Ashton Nyte
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Ashton Nyte

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Interview: Ashton Nyte
posted October 26, 2010
by Corinne
Share6

How are you?

Very well thank you, although another cup of coffee would probably help.

Your new album "The Valley" is just seeing a US release, but it came out last year in your native South Africa. How was the album received there? Do you expect to get a different response from US music fans?

People certainly respond differently depending on their frame of reference. Obviously I'm a lot better known in South Africa and can enjoy the benefit of career context there. With that being said, the minimalist alt-folk nature of the album does continue to perplex and delight, sometimes even simultaneously.

In the album's linear notes, you write that "The Valley" traces its roots back to 2003. Why did you put "The Valley" demos aside originally and what made you bring them back out?

I wanted to release the album when I had certain pieces in place. Basically I had hoped for a time when I could focus entirely on what the album means to me without the distractions of the various other projects I'm involved in and life's various little dramas. As it turns out, there is never a 'perfect time' for anything - in the future I will be releasing at least 2 albums a year, like the good old days.

As this is your fifth solo album, how do you feel you've grown as a singer and a songwriter since "The Slender Nudes?"

I generally attempt to cover new ground whilst hopefully staying true to honest, decent songwriting. "The Valley" is certainly a polar opposite to an album like "The Slender Nudes" but still features a man trying to find his place in the world and a way forward that is artistically rich and fulfilling, withoit confusing absolutely everyone.

Listening to "The Valley," singer/songwriter Mike Johnson kept coming to mind, solely in terms of voice and less in style. With having such a unique voice, how do you feel about getting compared to other musicians? What's the best and worst comparison you've heard made about you?

Comparisons are as inevitable as the setting sun really. Again, it's that frame of reference thing. I think my favourite [sic] comparison was someone who once wrote that I was the illegitimate child of a bizarre love triangle featuring Nick Cave, PJ Harvey and Batman. I liked that. As for worst comparisons, I think it would be unfair to the artists in question ;-).

You pull double-duty creating both solo albums and albums with your band The Awakening. How do you balance both projects? How do you personally differentiate writing "for Ashton Nyte" versus The Awakening?

The songs usually tell me. I have also found that having more than one umbrella does often lead to dancing in the rain, just for the sake of it.

I think the South African music scene is probably one most people aren't too familiar with. Can you talk about that, and where you see yourself and The Awakening in that scene?

The Awakening has been a staple of the the South African rock scene for over a decade now, which is certainly very flattering. The SA scene is a lot more diverse than many would expect. I think we have a wonderful cross-section of artists creating innovative work. Any climate that is both volatile and beautiful can only inspire.

Do you have any influences you think listeners would be surprised by?

Only if listeners had me pigeon-holed as something one dimensional. I try to keep an open mind and at least one foot on the ground.

Who are some underrated bands that you think we need to check out?

Wovenhand. I can't believe this wonderful American band is not the legend it deserves to be.

What have you been listening to recently?

I've been rediscovering Morrissey actually. "Your Arsenal" is simply fabulous.

If you could have written any song what song do you wish you had written and why?

"Rock 'n Roll Suicide" by David Bowie, because it is the greatest song ever written.

Anything you would like to add?

Visit me at ashtonnyte.com or facebook or whatever pleases you and thank you for listening.

Thanks!
- PluginMusic.com


Ashton Nyte is no stranger to the South African music scene. His band The Awakening first burst out in 1997 with the massively popular, gothic rock cover of Simon and Garfunkel’s “The Sounds of Silence” and they have maintained a loyal following ever since. Arguably South Africa’s most successful gothic rock act of all time, The Awakening went on to release eight studio albums between 1997 and 2009 and have found increasing success in both Germany and the United States.

Not one to sit around idle when the The Awakening weren’t recording, Nyte began to release his own solo material around 2000. While The Awakening maintained a heavier presence leaning towards the gothic rock and darkwave genres, Nyte seemed to find more expressive freedom in his solo material and experimented with genres such as glam rock and low-fi indie rock.

Now in 2010, Ashton Nyte makes his long-overdue US debut with his fifth studio album The Valley. The story goes that The Awakening were on their second tour of the United States when Nyte fell in love with America and more specifically, an American. He moved to the United States in 2009 and this is his first album to be released since making the move. Written over five years, it is a collection of ten acoustic songs with a distinctively American or wild western theme. Ashton Nyte is somewhat of a musical genius and this album is no exception as he has written all of the music and lyrics for the album, plays all of the instruments and all of the songs feature his distinctively baritone vocals.

Nyte’s influences shine through in his music and it is impossible to avoid drawing parallels to his idols such as Johnny Cash, Lou Reed, or Nick Cave when listening to his music. The Valley is more than a simple tribute though as it details a very personal journey and displays a sense of great depth and reflection.

