Ashton Nyte is one of those rare artists that has had the fortune to find his sound early. And that sound is signature. Having created his own path beginning in Johannesburg, South Africa in the nineties with his band/project The Awakening, Ashton has since branched out into a multitude of collaborations such as with Wayne Hussey (The Mission) and Michael Ciravolo (Beauty in Chaos),as well as a solo career that, to me, is such a creative stream that it inspires me, personally, as a musician.
Ashton has also recently crossed over into the realm of film scoring with his recent collaboration with Ethan Gold on the score for the movie ‘Relive‘, directed by Jacob Estes.
In this interview, we talk with Ashton about his beginnings, his many musical partnerships and his extensive philanthropy as well as his new music with The Awakening.
The Awakening’s ‘Chasm’ album.
About Ashton Nyte & The Awakening
The Awakening was born in Johannesburg, South Africa in 1995 as the creative expression of artist Ashton Nyte. Nyte is the sole songwriter, vocalist, producer and primary instrumentalist behind The Awakening, accompanied by hand-picked musicians for live performances. Dubbed “dark future-rock” and “Johannesburg’s Bowie” by the press, Ashton came to prominence in 1997 with The Awakening’s chart-topping rendition of The Sound Of Silence, followed by another five #1 singles and twelve top 10’s. The anthemic single The Dark Romantics became a staple on alternative dance floors around the world, one of the many gems of The Awakening’s catalog of 8 full-length albums, 3 EPs and 2 greatest hits collections.
Ashton Nyte and The Awakening have toured extensively and headlined festivals in the US, Europe, and South Africa, including Ramfest and the Oppikoppi Festival to over 30 000 people. Nyte and The Awakening have been featured in a diverse range of media, from Rolling Stone and Metal Hammer to Dark Beauty and Fangoria.
As a solo artist Ashton Nyte has released 7 stylistically diverse albums in addition to his work released as The Awakening. After relocating to the US in 2008, Nyte released the cinematic dark-folk album “The Valley” which was toured from New York to New Orleans, played on over 200 US stations and drew comparisons to Nebraska-era Springsteen and Johnny Cash.
Nyte toured South Africa in March / April 2014 to promote The Awakening’s “Anthology XV” release, as well as the release of “Moederland”, his first Afrikaans-language album. “Moederland” was named one of the top 10 Afrikaans albums of the year by Netwerk24 and enjoyed two number 1 singles on Afrikaans radio and featured the Nyte-penned duet with Karin Hougaard.
Nyte’s most recent solo album, “Some Kind Of Satellite” (2015) received critical acclaim and was featured in a variety of press including Gothic Beauty, Sonic Seducer, Dark Beauty, Giuseppina and Auxiliary Magazine, among others. The album saw the artist perform a national sold out headline tour of South Africa, in addition to performing with British alternative rock legend, Wayne Hussey. Nyte’s works have been featured on NPR/PRI in the USA, and he has performed live in-studio to 125 million listeners on the international radio show “Border Crossings”. A prolific artist and activist, Nyte has also written and performed in theatrical productions and organized philanthropic events including his “Rock Against Rape” concert series, and presenting a lecture series at US universities focusing on tolerance and acceptance.
2016 saw Nyte collaborate with British guitarist Mark Gemini Thwaite (Peter Murphy, The Mission, Gary Numan) on MGT’s debut solo album, along with Ville Valo (HIM), and a host of other alternative music luminaries. Nyte also completed a 17 date sold out tour, spanning 12 European countries with The Awakening in October 2016. The tour was in support of UK band The Mission’s 30th Anniversary and included prestigious European venues like O2 Shepherd Bush (London), Hard Club (Porto), Markthalle (Hamburg) and many more. The Awakening was the only support for their leg of the tour and crowd response and merchandise sales reflected an ongoing growth for the love of Nyte’s voice and various musical incarnations. Nyte performed with MGT at the Wave Gotik Treffen festival in Leipzig, along with a UK date in June 2017
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In 2018 Nyte co-wrote and co-produced the second MGT album, called “Gemini Nyte”, with Nyte as the only vocalist and lyricist. The album also featured Paul Ferguson (Killing Joke) on drums and was toured with Jyrki69 (The 69 Eyes) across the US in March of 2018. Nyte is currently completing a range of releases for 2019 and has contributed lyrics and vocals to 3 songs on Michael Ciravolo’s “Beauty in Chaos” project, which features members of The Cure, The Mission, Ice-T, Ministry, Cheap Trick and more. The Nyte / Ciravolo composition “Bloodless And Fragile” was used in the television program “The Purge” on USA network. The Awakening has just released a new album, “Chasm” on 26 November 2018 with first single “Back To Wonderland” currently receiving airplay worldwide.
Check out our interview with Beauty in Chaos curator Michael Ciravolo HERE.
Ashton Nyte ended off 2018 with working on the score of the movie “Relive” with composer Ethan Gold. The movie stars David Oyelowo, Storm Reid and Mykelti Williamson and premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January 2019.