Loudoun County Public School students have always shown a great amount of passion and talent in the fields that they look to pursue, whether it be in the Arts, STEM, sports, or any other interest they set their mind to take up, but now more than ever, students are able to express themselves in ways that allow them to soar in their specialty. Few have exhibited that idea more brightly than Ache Harvest, whose numerous musical achievements and intense devotion to their craft have led them to excel, with their music, live performances, and numerous award nominations.
Ache Harvest is a young, up-and-coming Alternative Rock Band consisting of Singer Carly Ratcliffe, Bassist Matthew Werfel, Drummer Ben Fremin, and Guitarist/Producer Matthew Aasen. Loudoun County Magazine Student Journalist Neha Srinivasan interviewed the band on their beginnings, growth, advice, and more.
How did you form this band?:
So the band started with Matthew Werfel and Matthew Aasen. They were already in a band, and I wanted to be in a band, so I reached out to them, and we made Lies together. After that, we wanted to play live, so we found Ben’s Instagram, and he joined!
Who was your inspiration (Personally, or as a band)?:
It’s pretty hard to pinpoint inspirations, as it’s more on a song-by-song basis, but each of us draws from different areas ourselves. Whatever we sound like individually is usually what the band sounds like. I think our personal inspirations are a lot more strong, for me [Ben], it’s people like Travis Barker, Thomas Pridgen, Eric Moore, but also, our stuff’s getting a bit funkier because when I first joined, it was a bit more rock-heavy, but now, we’re experimenting with tighter snare sounds, crisper high hats, and we insert funk into our set sometimes. [Werfel] For bass, my main inspiration is the [Red Hot] Chilli Peppers, so Flea and what he does, I also like Vulfpeck a lot, their bassist Joe Dart, I basically copied his style on our last original!
What goes into the thought process of your songwriting?
Carly: This is where I come in! The first song, Lies, was about a cheater, but it wasn’t about me getting cheated on, it was about my friend, and I hated that man, so we made a song about it, and Red Eye, I was in a long-distance relationship, so that was where I kind of got that inspiration and Heart of Gold were about the same relationship, and it’s toxicity, so I wrote about it.
Aasen: Also, we’re kind of unique in the fact that all of us have a say, some starts start with Carly and a song she wrote, then the rest of the band tweaks things, and we’re very collaborative in that sense
How would the band move forward if someone left?
A: We wouldn’t make any more music as Ache Harvest. Honestly, if anyone left, we would just start a new project, do something different. We wouldn’t replace anyone, and we all work so well and click so well, a new person would just be hard, like, since we all pull from a different person for musical style and inspiration, if someone came in with a new sound, it just wouldn’t work.
How did you guys come up with your name?
A: Actually, me [Aasen] and Werfel were standing in my basement in 7th grade, and we were like, alright, we need a band name, and originally we came up with Devil’s Spit, which was more of a joke since we wanted to have a more rock-like or edgy name, then we realized that name sucks, and we needed something better, so about an hour later, we came up with Ache Harvest!
How was going to the recent awards and big gigs?
A: Two weeks ago*, we went to Cleveland, and it was really fun, the Rock and Roll [Hall Of Fame] is such a cool place to play, big stage, big event, it was awesome. Preparing for Cleveland was the best experience we’ve had, because we worked so hard and tightened our performance so much, which we wouldn’t have done without Cleveland riding on it, and we gave it our best in Cleveland! We also went to the Wammies, that was a week ago*, we got to meet Paul Reed Smith, that was awesome!
What would you never write a song about?
[Ben] Politics. We would never write a political song, because our goal is to reach as many people as we can and to bring people together, and we just don’t think that politics ever fits into music, we want people to relate to our songs and it [music] is a place to get away from all that stuff. [Aasen] I would never write a song about boots. [Werfel] I would never write a song about songwriting because it’s been done too many times before. [Carly] Wait, I was thinking, our next song^ is about songwriting! [Werfel] Wait, it is? [Carly] I actually really like the song though!
What did it cost (socially and academically) for this project to work?
A: In the beginning, we put a lot of practice in so we could click with each other better, but now it’s a lot of tightening our songs up, preparing for gigs, and that kind of work. During the winter period, we weren’t able to gig as much, but most of the stuff we do is with the band, and we don’t exactly have much else that we focus on. We’re not planning on taking many breaks for now, because we can see the end of the tunnel, and it’s going so well for us now, that we’re not planning on stopping anytime soon!
As the desire to pursue different interests grows in today’s world, many talented, hardworking groups such as Ache Harvest continue to appear! Stay tuned for more by them, and be sure to check out their latest single, “Set in Stone”, on Apple Music and Spotify!
*Dates are as of the day of the interview, March 30th, 2022
Song “Set in Stone” released on April 22nd, 2022
Article by Neha Srinivasan
Images courtesy of Ache Harvest