The album begins with the title track “The Valley”. Nyte explains on the sleeve notes that this is where the journey began and that the song has been left in its "rough demo" format. The song certainly doesn’t feel unfinished as it captures the specific place in time which Nyte says that he has visited many times since. Written in South Africa, he describes a desolate place where he “wonders if other people ever feel the need to get lost”. It is a raw and sincere sentiment that draws the listener in.

With the tone set for the album, Nyte continues with a further nine stark and dramatic songs that speak of lost love, drugs and salvation. “Dead Man’s Road” is one of my favourite tracks of the album. It is powerful and melancholy in its description of meaninglessness and desolation and it features a strong alternative-country hook. Other songs worthy of mention are “Salvation” which is a heartfelt song with strong religious imagery and “Pale Horse” with its beautiful searing guitar hook.

The first single from the album is “Jennifer”, a searching song about love lost and you can see the music video below.

If I had to choose an album that is most similar to The Valley in terms of the depth of emotion and the journey within, I would have to say U2’s The Joshua Tree. Like The Joshua Tree, The Valley too is a description of a growing relationship with America and uses imagery of wide open spaces and brings to mind images of wide open spaces and vast American landscapes. This is an album to waste away a long Sunday afternoon listening to and it is certainly an album to listen to again and again. It stirs up all sorts of emotions and it is a long time since an album has done that.

I would certainly recommend The Valley but would also recommend giving some of Nyte’s older albums a listen. For taking me by surprise and inspiring such emotion in me, I give The Valley five out of five stars.

- www.blogcritics.org


(radio / podcast) - NPR / PRI's The World


South Africa's alternative music icon Ashton Nyte will be bringing his self-titled project to America
Distinguished as "Johannesburg's Bowie" by Cosmopolitan South Africa and "the pioneer of alternative music in South Africa" by South African Rock Digest, Nyte will release his album The Valley on June 15 marking his long awaited U.S. debut. Following the release, Nyte will embark on his first U.S. tour.

The Valley, Nyte's fifth solo album, is "a hybrid of post-punk and alt-folk," according to Nyte, who calls it "the unlikely love child of Johnny Cash and Nick Cave." Influenced by his relocation from South Africa to the U.S., the album has been described as "a collection of songs caressed with Americana styling as uniquely as only a non-American could," and "a sepia-toned film reel of old western imagery," by South Africa's Canonfire Creek Magazine.

When asked about his relocation to the U.S. after years of success in South Africa, Nyte explains, "America is still the great land of opportunity in the world. The influence American music has had on my work cannot be overestimated…from Elvis to Cash, The Valley speaks to those influences, and reflects many dark, yet romantic ideas of early America."

June 29 Fontana’s New York, NY
July 1 Firebird St. Louis, MO
July 2 Night Lite Café Chicago, IL
July 3 The Roots Room Chicago, IL
July 5 Acadia Café Minneapolis, MN
July 8 Mars Café Des Moines, IA
July 10 Kick Butt Austin, TX
July 11 Headhunters Austin, TX
July 12 Avant Garden Houston, TX
July 15 Checkpoint Charlie’s New Orleans, LA
July 18 Highlands Taproom Louisville, KY
July 24 Spellbound @ Recessions Washington, DC
- antimusic.com


After more than a dozen #1 singles and headlining festivals around the world to more than 30,000 fans as The Awakening, South Africa’s alternative music icon Ashton Nyte has taken his self-titled project to America. Distinguished as “Johannesburg’s Bowie” by Cosmopolitan South Africa and “the pioneer of alternative music in South Africa” by South African Rock Digest, Nyte released his much-anticipated album The Valley on June 15 marking his long awaited U.S. debut. Following the release, Nyte will embark on his first U.S. tour.

The Valley, Nyte’s fifth solo album, is “a hybrid of post-punk and alt-folk,” according to Nyte, who calls it “the unlikely love child of Johnny Cash and Nick Cave.” Influenced by his relocation from South Africa to the U.S., the album has been described as “a collection of songs caressed with Americana styling as uniquely as only a non-American could,” and “a sepia-toned film reel of old western imagery,” by South Africa’s Canonfire Creek Magazine.

When asked about his relocation to the U.S. after years of success in South Africa, Nyte explains, “America is still the great land of opportunity in the world. The influence American music has had on my work cannot be overestimated…from Elvis to Cash, The Valley speaks to those influences, and reflects many dark, yet romantic ideas of early America.”

Nyte has become a pioneer and icon of alternative music in South Africa, a country where traditional music is predominant. Growing up in a bilingual family amidst Apartheid-era South Africa, the Cape-born musician moved frequently and was inundated with Western influences by his music-loving, well-traveled Afrikaans father. Earning initial fame with his hit cover of Simon and Garfunkel’s “The Sounds of Silence,” his 15-year career has spawned over 180 original songs, 13 albums and a legacy of top ten hits.

