The current members of From Ashes to New have only been a band for about a year now, but that wasn’t the least bit evident during their live set at Carolina Rebellion. They’re cohesive, they have chemistry, there’s comradery; it’s as if they’ve been touring together for decades.
The Pennsylvania-based nu-metal band was originally formed in 2013, but they’ve recently been through their share of ups and downs.
“Basically, one of the members was trying to manipulate everyone into kicking Matt [Brandyberry, the only original member] out,” vocalist Danny Case says. “Once he realized he couldn’t get Matt kicked out, he quit and convinced another guy to leave, too. That’s the brutal truth.”
The band kept the shake-up quiet for a while, but Danny says they felt they had to set things straight beyond what the vague and misleading statements on social media were saying.
“It was a blessing in disguise because now the band can actually thrive without the weight of negative people holding it back,” Danny says. “It was stressful for Matt, but he pulled through and found the right puzzle pieces to put this band back in a position to succeed. We’re a brotherhood now.”
That brotherhood is exactly what comes across loud and clear onstage. These guys have been through hell and come out on the other side. Because of this, their songs are passionate and powerful with lyrics of redemption, liberation, personal salvation, and inspiration.
“We are only regular if we make ourselves regular,” Matt says. “We are what we tell ourselves we are. Some of our fans tell us they feel hopeless, and I tell them, ‘You have to believe in yourself before anyone else can.’”
Their music is an eclectic mix of rap metal, also called nu metal, and heavy metal. There are certainly some similarities to be drawn between them and Linkin Park, the kings of nu metal, with the band citing them as huge influences. During their set, Matt gave a beautiful tribute to Chester Bennington, who committed suicide last year, and then played one of Linkin Park’s most popular hits, “In the End.” I kid you not, there was a burly guy next to me with tears in his eyes.
After their set, we sat down with Danny—who was chosen as the new lead singer by auditioning through the band’s social media—to talk about what it’s like to tour, Chipotle, Bruno Mars, and how he relaxes after a show.
Cigars & Leisure: What’s the backstory behind your name, From Ashes to New?
Danny Case: The words ‘From Ashes to New’ were originally part of a line of lyrics Matt had written, but he felt they were too good to stay just as lyrics.
Do you have any pre-show rituals to get you pumped up before a show?
We all do our warm-ups and jump up and down to get the energy up. Lance [Dowdle] likes to stretch a lot, but other than that we just get in the mindset to go out and kill it.
Do you ever get nervous before a show?
Only if I’m not feeling 100 percent that day. Other than that, I’m always ready to get out there. It’s what we live for.
What’s one of the craziest things you’ve done on stage?
Sometimes if I’m feeling goofy, I’ll purposely change out lyrics to make them sound funny. I usually rap with Matt, so there’s this one verse in “Wake Up” where Matt says, “How do you sleep when you’re nothing but a fake, how do you pretend you’re suddenly awake?” And I change “awake” to “cake.” [Laughs] It’s not that crazy but it is funny, and Lance will always look at me and wait for it to happen.
What’s one of your guilty pleasures?
Chipotle. I could eat that stuff every single day of the week.
Are there any musicians or bands people would be surprised to hear that you like?
I’m really into Bruno Mars. He’s just a phenomenal musician and songwriter. I’m also really into ambient soundscapes and a post-rock band called Hubris. That’s music I throw on when I drive because it just clears my mind and helps me think.
If you could have any musician, living or dead, join you onstage for one song, who would it be?
Lynn Gunn from Pvris. I just think she is awesome.
Favorite drink to have after a show?
Ice-cold water, and later, a Monster if it’s available.
How do you relax when you’re not touring?
I like to play basketball, workout, and cook at home with my girlfriend. We also go on adventures together.
We’re featuring Pennsylvania in an upcoming issue; do you have any must-visit or must-eat places around Lancaster?
Cafe Di Vetro is an awesome little spot in Lancaster. They have the best blended mocha I’ve ever had in my life.
For more on the band, where they’re touring next, and to order their albums, visit fromashestonew.com.
For more music, check out our interview with Matty Mullins of Memphis May Fire.