Who are some of your favorite artists? Who would you all to work with in the future? What would be a dream collaboration for this band?
My favorites, I mean, there are sooo many. Its everywhere from Sade to Gwen Stefani to Prince to Kaskade. I also love Bob Marley, Tupac, Santana and Pink Floyd. I’m truly in love with FKA Twigs and even Lana Del Rey. So a dream collaboration would for sure be Kaskade as that’s my boy and I would love to work with Will.I.Am on some music as well as I haven’t played with him since I played the SWU Fest with Duran Duran back in Brazil.
What do you hope is the message of your music? What do you hope people continue to take away from your songs?
The message is hope, unity, connection, free will, diversity and empathy. I truly desire for this to resonate always when people hear our musical creation. I want them to know that these songs are very much theirs as they are ours. That we stand with them and that we are in this together. That they are never alone and that the music can always whisk them away and take them anywhere they want to be.
What advice would you give to a band just getting started? Or even to someone young that is thinking of becoming a musician one day?
To always focus on being the best at whatever they are doing and to not pay attention to what other people are doing. Its great to be inspired as we all need to be. But that they should always focus on their own voice and go with their gut. It will never let you down. I was told once by a huge producer to not play my djembe around my waist and to play it on a stand. I respected him so I figured he was right. But then I thought about it and said, that’s not me and it doesn’t feel organic. So I stuck to it and it has become one of the things everyone talks about at a BITB show. So always listen to your inner voice and practice, practice, practice. The rest will follow. It’s better to be a master of something than a jack of all trades. At least that’s what my heart feels!
Is there anything else that you would like to share with our readers about yourselves or your music?
I want to thank our fans whom we refer to as The Movement. We love you, we adore you and without you we would not be able to live out our dreams and bring to you this musical landscape. It’s a blessing to have our fans believe in us so passionately and we encourage you to always reach out and email us as we respond to every fan. Its not always right away but I assure you we do. YOU ARE OUR LIFE FORCE!!!!