We’re giving away a pair of tickets to see Ashton Nyte at Fontana’s on June 29th! If you wanna win, just email us at theaudioperv@gmail.com (with the subject: GIMME SOME ASHTON!) with your name, and we’ll email you back if you win!

ASHTON NYTE

June 29 Fontana’s New York, NY
July 1 Firebird St. Louis, MO
July 2 Night Lite Café Chicago, IL
July 3 The Roots Room Chicago, IL
July 5 Acadia Café Minneapolis, MN
July 8 Mars Café Des Moines, IA

July 10 Kick Butt Austin, TX
July 11 Headhunters Austin, TX
July 12 Avant Garden Houston, TX
July 15 Checkpoint Charlie’s New Orleans, LA
July 18 Highlands Taproom Louisville, KY
July 24 Spellbound @ Recessions Washington, DC


- theaudioperv.com


PCM is pleased to bring our vistors the latest video from South African singer-songwriter Ashton Nyte! The video is for the song “Jennifer” and was shot on location in St. Louis, MO at a private residence and at Lafayette Park in March 2010. Ashton Nyte will release his highly-anticipated new album “The Valley” on June 15th! For more information on Ashton Nyte please visit the Official site!



Jennifer
Directed by Todd Davis
First Camera: Todd Davis
Second Camera: Laurent Torno III
Edited by Intervention Arts


Get to know Ashton Nyte:
Ashton Nyte, a highly praised singer, songwriter, producer, composer and frontman for The Awakening, one of South Africa’s most prominent alternative rock bands, will release his much-anticipated album The Valley on June 15. Consistently topping the South African charts with dozens of hit singles and critically acclaimed albums, Nyte’s latest effort marks his long awaited U.S. debut.

The Valley, Nyte’s fifth solo album was composed and recorded over the past five years. Influenced by his relocation from South Africa to the U.S., the album has been described as “a collection of songs caressed with Americana styling as uniquely as only a non-American could,” and “a sepia-toned film reel of old western imagery,” by South Africa’s Canonfire Creek Magazine. Nyte played all instruments on the album.

His baritone vocal style has garnered comparisons to Johnny Cash and earned him the title “Johannesburg’s Bowie.” His instrumentation is wide ranging from Americana to lo-fi indie rock, much like his musical influences which include Bruce Springsteen and Tom Waits.

Nyte has become a pioneer and icon of alternative music in South Africa, a country where traditional music is predominant. Growing up in a bilingual family amidst Apartheid-era South Africa, the Cape-born musician moved frequently and was inundated with Western influences by his music-loving, well-traveled Afrikaans father. Earning initial fame with his hit cover of Simon and Garfunkel’s “The Sounds of Silence,” his 15-year career has spawned over 180 original songs, 13 albums and a legacy of top ten hits.
- PCM


As we close the door on the 2010 World Cup, PEV features one of our favorite South African imports, the gritty singer-songwriter Ashton Nyte. The solo artist and former front man for The Awakening, Nyte is already more than established having released 13 records, including his fifth solo effort, “The Valley”. You may already know of the stylistic Nyte – he’s already a musical hero in his home country, one of the pioneers in the alternative rock movement in South Africa.



Getting back to his latest release state-side, we asked Ashton to give us some more detail on “The Valley”. He says, “I'd describe this album as Americana-flavored outlaw-folk infused with some lo-fi indie rock 'n roll. Johnny Cash on downers by way of David Bowie whilst sitting round a camp fire with Neil Young and Nick Cave.” Definitely a top ten record description here on PEV, but we asked Nyte to go even further into his sound: “I think the song I’m writing usually dictates its' sound or style. I'm currently in a place where mood and melody are probably most pronounced in my work. That and lyrics that are hopefully poetic and just challenging enough to make grown men cry. Oh and generally I sing in a low register, masculine voice - the way God intended men to sing.”



Pick up the “The Valley” as soon as you can; even though the collection is still hot off the presses, Nyte plans on making yet another new record for release early next year. There’s a whole bunch more below, so keep reading for the answers to the XXQ’s.









XXQs: Ashton Nyte

PensEyeView.com (PEV): How would you describe your sound and what do you feel makes you stand out over the others in your genre?


Ashton Nyte (AN): I think the song I'm writing usually dictates its' sound or style. I'm currently in a place where mood and melody are probably most pronounced in my work. That and lyrics that are hopefully poetic and just challenging enough to make grown men cry. Oh and generally I sing in a low register, masculine voice - the way God intended men to sing.

PEV: Originally from South Africa, but now based in the US, what was the music scene like for you in South Africa? As well, what was your first thoughts of the US when you came over for the first time?

AN: I have been fortunate enough to enjoy various aspects of the South African music scene, from festivals to theatres to cabaret shows. It is a diverse country with a lot more going on than many people would expect. As for the US, I fell in love with the country the first time I toured here with my band in 2004. It truly is the land of opportunity, with so many avenues to choose from. And it's home to Elvis, my first hero.

