Imagine a dark room; you’re surrounded by bodies as everyone sways to the same beat. The music drowns your few cares as you move to the music and you lock eyes with someone in the crowd. ‘How did I get here? Where do I go from here?’ The drop draws you back to reality. As your night goes on, you don’t want it to end. Can you feel every sound with your soul? That’s a feeling fans of London-based artist, Salt Ashes, know well.
Born in Brighton as Veiga Sanchez, the artist is known not only for her rich dark melodies that seamlessly marry electro and synthpop, but also for her passion for transparency and realness in every track. The avid gin-lover has been recognized by names such as Billboard, Line of Best Fit, and QWEERIST for her unique handiwork, yet maintains that her music is meant for her fans.
“I hope that each person takes something different from the songs. A song should be personal to you and I hope that my songs can relate to everyone in some way.” – Salt Ashes (2018)
She takes her signature sound to the next level in her EP, counting crosses (via Radikal Records), by taking the influence of Giorgio Moroder’s blend of disco and epic dark atmospheres and applying it to a whole new realm of introspective synth-pop. Bringing some of her strongest vocal performances ever to the table, counting crosses is sure to deliver the zeitgeist club sound that took previous releases such as “Don’t” and “Girls” to the top of the charts.
The first song on the project, “solo,” draws in the ear with a muted backbeat, followed by a swell of energy as the artist allows her ethereal vocals to shine. With lyrics that convey an air of yearning for independence, there’s a touch of confusion too; the kind that’s attached to coming into your own. “Solo, Solo / Cuz I don’t need nobody / Or do I need somebody (no)”. Once the chorus makes its way into your head, there’s no getting it out.
“Counting crosses,” the title track, pulls back a bit in comparison to the energy level shown by its predecessor, but still shines with its own pure tune. It’s forceful and pushy, with interludes of reflection. The bridge features layered harmonies that flow easily through to the end and right into the next track.
Be prepared for a rush of emotions as you let “rara” wash over your ears. A pulsating tempo rips through the varied vocals, pulling along the listener for each crescendo. It leads right into the pleas of “Scream it louder / Please don’t call me pretty / I swallow fire / Don’t give me the nice things”. A sharp scream cutting the sensuality notions to feelings coming from deep down and a demand for an entirely different kind of freedom.
Deemed the outro, “*chaos tonight” is a sweet and sorrowful summation of the previous tracks. In its one-and-a-half minute glory, Salt Ashes shows off the capabilities of her silvery range with more of the ethereal sound noted earlier. The synth follows along with her as the soprano reaches her highest notes on the project and drops off with an abrupt end.
Salt Ashes hit the UK electronic/ dance music scene in 2014 with the release of singles “Somebody” and “If You Let Me Go,” the latter of which was a Top 5 record on both the Billboard and Music Week Dance Charts. The next few years saw a development of self and sound, all leading to the debut on her self-titled album in July of 2016 with Radikal Records. 2018 and ‘19 came and went and with them, four additional empowering singles. The artist has opened for acts such as Tove Styrke, Alphabeat, Nimmo, and 80s pop sensation Tiffany. Her devotion to the craft and need for perfection led her to sign with OK! Good Records, a “genre independent record label established in 2010 to distribute, market, and promote artists and music that defy boundaries, reject limitations, and transcend the ordinary.”
Aside from wooing any listening woes, Salt Ashes also has a way with visuals. She is known for her love of the color black and frequently shows off her production skills with music videos, found on her YouTube channel. Be on the lookout for accompaniment to the tracks on the EP.
As of yet, a show schedule has not been released for 2020 but for the fans who want to be “in the know,” follow along with Salt Ashes on social media. Aside from the official Salt Ashes Website, she’s also on Facebook, Instagram, and is most active on Twitter.