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Friday, December 7, 2012

Ashes Within Interview

Questions Answered Miguel De Jesus Jr.
1.Can i get a backstory on the band/ band biography?

Ashes Within originated in Brooklyn NY early 2005 with founding members Jeff Harris and myself. Second guitarist Luis Santana came into the fold a couple of years after. Our bassist Christopher M. Carrigy came in shortly after Luis when our original bassist Laura Zaino left the group. There have been a few line-up changes throughout the years as far as vocalists as well. However, the current line-up with vocalist  AJ Channer has been stable and strong  for the past two years. Ashes Within plays brutal, honest music. We do not try to emulate a style, or fit into any particular arcane sub-genre of the metal scene. Our songs are constructed for maximum visceral impact, whether it be simple or complex, harmonious or discordant. This music is our collectively distilled response to both personal and global events. Things aren’t pretty out there, and they’re degenerating daily. We feel like the music we’re writing is perhaps the only rational response to the things going on around us. The world is gut-wrenchingly harsh and ugly much of the time; this ugliness has left us dead inside, hence the name Ashes Within- so be it—our music stands as a rejoinder to that ugliness. AJ Channer- Vocals, Miguel De Jesus Jr.- Guitar, Luis Santana- Guitar, Christopher M. Carrigy- Bass, Jeff Harris- Drums
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2. What lyrical theme do you guys use in your music? What message do you want to send?

Every song has a cohesive pattern as far as the lyrics. Whether in a story format or as a statement, the lyrical content pertains to what we experience in our lives.
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3. How have the gigs you guys been doing been?

They have been great all around. We recently went out for a 3 day run from Newburgh NY, Philadelphia PA and Pittsburgh PA with our good friends Cousin Sleaze. We had a great time. The reaction has been fantastic. We appreciate the feedback from everyone whether from a fellow band/musician or fan.
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4. What equipment do you guys use?

Well, unfortunately we lost all of our gear along with our rehearsal space (the entire facility South Sounds in Brooklyn was devastated) due to flooding from Hurricane Sandy. We have been slowly but surely rebuilding our gear back. There has been tremendous support from our friends, fellow musicians and family members reaching out and helping us get going as fast as possible. Perfect examples, last night my brother Jose and his fiancĂ©e Christina surprised me with a brand new ESP guitar out of nowhere. Jeff received an entire drum kit from Elliot Hoffman of Carbomb as well even though they suffered the same amount of loss from the flooding since we were in the same facility. We can’t thank our friends and family enough. I am a big Line 6 amp fan. Especially the older and unfortunately discontinued solid state gear. As far as guitars, it’s only ESP. The quality and tone is perfect for what I need. Same goes for Luis. He and I blend together well with our tones but different enough to where you know who is playing what. Jeff is a big fan of Meinl cymbals, DW and Yamaha drums. Jeff is also our recording engineer, so he is always up to date with the new technology and current programs. Chris uses Ibanez basses and Ampeg amplification. He is also a graphic artist and designs all of our artwork for our releases, advertising/promo and merch. So he is current as well with programs and technology.
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5. What bands have influenced your band and its sound?

All of us have different influences but the main bands for sure are Meshuggah, Gojira, Carbomb, Candiria, and Lamb of God.
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6. Do you remember your first show and what was it like?

May 5th, 2006 at Dock Street in Staten Island…yes I remember vividly. It went well actually. Nerve racking to be honest since Jeff and I had never played a live show before. He and I had been in a previous project many years prior but had never played out.
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7. What made you guys decide to form a band?

To cut a long story short, as I mentioned, Jeff and I were in a project together many years before Ashes Within started in 2005. We lost touch afterwards but connected again when he had moved to Brooklyn and we started hanging out and catching up. A friend of mine Laura Zaino was working at the local pool hall and we both knew we played heavy music. Myself a guitarist and Laura being a bassist. When I introduced Jeff to Laura one night….well that’s where it all started. We started writing and formally became Ashes Within shortly after. As far as deciding to form a band, personally, I didn’t have a choice. I had quit music altogether after I lost touch with Jeff after that original project. Once we connected again, I knew we had to do something. There was a purpose. And there still is.
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8.What is your opinion on sites posting your guys material and other bands material?

