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Page last updated at 11:56 GMT, Monday, 28 July 2008 12:56 UK
Ash to release new songs in 2009
by Kev Geoghegan
Radio 1 music reporter

Ash released their debut album, 1977, twelve years ago

Ash say they remain committed to a promise not to release any more albums, despite having enough new songs.

The northern Irish rockers announced in June 2007 that their album, Twilight of the Innocents, would be their last.

The band said they would concentrate on single track releases because "the way people listen to music has changed".

Singer Tim Wheeler told Newsbeat: "We knew what we said was quite shocking but we didn't think it would create waves that big".

At the time, the band said more people were downloading single tracks rather than entire albums, so it made more sense to simply release new tracks, as and when they were finished.

Wheeler continued: "Loads of people have copied us since, a lot of bands are saying they're going to do the same thing so it's been inspirational for a lot of people already."

"I just can't wait to put it in effect."

Since Wheeler and bandmates Rick McMurray and Mark Hamilton made the announcement, Muse are another big band who have expressed interest in abandoning the traditional album format.

In March, frontman Matt Bellamy told NME: "I like the idea of releasing a series of songs, every month or every couple of months - just putting songs out there."

New material

Wheeler said the band are coming to the end of a punishing tour schedule which has taken in Japan, Ireland and London in the past week alone. But far from resting, Ash have been holed up in their own recording studio.

He said: "We've been working up some diabolical inventions to come out next year.

"It's been very freeing being away from the album format and not thinking, 'Oh, this track has to fit with that track'. We're just trying all sorts of crazy stuff.

"We've got one album worth so far but we want to get a double album worth of stuff."

I think it's going to be fun for our fans, getting something quite regularly from us instead of getting an album every three years
Tim Wheeler

Drummer McMurray agreed: "I think we have to go for it. You don't have to ignore some songs because they don't fit in with overall picture."

Ash headlined at Ben & Jerry's Sundae on the Common in London at the weekend and showcased one new song, called Ichiban.

Typically Ash-sounding pop rock, the song got a good reception from the strange mix of middle class families, students and Aussie backpackers enjoying the sunshine on Clapham Common

Wheeler said: "It's Japanese for number one, it's just a fun upbeat kind of song and its great to play live so we've been playing it at all the festivals so far.

"But we've also got a great disco song that Mark wrote, we're not sure what it's called yet but it's really different for us.

"We can't wait to start playing it live."

1977 re-release

Ash's former label is about to re-release a deluxe edition of their debut album 1977 in September.

Wheeler said: "It's a bit of nostalgia, we released it nearly 12 and a half years ago."

The band, who formed 16 years ago in Downpatrick, will play two shows in London to mark the occasion but Wheeler insists that even if it is a big seller fans shouldn't expect them to go back on their word.

He said: There's something very special about giving stuff to people in instalments. You know that feeling when you have to wait for something?

"I think it's going to be fun for our fans, getting something quite regularly from us instead of getting an album every three years.

"I think it's going to be really cool."

The new songs should emerge around Spring next year.

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