IT’S ABOUT this time of year – at the height of summer – that Tim Wheeler’s thoughts turn to, er…Christmas.
Or at least they did last year. It was 12 months ago that the Ash frontman and London singer-songwriter Emmy The Great recorded an album of seasonal songs called This Is Christmas.
“It was surreal playing songs like Sleigh Me, Jesus The Reindeer and Zombie Christmas when the sun was shining,” admits Tim.
“But we’d started the whole thing months before. We got snowed in together in West Sussex.
“Emmy was meant to be flying to Hong Kong for Christmas and I was meant to be going home to Belfast but we were stuck for three days and she missed Christmas with her parents.
“We wrote a few songs and later in the spring we realised they were really good and we should do more and recorded them properly in the summer.We might do a video for some songs that didn’t get a video the first time. We did a really fun Christmas show in London and we could do that again
“It was strange but it kind of worked because we had started it with proper Christmas inspiration. I love Christmas, it breaks up the bleak winter months and it’s a good family time, and I always loved all the old songs – I think my favourite is I Wish It Could Be Christmas Every Day by Wizzard.”
Even though he’s set for a summer of festival appearances, Tim adds: “Recording that album means I’m really looking forward to Christmas again and I’m hoping it will get re-released or people will get out the songs and play them again.
“We might do a video for some songs that didn’t get a video the first time. We did a really fun Christmas show in London and we could do that again.”
In the meantime, he’s busy with Ash, the band behind 18 Top 40 hits including Girl From Mars, Oh Yeah, Shining Light and Burn Baby Burn.
The Northern Irish indie outfit have not released an album since 2007’s Twilight Of The Innocents, but that doesn’t mean they haven’t been busy.
A little matter of 26 singles in one year, a collaborative song with We Are Scientists, and the small feat of a major film soundtrack suggest otherwise.
Tim is unsure whether there will ever be another Ash album, adding: “We haven’t really planned our next move but it’s not like we’re short of material.
“When we did 26 singles in one year (2010), we wrote about 50 songs and it was a crazy amount of work but great fun. Once we got into the swing we just kept going.”
Their single with We Are Scientists was another oddity. A cover version of Robert Manning’s song, Washington Parks, it was recorded to raise money for multiple sclerosis charities.
“We both recorded separately but it sounds like one band,” explains Tim. “However, their song comes out of the left-hand speaker and ours comes out of the right, so if you listen on your iPod and take out one earphone, they sound completely different…”
Tim has also been working on the soundtrack for a timely film called Spike Island, which is a coming-of-age tale about a gang of lads without tickets trying to get into The Stone Roses’ famous 1992 gig. It’s out this summer– just in time for a series of shows by the reformed Roses.
“I love The Stone Roses, so hopefully I can get along to at least one of the gigs,” says Tim.
Meanwhile, Ash will be headlining the Good Time stage at GuilFest on Sunday, July 15.