Interviews

Interview: Guitarist LANCE DOWDLE of FROM ASHES TO NEW

FROM ASHES TO NEW is proud to release their new album PANIC, along with a new music video for “Bulletproof”, the 3rd track to be released off of the new album.

The 11-track album is the band’s third full-length release and follows 2018’s breakthrough release, THE FUTURE. The band’s first 3 focus tracks released earlier this year have already garnered over 6.5 million streams, namely the title track “Panic” which has amassed over 4.5 Million listens and 1.4 Million video views alone since its April release, setting the tone for their album. The track currently sits Top 11 at active rock radio, poised to enter the Top 10 in short order – a format FROM ASHES TO NEW is no stranger to;  the band has had 3 top 10 singles, including “Crazy” off their last album THE FUTURE, and the most recent feature with breakout act The HU’s “Yuve Yuve Yu.”

Speaking about the release of PANIC, frontman Matt Brandyberry says, “PANIC is an outside the box approach from what we normally do. Instead of focusing on lyrics that signify overcoming adversity we wrote from the angles of what it feels like while fighting those struggles. It’s not hard to see that the world is currently undergoing many different battles, so it was very organic for us to write about our view on all of the turmoil. This is our truest most genuine work we have ever created, and we are honoured to share it with the world.”

I had the opportunity to chat to guitarist Lance Dowdle about the band’s great new album which has been stuck on repeat on the house music system for the past few weeks.


ANTIHERO: How are you doing, Lance?

Lance Dowdle: Good. How are you doing?

ANTIHERO: I’m pretty good. Just wondered; how you’re getting through the days? Obviously, you guys would have been out promoting the new album, playing live. I guess it must be a pretty frustrating time for you at the moment.

Lance Dowdle: I think it’s frustrating for pretty much any type of … Well, certainly for some creative minds, it’s a good thing. You know, if they’ve got a big platform to get some stuff out. But yeah, for touring musicians and stuff, this is definitely not good. My cabin fever is getting the best of me right now.

ANTIHERO: With respect, From Ashes to New are a bit of a new name to me, musically. Even though this is the band’s third album. I just wondered, as a newbie, how would you describe your band to somebody that’s maybe not that familiar with you guys?

Lance Dowdle: For anybody that’s not familiar with us, the first thing any other fan would tell you would be definitely like, oh this is the new Linkin Park. That’s like the easiest thing to go to, I guess. But we obviously have our own thing going on. Each record that we have out so far kind of has its own separate identity, which is both a good thing and a bad thing. However, the newest one coming out on Friday, “Panic”, is definitely what I think we want to be known for and how we will sound moving forward.

ANTIHERO: It must be difficult when you’re being compared to, as you said, Linkin Park. Do you view that as a compliment or more of an insult?

Lance Dowdle: We definitely take it as a compliment, just because being compared to a band of that size, and there’s no other bands like them. Whereas if we were compared to, let’s just say Metallica or something like that. There are a million bands that sound like Metallica. There’s only one band that sounds like Linkin Park.

ANTIHERO: It must be frustrating though for you. I mean, you  want to be out there creating your own musical identity, and this is going to come up again and again. Is it hard to break away from that? How does it feel, to have that sort of hanging over you.

Lance Dowdle: Some people might think that it’s kind of just hanging over us per se, but really, I think that it’s something that the fans have been wanting from us. Like there is a void that hasn’t been met yet by other bands, that we’re able to fill, I believe. So, I think it’s working to our favour right now.

ANTIHERO: In terms of the new album, I’ve been fortunate enough to have it for quite a while. Do you feel that was a better album because it is the same lineup that played on The Future? There is more of a cohesiveness, you guys know each other. And has that been subsequently easier to record an album, with the same lineup?

Lance Dowdle: I like to describe this whole process as like a good relationship. Kind of like, you know, it takes time, it takes knowing different people. It takes a lot of time to know that you’ve found your soulmate, right? Like, you don’t just wind up marrying the first person you date.

So, we’ve gone through our speed dating round, but we wound up finding Danny and Mat, who are definitely here to stay. The Future was our first take on us as a group getting to know each other. But now that we pretty much have been, I don’t know, married for a few years, everything’s a lot easier. Ideas are a lot better expressed. With us all in the same room, the writing has gotten way better. It’s just we’re ageing like fine wine pretty much, you know, at this point.

