-Interview- Out Of Ashes (2/5/15)

Howell, NJ based rock band Out Of Ashes gets interviewed and talks about their style of music, the rock scene and upcoming plans.
From: Howell, NJ
Sounds like: Rock

Out of Ashes is:
Rob Intili- Vocals
Don Chin- Vocals/ Rhythm Guitar
Bradford Sawyer- Lead Guitar/ Backing Vocals
Sam Stewart- Bass
Alex Berwick- Drums

1. How did you get started with music and how did you develop your sound? Who thought of the name “Out Of Ashes” and is there any meaning behind it?

Rob: I started playing in bands about 10 years ago when a friend of mine randomly asked me to join his band for fun. That snowballed and eventually led me to realize that making music was my true passion and what I wanted to spend the rest of my life doing. Our sound is basically developed from the vast influences we have as a group and us just taking those and blending them all together.

Don: Well, back as a sophomore in Highschool a few of my friends and I decided to start a band, funny part was I didn't really play an instrument besides trombone and piano. I ended up just picking up an electric bass (6 stringer Ibanez... I loved Dream Theater) and haven't looked back since. Went on to study jazz theory and perfected my craft with former Berklee professor Joe Macaro, who had also worked with Victor Wooten, helping me to truly understand music as not just an art, but as a language.

Brad: My dad has always played guitar so music was always around me. I got my first guitar when I was 13 and played a little, but once I heard "Learning to See" by Van Halen and "Walk" by Pantera I started loving music and really got into them. I heard Zakk Wylde and John 5 and now guitar is my absolute passion! But I have to give the credit to my dad he taught me everything I know when it comes to guitar, without him I wouldn't be playing guitar!

Sam: I really enjoyed playing Guitar Hero so my mom made me play start playing actual guitar... thanks mom! I like to think we are the Phoenix rising from the ashes. But not like the capital of Arizona, but like the bird. But I do like Arizona Iced Tea, especially the Arnold Palmer kind. I always put Cheeze Its together with Arizona Iced Tea, but not Cheeze Nips like Brad likes yuck they are no good.

Alex: I have been playing drums for about 12 years. Ever since I was little, I always wanted things to bang on, and once I was in middle school, I joined the school band. At the time, we were pretty close with the high school band teacher, and he started to give me private drum lessons after school let out. As the years went by, I continued private lessons from school teachers to professional drummers, as well as self-taught on various ends. I played in and out of countless bands, whether as a studio drummer or permanent member, as well as being a member of jazz/rock, symphonic, and marching bands through middle and high school. All of that, as well as playing along to the radio, led me to develop my own sound and style. Out of Ashes began when Rob and I each left our respective bands, surprisingly, I think, the same night. Rob and I were discussing possible band names and Rob (I believe) thought up Out of Ashes, and yes, it has significance. Out of Ashes was born from Rob and my fallout with our former bands. From the ashes of these bands, we created Out of Ashes.

2. How would you describe your music to the average listener?

Alex: Our music is a combination of all of our interests. We have some rock,, alternative, and pop-punky aspects mixed with some rap vocals. We have something for everyone - whether you want some catchy verses or sexy harmonies, insane guitar shredding, or just simply music you can't help but nod along too, we are confident you will find something to love in our music!

Rob: I would have to say something along the lines of musical schizophrenia. We live very much by the code of if we think it sounds cool we do it. No genre limitations, no worrying about what people think, we just go for it. That's part of what makes this so special for us.

3. What do you want the listener to take away from your music?

Don: Honestly, when I'm working on my lyrics I'm always trying to speak from my own experiences. If I can get someone to smile and know that everything will work out after hearing our music, I consider that a success. I want people take away hope I guess, just knowing that we've all been where they were and made it through.

Alex: I want everyone who listens to our songs to enjoy them. Since everyone in the band contributes their lyrics, our songs are chock-full of our personal experiences or feelings, situations we have experienced, obstacles we have overcome, and we believe we aren't the only ones who can relate to them. If the listener takes anything away from our songs, I want them to relate to the lyrics, and get sucked into the music and melodies.

4. What can people expect from your live show?

Brad: A fun, happy environment with support! Basically I want every show to be a big party!

Sam: A lot of harmonies, sick guitar riffs, jumping, singing along, and partying. Party Party Party.

5. Who are three bands you’d like to tour with?

Rob: Linkin Park, A Day to Remember, and Dangerkids.

