Ash Khajvandi
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Ash Khajvandi

Alameda, CA | Established. Jan 01, 2017 | SELF

Alameda, CA | SELF
Established on Jan, 2017
Band Rock Blues Rock




"Ash Khajvandi - T.N.B."

>Bay Area bluesman serves up a scorching slice of sweetest pain.

Garnering accolades for his debut EP “Pale Mood” and live appearances, Ash Khajvandi should deserve much wider acclaim than local fame the Californian has at the moment, and this single is surely pointing in the right direction. Here, with lava-hot guitar licks at the fore, twang and squeal are finally given a proper percussive push to propel the screamarama to raw rapture in which despair and anguish conspire to produce a smile and burrow to the bottom of pleasure, while vocals shiver to add vibe to the track.

It’s all about the groove, rather than melody, but once Ash pours his emotions into a short solo, the results are quite mesmeric, almost trance-inducing. So although intensity doesn’t come easy, Khajvandi’s mix of tension and release promises to create just a right amount of shade and light when there’s an album. And the album time has come now. -

"Interview with Ash Khajvandi"

>Ash Khajvandi releases his new single T.N.B.on April 5th and The Rockpit has the sneak preview on this month’s ‘Heaven and Hell’ podcast. If you like your rock with more than a spoonful of dirty blues then this could well be what you’re looking for… We caught up with Ash for a quick Q&A.

Tell us about the process of writing and recording the new songs.

Ash: 80% of the pieces I write are motivated by one or more contemporary (or not-so-contemporary) artists’ lives or songs they’ve either written about or performed, be it original or covered. Once I’ve mentally constructed a “pseudo-foundation” for my song, I put pen to paper and pick to string.

Who helped you put it all together?

Ash: First off, the two guys that held it down the whole time (and put up with me) are my big brothers or “kuyas” (I’m half Filipino and Iranian) Audy G. Felix and Greg G. Felix. We recorded at their home studio: “Liberty Sound Studio” in San Jose, CA. Audy played Drums and his sibling Greg played Bass. And finally, Justin Weis of “Trakworx” located in South San Francisco, CA who mixed and mastered the tracks like a true Magus.

What were some of the things you wanted to achieve with the release?

Ash: I definitely wanted to achieve some attention; really create some buzz and make a splash with it because I loved this song the moment it was finally queued up and playing on my laptop. I’m just gonna ride the momentum until the wheels fall off and continue making sonically rich music that I know fans of good ‘ol fashioned Rock n’ Roll will take to!

Do you enjoy the process of creating? Are you someone who continually writes or does the best come out under a little gentle pressure?

Ash: Yes, I love the entire process of creating especially when there’s no writer’s block! It really depends if the right juices are flowing. When I wanna write, I write, and sometimes I’ll finish a song way too fast for my liking so I’ll stash it away to revisit another time.

What does it feel like as an artist waiting for the songs you’ve lived with for some time to get released to the fans? Is there a sense of excitement or a little panic in there too?

Ash: There’s both! Excitement because I know the masses will really dig what I’ve got cooking up, but naturally a little panic when deadlines aren’t met, recording’s delayed, and of course if you have a family, they come first. Thankfully, my family makes it really easy for me to “shrink” the panic aspect of a new release by concentrating on the silver lining.

How does it compare to previous release?

Ash: Well, I’ve only ever had one release. My first EP: Pale Mood, which consisted of four songs, was released March 2018. I collaborated with my same “DIY” team and everything was done under the same conditions as “T.N.B.”, except I played the drums and bass for all songs. This time around, I’m more seasoned and know exactly what I want and how to get it!

What were the lyrical themes of the songs?

Ash: The song’s theme is summed up in a single word: freedom. The song carries the message across in a rebellious manner. You can’t please everyone, they’ll still find something they don’t like about you anyway, so live your best life. I read something recently that goes, “You can lie down for people to walk on you and they will still complain that you are not flat enough. Just live your life.”

What were the main inspirations for the release/songs?

