Q&A with From Ashes to New’s Matt Brandyberry
In a genre that is typically filled with hate and utterly-depressing lyrics, From Ashes to New refuses to be one of those bands. Out of Lancaster, Pennsylvania, the rap/rock group deliver’s their message throughout their music,
“to inspire other people to live their dreams.”
The band has released two EPs, Stay This Way and Downfall. You can pre-order their new debut album, “Day One” at pledgemusic.com. From Ashes to New recently opened up for Five Finger Death Punch, Papa Roach and In This Moment at the Colorado Springs World Arena in Colorado. Lead singer Matt Brandyberry sat down with Denver’s Dirty before the show to discuss the band’s message, their writing process, and their plans for the future. Miss the show? Don’t worry, they’ll be back three more times before the end of the year. Tour dates and links to purchase tickets can be found at the end of the article.
Tell us about your writing process as a band?
Well, we have two EP’s out right now. We have a five-song EP, which was our first one, it’s self-titled and we released it on our own. Then we have the new one, Downfall, it’s four songs and was released through Better Noise Records. When it comes the writing process, we really just do whatever we feel like doing. We might start with some guitars or electronics and then we just build it like a puzzle. The pieces come together quite nicely, everything seems to fit and there isn’t a whole lot of arguing. It really starts with me building some stuff on computer-based programs and then we all get together and everyone puts their own touch on it. The sole writers are myself, Chris, who helps with the vocals and the melodies, and Brandon, who comes in with ideas and guitar tracks. We pre-produce everything. We record everything before we get to the final studio, so it’s already almost a finished song.
What is the overall message in your songs?
It’s all about just believing in yourself and not giving up. I think that everyone in this band has at that point thought “Well, we’re done…we’re giving up…it’s over.” I had that little extra drive left in me where I thought “I’m going to push a little harder. I’m going to what I want to do instead of trying to do what other people want to do….make it goal for myself. That’s when From Ashes of New was born. The message is to take your life from ashes and go to new. You can burn yourself to the ground and come back up from the ashes. That’s what the whole band is about…the band name, the lyrics in the songs, and the story and the message behind the band. Everything goes together as one big story.
How was the band formed?
We all played the same stages. We’re all from the same local scene with the exception of Garrett and Lance. Garrett knew Chris from the Halloween store they worked at together. When it comes to Chris, Brandon, Tim and myself, we all played together in the Lancaster, Pennsylvania music scene. We were either in bands together or shared stages together, so it was kind of like hand-picking your a member from each band we were in and putting it all together into this band.
Life on tour?
This is our third tour. We did some stuff last year, we played with Gemini Syndrome and Exit Type. We played with Hollywood Undead in March, with POD and Hoobastank in the beginning of the Summer and now we’re out with Five Finger Death Punch, Papa Roach and In This Moment. These last two tours have been great. Everyone has been taking care of us. We’re rookies…we’re here, we’re new so we’ve got to learn the ways of the road. Tour life is hard when you’re not doing an arena tour. When you’re doing an arena tour you have catering, green rooms with showers, you have all that stuff. These tours are nice, but the other tours you have to rough it. You’re eating Ramen Noodles…I prefer peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. That’s just kind of the way it goes.
You guys have a very unique sound and style. In a genre where a lot has already been done with that, what do you do to ensure that you’re keeping it fresh?
It all goes back to our writing process: we don’t really think about it, we just do it. My take on genres and sub-genres and stuff like that is stop creating them. Please stop making them, especially in the rock world, it’s stretching it way to thin. You have this sub-genre here and this sub-genre here….why can’t we just meet in the middle and say we like rock and metal. So for us, we take a little bit of whatever we like and put it together into a song. I call it the “rock cocktail.” Just put it together, blend it up, and for some reason it tastes good.
In world where everyone is consuming music using Spotify or Pandora, how have these apps and social media helped grow your fanbase?
I think social media is a double-edge sword because we can interact with our fans and get in people’s faces and put it out there for people to get a hold of. In the old days, you had to get a record deal to become something. Nowadays it’s completely different – you don’t necessarily have to have a record deal. We wen’t for awhile without a record deal. The other end of it is the illegal downloading. When it comes to our first EP that we owned, people were illegally downloading that…and that wasn’t helping us. It’s taking money out of our pockets, which we really need to be able to come out and do this. It’s cool that everyone’s been so supportive. Even if they illegally download a song, they’re showing it to 10-15 more people. Like I said, it’s a double-edge sword, we love it because we can talk to our fans and we can be right in it. We’re blue-collar guys, we’re just working, that’s what we do. We’re out here to work, we’re out to have fun while we work and enjoy our job but at the same time we have to make money to do it.
Plans for the future?
We kind of all gave up our lives to come here and do this. We have families and stuff back home that you can’t ever give up and none of us plan to. When it comes to our jobs and everything that we did, we gave it all up to do this. This is our plan for the future. We just want to make sure that we have a long lasting career. If we can do this for as long as bands like Papa Roach have been doing this…..I’m good with that. Obviously we want to continue to grow and we want to continue to write music that inspires other people to live their dreams and that’s our biggest thing is that we want to inspire. I feel like music has lost its inspiration over time, and I wan’t to give a little back. I’m not saying that there’s not bands out there that don’t inspire because there are a lot, but let’s get more of them. Instead of saying it’s okay to kill yourself and stupid shit like that, why don’t we create stuff that is positive and uplifting in a world that we’re in right now where everyone feels hopeless. I feel like everyone has grabbed ahold of this hopeless thing. Not just in music but in the media, social media, the news…everything seems so hopeless. Let’s reverse that through music, the language that everybody speaks, let’s go back to when it was positive and put that spin on it. That’s our ultimate goal throughout this entire process, to make sure people follow their dreams and be themselves.
Future Colorado Tour Dates
November 11 at the Marquis Theatre, Denver.. Tickets are available for $13 here.
November 12 at the Black Sheep, Colorado Springs. Tickets are available for $13 here.
December 11 at the Boulder Theater, Boulder. Tickets are available for $27.50 here.