Influenced by Joan Jett, Led Zeppelin, The White Stripes, as well as the inspiration they have gained from local artists in the myriad places they have called home, collectively, Asheira and her boys have been captivating crowds with their high energy performances and songs. Single’s “Riding in Cars” and “Sugar” have already been picked up for rotation this September on local radio in Nashville, and will be featured in feature film Race with the Devil out in 2015. Asheira and the band have a full slate ahead of them including live performances through out Nashville and beyond, several singles, as well as there work as local actors and stage performers.
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Mike O’Keefe: How is it residing in Nashville? Did you grow up there? Tell us about your hometown a little bit.
Ashley Pereira: I did not. I grew up as military brat and we retired down in lower Alabama about five years ago. We then moved to Nashville. I started with an independent band playing backup keys and backup singing for a couple years. Before I knew it, I was opening up for that band and then I started my own thing so that’s how that came about. Nashville is great. I live on the Westside of Nashville. I used to live on the Eastside. East Nashville was really great for a while and then it got really populated. Nashville traffic in the last five years went from 20 minutes to get anywhere around Nashville, to now sometimes an hour and a half. The traffic is close to [Los Angeles] traffic around five to eight o’clock in the morning. I’ve heard from people in LA that have come to visit say, “This is just as bad as LA traffic sometimes.”
MO: So the city is constantly growing, that’s great. What would you suggest a first-time visitor to see?
AP: I would suggest trying out some of the good, local restaurants here. The coffee is really good. There’s a specialty coffee called Drew’s Brews and a lot of the coffee shops around here serve it, which is also on Broadway in East Nashville and West Nashville. It’s a local Nashville coffee shop. I am a big coffee lover, so I would suggest to check out some local restaurants or coffee shops.
MO: I will definitely keep that in mind. I know Nashville has a lot of history as well, so that’s cool. Describe performing in Nashville, how is the crowd atmosphere?
AP: Nashville is a great place for a musician’s home base, but as far as the performing scene, as an independent artist or as an A or B list artist, it’s pretty tough unless you are Taylor Swift, Adele or those kind of guys able to sell out arenas. For me, and for a lot of independent artists, we have lots of friends in the community who are also artists. Playing out in Nashville you can invite all your friends to come out to your show and you might have a good two or three hundred people show at a local venue here. Sometimes it dwindles, because you can’t keep on asking the same friends out and for someone to spend 20 bucks every couple of weeks to play the same set. It is difficult especially if you want to play a lot. The venues are smaller so they are not able to hold thousands and thousands of people.
MO: I find that really interesting though. The smaller venues sometimes have the best shows, and it’s best for a traveler to get involved with the culture.
AP: Yes! There is so much great music. You would think at some of these independent shows there would be so much more people. It’s not that the bands aren’t good, they are absolutely wonderful. There is so much talent in Nashville. I think it’s better to play outside of Nashville for band purposes, but for community purposes and networking, playing shows in town is really, really cool. There is a lot of talented people.
MO: Awesome. Every country has a festival or celebration that stands out. What’s one that you would like to travel to or have been to?
AP: I would like to go overseas. Oktoberfest sounds really cool. Bonaroo has always been one that I wanted to go to. I’ve heard really great things about Mardi Gras as well. I’ve been to South by Southwest a few times to perform, not just myself, but with independent bands. For a while it was really cool, but was just really crowded.
AP: Well, I have a very special side gig where I get to work remotely as a networking engineer so I can take my work with me if I want. I kind of make my own schedule so that works out. Traveling is not necessarily an issue for me.
MO: That’s great. I want to see as much as possible while we’re here. When visiting a new location, what is the first thing you do?
AP: I find a mom and pop shop — I’m serious. Even in [New York City] when I played there I would try to find a hole-in-the-wall with really good reviews. You always want to see the city, but when you are on tour it is one of the best and worst ways to see the country. You have a schedule, and you can’t really take your time to see things, but you do have to eat. When you get the time to eat, try to live in the culture of that city for a little bit.
MO: If you were to perform or record anywhere in the world where would you go?
AP: Nashville, home base, has so many recording studios like Blackbird Studio is one that I would love to go and record at. Some of my favorite artists and friends have recorded there, and their EP’s and records sounded great as far as quality. There’s another one called Dark Horse and its out in country. It’s this big cabin, basically a mansion — you can stay there. There’s horses and you can go record. It’s a complete retreat. I’m sure there are a lot of places even overseas I’m just familiar with the ones in Nashville, because I’m here. I would not mind exploring.
MO: What does seeing and experiencing different cultures mean to you?
AP: It means a lot. You experience new things, learn new things about different cultures and you learn more about yourself. Each state, even in America is completely different. I was in northern Idaho over the summer to do some music stuff and it’s just a completely different mindset than Nashville, or Alabama, NYC or Boston. Every place I have been has been different. Even each town has its own different vibe. I haven’t been overseas as far as music goes, but I’ve heard some really positive responses that are just insane. I want to go over there and perform.
MO: Everyone has a list of places they haven’t been to yet. What are some destinations you still need to see?
AP: I need to go to Peru, Maccu Piccu, and ride a llama. I want to perform in Spain. I think those are the only two right now.