I had a chance to conduct a phoner with one of 5 members of PA’s genre-crossing sensation, From Ashes To New. Recently, the guys went on tour with Hollywood Undead in support of HU’s new album Day of the Dead, which was released on March 31st via Interscope Records. FATN just dropped their sophomore EP, Downfall, ahead of their upcoming full-length scheduled for release this Summer. Be sure to catch them on Welcome to Rockville ad Rock on the Range, as well! After the interview, you can find all of their tour dates, social media links and a stream of that EP.
BearlySinister: First of all, I want to thank you for doing this with me. I’ve got to say it’s an honor to finally get to chat, verbally, with one member of one of my favorite newer bands. For those who don’t know, can you introduce yourself and your role in the band?
Chris Musser: Yeah, I’m Chris Musser from From Ashes to New and I’m the singer.
BS: From Ashes to New just released their sophomore EP, Downfall, which serves as a precursor to your upcoming full-length which should be released sometime this Summer. What was the decision-making process in getting this out there before the full-length?
CM: Well, all of our fans have been waiting so long to hear something new from us and it’s gonna be a little while ’til our full album comes out, probably the end of Summer is what I’m guessin’. So we wanted to give them something right now to hold ’em over.
BS: You’re now signed to Better Noise Records, alongside bands such as Apocalyptica, Art of Dying and many more: How has your experience been with them so far?
CM: With the record label? It’s been great, they’ve been helping us out a lot. It’s been a really good learning experience.
BS: Despite the fact that you’re now signed to a pretty big label, you’ve kept a deep connection with your fans. You don’t see that too often these days, sadly. Do you feel that social media contributes to this or inhibits your ability to ultimately reach your fans the way you’re meant to?
CM: Oh, no, we owe everything to social media. Our fans are who got us to where we’re at today, so we appreciate everything that they do for us.
BS: You guys announced a way for fans to actively participate in your new lyric video for “Downfall”. How has the response been to that and are the spots nearly filled up?
CM: Oh, yeah! The response has been overwhelming, it’s been great. There’s been… I don’t even know how many responses we’ve gotten, I know it’s better than 100. I think it’s almost done, it’s getting close to being completed. It should be out to you guys shortly!
BS: Are there plans for any more singles before the release of the album this Summer?
CM: Umm… I don’t think so. Yeah, I think it’s just gonna be Downfall.
BS: Is anyone in the band a gamer and, if so, do you actively play with fans and what games do you play with them?
CM: I’m not actually a big gamer myself but the rest of the band really is. We all kinda get down with playing some Grand Theft Auto, *laughs* we spend a lot of our time playing that.
BS: Who are you working with on this album and how far along are you in the process?
CM: Well, the album’s basically completed. We’re just waitin’ on a few… a few things on the technical end is all. The writing of it’s all done, the recording’s all done, we’re just waitin’ for the release. *laughs* the waiting game…
BS: That’s always the hardest part!
CM: Yeah, we’re anxious to get it out there for everybody to hear!
BS: The lyrics that anything FATN puts out are always incredibly deep and heartfelt. For the lyric-writing process, is it almost 100% Matt or does everyone contribute to that portion of the music as well?
CM: Hmm… everybody adds their 2 cents to it, ya know? Everyone has their input but, the way it goes down, Matt comes up with a lot of the writing, the music and everyone puts in their parts on that. Then, I come in and help Matt with the lyrics so, it’s kind of a joint effort.
BS: What was the hardest part of the writing and recording process?
CM: Umm.. hardest part? I’d have to say just gettin’ songs done in time. All the writing up to before we went into the studio, because we were actually holdin’ down full-time jobs on top of it back in those days and it was… it was rough doin’ a 9-to-5 job and then goin’ and doin’, pretty much, another full-time job afterwards, writing, so… it got pretty tiring.
BS: Are there any songs, in particular, that HAVEN’T been released so far that you’re excited for fans to hear?
CM: Umm… yeah! I’m excited for everyone to hear the whole album, really. I mean, we have a couple songs on there that are… I wouldn’t say slow but maybe a little bit slower than our other stuff? A little more emotional, I’d say? I’m actually anxious to see what the fans will think of that one.
BS: What do you think that fans will take away from the upcoming full-length, once released?