ANTIHERO: Band have released the title track, “Panic”, which is obviously very appropriate given what’s going on currently at the moment, in terms of the world pandemic. How difficult, as a video, was that to make, given the restrictions that are currently in place for the world?

Lance Dowdle: Back then it was even crazier than it is now with restrictions. I’m pretty sure, if I remember correctly, the video was supposed to be something completely different. Like, we had a completely different treatment written up for us by the director. I think it was actually going to have like full-on CGI, like, army forces and robots and stuff. It was crazy. Which is definitely not the video that you’re seeing now, because … We almost couldn’t even make that video. We weren’t allowed to travel. I believe, like the week after, we weren’t allowed to travel border-to-border for a little bit. And then even when we got there, pretty much every business was closed. There was maybe like two other people in our hotel. It was a pretty crazy ghost town.

ANTIHERO: And you must be pleased with the end result.

Lance Dowdle: End result turned out great. Everyone loved the video. Everyone loved the song. We knew as soon as we first heard that song, that that was the first one we wanted to put out, to please the fan base. And media wise, I mean, yeah. I think it painted a very clear picture of what was going on at that time in the world. I’m pretty sure a lot of people resonated with that.

ANTIHERO: At the present time, bands are having to explore other avenues. Obviously, you guys can’t tour. You haven’t got that source of income. Bands are exploring alternative sources of revenue, i.e. live streaming. Is that something that the band wants to do a little bit of?

Lance Dowdle: That part is difficult just because we all live in different places. We have talked about maybe doing one special, kind of live stream, maybe in September as like a post record release celebration or something like that. It’s definitely in the talks. It’s not feasible for us to always be driving, you know, seven hours to come see each other and you know, do a live stream and then drive right back. At this point, like we’ve got to make sure that we have a lot of things we can tackle at once. But that’s definitely one of the things we … It’s probably going to happen. Let’s just say that.

ANTIHERO: What’s your general take on the whole live streaming at the moment. Any that I’ve seen, to be honest, have been pretty poor in terms of both audio quality and even visual. I mean, is it possible to do that, something like that, better?

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Lance Dowdle: See, I’m glad you’re telling me that, because you’re kind of setting the bar for me. I personally haven’t watched anyone else’s. I just kind of know how it goes. That’s one thing I was kind of afraid of, and I would never want to do that unless I knew for sure people were going to, I guess, get what they pay for, per se. I for sure would not want to put out something that sounds like crap. So, is that … I mean, how many have you seen?

ANTIHERO: Probably four or five from artists that I’m a fan of. I mean, a variety of artists in terms of variety of stature, and in terms of what stage these guys are at. But I mean, obviously the fan experience is not there, but I would’ve liked to think from the fan perspective that they could at least get it sonically sounding better than it has been. From what I’ve seen.

Lance Dowdle:  Well then, we’ll definitely keep that in mind. I do not want to have you saying that after we play.

ANTIHERO: Just to move on, then, what sort of touring plant, what sort of structure have you guys sort of formulated for promoting the album? You obviously got to have tour dates lined up for maybe the next lot of months, possibly a year.

Lance Dowdle: Well, unfortunately the only real, tangible, touring that we had was cancelled. We had November, October and a little bit in December already physically planned out, and all that was cancelled. So I’m pretty sure that’s not going to happen. Hopefully … We have some stuff that we don’t want to spoil for anybody, stuff that’s in the works. Definitely one thing that we’ve been told is a possible European run at the start of the new year. As long as everything goes smoothly, we can all hope for that.

ANTIHERO: What sort of history has the band … You mentioned Europe there. What sort of history has the band had in Europe? Have you toured there before? Is it totally new ground for you guys?

Lance Dowdle: We’ve done a few places in our old lineup. We know the … I’m pretty sure Germany is our second most listened to in the entire world on Spotify. Like, we have a huge base there. And there’s other countries that are just wanting us to come there. Like, every day we check our Instagram messages, please come to Brazil. Or you know, just, they’re just flooded with that. So we have so many places we want to go. We’ve done Germany before, we’ve done all the major rock  festivals. We did Download. I can’t remember what year it was, we did Download, though. And we’ve done a few random little shows in London, and some other ones in Germany, but we want a full country tour there.

