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The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world
Matt Brandyberry From Ashes To New - Interview
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Drowning Pool

From Ashes To New are about to release their debut album "Day One" on February 26th after exploding unexpectedly onto the music scene with a couple of EP's that have gotten the band some serious attention. We talked to guitarist Matt Brandyberry about the new found success of the band, how it all came together and also his very first plane trip ever!



Interested in an interview for your band? Want to suggest someone we should be talking to? E-mail digg[at] The Rockpit prefers to interview live or via skype or phone but will consider e-mail interviews.

Andrew: So how's your year been so far? You been on tour or anything like that?

Matt: Yeah, oh man it's all starting to run together now. We went to Japan about 3 weeks ago, that was great and did a couple of sold out shows in Japan. And then we came back and did a few headlining dates here in the U.S. and finished a radio showcase in Las Vegas and now we have a couple of weeks off before we head back out with Atreyu.

Andrew: OK cool! How was your experience in Japan? I have heard the crowd there can be a little more polite than other countries.

Matt: I don't know if polite is the best word I would describe from what I witnessed but they are definitely into their music, the crowd was phenomenal! Once you hit that first note, their hands go in the air and they don't come down until you are finished. They're crazy, they love their music over there.

Andrew: OK cool. So we need to talk about the new album, your debut album "Day One". What can you tell me about the process of putting this together and that kind of stuff?

Matt: Well the original EP that we wrote, there was no idea that this was going to be a band and it got picked up by the Sirius Satellite radio here in the United States and next thing you know, we're starting to blow up and we had to create a band. So we created a band, we had some music out and the fans just kept pouring in and pouring in and the next thing you know, we should probably try and put out a record. So we started writing "Day One" and we didn't have a record deal in sight, we just kept writing and then we ended up going into the studio to record "Day One" [and] we still didn't have a record deal. It wasn't until almost after "Day One" was completely finished that it was shopped and we ended up getting a record deal. So it's basically the same as we always go about it, is what we do as a band and me as a writer, I really just write whatever comes to mind and if it ends up working, it works. We got lucky I guess and very fortunate that what we ended up writing ended up coming off as well as it did.

Andrew: It seems like everything happened quite quickly for you guys.

Matt: Yeah our second song we ever recorded ended up getting picked up by satellite radio and we were just a couple of guys at that time just writing music, we weren't even a band. So we had to create a band behind it and start moving forward with that. It's been 2 years since the original EP was released and we signed the record deal not so long ago and our first record comes out this February so things started taking off really quick and moving along fast for a band that doesn't even have a record out yet.

Andrew: That's good to hear, success like that is a rarity these days so take a hold of it while you can I guess.

Matt: Yeah! Like I said, we're just happy and very fortunate to be in the position that we are in right now.

Andrew: You guys are originally from a town called Lancaster in Pennsylvania right?

Matt: Yep! We pronounce it the Dutch way here, Lancaster [laughs].

Andrew: OK [laughs]. I should have known that because I lived in Pennsylvania a number of years ago and I was trying to remember where Lancaster is in Pennsylvania.

Matt: So are you familiar with Harrisburg, the capital of Pennsylvania?

Andrew: Yeah.

Matt: It's about 45 minutes south east of Harrisburg.

Andrew: Oh right. So what was it like growing up there and trying to form a band there?

Matt: I always make jokes, like we were at that radio convention this past weekend and some of the guys are like, 'It seems like by the look on your face, it's hard to take in that you guys are blowing up right now'. And I'm like, 'You know, where I grew up, we're used to building forts with sticks and damming creeks', [laughs]. We're not used to stardom and especially in the music industry so for me, I grew up listening to rap music. Mainly Christian rap music because I wasn't allowed to listen to secular music and I just took a liking to it, I always just rapped along to it as I thought it was fun to learn the words to songs where people were talking so quickly so that's where my love of rap began. It was more or less basically just the language itself and the way the words were put together. I started writing raps when I was in my mid-teens and I picked up the guitar by age 17 and the next thing you know, I'm trying to start bands, trying to be in bands and kinda slowly forgetting rap and going more mainly towards metal. It all kinda came around full circle and here I am in From Ashes To New writing metal and rap and everything else.

Andrew: That's quite a diverse influence that you have there, who were some of the big influences on the guitar aspect of it?

Matt: Sevendust was the first metal record I ever bought, I bought "Animosity" and it just grew out of control from there. Linkin Park is obviously in there, Korn, a lot of the nu-metal stuff. I really like Of Mice And Men, very influential on a lot of guitar stuff [that] I write. I could literally go all day on for the metal stuff, you can pretty much name it. If they have a song or 2 that sounded really good, I would listen to it. Before it was stolen, I had a CD book with 600 CD's that were bands all across the metal world so I pretty much listen to everything you can think of.