I can’t speak for other bands but we love it. Thank God there are outlets and resources for this music and scene. Sites and blogs such as Core of Brutality keep the machine moving and progressing. We are honored to have these opportunities. Our music, whether liked or not, is our release so we feel privileged to have our music streaming out there.
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9. Is there any bands that you guys enjoyed playing with more then the others?

Not more than others really. We have met and played with a lot of bands that we love and respect and will continue to do so. (Hopefully one day with Gojira, Meshuggah and Lamb of God).  However, personally, I regressed to feeling  like a little kid when we finally shared the stage recently with our friends Carbomb at our record release party. They are beyond a doubt one of the most talented outfits I have ever seen and heard. Needless to say they are a great group of guys and have been there for Ashes Within from the beginning.  The same can be said for our brothers Cousin Sleaze. Talented and violent. Perfect combination. Now if only Candiria would get back together so we could share a bill! Then I could die a happy man.
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10. How do you guys feel about the classifications in metal? like deathcore, metalcore and other subgenres and how some get a negative rep.?

As we have in our bio, we don’t feel or even know what metal genre we “belong” in. We play what comes out of what we deal with everyday. Heavy music is heavy music to us. It doesn’t even have to be metal as far as I’m concerned. Metal, no matter what subgenre, has always received a stigma. Classification of the scene and their respective entities breaks the foundation of why any musician/band started to begin with. However, it is inevitable. It is human nature. Of course, in the metal world, there are bands or styles we will not like as fans. But at least we have the opportunity and free will to choose and discuss with others.
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11. What song do you enjoy playing the most?

The song “Censure” is my favorite song to play. We get a strong reaction from the crowd as soon as the first note hits.
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12. When not doing things with the band, what can you guys be seen doing?

I love this question. We have normal jobs as well but apart from that Chris is usually working on art whether on a cartoon, a comic or just sketching for the fun of it. Luis can be seen exercising or jogging all over Brooklyn with a back pack stuffed with at least 100 lbs of weight. He is a lunatic. Jeff is always doing something with music. Whether learning new programs and plug-ins or creating sick sounds and patterns. I don’t think he can shut that part of his brain off.   AJ is a massive soccer fan and plays for a league as well. He is really good which is scary in a good way. I constantly have to keep my hands busy. It’s a nervous habit. So apart from Ashes Within and my other band Eyes Of The Sun, I like to work on and restore music equipment for friends. The work calms and relaxes my mind since it’s always running.
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13. Your biggest band moment?

I’d have to say sharing the stage with bands like Carbomb and Architect (Syracuse) so far. That meant the world to us.
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14. What is your opinion on the current state of metal?

I may be wrong about this but I feel it is getting stronger. There are so many great bands out there and many more we don’t even know of yet. The fans seem to be more open minded as well now which is great.
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15. How did you guys come up with your band name?

The name has a double meaning for us. We feel we are burned away inside from the things we witness and experience personally on a daily basis. At the same time, these experiences and events cause us to persevere and endure. That is also the reason we call our fans “arsonists”. They have experienced the same eye opening events/moments in their lives caused by either corrupt governments, corporate greed, religious institutions, family or any individual that stood in their way. We hold the firm belief that every individual has the potential to make a substantial impact in this world. To be a beacon and stand up in protest against such things.
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16. What can the fans expect to see from you in the future?

We recently released our debut full length album “Declaration of Internal War” on October 31st and are currently playing out as much as possible in support for the album. There have been three previous EPs  (first two with previous vocalists) as well. We are also moving into a new rehearsal space this month and continuing to write material for the next full length release. There is also a video in the works for “Idea V” from our debut album that will be out soon.

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