Discussing “The Future” with From Ashes to New
Lancaster, PA-based band’s revamped lineup consisting of founding frontman/rapper/programmer Matt Brandyberry, guitarist Lance Dowdle, new vocalist Danny Case, and drummer Mat Madiro, prove their chemistry with recent release of The Future. An album that sees the band expanding their music palette and taking their blend of rock, hip/hop, pop, and metal to new heights. Danny Case was a pleasure to talk to as he tells Ignite how he landed his position in the band, the motivation behind hit single “Crazy,” and the message he hopes everyone takes away from the new album.
IMM: You were announced as the new lead singer of From Ashes to New last July along with original member and vocalist Matt Brandyberry. What is your musical background and how did this opportunity come about for you?
DC: We kind of came from similar and entirely different backgrounds. Matt originally was just into rap and I grew up on classic rock and roll and eventually started listening to bands like Linkin Park and Green Day and stuff like that. Eventually, Matt got into nu metal and all those groups as well, so we ended up having the same backgrounds. Continuing on and getting older and getting into my early 20’s, I got into metal and metalcore. I got really into Breaking Benjamin, Avenged Sevenfold and eventually bands like Memphis May Fire, Of Mice and Men, and Asking Alexandria for awhile then went into the more technical areas of bands like Periphery, who are still one of my favorite bands. I think they’re incredible musicians. At the same time, I kind of grew this love for pop music as well, like Bruno Mars and then alternative music like Paris. I love bands like that. I kind of just sprawled out as the years have gone on and I really started appreciating everything.
IMM: You’re certainly all over the place with music.
DC: What’s funny is, on long drives I’ll put on ambient background music, almost like meditation music. That is some of the greatest music to me because it makes me think. It puts a lot of people to sleep, but for me, my brain starts thinking so I love it. As far as how I ended up in the band, I had done an audition for something completely different in November of 2016 and I wasn’t expecting to win or anything like that. I wasn’t necessarily interested, but they had this competition that I thought was really cool because they had this instrumental track and they asked people to write their own lyrics and record a video of you singing it. I really liked the song, so I thought I’d do it. Eventually, Matt and Matt were scouring the internet looking for a singer and they came upon that video. Matt B. reached out to me and after messaging back and forth a few times, he sent me a message on Facebook asking me to audition for the band. He sent the tracks over and sometime in about March, I sent them back and he loved the takes that I did but they were doing public auditions, so they were going to look through there as well and see what they find. They ended up landing with me.
IMM: That’s interesting how they actually found you online.
DC: It’s funny because I really do believe in manifesting things and what you focus on kind of comes about in your reality. For the longest time I viewed other bands picking up a musician and then that musician being skyrocketed into the music industry, like Avenged Sevenfold and their older drummer Arin Ilejay. I don’t remember the band he was in, but all of a sudden they picked him up and he was in this huge band and I so wished I could do that. It was always in the back of my head, and out of nowhere years down the road after thinking that year after year, I was messaged by Matt and it just kind of came to fruition. It’s funny how things like that work.
IMM: The new LP, The Future, was released April 20th. What has been the response so far?
DC: It’s been really awesome. We have had some people that don’t really like the change and they prefer either the old sound or the old songs. We’ve also had a ton of great response and have really expanded our fan base immensely with this album. I think we picked up way, way more fans than we lost. I feel we only lost some people and that’s okay. They still have Day One and the old EP to listen to. I feel like we really did a good job with this album, gaining new fans and also retaining almost all of our current fans.
IMM: I really enjoyed it, as I knew I would. I wasn’t really familiar with the older stuff, but hearing “Crazy,” the first single off the album on Sirius XM Octane was my first exposure to FATN that grabbed my attention.
DC: That’s really cool. Octane is a really amazing radio station. We have a lot of love for them.
IMM: “Crazy” certainly is a song everyone can relate to. Can you just give me some insight into your motivation for the writing of it?