PEV: Having played in the business for a good time now, what was it like for you when you first started out?

AN: A lot of work but the best job in the world. Everything is a learning experience, which is enjoyable as long as you're willing to learn.

PEV: Do you remember the first time you thought to yourself – “I am really onto something!”?

AN: I remember wondering why I was in a room with so many local celebrities.

PEV: With that, what can fans expect from a live Ashton Nyte show?

AN: A diverse ode to my sublime adoration of the musical art form. The show is dynamic in style and form with just a hint of well placed melodrama and enough guitar feedback to hopefully counterbalance the stripped down acoustic songs.

PEV: What is the first thing that comes to mind when you step on stage?

AN: How happy I am to be there. As well as remembering not to trip over the cables and possibly electrocute everybody.


PEV: Any preshow rituals before going on stage or do you just wing it?

AN: Usually a quick prayer and a glass of wine.

PEV: What was the underlining inspiration for your music? Where do get your best ideas for songs?

AN: I am inspired by life, love and the universe - like most people. The best songs are often the ones that write themselves, while I’m just strumming the guitar and singing about whatever needs to come out at that time. It's usually a very visual experience with attention to creating the right atmosphere to paint the picture of the moment.

PEV: Tell us about your fifth solo album, “The Valley”, which also happens to be your thirteenth album and the first since your move to the US. What can fans expect from this work?

AN: I'd describe this album as Americana-flavored outlaw-folk infused with some lo-fi indie rock 'n roll. Johnny Cash on downers by way of David Bowie whilst sitting round a campfire with Neil Young and Nick Cave.

PEV: Do you ever find yourself getting writer’s block and if so, how do you get over that?

AN: I have honestly never experienced that. I am something of a composition addict who needs to lock the studio for hours on end to force myself to partake in other activities, things like eating and sleeping.

PEV: What’s one thing we’d be surprised to hear - Penseyeview.com


South African-born singer and guitarist, Ashton Nyte, transcends musical heights from beyond this Earth. Based in the USA, Ashton's voice is probably too low (baritone) for most, but it sounds similar to Jace Everett or the Crash Test Dummies. Whether The Valley is indicative of Ashton's low voice or a career plateau, the songs are clearly something worth taking in. Ashton's languid vocals and alternative guitar tunings make The Valley an introspective journey borrowing elements from David Bowie, Tom Waits, The Wallflowers, The Devlins, Soul Asylum, and other groups. The folk-rock crowd looking for great songs should look no further. Ashton's spiritual insights also find a home from time to time throughout the album. Follow Ashton into The Valley and prepare to spend some time playing these tracks over and over...and over. English lyrics are included in the liner notes. English vocals throughout. ~ Matthew Forss - Inside World Music


When asked to comment on the first radio single, 'My little rock 'n roll', South Africa TUKSFM's DJ, Yarik, was heard to say: "Absolutely astonishing! Ashton Nyte goes through a musical and artistic re-invention while staying true to his roots. Goth influences are combined with indie and brit-pop elements to create something brand new and previously unheard. Ashton's voice is at its best and the musicality is brought to the next level. Definitely one of the best and catchiest singles I've heard this year. Can't wait for the full album."
- http://www.dealoz.com/0094922511843/e13


One of our more prolific musicians, Ashton Nyte's latest solo album (he's also the pale man behind The Awakening) doesn't disappoint. If you're not a goth fan, don't despair, for this is far more 'proper' rock & roll than niche market goth stuff. On the other hand, goth fans need not despair either (well, goth fans are probably always in despair, for black nail polish sells better that way), 'cause Ashton's heart is still in the right place, ie in his chest, pumping the blood of a retired hangman writing confessions to himself.

Also, he's got a very distinctive voice and though it fits the dramatic intonations of goth superbly, Ashton applies it equally well - and with very good variation - here. The back cover proudly calls it 'dirty rock 'n roll' and that the record contains 'no techno remixes or subliminal odes to satan or barbie', which should give you some idea of what to expect: sleazy rock & roll with the intention to entertain. While the album never really blows your head off, there're enough tinkling pianos, distant guitars, fuzzy bass lines and other funny stuff in the production to demand an ears-pricked re-listen.

Opening snippet 'Consequence', almost sees Ashton breaking into a cheerful chorus, but he's too smart for such flippant shit such as happy pop music, so before you know, it fades to the dreamy Depeche Mode-ish 'Sick of This': "I'm tired of all the insults under breath, I'm tired of the rainfall/ I'm sick to death of being sick to death". Yes, the introspection of the Royal Baking Powder tin rock star. On 'Valentine', the guitars drone back to the front, while 'Automation' takes 'Rock me Amadeus' for the piss, then gives us the lyric "the children pick the needles to secure the creed of the self and all the self-pity breeds" - almost too heavy to digest first time around.

