Interview: ASHES AT DAWN

Ashes at Dawn is a new band formed in the spring of 2012 with the idea from day one being rock, and variety in the people who play it. Each member brings a unique flair from culture, to musical education and influence, and most importantly, bridging the generation gap between the youth of today and the wisdom of the past. The very core of their music is grooving bass, provided by Rian Cunningham, crushing drums by Gordon D’Souza and two very capable guitarists, Christian Thompson and Scott McQuade, who both can weave melodic, yet fast, hard driving guitar sounds into the mix that stand the test of time. Vocalist/Guitarist, Scott McQuade, brings power and passion to the music with the ability to sing as soft as water flowing over rocks in a stream, as well as showcasing the grit and rasp that comes with the beauty of experience, allowing him the power to shake the earth. In Summer of 2016 the band signed with Chris Bianchi and the team at CB Entertainment to continue expanding.

Learn more about the new, multigenerational band below from bassist Rian Cunningham and check out their debut music video, “Monster”.

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Tell us the story behind ASHES AT DAWN?

Well, it’s a bit of a lengthy one (haha), but the band has been around for quite a few years, obviously morphing and changing as time goes on. We didn’t really have the lineup we have now until about 2 years ago while recording the album. I like to say that we’ve brought something back to rock music based on our own influences and decades of experience at this point in our lives. We hope that this is where the story truly begins.

What is the intended sound and image?  How did you all come together and develop your image and sound?

Our image is just a classic look, with modern flair. We also want to highlight our decades of experience and wisdom that makes our music what it is: classic influence, with modern flair. Everything balances in the end. I joined the band in 2012 when I was just turning 16, Chris 2 years later. I actually joined these guys due to just following through with an online ad. Everything’s changed for the better since then, and we’ve seen this band finally take its true form. To be honest, it wasn’t originally what we intended it to be, but I feel like this is the way it was meant to be.

What is one characteristic of each member of ASHES AT DAWN that you can share with us?

Scott (Vocals): He’s the man behind the music, and with years of experience under his belt, is a true artist.

Gordy (Drums): He’s been in Ashes At Dawn the longest alongside Scott, but I’d say he’s a huge talker, and that makes him wise, and funny.

Chris (Guitar): He just goes with the flow, and after knowing him since we were in middle school together, I can say that he’s a perfectionist when it comes to music and is always looking for ways to improve.

As for me, well I’m a workaholic. I’m always working on music, and am super passionate about everything I do… almost too much at this point (haha).

Tell us about your songwriting process?  How are you inspired to start a song like “Monster” and how does that develop from writing to composition, recording, and completion?

Well, the music is Scott’s vision. The way we went about recording this album was that we had the ‘preproductions’ (past recordings from years prior), and Chris and I sat down to add lead parts here and there, as well as add a few special things to really make the songs shine through in a way that shows our personality as a unit. Monster is just part of the story of this record, and I’m excited to see how people play into that sort of idea. There is a story here, but it’s up to them to piece it together when this record comes out. The music video is just where we thought the story should begin to take place. Where we go from there will remain a mystery for now, but it won’t be for long, I promise.

Tell us about your equipment?  What is each members’ go to instrument?

Well, pretty basic stuff if you’re thinking of a classic 4-piece lineup for rock. Chris’ go-to guitar is definitely is Ltd, and Scott has been starting to do the same, but he loves his top of the line Ibanez Floyd Rose. Gord wants his cymbals to be Zildjian, and I’m currently in love with my Music Man Bongo 5.

If you could choose your #1 dream sponsor, what brand would it be and why?

At this point, I’m happy with any endorsement (haha). But my personal dream would be to have an endorsement from Ernie Ball. Maybe even a signature series if I’m lucky enough.

What are your top ten albums of all time?


I’ve really had a hard time thinking about this, and the way that I go about it, is classifying which albums have had a significant impact on my life as an artist, and as an individual. So in no particular order:

Rage Against The Machine Rage Against The Machine

Linkin ParkHybrid Theory

Metallica Death Magnetic

Maroon 5Songs About Jane


Jarrod Alonge Beating A Dead Horse

A Day To RememberFor Those Who Have Heart

HedleyFamous Last Words

I Set My Friends On FireYou Can’t Spell Slaughter Without Laughter

Daft PunkRandom Access Memories

But, of course, this record, Reborn, is #1! Just due to the time, and how much I’ve grown as a person throughout the writing and recording process. We started recording when I was 16. We finally wrapped it up when I was 18. I grew as a person, and that is why this record, our record, has to be number one for me.

We hear that your live show is incredible, how do you plan out performances to create a unique experience?

We’ve been perfecting our performance ever since we finished this record. We were practicing before, but since we added so many new things to this record from what the songs used to be, we reworked our entire set. We want to make sure that you’ll have a reason to come see us play, rather than just listening to the record at home. We have things planned here and there that you won’t be able to hear unless you’re in the crowd. From solos, to massive energy, to even just wandering the crowd at some point. We want to captivate people with our performance through just being an amazing rock band.

What is the craziest live show you’ve ever done?

The coolest one I ever had with these guys was one of the last shows we did before going into the studio. There’s this bar in Toronto called Lee’s Palace, and I was underage at the time of this show, so basically we had to work out a deal with security that I could come in 15 minutes prior to our set time, and leave right after. Needless to say, I felt so good being on that stage just due to it being such a huge deal for everyone involved seeing this 17-year-old kid just having the time of his life with these other guys. It was awesome, and is still one of the coolest memories I have as a performer.

When you’re preparing to perform, do you need to psych up or calm down?  How do you do it?

I need to calm down before a show. Usually, I get too excited, or stressed if something’s wrong (something’s always wrong haha), so I’ve been meditating a lot recently just to clear my head but once we get on stage, it’s a totally different thing. Adrenaline just takes over and I feel free. I just can’t psych myself out beforehand or it’ll show on stage. As long as everyone is having a good time, that’s honestly all I could ask for. [separator style=”line” /]


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