Finding solace in the unrelenting extremities of hardcore and terror, Ashe Kilbourne is a DJ, producer and vocalist currently based in Brooklyn, New York. Immersing herself in the heavier, aggressive depths of electronic music, the New Jersey native first became captivated by harder-edged sounds as a teenager, laying the groundwork for what would inevitably be a guiding through-line in her artistry. Growing up, Kilbourne discovered her love for visual art early on, turning to the blank page to hone her self-expressive talents before learning how to DJ and produce in college. As a quick study to the craft, Kilbourne became enamored by the transfixing breadth of electronic music, gravitating toward the unabridged rawness of extreme genres and paying close attention to how they intersect and inform one another.
As her career unfolded, Kilbourne relocated to New Orleans where she joined the grindcore band Cicada, finding clarity in the direction she'd like to take her music next as a solo producer. Earnestly approaching both creative outlets as a way to shape her distinctive voice as an artist, Kilbourne began capturing the attention of the ever-inquisitive underground music scene. In 2016, she self-released 18 Songs, a collection of work from 2012-2015 curated in response to the harrowing realization her SoundCloud account had been callously deleted, and Sourland, a 5-track EP that marked a new chapter both on a personal and sonic level. With Sourland, Kilbourne tackles intense feelings of being haunted by trauma and themes such as sexual violence, physical pain and the medicalizing of queer narratives through an introspective, aggro-femme interpretation of hardcore, embracing an outsider perspective that is both personal and unwavering.
After relocating to Brooklyn in 2017, Kilbourne tirelessly worked her way to becoming a fixture on the touring circuit, performing at venues, festivals and events throughout Europe and North America such as Spinoff Gabber, Berghain, Boiler Room, Tresor, Unter, Czech Republic's Creepy Teepee festival, Crete's Nature Loves Courage festival and Warsaw's famed Wixapol party, to name a few. In 2018, Kilbourne expanded her discography, releasing Bloodrave: Music from Blade, a rescore of the iconic '90s film, and making her debut on Ophidian's renowned Meta4 Recordings with her critically acclaimed Evnika EP. The following year saw her solo speedcore release, NJ Terror, a record released on the legendary Industrial Strength Records imprint. The project fiercely traverses through 200-250 BPM with a melancholic tenderness and vulnerability that speaks to hardcore's true essence of encompassing more than one emotion at once.
In summer 2019, Kilbourne joined the band Trophy Hunt, contributing vocals and electronics to their signature blend of grindcore, screamo and black metal. Currently awaiting the release of their forthcoming sophomore full-length, Trophy Hunt released their debut Silent Intercom in February 2020. Citing the satisfaction that comes with the cathartic physicality of being active within the grindcore genre as a driving force, her work as Kilbourne embodies that same energy, albeit in an entirely different way. In 2020, she collaborated with New York-based producer Doxa on the joint EP, Ham Shop, an experimental hardware techno offering. Later on, in summer 2020, she released a joint project alongside Eric "Shade" Balderose of the Grammy-nominated metal outfit Code Orange, with the limited cassette selling out in under three minutes.
Elsewhere throughout the daunting, disruptive year of 2020, Kilbourne released her Pillsurfer EP with the Parisian label Casual Gabberz Records as well as made her vinyl debut with Pain Becomes Pleasure, a 4-track EP released on Nekro featuring label boss Nekromonikon and Plexøs. Other milestones of her ever-expanding curriculum vitae include being featured on the Traumatic Records V/A 060 released in November 2020 (Ghent, Belgium), the Esoteric Rhythms January 2021 compilation (Glasgow, UK), producing Rubby's "Tight Corridors" single (January 2021) and performing guest screaming on Kurama's Hiraeth EP (February 2021). In addition to building her own catalog, Kilbourne has written remixes for Enayet ("Chokkor"), Jesus Piece ("Punish"), Estoc ("ACAB Tool 2020"), Special Interest N.O. ("Nerve"), Sacerdos Vigilia ("The Clipchain Massacre") and 909 Junkies ("Industrial Strength" along with Lenny Dee), as well as has made frequent appearances on Toxic Sickness, RinseFM and The Lot Radio.
As exemplified by the vibrancy of her work, Kilbourne puts her heart into all that she does, cultivating a hearty reputation backed by prolific output. Currently splitting her time between building her portfolio as a tattoo artist and readying her next release on Los Angeles-based imprint Evar Records, Kilbourne’s music thrives at the edge of the unknown and the familiar. Drawing from a range of influences and emotions alike, Kilbourne creates from a place of meticulous care and potent spontaneity, further amplifying her penchant for pushing limits. By embracing distortion, speed and disharmony as a pathway to greater understanding and euphoria, Kilbourne's production style explores the intricacies of intensity with a precision that allows for infinite possibility. Through an array of substyles, tempos and techniques, Kilbourne's work doubles as a masterful interrogation of the soft/hard dichotomy, presenting the piercing beauty of heightened drama and conflict without apology or restraint.