'Clean Again' and 'Window' has its almost The Cure-like moments of delicacy, 'Down' exhibits first REM 'Up'-era (compare it to 'Airportman' to see what I mean) beats and atmospherics, then gets plastered over by Ashton's voice, heavy and croaky - taking "this is deconstruction" to the level where you become acutely aware of the parts it was built from. This is perhaps the album's finest track, all unease and synth. From here it's head-first into the trashy buzzing rock of 'The Other Band', leaving one wondering exactly which other band he's got in mind here.

'New Messiah of the Week' is another winner, telling the story of a man having to deal with a woman who demands "don't give me self-realization of Oprah's pick of the week". 'Consequence' winds the album down, a stripped guitar-accompanied track where the chorus maybe exhibits too much of a notion to rhyme.

Seeing Ashton play live at Cape Town's Armchair Theatre recently, it was good to see that the songs translate very well into the live arena, even when he's playing a stripped down version, with only Matthew Fink (on keyboard) to accompany him. Was actually very nice to see them in such an intimate setting, it gives Ashton ample room to exhibit his wry sense of humour, often struggling to keep a straight face amidst morbid warblings.

'Dirt Sense' is a very good album, characterised by snappy production and the distinctive fingerprint of Ashton's style. While it's a very self-conscious style, Ashton's got more than a clear idea of what he's doing and such man-on-a-mission traits are a hard thing to come by these days. Very nice indeed, hats off to the pale man in the Docs. - TOAST COETZER, Iafrica.com


Ashton Nyte’s new release, The Valley, scheduled for release in North America in June of 2010, features
some of his most personal and intimate songwriting to-date.
Strong undercurrents of dark-folk and alternative-country blend beautifully with songs both melodic and
melancholy. The Valley, Ashton’s fifth solo album, includes the singles "Jennifer," "The Carnival," and
"Without Warning."

The Valley is a collection of songs caressed with Americana styling as uniquely as only a
non-American could. From the title track that weaves a sepia-toned film reel of old western imagery to the intensely emotional closing track "Uncertain Light," The Valley is an epic work composed and recorded over the past five years of Nyte's career, summoning sunrays and thundercloud together in an ingeniously crafted
pictorial. With every track Nyte reveals some of his most profound American influences; Springsteen's
"Nebraska" comes to mind, entwined with delicate doses of Johnny Cash and Nick Cave. - Canonfire Creek


Exactly 2 years to the month, Ashton Nyte (the man behind The Awakening) releases his second solo album. Stephen Segerman recently referred to Ashton on SAFM as the "chameleon of SA rock" and that's exactly what he is. His influences and styles are many and varied; Lou Reed, Bono, David Bowie (another chameleon), Tom Waits and Andrew Eldritch all play a part in the Ashton Nyte persona.

'Dirt Sense' is a powerful album with strong tunes and hard-hitting lyrics. As the quote on the back cover says: "Long live dirty Rock 'n Roll". - Rock.co.za


