This interview was conducted after the guys set in between Funeral For A Friend & Coheed and Cambria on the Finch headlining tour and with vocalist Benjamin Perry. 2003.
The rest of From Autumn to Ashes are Francis Mark percussion and vocals also, Scott Gross and Brian Deneeve on guitars and Mike Pilato who plays the bass guitar.
Their album Too Bad Your Beautiful is on Ferret and was last year a staple part of my diet during the summer so to be able to ask questions about my favourite songs and lyrics when I didn’t expect to have that opportunity to was in short amazing…
How long have From Autumn To Ashes been together and up till now what have been the most memorable moments?
We’ve been together for a little over two years now. Everyday is a memorable moment for this band like were on the road constantly so everyday we are in a new place with a new story to tell, just being able to play music and you know travel the world is memorable.
What sort of places have you been too?
The whole of the United States, we’ve done all of Canada, and now were here in then UK and then next year were planning to come and do a whole European tour. Hopefully we will also go to Japan, Australia…
What do you think will be the one you would most look forward to?
I think I’m really looking forward to Japan
A lot of people say that!
I’m looking forward to seeing Italy cause that’s where I’m from well not me but my family’s from.
Where in Italy are they from then?
My grandmother lives in Naples and my grandfather was from (sounded like Latvia?)
So I’m really looking forward to playing there
-A bit of a heritage thing? Italy has a big scene there are loads of really good underground labels and bands.
I assume this is the bands first time in the UK so what sort of reception have you received?
I love it, we didn’t have much time to go like sight seeing because of being on tour and stuff, but we got to see the country-side and it was awesome the shows were amazing we’ve never been here before and our album isn’t really released here yet so the response has been good.
-The Hives that I’ve been have stocked it (Too bad you’re beautiful)
The kids here are great we’ve had a really good time!
A lot of the FATA song structures are very complex and for most people difficult to emulate, what was it that motivated you guys to create the From Autumn To Ashes style
It wasn’t really one thing that lead us to do what we do, It was like the five of us have really different tastes and there all incorporated into the songs and we just showed up one day and we didn’t have a set structure of what we were going to play or how we would play it. We just wrote down what we had inside.
This question was based around the fact of establishing the band where you’re from New York. It must have been amazing growing up in New York with all the bands coming up I could probably rule off at least 20 bands that have influenced me from that area.
What was it like growing up with all the different sounds and events?
I've been going to shows for approximately 15 or 16 years now so I saw all the bands. I’ve seen everyone but the one band that really sticks in my mind is that helped me out were V.O.D. (Vision Of Disorder along with Will Haven the first two hardcore bands I ever heard so that was special the connection cause there a band whom obviously had an effect on my life)
They are the one band that I haven’t seen that I have always wished to see; do you know the guys personally?
Nah, I never met them before they are from Long Island where were from
You’re from Long Island the same as Glassjaw?
Same as Glassjaw, Taking Back Sunday, The Movielife
It’s a fuckin good place to be!
How big is Long Island? (I’m quite amazed)
Long Island is like to go from one end to the other its like 100 miles to go north and south its probably about 50 so its pretty big (not really an average city has roughly 20 mile radius I would have thought)
But considering the amount of decent bands that have come out of it!!!
It’s amazing how many bands have come out of there
There’s like 7 or 8 bands right now that are just really amazing.
I can’t really remember properly but I remember there was a really big thing about this club on Long Island that was getting closed down?
The? It was a really long time ago or De JA One, those were the two most recent
I remember reading about it on the Internet and all the bands were trying to club together trying to save it and stuff cause it was something to do with the dealing of drugs being the reason it was being shut down?
Ah that was the fewack (ok I really didn’t understand that club name) that was uh something they were trying to close down for a long time because the organisers were organising raves and the police raided it and closed it down.
Have you guys got any families like wives and kids or girlfriends back home?
What’s it like when you go out on tours do you miss their company?
