story / Jordan Blakeman
Asher Roth has definitely grown up from his days of “I Love College” and comes back with a Ph. D in out-of-this-decade tunes. His new album, RetroHash, will be released on April 22nd and will mark his second studio album after 5 years. The collection of songs is full of smooth, retro- surfy beats and appearances by fellow MC’s Curren$y, ZZ Ward, Chuck Inglish, Major Myjah, and Vic Mensa.We caught up with him at the end of SXSW to talk about his upcoming release and the road there.
So RetroHash has been in production for a while and gone through different name changes.
I mean, yeah, sort of. I mean, RetroHash is its own thing. I’m from Philadelphia. I moved to Los Angeles in April and after I got out of all the recording contract nonsense I kinda just started fresh so RetroHash is pretty much a project about ridding yourself of all the nonsense and this freedom, kind of self-discovery record. It’s new. It’s all new recordings and I’m excited about it because it is. It’s this record of renewal.
In your bio you mention self-discovery. Can we talk a little about that?
I think it’s the natural process of growing up. I got into the music industry and entertainment business around 21, 22 years old and it’s funny because you’re seeing a lot of kids having success at like 16, 17 years old as billionaire app makers and things like that so the age might not seem too crazy but at 21 years old you’re still a kid, man. You’re still trying to figure yourself out so to be in the entertainment business where they’re kind of like pushing agendas on you and it’s almost like you have to meet other people’s expectations, you’re still an impressionable kid so I’ve just been trying to quiet that stuff and still be able to listen to myself and listen to what it is I’m trying to accomplish. It’s more of a sense of fulfillment than it is about gathering a bunch of things like money. Instead of trying to make other people happy I just wanted to be able to sleep at night. That’s really where I’m at now. I feel like I’m in an incredible position. I’m not too stressed out by the expectations or the agenda of the entertainment world. I’m just doing my thing and doing what’s right to me and I feel like people are really appreciating that.
You have collaborators you work with on your latest album. How did you meet them?
Yeah, these are all just friends. I mean, I think there’s something to be said when you’re making music with your friends or just people you get along with. I think people can hear that. The Blended Babies are a duo from Chicago that I worked with on this record. It lets me hang out with consistent Cool Kids collaborators, the Chuck Englishs of the world and Vic Mensa is on this record, ZZ Ward. It’s just a circle of friends. It’s just how it naturally works. You meet some person and they’re friends with so and so and you meet them and then you realize you guys get along and then you start hanging out and the relationships that stick and stay in your life you stick with. It’s really just friends and music, not much more than that.
What should people expect to hear in your new album?
It’s cool, it’s going to be tough. It’s definitely one of those records you have to hear. I would love to be able to sit here and be like hey it sounds like this, it sounds like that but if the Tangerine Girl single is any indication it’s like, I don’t know what I’m getting myself into. We wanted to try some things, have some fun. The record bends genres a little bit. It’s bluesy, it’s rock, it’s hiphop. It’s still going to be hiphop music but I’m trying to make sure it’s true to form and true to self. Having fun, making music with friends, all is well.
The music video for Tangerine Girl is crazy. Did you come up with that?
Yeah. When we made the record we were like this is such a skating rink record so I picked up my buddy Matt Spicer and told him my idea of setting it in a skating rink and he was like alright, let’s bring it to life with this little love story obviously it being the Tangerine Girl. We put two and two together and wanted to make it cool and retro and fun to watch.
The title RetroHash – how did that come about?
The true story is I got sent over a list of anagrams for my name and I thought it was funny because there was a bunch like other rash and rather hoes. I always joke my album was so close to being named rather hoes. RetroHash was perfect timing to get sent over the list because the album sounds like RetroHash. It’s got these wavey drugged out vibes and up down left right and it just fit. It’s one of those things that’s meant to be. It’s an anagram of my name of course and obviously that fits because the produces Blended Babies did the whole thing. It’s pretty much Asher Roth blended up becomes RetroHash and it also fits the sound.
What can we expect for the rest of 2014?
It’s going to be a good year. It’s kind of a new beginning. I look forward to putting out a bunch of new music. We’ve got RetroHash of course and more music with my boy Nottz. A lot more collaborations with Chuck English. Just music and fun man, always.
UPCOMING TOUR DATES:
04/22: Troubadour, Los Angeles, CA
05/05: XOYO, London, UK
05/07: The Ruby Lounge, Manchester, UK