FROM ASHES TO NEW’S DANNY CASE Talks Blackout - “We Just Wanted To Be The Best Version Of Ourselves”

September 12, 2023, 2 weeks ago

By Greg Prato

feature hard rock from ashes to new

FROM ASHES TO NEW’S DANNY CASE Talks Blackout - “We Just Wanted To Be The Best Version Of Ourselves”

Are they nu metal? Are they rap metal? It’s impossible to determine which category From Ashes to New belongs in – as they seem to embrace both styles equally, as evidenced by their most recent release, Blackout. Hailing from Lancaster, Pennsylvania, FAtN is comprised of singer Danny Case, rapper/keyboardist/programmer/guitarist Matt Brandyberry, guitarist/bassist Lance Dowdle, and drummer Mat Madiro, Blackout is their fourth full-length overall, and was recently supported with arena shows (as part of the Dark Horizon Tour). BraveWords correspondent Greg Prato chatted with Case about Blackout, as well as its two latest singles/videos, and the band’s live show. 

BraveWords: Let’s discuss the new album, Blackout. 

Danny Case: “It was an awesome process. Luckily, it wasn’t any different due to the pandemic than other albums prior to this one. But, it was different in the sense that we had a whole lot to write about. 2020 happened, we all basically lost our livelihoods and our jobs, and we were the last to come back. So in 2021, when we were recording this record, with everything going on in the world – the end of the world, every single day – we had tons to write about. Everybody was at each other’s throats and it seems like it’s the end of the world. So, we had a real clear vision of what we wanted to write about – because it was just all-consuming. 

“Every day in the news, all the time. That’s where the idea of Blackout comes from. It was originally going to be called Armageddon, but we felt that a cooler name would be Blackout – the grid going down is in our eyes the first step to a modern day apocalypse. Y’know, the grid goes down, it’s a blackout, sends us back to the Stone Age, and that’s the beginning of the end. So, for this record, we went in with the idea that we just wanted to make music that we wanted to make. Times in the past, we allowed things to…whether it’s another producer taking the wheel or it’s us thinking about ‘What’s going to be the most successful kind of song?’ – we were like, ‘Let’s just make music that we want to make. Let’s make music that we want to hear.’ We went in and we wanted to be aggressive. We wanted to be heavy. We had all these things that we wanted to write about, talk about, and we just wanted to be the best version of ourselves. And the fans are receiving it incredibly well. This is our best record yet.” 

BraveWords: What is the story behind the song “Monster In Me” and its video?

Danny Case: “That was Lance and Matt’s brainchild. Lance put together this musical bed for the song, and Matt went to town on the lyrics – just wrote it all out. It was pretty much just the two of them making the song. And it’s an awesome song – it’s dark, aggressive, super rap-heavy…and yet, it’s still us. It’s like a different version of us. And it still fits on the record – despite being entirely rap, because it’s got that really dark vibe. And the music video for it, we kind of had the idea of Matt’s mind being the stage for the video. So, there’s all these different ‘rooms’ to this mind, and all these different scenarios, where he’s doing different things or having different thoughts. That’s the overall premise of the video – there’s a room where he puts a gun to his head and pulls the trigger, there’s another room where he’s lying in a coffin and comes out, and he’s walking through all these hallways, exploring different parts of his mind.”

BraveWords: What about “Hate Me Too”? 

Danny Case: “‘Hate Me Too’ is a song where the label wanted us to put one more track on the record, so we went back in the studio at the end of 2021, and we had one day to write and record this song pretty much. So, it was hectic. But we came in, our producer had this idea for a certain melody, and I came up with the idea of, ‘Hey, what if we have this idea of at this point in this relationship, I really should hate you for all the things we’ve done to each other, and you should hate me too. That was the premise for that song. And we built the entire song around that. The video for it was just us taking the piss out of ourselves. Not making fun of ourselves, but essentially, it was like, ‘I do not want to do another ‘breakup video’ – unless it’s really well thought-out and inspired. Instead, my brain went down the route of, ‘Let’s just get a blow-up doll, and we pretend like she’s a real person and all of my friends pretend that she’s a real person. And she’s secretly cheating on me with Matt, and I find out and go all American Psycho on her! An absurd video – the dumbed thing we’ve ever done…but so fun, and we don’t regret it at all.”

BraveWords: Why don’t you think more metal bands nowadays show their sense of humor in videos?

Danny Case: “That’s a really good question, because this is a genre that does have a very serious and dark tonality. And I think that it can help to show that it can be fun, too. That’s why hair metal was so big in the ‘80s – they were the ‘party music.’ We thought it would be cool to bring some lightheartedness and fun to the genre. And there are a couple of bands that do that too, occasionally. I’ve seen Periphery put out a video that was ketchup versus mustard [‘Scarlet’] – which was hilarious. I thought that was awesome. It would be cool if each band had something like that – to show their sense of humor, so people can see a different side of them and see them in more of a natural light that is more of who they are as people.”

BraveWords: How is it determined which songs will have vocal lines that are sung or rapped? 

Danny Case: “We look at the vibe of the song and whether or not rap feels like it fits in a certain spot, or singing fits in a certain spot. And most of the time, it’s easy to determine, ‘Oh, this is totally a singing part based on where the instruments that are going on,’ or ‘This is way more of a rap part based on the instruments.’ There is some crossover, where it’s like, ‘We can do either or. We kind of have to figure out what we want to do.’ We try to keep a good balance – we try to make sure that there’s a nice change of pace on certain songs. And we always try to make sure – whether it’s a singing part or a screaming part or a rap part – that it flows and makes sense in that part.”

BraveWords: What can fans expect from seeing the band live? 

Danny Case: “You can expect to see a pretty big damn show. We put as much money as we possibly can into our production. Right now [on a tour with In This Moment and Motionless in White, as part of the Dark Horizon Tour], we have video screens, lights, and fog blasters. On our next headlining tour, we are going to upgrade that – more video, more lights, more fog blasters, more risers and decking and stuff like that. Fans can expect a really big-time looking show – even if it’s just a club. And they can expect high energy, really great sound – our front of house guy is incredible. They can expect to have a great time and to hear all the hits. Any time we’re on tour, we’ll look through the posts – because there’s hashtags and tags – and we always see people saying, ‘This is one of the best shows I’ve ever been to.’” 

BraveWords: Touring plans? 

Danny Case: “After this, we have Rocklahoma in September. After that, we are looking to put together a tour for late in fall – November/December. And that will be it for the year. We haven’t announced it because we’re still putting it together, but when it’s announced, we’re going to go to a lot of different places in the US and hopefully hit as many places that people want to see us. For the new year, we have ShipRocked in February, and then after that it’s kind of wide open. We’re hoping to get over to Europe, South America, and Australia. We’re looking to travel next year.”

(Photos - Jeremy Saffer)

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