Hell’s Ditch are a punk band from Lincoln; they are a new band formed of members from other bands including ex/current members of Bad Ideas, River Jumpers & Dearist . Each member of the band has earned their spurs touring in other bands on the UK punk scene, up and down the country.
Nick from Hell’s Ditch, talks about his love of Northern Irish rockers, Ash, for our Why I Love column.
I first heard the Ash album 1977 when I was in a friend’s kitchen at a party when I was about 13. Up to this point my music taste had been largely dictated by my parents love for Pearl Jam, Rage Against the Machine, Bob Marley, The Police, The Beautiful South, Pink Floyd etc. I hadn’t particularly discovered anything by accident or of my own accord outside of both of those households and the radio. I remember hearing Goldfinger which was also released as a single and just being totally infatuated by the singers voice and the simplistic yet utterly hook driven essence of the music.
I saw Ash headline the Radio 1 tent at Reading festival in 2000. It was my first festival, I was a really small teenager and my friend Chris and I got to the front. It was just biblical. On par with seeing any other band I was into at the time (Rancid, Feeder, Manic Street Preachers, etc). In fact when I look at that line up that year it was just incredible. But that intimacy in the tent seeing Ash and just riding that while set with them was insane. It set a real drive off in me that has stated with me.
I’ve always enjoyed writing music and songs. I’ve always thought about this from the perspective of the audience. What can people get behind and can they stand with you and be just as much a part of the song as the band? This is a concept I always felt whenever I have seen Ash bombing through hit after hit after hit. The hooks, the non polished roughness of the melodies, the driving force of the not-quite pop pop songs they churn out. I just love it. When I was younger and first getting into bands like Anti Flag I felt a similar experience. For different reasons but still positive and, you know, it feels good. I make music and write songs with this mindset.
There are plenty of Ash songs that I could nominate as favourites but A Life Less Ordinary (this is my favourite song of all time I would say), Angel Interceptor, Cocoon and Walking Barefoot are just a few. It’s tough to narrow it down.
I love the cover for 1977. It’s nostalgic. I used the mirroring idea for the cover of a record called chapters by my previous bands. Works really well. Apart from that I am going to say for me, the album covers are not the bands strong point!
I don’t know if the lyrics are the pertinent factor for me. It’s simple, catchy, I’m not sure it’s thought provoking. They use a lot of repetition. I think the earlier records for me are representative of a time of discovery as a kid into a teen. I came from a loving but broken home with lots of distance and stress and so, having music and developing my own tastes was an important way to deal with a lot of the huge trauma I was going through especially in the time my twin brother and I were separated. These songs are the soundtrack to that and also to some happy memories.
I saw Ash in Camden last November and they were fantastic. Won’t be the last time.
Many thanks to Nick and Hell’s Ditch for taking the time to write for us. You can find Hell’s Ditch’ social links below, and you can listen to music from Hell’s Ditch here.