It is impossible for Matt Brandyberry (vocals/guitar/keyboards/programing) to determine what he still wants to learn about music, because he is still discovering all there is to learn. Together with Chris Musser (vocals), Branden “Boo” Kreider (guitar/vocals), Garrett Russell (bass), and Tim D’onofrio (drums), From Ashes to New are embracing all genres in a perfect blend of spirited music for a new generation. Combining the rage of heavy metal, melodies of post/hardcore, and poetry of rap music may sound like a recipe for disaster, but From Ashes to New make it work. The transitions are smooth, with diverse and compelling vocals set to powerful lyrics that are relatable to audiences of all ages. From Ashes to New have taken the best from all genres and combined it to make a symphony of sound that is addictive.
It all starts with you. In a statement explaining their shared vision for the future, From Ashes to New said, “As individuals this is merely an idea, but together it is an evolution.” From Ashes to New are not looking to start a revolution, but believe that evolution is the key to a stronger society. The message is clear: Take care of yourself first, because you cannot take care of someone else if you are not taking care of yourself. Think of a mosh pit where if you stumble and fall, hands reach out to help you up. The moshers who control their actions in turn assist others when needed, because they watch out for themselves first. The fundamental step in evolution is looking inward to make yourself stronger and more fulfilled. When individual needs are met, people grow stronger and much more capable of helping effect positive change. As society grows stronger, the basic tenants of strength and caring will spread through each generation, causing evolutionary advances for the betterment of all. It is not a quick fix, but a long term journey to community and commitment for good that can only happen if we are all in it together.
It’s not all unicorns and puppies. From Ashes to New are a group of happy, intelligent, fun-loving guys who love what they do, but they are human. Like all of us, they have all suffered some serious trials and tribulations along the way. Lyrics from the song, “Through It All” describe the lasting effects of relationships as, “You saved me/You made me/And through it all/You changed me forever.” Any connection we make with another person has the ability to change our own lives. It can be as simple as becoming aware of an issue that needs our attention or as complex as destroying pre-conceived notions. Each time we relate to another person, our lives develop a new path, whether in thought process or action. Whether good or bad, relationships provide the diversity and awareness that make us who we are.
Inspiration is a person. From Ashes to New are more than the band you come to see, or the music you listen to. They are music lovers and fans as well. There is no distinction between artist and fan, we are all the same. Brandyberry explains, “We want this (From Ashes to New) to be more than just a band. Like we don’t want to be the band that kind of (says) just come out and listen to us or buy our music. We want to be involved with everybody. I think the message in our song basically says that. That we want everyone to just be equal.” On stage or off, From Ashes to New are just one of us. Kreider pointed out that he is inspired by the fans who come out every day and they encourage him to keep moving forward. At Rock on the Range, he looked out to see thousands of people waiting to see them perform and was humbled to be able to play in front of that many people.
Listening is believing. The live performance of From Ashes to New at Nautica in Cleveland was transforming for me. On the drive to the venue, I was worried about a lengthy assignment due the next day that I just could not finish. With an impending sense of doom I listened carefully to the music of From Ashes to New. The song, “Downfall” made me feel hopeful, because we all have challenges in life. Song after song, the frustration slowly left and at the end I was convinced I would be able to finish the essay by using lyrics from “Downfall” to prove my theory. From Ashes to New feature an engaging live experience, jumping off the stage (braving the animosity of fierce looking security guards) to sing in the crowd, up close and personal. It was cold outside, but the heat From Ashes to New generated with each song kept the sold-out show jumping and singing. Indicative of their down-to-Earth demeanor, Musser and Brandyberry abandoned their gear on stage and dived down to high five the front row as they ended their set. I arrived at the show in a less than festive mood, but I left ready to conquer the world, one assignment at a time. From Ashes to New released their second EP Downfall in March of this year and will make an announcement soon about the next tour, which is in the works now.