Revivalist bands are on the rise! Look no further than the successful works of Greta Van Fleet, who recreate much of the feels, sounds and wavelengths once heard from Led Zeppelin, albeit in a modern and refreshing fashion. With that theme in mind, enter The Last Bees. They are an independent lo-fi pop band that strikes its chord on music that rang true during the fabs mop top era of the sixties. Their pop rock approach and musicianship stylistically derives from a legendary band you may have heard of before, The Beatles. They are quite the harmonious spectacle and have began garnering significant buzz in important circles of the music industry since dropping their debut EP earlier this month.
The frontman for The Last Bees is Ian Ash and he has been a prominent catalyst for this relatively new musical group. From a young age, Ash had music ingrained within his veins. Rather than flocking to the popular genre of hip-hop like all of his school peers in Waukesha, Wisconsin this man became fixated on the classics since the age of ten. Coming home from school to witness his parents watching a popular Beatles Anthology set everything into motion for him. This particular film gave him perspective of timeless music and truly began his obsession with The Beatles. His thought process was something along the lines of, “If Paul McCartney knows how to play guitar, piano, drums and bass then I should learn them too!”
Terrific progression accompanied Mr. Ash as he began to try his hand at all different facets of musical composition. Within months of that revelatory Beatles’ discovery moment, he learned to play piano. Shortly thereafter, he began to write and record demos on his father’s’ 4-track cassette tape. A few years later, he threw his name in the ring for the Pepsi Summerfest Talent Search Contest in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Amongst hundreds of artists that pour their heart out into the microphone near Lake Michigan, Ian won the award for best composition at the meager age of thirteen. His appreciation and reverence toward the legends that came before him coupled with an innate ability to sing, songwrite and perform have proved to be wondrous along the way for this Carroll University graduate.
A major turning point within his career arrived following Ian’s performance at the Waukesha County Fair. A man by the name of Bruce Johnston took a keen liking to his stage presence and sonic material. As Ian went on to win the award for Best Vocalist at the Waukesha County Fair, he earned himself a chance to open for Johnston’s well-known and intimately loved band, The Beach Boys.
As the opening act for the well-renown Beach Boys, Ian Ash continued to elevate his musical persona and began to travel the country spreading euphonious hymns. They say that the great ones know their destiny and are in tune with their capabilities at an early age. Clearly, Ash is one of the greats and is just getting started. This troubadour belongs in a class unbeknownst to many and his musical compositions are of another echelon.
“Melodies have always popped into my head since I was very young.” (ACA)
In 2014, the band Ian and the Dream was formed prior to the commencement of the, “Bodog Battle of the Bands” at The Rave/Eagles Club venue. Following their brilliant performance in that competition, Ian and the Dream won Best Milwaukee Band over about twenty other contestants. As a result, they advanced to the next round at The Metro in Chicago.
Recently, the Last Bees performed at SXSW (Austin, TX) and represented the Wisconsin faction of the Recording Academy as District Advocates at Cherry Pit Studios in Menomonee Falls. There, they served as adversaries in relation to the Music Modernization Act. The Music Modernization Act deals with new methods/mechanisms of composition and institutes licenses to build a workable framework so that all respective parties receive due compensation. Primarily, this statute touches on matters of copyright, streaming/downloading, updated databases, appropriate market value and royalty rates. This act ensures that all musical entities operate based upon accountability, simplicity and fairness.
Wise Beyond their Years
This band is not only terrific on stage, but also in the aspect of communication via networking. Their down-to-earth nature has allowed many essential figures within the industry to lend a helping ear. For instance, Ian co-wrote the song, “True or False” with Jim Peterik, the man who penned, “Eye of the Tiger” and gained invaluable experience from doing so. Peterik owns a studio by the name of, “Lennon’s Den” and encouraged Ash to focus on edgy and acerbic lyricism.
Additionally, collaboration with Grammy-award winning producer Stephen Short gave The Last Bees studio access and helped mold their incredible sound. Furthermore, Stephen Short worked intricately with Paul McCartney throughout the seventies and bestowed endless wisdom and direction that propelled The Last Bees immensely. Short founded Trident Studios and his Sonic Ranch Studios in Tornillo, Texas served as the primary location for Ian and the Dream’s highly-touted and well received album, “California Cauliflower.” During a dispute, Stephen helped Ian’s group gain the masters to their old song based on the strength of his name. When he could not carry on with studio efforts due to colon cancer in 2013, his teachings and Ian’s ability to retain them helped a great deal in terms of musical arrangement and ways to compile an album in the most impactful way.
Eventually, Ian dropped “The Dream” title and transformed their collective into the unified band we know today as, “The Last Bees.” Ian Ash is the lead vocalist, plays piano and guitar and is also a private music teacher. Chivo is the bassist, sings backing vocals and is also a cook at a corporate cafeteria. Brian Farvour plays the drums and is also a talent placement specialist. Altogether, these three eclectic individuals originate from the hometown of the wizard of Waukesha, better known as Les Paul. They are incredibly organic, spontaneous and refreshing. They pride themselves on youthful sounds that display vulnerability, nostalgia and a nod to the British Invasion. With great respect and reverence toward the British Invasion, they are able to contribute modern musical impulses that are funneled through great historical influences. Their music harks back to a time not too dissimilar from the ones we are experiencing right now. A time where, “All You Need is Love” and they supply it in the form of positive, uplifting musical releases that remove the uncertainty from an ever-expanding society.
Logistically, The Last Bees accentuate themes of love, heartbreak, perseverance and positivity. They encourage listeners to seek the truth within themselves and reflect on people’s ultimate motives for behavior. The Last Bees express universal emotions in a way that has never been articulated before through strong clever songwriting, mid-tempo ballads, catchy choruses, sensational sounds, good vibrations and connections. They mix up the philosophy of modern song composition by keeping their tracks concise in order to pack a punch on every record. Their impact stays fresh on the listeners’ mind and never disappoints in person or on wax.
It is a culmination of many things that makes The Last Bees especially resonant with those who are in tune with their efforts. Every time they embark on a musical journey, they release bursts of energy through honey-sweet melodies. Their sentimental rhythms and flairs of the oldies create exhilaration for everyone involved. These Last Bees are moving quickly into first with modern sonic textures, freshness and vibrant performances. They explores the depths of effervescence, the glow and jangle of the sixties all the while keeping things original and developing their own distinct sound. With a casual and rollicking nature, they stroll through their performances in a way that is smooth as silk and proves to be incredibly interactive.
Check out their most recent self-titled EP and get hip to these catchy Wisconsin crooners.