ASHEIRA Gets Up Close & Personal with VENTS Magazine
October 28, 2015 by 1888media
Singer/actress Ashley Pereira spoke with Vents Magazine about her debut EP Asheira, growing up in a Southern Baptist home, acting and the mythology of James Dean.
VENTS: Can you tell us about the story behind your latest track ¨James Dean¨?
Well… I grew up in a conservative southern Baptist home, and boys like James Dean were always the forbidden fruit to me. First line of the song, “My daddy told me don’t ya mess around with boys that wear leather”…“You always want what you can’t have” as they say, and I always wanted the ‘Bad Boy’ as do many girls.
VENTS: Was the song inspired by the film persona or by the idea of what James Dean stands for (‘Rebel Without A Cause’)?
I would say both. I love everything about James Dean. I relate to his past, his characters, and how he pursued his passion in his art of acting. He was fully submerged in his art, he didn’t give a shit what people thought of him, and he went by his own rules. James Dean was a heart throb for women, and the envy of men. In East of Eden, he broke down in tears on improv in a scene, and men didn’t do that back then. Most actors spoke so clearly and were pretty ‘straight’, it was rare to see that kind of vulnerability on camera. Dean was real, and he gave the audience something to relate to that no one was doing at the time due to pride, ego, or whatever.
VENTS: What inspired you to write this song?
My producer Dan and I met up and co-wrote the song. He thought I was the female James Dean of our time, he was in a sense a ‘James Dean’ figure himself. We related a lot to each other.
VENTS: Who came up with the idea for the concept of the video?
I had a dream one night, and everything from start to finish of the video was exactly what happened in the dream I had. It was one of those dreams where you couldn’t tell if it was real life or not.
VENTS: How was the filming experience?
The filming experience went so smoothly. “James Dean” was actually played by my rhythm player, who looks like an older version of the young James Dean. He’s like a brother to me so it’s kind of awkward being romantic with someone you know in that light. On stage we always role play a little just to keep people guessing whether we are together or not. It’s actually kind of fun. Young James Dean was played by my producer’s son, Logan. My daughter, Olivia, played the young Asheira. Logan and Olivia actually had giant crushes on each other around that time, and they had their first kiss on set in the video. We weren’t expecting that to happen at all, Olivia just grabbed his coat and went for it. LOL! It’s kind of nice to be able to have that moment on film though. I think we can look back and laugh about it on her wedding day. We filmed Logan and Olivia at the same house I recorded my EP. My band mates all played a role in the video. Our bass player, Steven Thomas, played another bank robber along with my producer, Dan Fenton. Our drummer played one of the cops, and we got a bunch of friends together for the extras. It was a blast! We filmed the bank scene at a car dealership that was an old 1970s bank, and just redecorated it for the scene. The “outside” of the bank was filmed at a church, which was very interesting since we were dressed as bank robbers with guns that night. We didn’t get into any trouble, Thank God! Haha
VENTS: The single comes off your debut EP – how was the recording and writing process?
Basically, I asked Dan Fenton from Feedback Revival to produce my album based on the tones of their new album. He co-wrote a couple of the songs with me. We recorded everything live in his garage with the band. The horns, keyboard, and cello were all played live by mutual friends. It felt like making a record with family. My boys and I are very close as a band, and we pulled our resources together to make it happen. We recorded in what we called the “Garage Mahal”. It was torn down this year around February. So the video and the record mean so much because of the memories that had been made in that house, and in the studio. We had multiple bon fire writing sessions, porch hangs, and just hanging around listening to records, drinking, and making food.
VENTS: Is this a personal record? Will it be self-titled?
It’s a very personal record, and I haven’t officially titled it yet. We’ll see what happens in the coming months of release.
VENTS: In what way does your current home-base of Nashville and your hometown of Enterprise, Alabama influence your music and this EP in particular?
The entire EP are stories of my past, co-writes with some of the most influential people in my life and close friends. I think every song is almost like a souvenir of a specific time of my life. What I was going through at the time, how I felt writing the song, the people in my life at that time. Leaving a very conservative town in Alabama, and diving into the artistic community in Nashville has slowly changed the person I am for the better, and each song is a time stamp of the changes of that time.
VENTS: Does your acting background influence your music as well?
It does for certain songs. If I’m able to become a character, and feel what they feel, experience what they experience, then really “they” are writing the song. On stage I believe it’s important to convey emotions through movement, even if I’m not “feeling” the same way I felt during the writing process of the song, I can call upon the acting skills at that time to portray that to the audience. I think that most front men are actors. They develop their own characters on stage, through media, the music, etc. but that may be a small part of who they actually are.
VENTS: Any plans to hit the road?
Not at the moment. I’d love to, but right now I’m focusing on writing and recording more material.
VENTS: What else is happening next in Asheira’s world?
I am developing a new project that is bringing out a more “poetic” side of Asheira lyrically. It’s not as heavy rock as the full band stuff, but more Jeff Buckley singer/songwriter type stuff. I’m excited. Other than that, just continuing to be a part of creative endeavors in Nashville, modeling, acting, writing music, volunteering, etc. Being a mom, and loving life.