Ash: In the case for “T.N.B.”, it all started back in September 2018 and the 50th Anniversary of the mighty Led Zeppelin. When reading up on a ton of never before released interviewers with Jimmy Page regarding their career, I realized just how close they held their influences to their hearts’. I thought, “Why not do a cover of one of their songs!? Led is such a major influence on my musicianship AND it’s right in time for their 50th! Genius!” In reality, of course, that did not happen due to copyrights and also the process of paying royalties was nonsensical to me as a DIY musician; I release all my songs free for the enjoyment of my avid listeners and new fans. Yet the idea of “influences” was something I was definitely gravitating towards. So I started digging, and being the person that I am who loves discovering underground music, new and old, I happened upon this unbelievable songbird: Bessie Smith, but you might know her as “The Empress of the Blues”. In all my years of playing Rock and as an acolyte of the Blues, how in the heck did I ever overlook her, especially with a moniker like that!? She was a powerhouse on and off the stage in every sense of the word. She owned a business while singing professionally and during The Depression she was a waitress and didn’t give a damn what people thought about her situation. Imagine someone doing something like that in today’s day and age? The first song I listened to in her catalog was “Ain’t Nobody’s Business”, and the rest is history. “T.N.B.” is an homage to the Empress and a means to get these airwaves humming with her “energy” and “spirit” again.

Any favorite moments related to the release?

Ash: My favorite moment was the first time I heard the song. It had just been mastered, Justin Weis sent it over, I downloaded it and hit play. Thirty seconds in and I literally had twenty different emotions vying to express themselves through my body. I got a hold of myself, took a deep breathe and concentrated on the music!

Did you imagine how it would sound in a live situation?

Ash: Definitely. That’s probably the number one thing bouncing around inside my brain during the writing process: “How would this sound live?” Listening to the original recordings of a song is great, but I believe hearing it live as the actual composers and musicians perform it in real-time is how it was truly meant to be heard; call me old fashioned.

Anything else we need to know,or you would like to add?

‘T.N.B.’ will be released digitally on all streaming platforms April 5th, 2019, at no cost. Find it on Spotify, find it on my website:, download it on my Soundcloud and Bandcamp and follow me on Social Media (I’m mostly on IG) where you can get all the info on the release.

What can people expect on your tour/show?

Ash: A roaring wall of jubilation sparking neurons and leaving the mind ablaze, long after the night has ended! Oh, and a ton of their favorite songs. Since I’m always writing and love fan feedback, they can expect performances of unreleased material… seriously!

How do you pick out a setlist and is that a difficult process?

Ash: Picking a setlist can be difficult for me depending on how much time I have on stage. I love to talk and really engage the crowd but when I have to share the stage during festivals or if I’m on a bill at a local venue in SF and only have 1 hour max, then I try to jam that hour with as many heavy riffs as I can! It’s not rocket-science, I go really hard for the first several songs and then give everyone’s eardrums a break with some chill jams. Finally, I ramp back up again to the harder stuff!

What is your favorite song to play live?

Ash: It’s always changing but as of right now, my favorite song to play live is from my Pale Mood EP, and the song is: “Trouble No More”. It’s the first song I released playing slide guitar. It’s semi-shuffle tempo really gets the crowd up and dancing.

Do you play cover songs and if so, what kind of covers do you perform?

Ash: WE LOVE COVERS! Our covers encompass everything from crowd favorites to major influences: “Back Door Man”, “Seven Nation Army”, “Bring It On Home”, and “Going Down” are some examples. Sometimes we’ll do songs that are not Rock at all (“Give Me One Reason” by Tracy Chapman, “Bell Bottom Blues” by Eric Clapton), but still absolutely love and just infuse Rock elements to them; people go crazy for those!

How has the experience of playing live been like for the band so far?

Ash: Sensational. We leave every bit of who we are on the stage. If I could pick out one part of being a musician as my favorite, it would be performing live, hands down. I literally can’t wait for the next time to play on a stage, even during down time!

Any favorite places to play live?

Ash: As long as the crowd is giving me everything they’ve got, that’s my favorite place to play live. So far, I can’t really say because I haven’t come across a place that didn’t dig what we were putting down.