CM: I hope each fan can relate to at least one song. The whole album, whatever, I just hope that they can take something away that will help them with their daily lives and that, if they’re goin’ through depression or stress or bullying, I hope they can use these songs to help themselves make it through their lives better.
BS: You’re currently on tour with Hollywood Undead, who a lot of people have compared your music to. How is the tour going so far? I know you have quite a few sold out dates to look forward to, some of which, you’ve already played.
CM: Yeah, I’m pretty sure, actually, that everyone we’ve played has been sold out! It’s been goin’ great, the response from the fans is just incredible. The guys in Hollywood Undead are awesome. It’s nice to be able to be compared to them and being in their genre but I like to think we have our own twist to our music.
BS: You’ve also been announced to play some massive festivals such as South By So What, Welcome to Rockville and Rock on the Range. How were you approached about playing these festivals and how do you feel they will play out for the future of From Ashes to New?
CM: I actually don’t know how we were approached about ’em, that actually went to Tim. That’s a question for Tim to answer but we’re all definitely anxious to get out there in front of those huge crowds and give it our all!
BS: If you were to go on a headlining tour, no budget or genre limit, what bands would you want to support you?
CM: Oh, man… to support us? I don’t know. No matter how big they are or…? I would love to be able to play with Of Mice & Men, definitely my favorite band, Thirty Seconds to Mars, that’s another amazing band that I’d love to play with some day, they’re huge! I don’t know man, I’d probably have to go with Of Mice & Men, I’d really love to meet those guys one day.
BS: That’d be awesome! I’m actually seeing them for the first time ever, in May, I’m looking forward to it. I’ve heard a lot of good things! The second part of the question is: If you were to go see your dream tour, same rules apply (no genre or budget limits), who would make up your dream tour?
CM: Oh, man… that’s a hard one! I think I’d have to say, of course, Of Mice & Men, Thirty Seconds to Mars would be on there too. I’d like to see Glassjaw, actually! I’d love to see them, I’m not even sure if they’re really playin’ anymore, really but that’s one of my favorite bands from a couple years ago and I’d love to check them out.
BS: Keeping to the touring subject: We all see, hear or read about the crazy pranks that bands like to pull on tour. Does FATN participate in this and, if so, what is the best prank that you’ve pulled on someone and the worst prank that’s been pulled on you?
CM: We’re still pretty new to this tourin’ thing, we’re still gettin’ our tour legs on, so there haven’t been many pranks yet. We’re still just kinda learnin’ the ropes, just gettin’ a feel for bein’ out here on the road. We have had nerf gun battles and gun blasts in the middle of the night with nerf guns but that’s about it, right now.
BS: No one can deny how incredibly talented you and your brothers in FATN are. I’ve gotta ask, who or what inspired you to be a musician?
CM: For me, what inspired me to be a musician is that I’m not real good with talking and gettin’ my emotions out there so… when I get to write, that’s a way for me to vent and helps me work through some of my problems. So, that’s one of the things that really motivated me to get into music.
BS: What does From Ashes to New mean to you?
CM: For me, I’d say the name kinda came from the fact that all of our metal bands kinda burnt out over the years, ’cause we all grew up together playin’ in different bands, playin’ shows together. I mean, all this just kinda started fallin’ into place, after all our other metal bands burnt out, we pulled together to kinda make this new combination of like a cross-breed of different genres, just to make somethin’ new. I mean, that’s kinda where the name came from but for me? What it means to me personally is life is full of people and places, situations, that no longer suit you. You’re conscious of when you’re being held back, it’s kind of being aware of when to move on. I like to try not to burn bridges in the process but some situations, you don’t want to relive again so sometimes ya gotta burn a bridge to start anew.
BS: What’s next for FATN, once the album is released? Can we expect music videos, tours, new multimedia projects, etc?
CM: There’s a ton of stuff in the works that’s just being talked about but nothing dead set yet. I know there’s going to be a lot of touring, I’m sure there’ll be a music video but nothing’s set in stone, yet.
BS: Unfortunately that’s all the questions that I came up with but I do want to thank you for doing this, it has been an honor! Is there anything else you’d like to say to your fans, our readers and the general public?
CM: Yeah, I’d just like to say you can find our music on iTunes and on Spotify. Don’t forget to request our new single “Downfall” on Octane and Sirius XM. Keep an eye out for our new album coming out this Summer and just check us out on our Facebook page for dates and venues.
Downfall (Official Album Stream)