Years ago my friends brought “Shake It” into my life and I didn’t want to like it, not at all. That song (and the album it came from) still sits in my iTunes and when it comes on shuffle, I dare not skip it. Oh Metro Station, how I saw you one too many times for free back in the day. Alas, they are not a band anymore and Trace Cyrus has moved on his own to Ashland High.
For those who hated on him in the past, let it go. He’s moved on and so should you. He’s used to the skeptics though since he lives with stares and judgment every day based on appearance alone, but he pushes through and focuses on what’s most important; his craft…and his pups. There’s always time for puppies.
Today you’ll find the pop-electro outlet known as Ashland High out on the road with Millionaires until mid-May promoting his latest Drugstore Cowboy, and when he’s done with that, well…You can read about that, life off a label and more below.
Kendra: You’ve always had a knack for electronic inspired music. With Metro Station it was more on the rock side, this time around you’ve gone more pop, why the change up?
Ashland High: Trying to go in more of a Pop direction ‘cause I feel it’s shocking for people to see and I like that. People who meet me and haven’t heard my music assume I’m in a heavy rock band or even a rapper. I like that my image is different than most pop artists and I think it really makes me stand out and be more unique.
Kendra: Right now you’re very DIY when it comes to all creative aspects, especially music. Does that have to do with how you might’ve been treated by the label when you were a part of Metro Station?
Ashland High: Yes, I love being in complete control of Ashland High. There were so many times I felt we were treated unfair by the major label. I remember them threatening to kick me off the label right after we got signed ‘cause I didn’t want to write songs with writers. With Metro Station we wrote all our own songs including our hits “17 Forever,” “Control” and “Shake It.” So it didn’t make sense to me they wanted us to write songs with some older men who it was hard to relate too. There were several times where they would talk down on how I dressed, my piercings and many other things. I feel as an artist I deserve to have control to express myself freely. I appreciate everything my record label did to get me in the music industry, I just wish they would of been more understanding at times.
Kendra: Millionaires, as well as yourself have pretty tame looks for California crowds, but when it comes to other parts of the country you’re pretty shocking with all the tattoos and whatnot. Have you ever gotten treated horribly when you head to small town America based on your appearance? Any instances that stick out?
Ashland High: Every day and everywhere I go I get weird looks. Most stores I go in there are employees following me always thinking I’m going to steal just ‘cause I’m covered in tattoos. It’s just a part of my life now that I have gotten used to. But even though many people don’t agree with my image a lot of people love it.
Kendra: What’s something people often assume about you that’s absolutely wrong?
Ashland High: People always assume I’m going to be stuck up and cocky. I think just because I come from a successful family and a successful band they think I will have an ego. Once people get to know me they realize I am a down to earth guy. I am extremely shy till I really get to know people. I also have extreme anxiety issues so it’s hard at times for me in social situations and at first people can mistake that for me being rude.
Kendra: Back to the touring and getting a little personal. You have a lady in your life…Your pup. Does she head out on the road with you?
Ashland High: My girl stays at home ‘cause she also has a very busy schedule filming movies and TV shows all the time. But when I’m home we spend as much time together as possible. Leaving my puppies is extremely hard for me. I look at my dogs as my best friends. I don’t go out to bars, clubs, or movies. I really like to stay at home with my pups and focus on my music as much as possible. Touring is one of the only times I really break free and go out more.
Kendra: Do you have any other tour plans for the rest of 2013?
Ashland High: No tour plans at the moment. I have no manager or label. I am in charge of my entire career. God seems to always put something in place for me when the time is right. I don’t worry about it I just let God put the pieces into place and I follow his lead.
Kendra: What about new music? What’s the rest of the year look like as far as some new Ashland High tracks?
Ashland High: I’m currently on the road with my DJ who is also a music producer. We plan on recording all during tour and when I am home. We hope to have an album early next year.
Kendra: Other than music, you have your clothing line SMHP. Who and what do you pull inspiration for when it comes to thinking up these designs?
Ashland High: A lot of the SMHP designs come from growing up in the south. Native American culture is a huge part of my life so many designs are inspired by that. Also many designs are inspired by tattoos I have.
Kendra: We’re going to focus on your other home, the outskirts of Nashville, TN. So if you were going to throw a party in Nashville, what would be the top 5 tracks on the mixtape for the party?