Any stand out shows or personal highlights from a tour or show?

Ash: Oh yes. We recently played Burning Man Presents: Black Top City 2018 in San Francisco and it was such a phenomenal experience. I really appreciate Dave and his team, they gave us a chance to share what we love with everyone in attendance. Afterwards, I jumped into the crowd and the people were just so animated over our set. Never seen so many smiles; it felt like heaven on Earth!

So take us back to the beginning, how did the band form and get started?

Ash: The band was formed less than a year ago, a couple weeks after Pale Mood was released, actually. As I said previously, I’m always thinking about the songs I write performed live and Pale Mood was no different. A lot of people view me as a solo artist (eg. Phil Collins, Jimi Hendrix, Elton John, etc.), but at the time, I was literally solo as I had to do all instrumentation myself for the recordings. My issue next was, “How would I do my gigs?” Then the brothers came to mind. If they enjoyed and saw the potential in the material I was creating, why not be 1) lead engineers during the recording process AND 2) join the band as my Bass and my Drums for shows (they have an extensive history of gigging and touring)!? I presented them with my offer, and we shook on it.

What have been your greatest challenges to date, and your favourite moments musically?

Ash: I’ve had a lot of challenges; I’m only human! Starting my journey as a musician was also my journey from a pessimistic mindset to a optimistic one; things that weren’t actually worthy of being “challenging” I turned challenging just because of my outlook on life. So if I had to pick, it would be my self-confidence. “Is my Rock n’ Roll relevant in an ever growing Rap-centric world?” What am I doing that others before me haven’t already done?” Believing in oneself when no one else will seems cliche but it really makes the key difference between twiddling your thumbs and thinking about your dreams ad nauseam or turning your dreams into goals, which will eventually lead to reality. When I found my confidence, it tipped the scales just enough for me to take action. When it comes to my favorite moments though, right now I’m really feeling my growth as a musician and realizing stagnation is no longer a factor is very exciting.

With technology changing so much over the last few years and seemingly not slowing, and TV force-feeding us the lowest common denominator, what hope is there for rock & metal music?

Ash: Tons of hope if we invest in music’s future: the kids! I picked up a guitar at a young age and I wouldn’t be doing what I’m doing now if I didn’t; I’m sure most musicians can say the same. Kid’s are sponges and we need to take advantage of that. I mean, even elementary schools now have Coding for 2nd graders; if that isn’t a perfect example of kids’ being impressionable then I don’t know what is!?

From what you’ve learned so far what is the most valuable advice you’ve been given so far as a musician?

Ash: Keep Learning. I can’t remember if my first guitar instructor Berry Soloman ever told me that but he was a prime example. That man could play any style: Flamenco all the way to Metal.

Who are some of your main influences?

Ash: Jim Morrison, Jimi Hendrix, Chuck Berry, Bob Dylan and Led Zeppelin.

Who or what inspired you to be in a band and/or play music?

Ash: I had a few folks actually when I was a kid because I’d become bored after a couple years and was always in need of new stimulus to keep going. In no particular order: Jack Black in “School Of Rock”, Michael Jackson’s “Black Or White”, Eddie Van Halen’s “Eruption”.

How do you feel about the current music scene right now?

Ash: I think it’s exciting but still evolving. However, I believe a renaissance is underway; just wait and see!

Do you believe music can still change the world?

Ash: Totally, it’s one of the forms of art that brings the human race together. We’re wired for it. I mean, music has the potential to combat depression. That alone has world changing benefits.

If you could be a fly on the wall for the recording of any album in history, what album would it be?

Ash: The Beatles, White Album.

What is the meaning of life?

Ash: “To feel.” – Princess Ryan, Professional Dancer and Entrepreneur - The Rockpit


T.N.B. (2019)

Pale Mood (2018)



Six-String Slinger Ash Khajvandi conjures up otherworldly West Coast Blues and Rock that frickin' rolls. Booming vocals and full of raw energy, shock inducing sounds erupt from his signature SG's, all the while invoking a gritty style reminiscent of the Golden Age of 70's Rock. Raised in Oakland and Alameda CA, his first EP,

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