The Coffee House Sessions tour musicians around universities across the UK. Talented songwriters and musicians get to showcase their music to the students, promoting their undiscovered sounds. It’s a unique opportunity to discover a new artist and get intimate with some fresh music. Last week, Jack Cullen and Ash Radford hit the road together, meeting SpaLife Magazine at Bath Spa University’s student bar.
It’s not the first time that the boys have met, having bumped into each other when they both performed at Glastonbury. Together they create the perfect set, each exploring their own variations of soft acoustics. Emblems of maturity and growth, both Jack and Ash don’t hide from their vulnerabilities in their lyrics. The artists share a commonality in their upbeat guitar riffs that strengthen and optimise their sounds. Ash was particularly excited to perform at Bath Spa University, having previously been a student here. It added a nostalgia to his performance that made us proud.
First onto the stage was Jack Cullen. The promising singer/songwriter has showcased his natural talent since as early as school where he signed his first contract. When he sings he becomes infatuated. He makes it clear right away saying that he “always preferred music, I love it, I love writing it and I just knew it’s what I actually want to do”. His aptitude for songwriting is loaded, as he explains: “I have quite a strong imagination and my mind runs quite fast”. The fluidity of his lyrics – equipped with his skill as a deft guitarist – creates a mellow but solid sound. After being lulled into a gentle atmosphere, Jack then strikes the audience with the vocal depth in his register.
More recently, Jack has been working on new music. On Wednesday 20th March, his new song, ‘Shine’, was released onto Spotify and Apple Music. He jokes, “it’s an old song, about the same girl but, it’s rewritten. It means something different to me now. It’s written around the concept of light and dark and the contrast between the two”. Composed with the similar notes of passion, it intends to continue his upbeat yet soft sound.
Following Jack’s mellifluous soundscape is Ash Radford. Since graduating from Bath Spa University, his music has led him to places such as South Africa, New Zealand and Australia. Radford says “when I was growing up in the UK I couldn’t wait to get out. I didn’t feel like I fitted in anywhere and I felt a pull to warmer climates and the sea”. Travelling led him to touring abroad with inspirational artists like Jeremy Loops and The Beautiful Girls, Radford explains that musical experiences like this are “a massive rush, they give me a huge buzz”.
Hungry for more, he’s created a new EP that will be released in 2019. The EP carries the essence of the ocean, refreshing not just for his listeners, but also for himself as he sees it as cleansing. He admits “when I’m writing, a spark happens and it’s like an emotional release. It’s not happy or sad, it’s just an intense feeling that usually comes through in melodies, rhythms and riffs. It’s then, that the words come in and the song pieces together”.
This is evident in his newest song to be released, ‘Phosphorus’. It uses analogue synths, with no click tempo, making it sparse and intense. The song is a healing experience for Ash, who explains that it is about “an appreciation for life and for how hard it can be – even though things can be painful, they’re happening for a reason”. His featured lyrics truly express this: ‘She loves me when the moon is up why have you got to love so tough’.
The Coffee House Sessions are an intimate hub for passionate musicians like Jack and Ash. They make the sessions more special with their touching performances. Jack said, “even if I can get one more fan from my trip with Coffee House Sessions, I’ll be happy”. Jack and Ash have certainly found a few fans here.
Check out more from Jack & Ash below:
Words by Ali Townsend
Featured Image: Ash Radford. Courtesy of Coffee House Sessions