From Ashes To New vocalist Matt Brandyberry speaks candidly about what inspires him, what’s killing the rock music industry, and just what exactly will make the world a better place.
From Ashes to New is just that, a relatively new band, with only two EPs released and their first full length album, Day One, set to be released February 26, 2016.
But, despite their newbie status, the band has quite a large and loyal following that was not developed in the traditional sense of playing out to build a fan base. From Ashes to New built their following first through the power of social media.
At the end of the band’s latest tour, along with Falling In Reverse, Atreyu, and Assuming We Survive, National Rock Review caught up with vocalist Matt Brandyberry to discuss this social media phenomenon, as well as any other pressing world issues we could conjure up.
â€œWe built it and then we played out.â€
Is this possibly the future of new bands starting out?
Yes and no says Matt. â€œI guess itâ€™s really about the music right? If people like it, then you can do it that way. If you have more of a live show than you do a polished sound then youâ€™d probably do better live.â€ â€œWe werenâ€™t supossed to be a band though either. We just recorded songs and then Octane (Sirius Radio) started spinning one of our songs. Some guy came on our Facebook page and said â€˜Hey I just heard you on Octane. I love you guys.â€™ And Iâ€™m like â€˜Hey what?! Weâ€™re not even a band.â€™ There were only three of us.â€
So wait what…? FATN was picked up on Octane before they even signed with a label?
â€œWe were on Octane within a month of recording the song. We didnâ€™t even release the song at all. We just put it out for our friends and family to listen to and somebody put it on a Facebook post of Octane and their program director stumbled across it.â€
â€œWe actually didnâ€™t want to even sign with a label, but it was difficult for us to get tours not being signed. And Eleven Seven gave us a really nice offer, so we went with it and and itâ€™s been great since.â€
With that kind of social media power, is it even necessary anymore to release full albums? The band has two releases out currently, but theyâ€™re just short EPs. Are full length offerings even relevant in todays music world?
â€œI think your hardcore fans will always want more, so thatâ€™s where the record comes into play. You get the people who really love your music and really dive into every song, if youâ€™re only putting singles out theyâ€™re going to be pissed. That was why we released our Downfall EP.â€
With a record that began taking shape before a deal was inked, the guys wanted to give fans something to hold them over until it could be completed.
Having discussed the necessary details, we decided to explore the more pressing issues plaguing the music industry… like the ever growing expanse of sub-genres within the rock music industry.
â€œI fucking hate sub genres. People can stop creating them please. They create them mainly in the rock industry and itâ€™s destroying the rock industry. Itâ€™s not because people donâ€™t like rock music. A lot of people love rock music.â€
â€œIf you were to take all the rock bands and put them all together and say â€˜Oh we just all like rock.â€™ Just like Metal. Put them all together. Itâ€™s way bigger than the Pop industry. But they just create sub genres and itâ€™s the most ridiculous shit Iâ€™ve ever heard. Nu Metal, Pop Core, itâ€™s like shut up. Itâ€™s getting even worse with all the Cores now. Pop Core, Metal Core, Electrona Core, Hard Core.â€
â€œNow that weâ€™re out there and weâ€™re kinda branching between the underground scene and the mainstream. Like we donâ€™t really care. We donâ€™t care who we play in front of and the people they donâ€™t really care either.â€
â€œAs a writer I, just put whatever I want into music. I donâ€™t care. I could write a country song and I donâ€™t give a shit. I love music. I listen to everything and I think that most people want to. They donâ€™t want to get bogged down with like whatever society they live in beliefs. If they live in the â€˜Nu Metal Core Societyâ€™ they get stuck in that. Like â€˜Oh, Iâ€™m not gonna listen to anything else but this.â€™ Just stop being so damn close minded.â€
â€œI mean thereâ€™s other things that are killing the rock industry, donâ€™t get me wrong, but thatâ€™s part of it. I mean I get it. I understand it, but just please stop doing it. Remember back in the day when there were like three or four?â€
With that being said, what type of music did Matt grow up on?
The answer is surprising.
â€œIt wasnâ€™t until the end of high school that I started listening to music with guitars and stuff. I listened to rap.â€
â€œIt was my sister that was a big Pearl Jam fan. And Metallica. And I was always like â€˜No. Tupac.â€™ And then Eminiem came out which blew my mind. Stuff like that. I grew up Christian so the first group that I really got into was DC Talk. That was the reason I got into Rap so much. My parents listened to Christian contemporary.â€
â€œIâ€™m more into the serious style of rap, so like Bone Thugs Nâ€™ Harmony was the first Rap album that I bought outside of the Christian world. They blew my mind how three guys could rap at the same time and harmonize the whole damn thing. Plus I was really into how fast they could rap. I just kept going from there.â€
â€œBack then I was kinda closed minded to music. Sevendust’s (album) Animosity, was the first Rock album I bought.â€
That certainly explains the rap/rock thing that From Ashes to New has going on. There arenâ€™t too many out there doing it, so, of course, comparisons are going to take place, with the primary association made between FATN and Linkin Park.
