I got the chance to talk with Chris Musser, the vocalist for From Ashes To New, about a lot things recently. We discussed their string of bad luck, touring, music, and other things.
New Transcendence: So how did the band get started exactly? What were you guys doing when the idea came up?
From Ashes To New: After about 12 years of doing music, playing all over PA and surrounding states and numerous failed bands, i actually started focusing my energy on my other outlet / craft which is Digital Art and Photography. Matt at the time was a Cable guy, Tim was drum teching for Halestorm and eventually touring as a drummer for another national act. Dan had his own power washing company going on, Branden was in construction, and Garrett was an assistant manager in a Kitchen. So our lives were very different back then. I kept my hands very full doing art work for clients and doing photography for bands models etc. and also restoring airplanes. So when Matt came to me with the idea for From ashes to new i wasn’t so sure if i wanted to do it or not. Not to mention i wasn’t a huge fan of rap rock, at the time i listened to some but i was always into heavier music like memphis may fire, Of Mice & Men, Alexisonfire, 36 Crazy Fists, the Human Abstract etc. But Matt eventually won me over, i put my art on hold and we started finishing up the five songs on our first EP. We never really planned for this to grow into what it is now. I was living comfortably, I had recently gotten married and just had a whole different life going on, I just planned on selling our music online and playing locally again. But the fans spread it like wild fire and next thing i knew here we are leaving our comfortable lives behind and going into the unknown after the dream that we all had been working for for so many years.
NT: What did you guys have to sacrifice in order to make this whole thing a reality? Was there anything important that you decided wasn’t important enough to keep around?
FATN: There were many sacrifices made, we all left our secure jobs, although some of us might not have been so happy at those jobs, they were secure and stable incomes. Some of us have kids, girl friends, i have a wife at home, so we have had to sacrifice our time with them, and we stay busy even on our time off, we still write, practice and we do all of our own social media. This band – Its a 24/7 job.
NT: What is the thought process going into the writing and recording phases for your music?
FATN: When we write a song we don’t really have a set process of this is how we do this but it usually ends up starting with a guitar riff or an electronic synth, that usually builds into a chorus. Then we work out the Melody and as we are doing that, thats when we figure out what we want to write the song about. Everything else just fills in around that.
NT: Was there anything you didn’t like about the EP that you made a priority to fix going into the full length?
FATN: No not really. Going into this album we didn’t want to stray to far from what the first EP was but i think we have all grown as musicians and song writers and i think that that shows thought on this album.
NT: If you were chosen to participate on the next Punk Goes Pop album, what song would you choose and why?
FATN: I would have to choose something by Maroon 5 or Ed Sheeran, because i am a fan of what Adam Levine and Ed Sheeran do. They can ready write a cetchy song that gets stuck in you head. Every time i hear Animals, or Thinking out loud i have them stuck in my head for the rest of the day.
NT: If you weren’t in a rap-rock/metal group, what would be a genre you’d like to make music in?
FATN: I like all kinds of different music so i would be happy in a band like “Of Mice & Men” “Secrets” or “30 Seconds to Mars” or on the other side of things i would like to someday do a band like “City and Colour”. Before playing in bands I actually started out writing songs on my acoustic guitar. So i would like to get back to doing that again someday.
NT: You’re currently touring with POD and Islander. What has that tour been like for everyone?
FATN: POD and Islander, they are all a bunch of great dudes and i think that all our bands kind of have a similar element to them. The crowds have been great, we have been meeting a lot of new people that have never heard us before and we have seen them online already spreading the word about FATN, and we can’t thank them enough for that. On the other end, this tour has been brutal! lol Islander got sick then we got sick, Tim our drummer got cut recently so he is playing with stitches in his hand, Brandon our guitarist broke his toe, Nick our merch guy, his foot is all black and blue so we think he broke his foot, we had two flat tires, many equipment problems, and we can’t wait for whats coming next. haha But despite all that we are having a great time sweating it out on stage night after night and that easy to do when you are surrounded by such good hearted people.
NT: What are you guys blaming the string of blown tires on, considering you guys just had your third or fourth blown tire? You think there’s a conspiracy against you or maybe the metal gods are just picking on you with this tour?
FATN: I think we might have a gremlin under our RV messing with shit! You know I’m not sure what to make of these four blown tires. But one thing I do know for sure is that its becoming a nuisance and that its getting very expensive! lol But hopefully the metal gods don’t have anything to do with it.
NT: Who came up with the “Ember Nation” term for your fans? Was it a random choice or did you guys discuss it?
FATN: We discussed it for awhile but then we decided to let it up to the fans to decide. They came up with a bunch of great ideas which two of my favorites were “Ashes Holes” and “Ashes Heads”. I don’t think that those made it to the final list, which is a shame but we picked i think it was 5 names put it up on Face Book for everyone to vote.
NT: What has been your favorite part of being in a band so far?
FATN: Its been great getting to travel but just getting to play in front of all all great crowds. I think Rock On the Range has to be one of my highlights. That was a huge crowd of people, and the bigger the crowd the greater an adrenaline rush!
NT: Matt performed with POD about a week ago, what was that like seeing him sharing the stage with such a huge band in the scene?
FATN: It was great getting to see him share the stage with one of the bands he grew up idolizing and listing to.
NT: Where do you go from here? I know you have a big tour with Five Finger Death Punch coming up this fall. Will there be a semi-break from the music making to focus on other things after that? Maybe another tour? Or will you get right back into the recording studio after promoting the new album enough on the road?
FATN:Once this tour with Islander and Pod is done we will go home for a little down time with our families and loved ones. Then yeah this fall we will be going on tour with Five Finger Death Punch, Papa Roach and In This Moment. We still don’t have a release date for the album yet, even though we are all done recording it and are just waiting on a few details to be ironed out, we don’t ever really stop writing. Its really just an on going thing for us, and we just like to keep the creative juices flowing. As for another tour, there are a few thing in the works but nothing is finalized just yet.
NT: Any parting words for the fans before this interview is wrapped up like a Christmas package?
FATN: Yeah just that we owe everything to the fans and really appreciate all the support that they have shown us throughout the life of FATN. Everyone is doing a great job at requesting our new single “Downfall” on Octane SiriusXM and local radio stations. Its really with their help spreading the word to everybody they can that has gotten us to where we are today and we are forever grateful.