ANTIHERO: I was going to ask there, in terms of the UK, what sort of level of shows would you guys be looking to do? Would it be your own headlining shows or maybe get on a major tour as a support and play bigger venues?

Lance Dowdle: I think realistically it’d probably be better for us at this point to have a good support slot. I mean, there’s a lot of people that do want us to come there, but I still don’t think it’s quite enough to demand a full headline tour. Plus, people would probably be surprised at how much money it actually takes to have a band come over and tour. Just like when bands come over and tour America, it costs a lot of money. So you want to make sure that whatever you do, you do it in the smartest way possible. So I think that having a bigger band take us out would be the best option for at least the first one.

ANTIHERO: Obviously, you guys got a lot of extra time on your house these days. How are you spending that time? Apart from promoting the new album.

Lance Dowdle: Yeah. I can speak for myself, firstly. I don’t know what the other idiots are doing, but I usually spend all my time, I do Twitch every night, playing games and hanging out with some of the fans. That usually eats up a good four hours of my day. And other than that, I’m just trying to work on clearing my head and getting back in shape. I don’t know. So all the stuff that everyone else is doing, pretty much.

ANTIHERO: What would you say would be the highlight of your professional music career to date? Is there an achievement that particularly stands out for you, maybe the new album itself?

Lance Dowdle: For me, professionally, but for something that has already happened, I would say the best thing would probably be our trip to Tokyo. We had a two-nighter there where we played with One Ok Rock, All Time Low, in Paris. Two nights in a row. That was definitely the highlight of my career so far.

ANTIHERO: Yeah. As a musician in 2020, do you enjoy the more hands-on organic approach of interaction with fans? You mentioned earlier gaming on Twitch and things, or do you prefer maybe the old days where there was more of a… I wouldn’t say a barrier, but more of a mystery about bands and their fans. Or do you enjoy that organic interaction directly, with the fans?

Lance Dowdle: That’s actually something that as a band we’ve kind of been known for is our ability to stay in contact with fans, make them feel included. We’re always answering pretty much every question that comes our way. A lot of people describe that as kind of like a blessing and a curse to be viewed as so obtainable. I guess if that’s the way you want to say it. It takes away the mystery of the rockstar, but we do our best to keep a happy fan base because they’re the ones that built us.

ANTIHERO: Just a couple then to finish. If the roles were reversed, which personal hero or inspiration would you like to sit down and interview? Maybe not even a musician.

Lance Dowdle: Ooh, that’s a good question. I guess as a guitar player, I would love to… Probably I’d say Synyster Gates. I’d love to pick his brain a little bit more. I’ve met him once, but more in passing and not enough to actually learn anything from him, so that would probably be my number one.

ANTIHERO: Just a final one then. What lies ahead for you? Do you still have hopes, dreams, and aspirations?

Lance Dowdle: Besides hoping that maybe a meteor will hit the earth someday or a new… I’m just kidding. Well, as long as I can just actually get over there and see you in person, I think that’s pretty much my number one at this point. For everything to clear up and us to come over and tour again.

ANTIHERO: Okay. Brilliant. Thank you very much for chatting to me. Good luck with the album. Hopefully you’ll be able to get out and play most of those songs live soon.

Lance Dowdle: Yeah. So there is recorded, but yeah, we’ve actually played quite a few of the new songs live before anyone even knew about them, just to kind of test them out. And it seems like it’s been doing the trick. Everyone loves it.

ANTIHERO: It’s a great album. Thanks again for chatting to me. Hopefully, you guys will get over to the U.K. soon.

Lance Dowdle: All right. Thank you.

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Mark Dean

I'm a 40+ music fan. Fond mostly of rock and metal - my staple musical food delights. Originally from Northern Ireland, I am now based in the UK-Manchester. I have a hectic musical existence with regular shows and interviews. Been writing freelance for five years now with several international websites. Passionate about what I do, I have been fortunate already to interview many of my all-time musical heroes. My music passion was first created by seeing Status Quo at the tender age of 15. While I still am passionate about my rock and metal, I have found that with age my taste has diversified so that now I am actually dipping into different musical genres and styles for the first time.

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