Interview: Chastity Ashley of Beauty in the Breakdown
By: Marissa McCall
“From the minute we’re born, sound presents itself and immediately it becomes one with us. It envelops our very essence and sets us on our journey ahead. We grow and take on shapes, colors and surroundings all of which are built through vibration of sound whether you can see with your eyes or feel with your body. This is all music,” says Beauty in the Breakdown’s lead member, Chastity Ashley.
The name Beauty in the Breakdown comes from Chastity’s “dark moments of beauty in the breakdown. When I heard that I thought it depicted exactly some of the things I’ve been through and some of my fellow musicians have been through. We are the beauty in the breakdown.”
Beauty and the Breakdown formed in 2014 as a percussion-driven electro pop group. With their debut album, Neon, released in April of 2015 they have gone to play all over the world. Their most recent show was in November of 2016 in Palm Springs California. They also headlined the LA Pride Festival along side Ke$ha.
Front woman Chastity has had a unique career thus far. She has played drums for Duran Duran, featured music on Disney movies and opened for Aerosmith. “I started playing drums when I was ten, and I had always wanted to be a drummer and I got into percussion because my family was really around a lot of tribal and rhythm based music.”
Chastity started out with a unique percussion instrument called a djembe, a traditional African drum. “It sounded like an entire percussion set, but it was only one drum. I was so fascinated by it I had to learn how to play. Ironically I bought my first one at guitar center.” The djembe isn’t like a regular drum set “it was so much harder than I ever thought it would be. I had already been playing a drum set for a few years, so I thought it would be easy. I hustled and practiced every single day and had become one of my specialty instruments aside from a full kit.”
Chastity started playing this instrument in every one of her bands. “Having this instrument is such a big influence because when we play live you get to hear what goes into our album. When we try to play we have such an organic approach to our music.”
Beauty in the Breakdown has created music that has an upbeat vibe, and Chastity explains, “In a world that is so sad and torn at the moment people just want to be loved and because of that I feel that’s one of our big messages, and love can be infectious and that’s what out band stands for.”