Publication: Top Forty Magazine, issue 169
Writer: Jason Curtis
Heading: Album Reviews
Release: The Slender Nudes
Well, as the creator admits, The Slender Nudes is glam rock at its finest. Often tongue-in-cheek, the eleven tracks explore another personality within the fine frame of one of this country’s finest exponents of lateral originality. Glam Vamp Baby opens well in rock-edged style while Selling Skin with its minimal keyboards and reliance on Nyte’s voice to drive it, convinces as it warms the pop demon in all of us. Obscene, although a little dated in its introduction, is still good fun with its ever-changing time signatures. Need For Air is a favourite, acoustic guitar sliding under drum machine and pokey keyboard. The Slender Nudes is ultimately an investment for the inquisitive and those looking for a reason to celebrate our own. Artwork and arrangements through to final delivery, this is critical credibility worth checking out! Stars: 5 out of 5
Publication: Top Forty Magazine, issue 169
Writer: Jason Curtis
Heading: Ashton Nyte – The Naked Truth
Release: The Slender Nudes
Ashton Nyte, better known to most as the essential ingredient of The Awakening, returns in a guise not quite expected on the back of his band’s ever-growing success. The year 2000 finds Nyte in solo territory, playing out a long0time dream to embrace all things pop. He’s bordering to deliver The Slender Nudes – his first album to carry only his name and just short of a dozen fine reasons to celebrate the human form in all its explicity beauty through the gentle medium of music. As Ashton would like it said, The Slender Nudes represents the ultimate fusion of fashion, art, romance and beauty.
A project a long time in the making, The Slender Nudes could be described as dream come true. “Yes it is,” Ashton agrees. “It’s been there since the beginning, a track like Need For Air was written as far back as the time I was putting the Request album together for The Awakening. My various style obsessions have always co-existed with each other. I basically concentrated on the goth one when I started, but now you could say that I am as much glam-vamp as I am goth. It’s just a case of moving from one to the other when the mood dictates.”
Another first is seeing Nyte on the cover of an album, something he hasn’t done before, which could hint at a touch of self indulgence? “No, I don’t think so,” he defends. “This is probably my least self-indulgent project to date. I try to stick to two personas an album for accessibiility’s sake and not go too hysterical and have it sound like a greatest hits of every kind of style I have ever flirted with. So, I would say as far as that foes, its definitely listener awareness thinking as opposed to putting out whatever the hell I’m not like. Also, picking glam-rock as a theme for the album was donein order to vive people a very visual departure from what they were used to with The Awakening.”
Image, they say, is everything, and the new identity that Ashton has created for himself shows himn in a new light. “It’s another theatrical image,” he confirms. “It’s as over-the-top as intense gothic rock imagery is. I like the humour; it’s great to write in that sort of persona. Once I wrote Glam Vamp Baby, I decided to write a couple of songs in that persona, like Obscene and Electric Man, which were especially written to fit within the album’s context. It’s different for me to do that sort of thing and hell, yes, I did enjoy it. The solo persona is one that I have been wanting to unleash for a while. It was a case of doing the groundwork so that I could feel confident enough to d something that doesn’t have any definite style or sub-culture allegiance. For a while in The Awakening, I thought I would have a better chance if I just wrote pop music, because people wouldn’t have all the hang-ups that go with the goth imagery. People stick to their genres for good reason, because they do tend to be security blankets and that’s not being disrespectful to any one specific genre. I have already written a fourth Awakening album, which is ready to go, it’s just that I don’t want to be perceived as only that. I don’t want that to be the sum total of my output because within any genre that is inhibiting.”
To do a pop album for someone steeped in the deep dark mythical world of goth rock would seem to be a challenging task but for Nyte, however, it was the exact opposite. “This album probably fits me more comfortably than anything I’ve done before. Even in The Awakening context, I felt at times compelled to darken the sound a little bit, but with The Slender Nudes it became the most liberating thing I’ve done so far.”
So, whom is this album intended for in the mix of things? “I suppose I’m a bit of a purist as far as music goes,” Ashton admits in leaving. “So, people who enjoy that element will probably enjoy it more than the next guy. There are retro elements in there for - Top Forty Magazine (TFM)


Publication: Pretoria News, January 23, 2001
Heading: Rock Against Rape
Writer: Craig Canavan
Several of South Africa’s most exciting rock bands will join forces for the Intervention Artists’ Rock Against Rape Concert at Cool Runnings in Wonderboom on February 3.
The bands, from hardcore giants Not My Dog and punks Fuzigish to goths The Awakening and songwriter extraordinaire Matthew van der Want, have been chosen to represent the best of the best in the many subgenres of rock that have a home at Intervention Arts stable.
It is hoped that the young rock audience, a group notoriously difficult to reach with any serious message, will be drawn to the event by the bands and, while there, charities involved will have the opportunity to distribute information on safety, post-trauma counseling, rape awareness statistics and the like.
The timing of the concert is also seen as crucial, being the week preceding the Tuks Jool, a time traditionally associated with the wildest excesses of the student lifestyle and thus one of the most dangerous times of the year for young students.
The focus, of course will be more on fun that preaching but profits will go to the charities involved, including People Opposed to Women’s Abuse (POWA), Inter-Trauma Nexus and The Sexual Harassment Education Project. - Pretoria News


