The group are in LA with producer Nick Raskulinecz...

ASH have decamped to LOS ANGELES to record the follow up to 2001s ’FREE ALL ANGELS’.

The band are living in Julia Roberts’ old Beverly Hills home, making them neighbors with Doors’ keyboardist Ray Manzarek while they record the effort.

Speaking before his solo gig at LA venue Spaceland last weekend, frontman Tim Wheeler told NME.COM, the band chose to go to Southern California in order to work at Sound City studios with producer Nick Raskulinecz.

He said: “I met Andy Gill [Gang of Four] in a studio in London. He just did the Killing Joke album, which Dave Grohl plays drums on. He said he got the best drum sound he’s ever heard using this engineer called Nick Raskulinecz. He said, ‘You should check this guy out,’ and so we kind of went from there.”

Raskulinecz previously produced the Foo Fighters’ ’One By One’. He also served as Mixer for [a][/a]’s ‘Songs For The Deaf’. Ash hope he will be able to help them as they move in a harder musical direction.

“It definitely sounds like a move on,” Wheeler said of the new material. “Everything sounds louder. We grew up on heavy metal stuff before Nirvana and ever since we never wanted it to be too rock, but [now] the whole rock thing is coming out of us more.”

Some of the tracks being primed for the as yet untitled April 2004 release include ‘Orpheus’, ‘Meltdown’, ‘Evil Eye’, ‘Solace’ and ‘Renegade Cavalcade’ which should appear next March as the first single. Also expected to make the cut are new ones ‘Star Crossed’, ‘Won’t be Saved’ and ‘Clones’ which has nothing to do with the band’s well documented Star Wars obsession.

“It’s more about how homogenized mankind has become. People don’t really stand out,” Wheeler said. “It’s a rant about some person who’s let you down, a person you thought was different and they turn out to be the same as everyone else.”

Despite the amount of famous musicians within close proximity of the studio, Ash expect to finish up the release and leave LA in November without having brought anyone into the recording fold.

“Dave Grohl has been down the studio a few times, but it’s the kind of thing where it’s almost become uncool to have Dave Grohl on your record cos he’s on everyone’s record,” Wheeler said. “There’s a whole bunch of people we could have called, but we just want to get our band’s sound on record. I think we’re playing the best we ever played and we just want to get that sound down. We don’t really want any extra help.”