Four of us have girlfriends
-At this point a kid comes over to ask for an autograph! Ben apologises..
Its all right your all rock stars now!
The four of us have girlfriends and they miss their g/friends obviously but for me my family lives in Florida I don’t even see them when I am home so I really miss them.
Did you move to be with the band?
No I have family that live in New York also then they moved to Florida and I stayed in New York because of the band.
What’s the deal with the Steep tea, from the perspective of someone who’s never tried it (laughter) what makes it different from all the rest? Have you got some kind of free tea deally (to quote a Homer Simpson word) from them?
Yea we get free tea from them and we promote their name and everything (look in the too bad your beautiful thanks area there's a special thank you to the company) being in England right now the tea capitol of the world. Steep tea is all natural tea it comes in different flavours and varieties black tea green tea traditional tea its really amazing you should check it out! www.steeptea.com (yea I’ll put a link on the site to it! I then describe the site and how I’ll put a link to the label and the FATA site –very dull)
The songs are very interesting and the titles too. With a lyrical content like all bands would be naïve of me to explain myself, so what sorts of things do you like to deal with and are there any specific subjects that you’ve written about?
On our album right now there is only really one song that deals with a certain topic, Eulogy For An Angel is about my grandmother who passed away which is the song right before the end.
In a way I try to write about just human relationships no matter what they are be it may uh male female, female male whatever and just friends in general. I want kids to take what they can from it!
How does the song writing process happen for the band and does someone come along and say like “hey I’ve got a riff” do you write it down or…
Fran our drummer and Scott the guitarist lock themselves in the garage by themselves for hours I mean they just by themselves they write the basis for the music we have Mike and Ryan come in and they do their bit and Scott and I work on the vocals together.
Do you write your own lyrics?
On the first album 90% of them are mine the new one
The new one? Umm..
Too bad your beautiful 90% of that’s mine the new one its going to be mostly mine but also a lot of help from other people
When is the new album coming out? Is there a release date?
Were going to try to record in February hopefully it will be out for the summer
I love the last track Short Stories With Tragic Endings and also Reflections the song with the long acoustic build up that with the flow of the lyrics I felt very poetic and the words I felt .you. SLIP AWAY when the song kicks off those two songs were really the ones that stood out to me
How would describe those songs?
Reflections is probably the only song on the album that is about a specific girl and I wrote that a long time ago it was the first song we ever wrote I kind of figured that because I don’t know there is something about it well the first line “I felt you slip away” is kind of a hint (I sound like a dumbass I know!) it’s a little, its going to be about someone you’ve just lost
Exactly..But it’s a real good work out song (laughter) the heaviest bands I listen to I tend to sort of lift my weights to..
Keep fit and all that?
Short stories is about people in relationships just generally deteriorating and finding out that people can live by themselves that you don’t need someone there and if they do happen to leave you or whatever you can still move on and live your life.
What sort of bands did you all grow up listening too then? And what bands guided your own musical pursuits?
My top three favourite bands are Led Zeppelin, Iron Maiden & Elvis Priestly
Without a doubt definitely, so there’s no real bands that we really like or that we cite as references but we just play music.
So aside from family and friends is that why there weren’t any band thankyous in the album sleeve?
Um we didn’t know anybody at the time also
Well its quite strange not lucky cause you are a very talented band what I’m trying to say is like you’ve only been around for a couple of years were as some bands strive for about ten years before they get signed and some don’t even do that?
We all work our asses off as soon as we joined and started the band and thought we had something going we put out our other interests we quit our jobs, quit school and we practised every day and we went on tour with nobody but an old van and we just toured the United States
That’s the way to do it though!
And we slept in the van every night and we shared two plates of food between five of us I mean we worked our assess off
When you go on tour do you have places top stay and food to eat (something all venues should supply) when I've talked to bands from America a lot of people say that doesn’t happen where as far as I know in the UK if you ask for food, if you ask for drink you’ll get it
What’s the difference have you noticed any between the UK and the US?
