MY LOCKDOWN: Sugar Horse (Ashley Tubb)

Credit: Promo

During these unprecedented times, lockdown has meant that we are spending most of our time inside with only ourselves, or our very closest, for company. As it looks like the world won’t be returning to normality for the foreseeable future, we thought we would find out how our favourite bands are handling things, what they’re getting up to, and tips and advice they could share.

Bristolian doomgazers Sugar Horse are back with their twisted new track ‘The Great Shame’ that takes inspiration from the madness and tension underneath the surface of 1989 BBC documentary ‘Heart Of An Angel’, which was directed and produced by Molly Dineen.

We caught up with vocalist/guitarist Ashley Tubb to talk about his experiences during the first national lockdown.

DP!: How did you manage lockdown?
Ashley: Lockdown was weird. Was a pretty uncertain time, as I wasn’t sure I’d have a job to go back to. That’s pretty scary when you have a tiny person to look after and rent to pay….On the other hand, it gave me a whole load of time with my partner and daughter. I’ll probably never get that much solid time with them again, so it was a blessing in a way. Like most things, bit of the bad and a bit of the good. Saying that, I’m in a way better position that a huge amount of people and for that I’ll be forever grateful.

DP!: Were you on lockdown on your own, or were you with friends or family?
Ashley: I was with my partner, daughter and two tiny dogs. I became a dad November last year, so kinda learnt most of the whole parenting thing through lockdown. It’s been a pretty crazy ride. Can’t wait to bore her to death with stories of The Great Plague. My partner works for the NHS, but kinda luckily was still on maternity leave throughout the beginning of this. For that, I’m very thankful, as the first few months of this seemed terrifying for key workers.
We also have a Pug and a French Bulldog. I can safely say they’re the weirdest creatures I’ve ever encountered. A non-stop source of entertainment.

DP!: How do you personally feel the government is handling it so far?
Ashley: Does this government really handle anything well? It’s kinda seemed like an avalanche of colossal fuck ups since day one, but I don’t think any of us expected any less. In four years time I’m sure they’ll take full credit for “beating” this thing and get voted in for another four years. Seems like a never-ending cycle at the moment. It’s pretty soul-destroying. The “Gary Sambrook eats big dinners” graffiti doing the rounds made me proper belly laugh though, so I guess it’s not all doom and gloom.

DP!: What have you been doing to keep yourself entertained?
Ashley: I read a tonne, so been trying to work my way through stuff I’ve bought but never touched. Sara Pascoe’s ‘Sex, Power, Money’, Steven Pinker’s ‘Better Angels Of Our Nature’ and Peter Vronsky’s ‘Sons Of Cain’ were big highlights. I grabbed a BFI film subscription too. Just so I could watch horribly pretentious shit and feel smart. Everyone should watch Paul Wright’s ‘Arcadia’, it’s a masterpiece. Other than that I’ve just been spending waaaay too much money on Discogs and looking after my daughter.

DP!: Did you use the time to write and/or record any new music?
Ashley: I realised at the start of lockdown that this would probably be the only chance I’d get, probably ever, to write every day. I decided that I’d set myself a little challenge to try and write something every day, whether that be a verse, chorus or just a riff. This all kinda mounted up into about 15 properly good songs. We recorded a couple of singles back in August (including ‘The Great Shame’ released on October 23rd) and as I type this we’re sitting in a studio recording album one. It’s fucking nuts and I’m so excited for people to hear this new stuff.

DP!: Did the extra free time in lockdown (if any) allow you to pursue other hobbies and interests? If so, what?
Ashley: I really like cooking, but ‘cause of the nature/hours of my work I don’t get to do it very much, just ‘cause times don’t usually line up, but I managed to cook pretty much every day of lockdown which was awesome. I gotta warn ya, I make the best brisket chilli in Bristol and Shanghai Red Pork that’ll kick your head in. I’m terrible at baking though. Don’t get me doing any of that.

DP!: Had you been working in the meantime to help you through financially?
Ashley: I manage a music venue and bar that opened back up on July 4th…..minus the whole music thing obviously. It’s been a pretty mad rollercoaster working there for the last few months, but everyone I work with there is a legend and we’re proper battlers. We’ll pull through I reckon. We always seem to find a way.
Any tips or suggestions for others to keep themselves entertained?
Oh Jesus….I’m a nerdy bastard to be honest. I’m not a big fan of going outside or really even physical activity as a whole. I’ve heard most people kinda enjoy that. If you need any recommendations on books about British indie from 1983 – 1995 I’m your guy, otherwise, I’d probably ask someone else.

DP!: Any advice for people who may be struggling mentally?
Ashley: Try not to be so hard on yourself. No one knows what the fuck is going on, or what the fuck to do right now, so don’t feel bad about being in a state of confusion. Everyone is, some people are just better at hiding it than others. I gave up boozing last year too and that cleared up a huge chunk of the morose shit I was dealing with before. Properly made me feel like a new man, albeit a slightly more boring one. If you’re feeling pretty crap about yourself I’d highly encourage stopping drinking, even if it’s for a couple months.
It made me the happy go lucky guy you see before you now and there’s no better advert than that.

DP!: Final words?
Ashley: Can we have gigs back soon? I really wanna get bludgeoned by a massive PA in a tiny room.

The band’s new single, ‘The Great Shame’, is out now.

You can keep up-to-date with the band online over on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.