â€œAnd I know that we sound like Linkin Park or whatever, and Iâ€™m tired of people saying that, cause we arenâ€™t trying to be anybody but ourselves. Every time I a read a fucking review of something itâ€™s like â€˜Oh well you know itâ€™s like Linkin Parkâ€™ and Iâ€™m like â€˜Shut Up!â€™â€
â€œThereâ€™s only three or four bands out there that do this; thatâ€™s why we get the whole Linkin Park reference. I donâ€™t hear people getting compared to Three Days Grace every day. I donâ€™t hear bands that are in the Modern Rock world or in the Radio Rock world, or in the Pop Rock world; I donâ€™t hear them all getting compared to each other. Even though they all fucking sound exactly alike. You could put one on and then the next one on and I couldnâ€™t tell you which one is which. But because thereâ€™s four bands that sound like us, we get fucking Linkin Park all the time.â€
â€œâ€˜Oh I donâ€™t know…you guys should do something original.â€™ I get that shit all the time. Um, I donâ€™t know, thereâ€™s like four of us, I think Iâ€™m pretty fucking original! Maybe you should do something original!â€
â€œFor me, itâ€™s like dive a little bit deeper into it. Dive into the lyrics. If you listen to any one of our songs, itâ€™s all about the lyrical content. Iâ€™m not talking about blowing lines off hookers tits. I donâ€™t care about that. Thatâ€™s cool if you want to write about it. I donâ€™t point my finger at anybody. But for me, itâ€™s all about the lyrical content, and if you can put a good structure behind it, then itâ€™s going to get across to people.â€
That being said, the band’s lyrics do run quite deep. Nothing sugar coated or a party rock anthem in sight, but at the same time all very positive. Whereâ€™s the inspiration come from exactly?
â€œIâ€™m tired of seeing kids cutting and kiling themselves. Donâ€™t do it. Weâ€™ve all been in a bad place. That adolescent phase can be the best time of your life or the shittiest time of your life. And now itâ€™s socially acceptable for people to just off themselves and I fuckinâ€™ hate it.â€
â€œI was in a really bad place, and that is where the name From Ashes to New comes from. I burnt my life to the ground. It was a lyric in a song that we did, Chris and I before, but it meant so much more to me after that. It was one of my favorite things that I had ever written. When this thing started there was no question in my mind that this was gonna be the band name.â€
â€œMy Grandmother, who is the number one influence in what I do, itâ€™s the dog tag around my neck, itâ€™s my tattoo on my arm, stuff like that, she was always like â€˜Keep your shoulders back. Keep your head up. Be strong. Do what you want to do and donâ€™t let anyone else tell you you canâ€™t.â€
â€œShe was a first liutenent nurse in World War II. She was the highest of the highest. She was that good. She was a strong woman. And she was very nice and when she passed away I, just got derailed.â€
â€œFrom that point forward I was like â€˜Fuck Life. Fuck this whole thing.â€™ I mean she was old, she had cancer. I understand it now, but I was just mad. So I just burnt everything I had. I started drinking all the time. Doing shit that I shouldnâ€™t be doing. I gained fucking 50 lbs. Bad things. But I looked at myself and had to change. And thatâ€™s when the whole Ashes to New thing came up.â€
â€œAnd thatâ€™s what the songs are too. The song titles. The lyrics in the songs and the name From Ashes to New. Itâ€™s all one big story. If you actually go on our Twitter or on our Facebook page itâ€™s all one big story. Itâ€™s all about everyone can do whatever the fuck they want to do. Like I said on stage tonight, â€˜Donâ€™t give up on your dreams.â€™â€
â€œWeâ€™re older than most people in this business. Iâ€™m 31. Chris is 33, so time is not on our side, but we didnâ€™t give up.â€
â€œThereâ€™s certain groups out there that do this. That write songs about things that actually mean something and people latch on to that. I mean whatâ€™s the language that everybody speaks? Music. What would this world be without it? If we can get back to actually having meaning in music this world would be a fucking better place.â€
Well said Mr. Brandyberry.
Look for the bands first full-length album, Day One, to be released February 26, 2016.