Writer: Christina Kennedy
Resplendent in zebra-print pedal-pushers, feather boa, lime-green shirt with voluminous cuffs and silver vest, Ashton Nyte burst on stage at the Victory Theatre in Orange Grove.
It was fitting that such a camp, retro-kitsch venue (that has hosted the likes of the Rocky Horror Show) should bear witness to the official birth of Nyte’s two latest personae: the Glam Vamp and the Naken Poet, at the launch of his new CD, The Slender Nudes.
The theatricality of the event with its fashion show, live performance, girl-band and video screenings – fitted like hand in (white sequined) glove at the venue tailor-made for over-the-topness.
This singer/songwriter/producer formerly fronted the outfit The Awakening, known for its gothic undertones and dark rock.
Now he’s put the bats and coffins on ice for a year and is letting another two personalities in his schizophrenic arsenal come out to play. Nyte’s first solo venture is anything but underground or confined to obscure cobwebbed corners; in fact, it teeters on the edge of mainstream – literally going from Nyte to day.
And judging by the early response from campus stations and the like, these new layers of the prolific and talented musician are going to win him even more fans.
Let’s not beat about the bush: much of The Slender Nudes is unabashedly camp while at the same time being stylish, slick and sanguine. But ht emain this is, it’s fun and it tickles the cochlea.
It combines th trashy catchiness of ‘70’s glam rock with the nervy introspection of 80’s synthpop in a polished package – but a thread of originality is woven into the creative fabric, with Nyte drawing from these genres and adding his own unique touches.
The firstr single, the rollicking Glam Vamp Baby, is hopefully destined for club and commercial success, while the second release, Need For Air, is stirring and hauntingly beautiful. The vocalist’s deep timbre adds an evocative note to the pop that transports one back to those good old Depeche Mode days.
On the night of the launch I reckoned Nyte to be a cross between Adam Ant, Marc Bolan and Robert Smith, but as I sit interviewing him, I realize it’s really not easy to package him up and place ihim in a tidy little compartment with a neat little label. You’ll have to see and hear him for yourself, and then decide.
The interview room at the Melville office of Intervention Arts, the record company of which he is managing director, is fittingly kitted out as a lounge straight out of some psuedo-glitzy porno movie.
“I’ve always written and enjoyed many styles of music,” says Nyte, eveloped in a glorious white faux fur coat. “I’m a huge fan of electronic music; retro stuff. Not dance – it must be melodic and the lyrics not nonsensical.
“The Awakening was a place to start, but eventually we were pigeonholed as a gothic band and you realize the limitations. But The Awakening is as much part of me as the other characters are.” In fact, he’s got a fourth Awakening album all set and ready to go (I told you he’s a writeaholic), but “ti’s not allowed to be released yet.”
Nyte is at pains to clarify that The Slender Nudes is not as “Obscure” a his previous material: “This is more personal; everyone should be able to relate to it. There’s no particular dress code or love of bats associated with liking this music.”
The attractive Titian-haired model that Nyte has used in the video for Need For Air (about domestic abuse) and on the CD inlay has already caused her fair share of uproar. Some Cd shops have apparently banned the album from their shelves as it features her in the nude – although her naughty bits have been airbrushed into obscurity.
His mainly girl band arose from the whole rebirth idea, trying to establish something different to The Awakening. But they’re certainly not just window dressing: these gals are able musicians in their own right.
He’s planning to tour with the new set-up, and hopes to also do a cabaret circuit version of the show. - The Citizen


Writer: Miles Keylock
South Africa’s thin white duke returns in his latest incarnation – himself! While Dirt Sense bears traces of the laughing gnome’s many musical monikers (cf. Awakening and Cut the Rope), the unmistakable spectre of David Bowie looms larger than ever over proceedings. There’s the rock angst of “Sick of This” and “Valentine” and the clausterphobic ballad “Eloquent Verbosity.” There’s the world-wearied disgust of “Automation” and bare-all confessional of “Clean Again.” And on “the Other Band” Ashton Nyte serves up one almighty “f” you to all sorts of scenesters, unbelievers, posers and pretenders. For this alone Dirt Sense is well worth the listen. - Pulse


Writer: Faan Herholdt
Release: Dirt Sense
When modern musicians look at heroes from previous times, there is inspiration and direction in their art. The success of this presentation depends on the manner that the artist bring their influences in, how rich they are, and if the final product is bigger than the sum of its parts.
Ashton Nyte is a very talented and diverse artist from Johannesburg. Dirt Sense is Ashton’s second album after Slender Nudes. Where on Slender Nudes he walked the tinsel-path of glam rock from the 70’s and synth pop from the 80’s, he is now back to artists from the 60’s as an influence. In the 60’s, Lou Reed and the Velvet Underground shocked the world awake with powerful and machine-like rock. Later Lou Reed followed the path of a solo artist with varied success. Another hero found on Dirt Sense is David Bowie, that dreamlike artist from the outer galaxies. The influences from the 80’s are seen in groups like those fabulous brothers, William and Jim Reed, who warmed the UK as the Jesus and Mary Chain. From amidst a strong environment of electronic popular rock the brothers Reed produced straightforward rock and roll. Here are three strong styles to give Ashton the space to fully realize his compositions on acoustic and electric guitars, pianos and synthesizers. He plays all these instruments himself, writes and composes the music, which was recorded in the Intervention Arts studio.
Ashton is an exceptional artist. Thanks to his diversity, he can evoke artists like Tom Waits, PJ Harvey and early U2. For people that are used to the fast food of radio pop, Ashton is a rich dessert. Dirt Sense is about the feeling of the dark and sometimes morose side of rock. It’s here that other inspirations like T Rex come to mind. Ashton is like an actor who is able to morph into someone else. His love for the darker sort of music like gothic rock and modern electronic dark wave gives the music a dark edge. With Durst Sense Ashton Nyte will give his hungry devotees more than enough pleasure and will show others how professional the South African music scene has become. - Die Burger (Translated from Afrikaans)


