From Ashes to New, originally from Lancaster, Pennsylvania, started making a name for itself with its debut album, “Day One” (2016), fusing elements of nu metal with more modern sensibilities. Wholesale lineup changes ensued, however, leaving front man/rapper/programmer Matt Brandyberry as the only original member. The revamped band—which also includes guitarist Lance Dowdle, on board since 2015, and new additions Danny Case (vocals) and Mat Madiro (drums)—returned in spring 2018 with its second album, “The Future” (Better Noise Records/Eleven Seven Music), which already has spawned the hit single “Crazy.” Fresh off playing a handful of U.S. festival dates, From Ashes to New is co-headlining the “What’s in Your Head Tour” with labelmates Bad Wolves, packing venues across the nation. When the tour came to Baltimore Soundstage in Baltimore, Maryland, Live Metal’s Greg Maki caught up with new vocalist Danny Case to discuss how he joined the band, the new album and more.
LIVE METAL: So you joined the band last year, right?
DANNY CASE. Yeah. I technically joined in April, but I wasn’t announced until like mid-July.
How did it all come about?
I had put up an audition for something completely different, and Matt Brandyberry was scouring the Internet looking for someone to fill the role and was looking through that set of videos—all the people who auditioned for that. He stumbled across mine and sent me a message on Facebook and asked me to audition some of the songs. So I did that, and he liked what he heard. He said they were going to do public auditions. They were gonna look and see if anyone else was gonna give me a run for my money or could potentially fill the role. And they just didn’t find anyone from there, so they ended up settling with me.
I don’t know it they “settled.”
(laughs) Yeah, I guess “settled” probably isn’t the right word. But they ended up choosing me.
What is it like coming into an established band?
I think I’ve been ready for this for quite some time. I was in a band of my own for nine years, just doing the grind to the max. We had followed Warped Tour two years in a row, selling CDs every morning at 7 a.m. in all of the lines, every single day. We were completely self-run, so I already felt like I had plenty of the work ethic and also the skill set to be in an established band; I just wasn’t yet. It’s definitely been a very smooth transition.
What has the fan reaction been like?
It’s been great for the most part. It’s been really awesome. A lot of people have been very accepting, and the more people have gotten to know me as a person, they’re becoming more and more and more accepting as the days go by. Everyone really liked the album for the most part, which was really awesome. And those who don’t, they can always listen to “Day One.”
The new album, “The Future,” came out in April. What kind of goals did you have when you were making it?
I don’t think we necessarily had specifically set goals. We just wanted to do as absolutely best as we possibly could. And I think we did well with it. We put everything we possible we could into the music side of it, and our label pushed it. Right now, we have a song on the radio—it’s at number seven, I think, which is great. We’re gonna have two or three more songs that we think are gonna crack top 10, as well. So I think it’s been good.
What was the writing like? Was everybody involved?
Oh yeah, everyone was involved in every facet of the music. Matty writes most of the drums, but I’ve also been playing drums for over a decade, and Matt Brandyberry wrote a lot of the drums on past records. So we all had a hand in helping mold that, as well, with obviously him having the final say. We all helped pitch in on the guitar parts. We all helped pitch in on melodies and on lyrics. So it was a very collective and group effort.
What kind of things inspire or influence your songwriting or you as a musician?
Just life in general. The struggles. Sharing a message of how to deal with those struggles, as well. Pretty much just all the things that come with living life.
The album title, “The Future”—obviously, there’s a title track, but why did you choose that as the album title?
I felt like it just felt right. I think it was just kind of meant to be. Before I started working with the group but I knew I was selected, I had made this post on Facebook. It said, “Here’s to the future,” and it was a picture of me on stage, and I kind of left it cryptic like that. Totally forgot about that post, and then we were writing the song and we came up with this big, anthemic hook, and we were like, “Man, that’s gotta be the name of the album. We’ve gotta go with that.” A couple months after that, that post popped back up as a memory, and I was like, “Holy shit. That’s bizarre.” So I think it was just meant to be.
We also had some purpose behind it, as well. We wanted it to basically stand for what the band’s gonna sound like from here on out and the shift we made from the older sound while still keeping elements of the old sound. But we wanted people to see that this is just the beginning, this is the future of the band, and we’re gonna give it all we’ve got. Also, at the same time, the meaning of “The Future”—we have kids in the song, and they are the literal future. So we wanted to get some kids in there and show them that they’re the future, as well.
Are there any songs that have any extra personal connection for you?
Yeah, I’d say two of them. “Let Go” was a song that Lance wrote almost entirely by himself. That had a really, really deep meaning for him, so I felt this huge responsibility to really deliver on that song. And I honestly think vocally that was one of the best songs I did. I was really proud of that, because I wanted to do it justice for him.
And the other song I would definitely say is “My Name,” just because everything I’ve stood for, for my entire music career is just about fighting, going out and living your dream, and never giving up—all that stuff. For me, it’s come to fruition in this past year. So that had a lot of meaning to me, too.
You just got your first taste of the whole festival scene this spring. How was that for you?
It’s funny. I wasn’t sure what mindset I’d be in on the day of the first festival we did. But when it came time to play, I was just in the zone. I was ready. It was like I had been waiting for that moment my entire life. So I was just ready to go. I just had this sense of calm, I guess. I had no nervousness or over-excitement or anything like that. I was like, “Let’s do this. Here we go.” It was cool.
Were there any bands on those festivals that you got to meet that left you starstruck or anything like that?
Yeah. Ben Burnley from Breaking Benjamin—cool dude. His band was one of the first metal bands I ever listened to. And I met a couple of the guys from Avenged Sevenfold. I honestly never thought that I would be able to play a show with them. It was something I kind of accepted early on in my career. I was like, there’s no way even if I get to a point where I could play on the same size stage as them that they will not have retired yet, or for me to even get to the size where I could play with them—I just didn’t even think that was ever gonna be possible. I just felt like they were too far ahead. So to be able to play a festival with them on it was just unreal.
How’s this tour going? You’ve had some sold-out shows so far.
Yeah. It’s been great. Guys in Bad Wolves are super cool. All the guys and girls in Diamante are awesome, as well. It’s been fun, it’s been smooth, and we’re all kind of bringing a little bit to the crowd, which is good. I feel like we’re all kind of benefiting from it, for sure.
You’re still pretty early in this album cycle, so what’s next?
I think we’re gonna come out with our next single. We definitely know what it’s gonna be. It’s funny because it was the song that we wanted to be our first single, but the label had other plans—which we’re not gonna argue; the song is doing really well. But we have seen in the past month or two that this other song is outperforming “Crazy” organically on our Spotify. So we’re excited. I feel like that song’s gonna shoot up even higher that “Crazy” will.
That’s the next plan, and then after that, we’ve got a couple shows with Hollywood Undead, a couple shows with Stone Sour, and then we’re hoping to plan another tour in the fall.
I love the new song “Crazy.” Keep up the great work guys! You are an awesome addition to the band Danny!!!