Asher Roth Interview + Giveaway
Asher Roth has come a long way from his 2009 hit, “I Love College” to his 2014 self released album RetroHash. From the start, we’ve been thoroughly impressed with the kid from Bucks County, PA with some serious flow and imagination. He’s been releasing solid mixtapes for years, but now he’s taking his views on ‘some real shit’ to the next level. He’ll be at Altar Bar on Tuesday, June 17th and we’re giving away two tickets to the show (enter below). Asher was feeling optimistic when he spoke with us and shared some pretty cool information about the album and his life outside of the studio.
Since 2008 you’ve been through a lot, learned the ins and outs the industry, and now you’ve left your label and put out something on your own. Can you tell us a little bit about what you’ve discovered during your journey?
It’s funny; it’s a timely call because I was just talking to my boy about it… You have to grow as a person, and I feel like RetroHash, for me, was a freedom record in many ways. Contrary to the “I Love College,” ‘I wanna party the rest of my life, do I really have to graduate?’ The answer’s yes. You do, and it’s a harsh reality, but it’s gotten the point in my life where as much as I want to boogie down, have fun, and forget about the real shit, I have to take on that real stuff head on.
I think RetroHash, in respect to that, it’s me getting real with my relationship with music. Music is with me for my entire day… so I’ve gotten to a point where I don’t want to abuse that relationship. I want to get to a more serious and a more romantic relationship with music.
You put this album out yourself, what was the hardest part about releasing your own album? Was anything particularly rewarding once it was all said and done?
Uh, obviously we don’t have a lot of access to money and it’s tough because the way it’s set-up, with major labels you can kind of buy awareness and that’s just not the case for me right now. So you have to create it and you do that by doing cool stuff and getting out on the road. But it’s hard, you know, especially now everybody’s doing something. Everybody’s a rapper, everybody’s a producer, and everybody’s a director. So how do you stand out? It’s a tough question.
I think RetroHash was a good experience for me and just understanding how hard it is to put out a record by yourself. There’s a lot of hard work behind it. But I think building and creating awareness of the record was and is the hardest thing about self-releasing an album.
RetroHash is not only a fitting title for the album, but it’s an anagram for your name. Have you had that in the back of your mind for a while, or was that something that came to you spontaneously?
Nah it just kinda happened. We were maybe 80-90% done with the record and my girlfriend emailed me a list of anagrams, just for fun, like “hey, check this out.” I was going through them and I was like “Yo RetroHash! That’s amazing because that’s what this record sounds like.” It was nice for me because my buddy Brian and Boyd—these are the guys who I grew up with and when they heard RetroHash and the title of it, they thought it was the most appropriate title and compilation of music they’ve heard from me in a while… but I really want to talk about the issues, like in “Fast Life” with abuse of pharmaceutical drugs and people kind of living ahead of them rather than just taking it one day at a time. Those are the themes and things I like to use in music. Using music as a platform to discuss some real shit rather than just talk about myself and talk about nothing at all.
We heard our boy Andy Warhol had some influence on your album cover—can you tell us about it?
Well, first of all it’s just righteous. It’s dope. Andy Warhol is dope and an eccentric human being. He’s part of the people I look at in history who thought differently. When you look at the normal stuff in the world and you feel like you don’t have a place in it, you’re probably living it right. Andy Warhol I feel like was one of those people who did cool shit, especially in the pop world. I think Andy Warhol is amazing. I want to be around people like that. I like interesting people creating cool shit.
You reference your garden a lot in your work and your tomatoes on “Dude” in RetroHash. You’ve been pretty busy this spring, did you get a chance to plant anything, are you looking forward to harvesting anything later in the summer?
Right now I’ve got the tomatoes, jalapeño peppers, and I’ve got basil. My cucumbers didn’t work out, but you know, gotta have a little something to pick at. It was tough, but I live with my girlfriend so she helped me with the watering. The good thing about tomatoes is you can beat the hell out of ‘em. They can take some abuse and still be all right. Cucumbers not so much, they need love.
You partner up with Chuck Inglish on your new album like you have in the past. How did that relationship start with him being from Chicago and you from outside Philly?
Uh, Chuck and I… you know it’s funny because like my relationship with Nottz. It just kind of happened. I just remember being in Chicago and linking up with Chuck really early on, I mean he’s in the “I Love College” video so like he’s been a part of my life for a really long time, he’s a close friend of mine. Oh, you know what it was—I had remixed “Black Magz” on Green House Effects Volume 1 and the tour manager at the time—who was actually one of the members of BlendedBabies who produced RetroHash, so as you dig deeper, we’re like a family here—I went to the manager at the time, Rich, and I was like, “Yo this dude remixed ‘Black Magz’ and put a verse on there, you guys should link.” And I ended up in Chicago hanging out, obviously making music and stuff, but also just hanging out and being friends. What’s cool about that is we were friends first, so we have an EP together that we’ve been working on and we kind of just hang out and make music, it’s gnarly.
Be sure to enter our giveaway below for your chance to get real with Asher Roth on June 17th at Altar Bar. Tickets can also be purchased here. Doors open at 7pm and the party starts at 8pm.
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