Writer: Jason Venter
There are men walking the earth who abhor the mundane, who prefer not to utter an ill-chosen word, hit an impure note, falter during a lead riff, or wear anything but theatrical black in public. It’s easy to pick out Ashton Nyte as a member of this breed before you’ve even spoken to him, walking our streets, as he does, like a warrior-elf visiting a land of hobbits. It’s a rush to be able to write about his music, his record label, his thoughts on live performance and his daily flaunting of the limits of human potential, early in the year. Because if he pulls off all of his current schemes by December, I’ll be only one of many hobbits walking around in the thrall of elvish magic.
The pallor of Nyte’s skin is not of the designer variety, but rather cultivated by long hours in his private studio, spent honing his virtuoso musical efforts to international standards. The fruits of this work ethic are apparent in The Awakening’s albums: from Risen, a respectful addition to the annals of Goth, and Request, a hybrid of 80’s electronic and Goth, to the grandeur of last year’s release, Ethereal Menace, which Nyte dubs “dark future-rock.”
The Awakening has twice topped the charts of New York radio station, most recently in February.
Takers may apply the acid test to Nyte’s aforementioned productin quality in May, with the release of his first solo album, The Slender Nudes, amid a fanfare of performance art, courtesy of his art-crossover society.
Despite his obsession with production quality and lone exploits in the studio, Nyte is no musical recluse. He speaks of live performance and collaboration with his live band with verve and almost religious reverence. “The show has to have its own atmosphere, it has to have an almost ceremonial feel to it. People must be aware that they’ve taken part in some sort of ritual.”
Oppikoppi veterans may recall The Awakening’s ’99 triumphs where Nyte drew hordes of dusty festival creatures on each occasion, with his booming vocals and the sheer oddity of staging a theatrical spectable on a bushveld stage.
There was a moment when I swore Nyte wasn’t just singing, but rather using song as a call to arms to The Awakening’s banner. Apparently this institution was no festival-induced hallucination. “Singing a song like “The March” I imagine that I’m on a podium in front of a nation of followers, feeding off their support. That comes through in delivery. We emit that feeling from the stage and it comes right back to us from the audience. It’s brilliant. What is entertainment if you can’t do a bit of role-play?”
Nyte’s year-old record label aims to repeat this year’s successful hosting of German act Diary of Dreams, by bringing other respected acts to SA, but they are gravely concerned about the shortage of serious live music venues. He feels that this poverty also stnts the growth of our own musicians. Nyte desciribes a gaping hole between the big promoters who host international superstars and young bands touring grotty venues as part of paying their dues, which denies established bands quality venues.
The ideals should hearten local artists. “We sound almost revolutionary, but the idea is to enable people to achieve what they want to achieve. To allow each artist to be as good as the imagination allows, rather than what the structure allows.”
People falling in behind The Awakening’s banner should expect more than mere entertainment, as Nyte’s ambitions seem to extend beyond music into cultural revolution. He muses that The Awkaning has outgrown its original home of the gothic subculture and now represents all of society’s misfits and outcasts, as well as art-lovers and artists. “Genuinely leading a new renaissance is very appealing. If other companies join in, or individuals, we can tie them into what we’re doing as specific artists 90% of the time, because all art is related somehow. We’d like to be a united front for artists, and head ourselves over to world domination. Why not?”
Speaking of united fronts, Nyte will be putting theory into practice in the latter half of the year when he records an album of collaborations with various musicians across a spectrum of styles.
Oh yes, and if all goes according to plan, and Nyte returns from his mid-year tour US and UK tour in good time, look out for the fourth Awakening album in stores by year-end. “There are a couple of projects happening. This is the year I let them out of the bag. I’ve been storing them up. So there’s bound to be a few versions of my personas lurking around.” No kidding. - Directions


Discography

As Ashton Nyte:

The Valley (2010):
Includes the singles "Jennifer" "A Little Low" and "The Carnival" received rotation throughout US and South African radio. "Jennifer" selected as a AAA semi-finalist in the 2009 International Songwriting Competition; featured on NPR/PRI's "The World"

Headspace (2005):
Includes the singles "My Little Rock 'n Roll" and "Murder Me" which charted in the top 40 on South African radio. "Murder Me" video was aired on television throughout SA & Europe.

Sinister Swing (2003):
Includes the singles "Fingertips" and "Little Everything" which charted in South Africa's international top 40.

Dirt Sense (2002):
The album spent 17 weeks in South Africa's charts topping out at #2. A video was produced for the single "Window" and was aired throughout South African music television.

The Slender Nudes (2000):
The album ranked 14th on the Top 30 Albums for 2000 in South Africa. Two videos were produced for the album, "Glam Vamp Baby" (included on the album) and "Need for Air" both of which were aired throughout South African television. The single "Glam Vamp Baby" was featured as a track on Universal Records/Sheer Music's Indie Essentials compilation.

Photos

Bio

Ashton Nyte is a South African born singer, songwriter, producer, composer and front man of the South African alternative rock band The Awakening. Nyte has released five solo albums both as Ashton Nyte and Ashton Nyte and the Accused in addition to his numerous releases as The Awakening. He is considered to be a pioneer of alternative music in South Africa,[1] and has been described as "something of a music[al] genius"[2] for his typical method of composing, playing and recording each instrument himself on most of his releases.

(from wikipedia)