Don: It would be an odd tour but for me.... Dream Theater, Reel Big Fish with Scott back, and 311. They were my first influences and still take up a large portion of what I listen to on my commutes to work.

Brad: Linkin Park, Four Year Strong, and Dangerkids.

Sam: Linkin Park, A Day to Remember, and Dangerkids.

Alex: Linkin Park, Breaking Benjamin, and Blink-182 (before all the drama).

6. Any crazy show stories?

Sam: My bass strap ripped out the screw in my bass and I spent 90% of the last song in our set trying to fix it on stage. WOOO! Also Don basically broke his neck on his guitar and he didnt even know it til a few days after a show.

Rob: We had this one show at a coffee show that was just very strange. The show was supposed to start at a certain time and the opening band didn't show up until an hour after their set was supposed to start. Instead of having another band play first or moving the lineup around the people putting the show on chose to wait for the band. After that the show went fairly smooth, the other bands were pretty unorthodox but it was decent. Then when it came to the band right before we were supposed to go on things got really crazy. Not only did they take a full 35 minutes to set up and tune, they then played for about an hour which was twice their allotted set time. During their set the lead singer was high out of his mind on some kind of drug and stripped down to his boxers. We ended up not playing because things just got too crazy and one of the guys running the show got upset that we weren't happy with everything that was going on at the show. Good times.

7. What’s your take on the current state of rock?

Brad: A lot of people say it's dead, and I used to also, but it's not dead. It is just buried, there's still great rock out there, it's just harder to find. We have rap and pop shoved down our throats, people forget about rock but it's there you just have to find it!

Don: Sometimes I feel that bands are losing sight of why they do music to begin with especially when fans take offense to their maturing sound. At a certain point people stop talking about what happened in their 20s, priorities change and its reflected in the bands sound, nothing to be ashamed about for that. I think that rock is being revitalized as we move away from the domination of hip hop and pop in the market, but it has to learn to compromise with this generation of consumers that are averse to change.

8. What’s the current music scene like there in New Jersey both locally and state wide?

Don: Depends where you're at. The scenes are much larger in the cities like Philly and NY, but we have our little havens like New Brunswick and Asbury Park that allows a wide genre of bands to take shape and grow. From what I've seen pop punk is still strong while nu metal is making a comeback.

Alex: Where I am in NJ, not much of anything goes on! But state-wide there are a lot of great places to play or see shows. Personally, I think NJ has a decent local music scene.

9. What’s your take on legal/illegal music downloading?

Brad: It doesn't bother me at all. I don't make music for money I'd rather you download and love my music then not get a chance to hear it. I make music because I love it I don't care about a paycheck!

Rob: I'm torn, nothing makes me happier than having people hear and enjoy our music because that truly is the most important thing to me. But on the other hand illegal downloading is one of the largest reasons for the poor state of the music industry today. Double edged sword.

10. What’s next for Out Of Ashes?

Don: Bigger shows, better music, as long as our fans are happy I'll let them decide where we're going.

Rob: We are playing The Break Contest for a shot at playing the 2015 Skate & Surf Festival! Also we are writing, A LOT! We're planning to go back into the studio for our 2nd EP starting sometime this spring. We like to keep busy at all times! Also catch us on Instagram (@outofashesnj), we've been posting a series that we call "The Basement Sessions" which are basically 15 second clips of us playing popular songs acoustically in our secret basement lair! We are currently taking requests for songs!

11. Any shoutouts?

Alex: Itty Bitty Britty!

Don: Big thanks to my professor Joe Macaro and my vocal coach Colleen McDonald! Their guidance has helped me immeasurably. Also a big thanks to my family who has always supported me and ofcourse my friends who have made it to nearly every show I've played over the years! Oh and Drake's Fruit Pies, they seriously are the most amazing snack on the planet.

Brad: All of my family and friends who have come to shows and supported me, Never Enough, Dexi cat, Saltypaws, Ciara Synister, Columbus flea market, Dr Chocolate, Joey Taylor, the Columbus fire for not hitting my store, Cheese Nips, Talking in Scottish accents but only saying "great", Bonesaw at Kiss of Ink for stabbing me with with needles, Wawa, my Mercury Grand Marquis, Daewoo Lanos the really big pencils we used to use in kindergarten, Moobys, Randall Graves, the talking trees at the Katy Perry halftime show (the shark is overrated), Bubbles big rimmed glasses, Scotty Too Hotty, the guy that yells "my leg" in Spongebob, Alex's black sleeveless t shirts, Andy for letting my girlfriend's car chill in his driveway when it broke down (not Andy from Toy Story), Netflix, the life alert lady that can't get up, Bordentown Guitar Rescue, when I fell outside of Sam's house trying to get my foot up to Rob's chin, Cheese sticks and Turkey sandwiches for keeping me alive, Lt. Dan's new legs, Keanu Reeves, my favorite black t shirt from Walmart, checkers (not the food place or the game the pattern), Stephanie from that one episode of Family Guy, Abraham Lincoln's hunk of watermelon, Carter Pewterschmidt, Roger, Mclovin, Skylark Tonight, Forest Whitaker's good eye.