DC: For me, I think almost everybody goes through a situation like this, whether it’s with a person or a substance, where you just feel like you’re trapped in a situation and you can’t get out of it and you feel like you’re losing your mind and you’re crazy because you can’t figure out how to have some peace of mind. I never thought that I was going to be one of those people who would experience that, but I happened to be talking to someone that I thought was one way and it ended up being a completely different person but I was already emotionally invested, so I was feeling nuts try to make it work. I was wondering, “What happened? Why isn’t this working? Where did it go wrong?” I was losing my mind and that’s kind of where that came from. I never thought that could happen to me and it did, so it could happen to anyone and we wanted to put a song out there that people could relate to on that level.
IMM: The video for that song looked like a lot of fun to shoot. Where did you shoot this and what was the experience like?
DC: It was amazing. I always wanted to do stuff like that because I always loved film and I kind of always wanted to do acting and that was the coolest thing I could get to that. I loved that experience. We did it at Preston Castle in Sacramento. It was like a place for troubled kids, way back in the early 1900s, or if your parents couldn’t afford to keep you, you’d be handed over to the state and go there. It was basically almost a prison for kids. It was really messed up. Obviously, it’s not in use anymore but that was where we filmed it and we did all the shots there in the different rooms. It was fun and it turned out really well.
IMM: What song from the album are you most proud of and why?
DC: That’s a tough one. I would say that one of the ones I connected with the most was “My Name.” Matt had this rap verse that he had made up and wasn’t really sure if he was going to do anything with it but he showed it to me and it ended being the opening and first verse to that song. When I heard it I was like, “Dude, we have got to make this a song. This is the best rap I’ve ever heard you do because it is insanely honest, incredibly vulnerable.” He was going through a really rough time and he wrote how he was feeling at that moment. That is some of the best lyrics that you can come up with sometimes. We worked on it a little bit together and then him and I created a chorus and we felt the song was going to be amazing and we had to finish it. Not only do I relate to it as far as the lyrics go, but being able to create it with my bandmate and for us to figure out together that it was really going to be an amazing song. It was just a really cool experience.
IMM: It is a great song. After someone listens to the new album, what is the message you want them to hear or lasting impression you want them to walk away with?
DC: Be yourself. You don’t have to be anything that you don’t want to be. A lot of things in life will tell you that you can’t be a certain way or that you should change who you are into something else and that’s just not true. When you are being 100% your true and honest self, that is when you can really just be happy and share love with everyone else outside of your own heart. When you love yourself and you are comfortable in your own skin, you can treat everyone with that same love and the whole world is a much greater place if more people could get to that place. What we want people to learn is just be yourself and don’t let someone turn you into something you’re not. Just be happy with who you are.
IMM: You toured with 10 Years in February and will also be playing Carolina Rebellion and Rock on the Range in May along with an upcoming summer tour co-headlining, with Bad Wolves. Besides being the first time you have a tour with headlining sets, what are you most excited for on this tour?
DC: I am really excited for the festivals because I have never had an opportunity to play shows that size before, or festivals of any kind really. I am incredibly, incredibly excited to play some of these festivals. As far as being co-headliners, I’m excited to see how many people come out and how much support there is for the bands on the bill. It will be a testament to the strength of all the bands and us coming together and seeing what we can bring out. I’m hearing that some of the dates are already selling out which is incredible. I’m excited to see what kind of reaction we are going to get and playing onstage in front of thousands of people at the festivals. I can’t wait for that.
IMM: FATN had a rocky start back in 2013, before you were even in the band, but it looks like with the current lineup and new release, you guys are on the right path. I am looking forward to see what the future holds. Keep making that great music with the guys.
DC: Absolutely. I think a lot of the problem is, this industry really does take a toll on you and you have to have the mindset to do whatever it takes and to be away from home in order to make this work. For many people, that isn’t an option and it just takes too much of a toll and they find that they just can’t make the sacrifices that are needed to kind of push this forward. All the guys in the band now really understand that. It’s also really hard to come across people that can truly handle it and go out and be happy and continue to learn from it. You’ve got to love every part of this in order to do it. You’ve got to love the best parts and the shittiest parts. At the end of the day, all the guys in the band love everything about doing this.
IMM: I hear that from a lot of musicians, that it is a small percentage of people that actually can handle touring as a career. I enjoyed talking to you, Danny, and I hope to see you guys on tour somewhere this summer.
DC: Hopefully we’ll see you soon. I do hope we get to meet at some point. It was my pleasure doing the interview. Thanks for having me on.
By Nina McCarthy