Andrew: Was there any specific guitar player that you were inspired by or influenced you music wise?

Matt: Yeah Aaron Fink, he was the guitarist for Breaking Benjamin.

Andrew: What was it about him that inspired you?

Matt: Their minor chord progressions, love them and at the same time, their syncopation. I am a sticklar for syncopation, sometimes too much! I've been told by my drummer (Tim D'onofrio), 'You syncopate everything, stop syncopating everything so much'. It's just the way that they structured songs, I think it was a mixture of Aaron Fink and Ben Burnley (vocals, guitar Breaking Benjamin), Aaron is not in the band anymore and they just came out with a new record and it still sounds like a lot of the old stuff so I assume Ben probably wrote a lot of the guitars as well. It's just the way they structured things and put things together, it just seemed to flow together quite nicely and it really stuck out for me.

Andrew: Is that something that you try to put in your own band as well? Trying to do things a bit differently than what's been done before maybe?

Matt: With us and writing, we don't really think about it, we just do it. There's not really an aim as to what direction in a song, I think it's just whatever seems to fit, whatever seems to work, works and we just write it off the top of our heads and don't think too much about it.

Andrew: So what have you got on your touring schedule, obviously you would be playing a lot of the new stuff so what have you got planned?

Matt: We have our CD release party in New York City on February 26th which is the release date of "Day One" and then March 5th we start touring with Atreyu, Devil You Know and Cane Hill. That's like a 2 and a half-3 week tour that starts March 5th and ends I believe in March as well. And then we have some festivals right now that we have announced - Welcome To Rockville, Carolina Rebellion, Earthday Birthday and Northern Invasion and then we have another tour that's getting ready to be announced which I can't talk about yet and then a little after that we have another tour which is going to be announced which I can't talk about yet. But we are booked up full, we are pretty packed up.

Andrew: Some of those festivals you mentioned like Welcome To Rockville and Earthday Birthday we are certainly familiar with as some of the guys at The Rockpit have been over to the U.S. to cover those festivals. Great festivals, have you done those before?

Matt: Yeah we played Welcome To Rockville last year, Earthday Birthday is a new one for us. We've never played Carolina Rebellion or Northern Invasion either so those are both new for us as well.

Andrew: Now you mentioned before that you toured Japan and that's sort of on the way to Australia so I was wondering if you guys were thinking or maybe had in the works of coming down under at some point?

Matt: There's nothing in the works yet and I can be honest with you on that but I hope to god that something happens [for us to come down to] Australia. Japan was actually my first plane ride ever, I had never been on a plane before I had flown to Japan so now I'm ready to do whatever. I got it out of the way, I got it done and I'm ready to go.

Andrew: Oh right! So how was your experience on a plane for the first time then?

Matt: I had an aisle seat but I was sitting next to 2 Japanese women, our guitarist had a window seat, he had a Japanese man in the middle seat and a Japanese woman on the aisle seat. And the Japanese woman had asked me to trade her seat because she wanted to sit with the women and she asked if I could sit with the men, so I was like, 'Yeah no problem!' So I traded her seat so that gave me an aisle seat in the same row as my guitarist. Well naturally as I had never been on a plane before so I asked the guy who was in the middle if he wanted to trade seats so I could sit next to my guitarist and he was like, 'Are you sure?' And I'm like, 'Yeah why not?' And then I come to find out that the middle seat really sucks so my first flight for 12 hours in the middle seat was kind of uncomfortable, I wasn't worried or anything but at the same time, my ass fell asleep. It was a hell of a ride but the ride home was good, it was 9 hours coming home. I had a window seat and then nobody in the middle seat and a guy on the aisle seat so there was plenty of room coming home.

Andrew: I guess you'll have to get used to flying around then to be on tour and all that.

Matt: Yeah that's what it seems like, seems like I'll be flying a whole lot!

Andrew: [laughs] Well if you do make it to Australia, do know it's a 13 to 14 hour flight depending on where you fly in from! But hopefully you can make it at some point.

Matt: Yep look forward to it. My buddy went to Australia and said he loved it so I can't wait to come down there, I'm sure we will be down there at some point.

Andrew: Well congratulations on the new album and I hope the fans out there will love it. Thanks for your time today, it's really appreciated and good luck on the tour!

Matt: Alright thanks a lot, I really appreciate it.

For tour info and tickets, CLICK HERE

Interview by Andrew "Schizodeluxe" Massie on February 17th 2016