Rob: John Naclerio at Nada Recording Studio, Trollbrera, Steph Malfatto Photography, Park Nine Diner, The Jam Room, Chris from the Jam Room, Elmo the person, Gamechanger World, the WWE, Seth Rollins, Linkin Park for being awesome, our buddies in Dangerkids, No Parallels, James Benedetto's mustache... May it live on forever in glory!, GRIM, lady GRIM, Grime, Big Texas Buford, Wawa, Cheap gas, my family and friends who have been super supportive of me, Gazid, Steve from Staples, Geese, thanks Kane, Jeff Crespi, Five Guys Burgers and Fries, Pizza, not being eaten by sharks, Phoebe, the cinderblock that I punted- sorry bro!, RKOs from outta nowhere, the Harlem Shake... remember that?!, people yelling, Heath Slater babay!, Legolas for showing off too much, the Winchesters, Bees, Netflix... RIP Blockbuster, Pure Leaf Iced Tea, Will Smith, Michael Jackson's glove, Hugs, Snakes, Froggies :), Bae, Bay, Old Bay seasoning, Tom from MySpace, Doge, the Rock's eyebrow; not the raised one the other one, Test, Ocularis- Oooooouuuurrrrrhhhh, Big Naked Big Show aka BNBS, Uncle Joe & the Firefighters, Chip Skylark, the Neon Dynasty, Dr. Del Vento's dyed mustache, Peanutbutter, Chickie's & Pete's Crab Fries, Zombie Eddie Guerrero, Stuff and Thangs, Brock Lesnar vs Trent Reznor- the ultimate dream match.

Sam: The Rock, The Hurricane, DDP, DDP's Yoga program, Micheal Cole, Ryan Coyle-Simmons, Don Chin, Adam Charles, That kid who commented on our instagram picture but I never messaged him, The Based God, Tyler the Creator, Andy from Toy Story, Alex's Mustache, Godzilla, Red Stagnation, The entire cast of Shrek the Musical on Broadway, Anyone that still goes on Myspace, Jimmy Jpeg, Bumble Bee Man, Trent Reznor, James From BCOBM, Brock Lesnar, Don Chin, Brad's heritage in Finland, Squidward's Hopes and Dreams, Just Speak Letters, 13 Tons LP, In Our Glory, Bad Boy Scouts, Don Chin, Donald Chin, Donald Duck, Donald Trump, Rob's Brother Dan, Rob's Dad, Rob's old dog that his mom sold, Theory of Noise, Sea Otters, Baha Men, The entire NXT roster except Sasha Banks, The New Jersey Devils, Don's Beard, the 1985 Dallas Cowboys, Tatanka, That diner where me and Rob met Zach Ryder and Dolph Ziggler, Brad's dog Bailey, Alex's Pillow Pet collection, Six Flags Great Adventure, Batman: The Ride, Andrew From Chic Fil A, Rob's Blonde Hair, Enter Shikari, The Acacia Strain, Nissan Pathfinders, Timmy Turner, Dog From Catdog, Bolby from Jimmy Neutron, The Great Khali, Arizona Iced Tea, Cheeze Its, Duracell batteries, GoPro's, Milk, Tastycake Cookie Bars, Bagels, Wawa, Angelo D'Amico, Batman and Robin, Tape, Our Best Mistake, Staples, Sheep, iPhones, Xbox, Billy Carlos, Andy Stout, the guy who tried to sell Me and Rob t-shirts in the parking lot at the Wells Fargo Center, Nada Recording Studios, Jake the Merch Monster, Such Cold Nights, Don Chin, #donchin, Fulton Bank, Brad's Blue LTD Guitar, Bodee the dog, Dodge Neon's, Rob's Mom's house in Florida, Disney World, Universal Studios, and finally and most of all importantly Craigslist, who without, this whole band would not be possible. Thank You. :)))))))))))))))