Not really too much the sound guys here are very professional. In the states there like whatever that’s good enough. Food we’ve been treated really well.
Are you guys on a tour bus?
We have a 12 passenger like bus that were sharing with Coheed And Cambria
Do you know those guys from New York?
We’ve toured with them over the past summer
I must admit I don’t really like them that much, I’m not used to that kind of sound (I've you’ve ever heard UK band Placebo you’ll know what I’m talking about) the singing style is a very a required taste definitely, very melodic.
What was the last great book you read?
The last book I read (concentrated look on face) its called me talk pretty one day by a guy called Davis Anaris (I hope that’s right?) he’s amazing he’s from America but he’s living in France at the moment he’s really good and that’s the last book I read! Right now I’m reading the Electric Cool Aid Acid Test by Charlton Woolf really good.
I've never heard of any of those my literary mind surrounds Michael Crichton and john Grisham and that’s it!
Oh right Crichton's good, Crichton's really good!
He has a new book out and you know that it will be on my Christmas list!
Is it called prey?
Yea it is
Sounds good though
How about your opinions of the straightedge? (To completely turn the conversation around)
I was straightedge for a long time and a few of us were in our younger days. I was straightedge for a long time but I’m a lot older I’m like 25 years old now I wanted to have a drink, I think its cool um it meant a lot to me at the time and I think if that can be a positive thing for kids to hold on to I mean its amazing
I don’t really see really examples of kids of drugs here but New York's completely different I live in Swindon not London which is between Bath and Reading its quite small but it hasn’t got a drug scene like for example (and the gigs in Camden) I got five different people asking if I wanted to buy weed that’s just walking around here in Camden that’s one little area one high street! In my eyes that’s pathetic
I have got one friend that quit Uni. and education because of his reliance on weed and to me it just makes me sad I don’t mind people drinking and such each to their own!
That’s what I say to each to there own people do what they want and if they deal with life in a certain way that’s how they deal with it and they should just do what they feel
Did ferret records approach you guys and how did you feel to be signed to a label & a reputable one at that, which could ensure people in Europe could for example have the opportunity to purchase it?
Ferret approached us at a show we played with Sky Came Falling Martyr AD and it was like two months after our demo had come out we were just soo excited (real enthusiasm in expression) that someone actually wanted to sign us so we signed with Ferret and they’ve been amazing.
Do they organise the tours?
Not really so much we did the first few tours on our own but we had some help later on but he’s gone above and beyond (Carl Severson) and he’s gone above and beyond what an independent label should do for the bands and he’s amazing
Explain what sort of things they do for you guys?
Like he’s helped us get here, he’s helped us come to the UK and there was a time I couldn’t pay my telephone bills so he paid my phone bill for me yea he’s there for us
Above and Beyond Definitely that’s really amazing (I was really taken aback) If I had a list of people behind the scenes to interview believe me Carl would be very near the top of that list!
Yet so many bands like on ferret records are really sort of brutal heavy label etc
It also helps our management company is called Sanctuary Management and they manage bands like iron Maiden and stuff like that
And they have an office over here in London so that’s a big help
Do you bring friends along on tour roadie or sell merch or do you guys don it yourselves?
Yea our friend Ryan comes out with us every tour since the start
Did he quit his job as well?
Yea he quit his job and were just starting to pay him now because we can afford it he’s been a great friend to us and he helps load our equipment every night
Will he always be with you?
I hope he’ll always be with us yea
Have you guys got Xmas and new years plans and are you going to be around family or not, playing shows?
We have shows up until the 23rd of December then on then way home from that show I’m being dropped at the airport and I’m going to Florida to see my parents for the first time in the year. So I’m going to hang out with them for a couple off days and then were going home practise and write our new stuff and then hopefully go back out on tour.
What do your parents think of what you do because some people have parents whom approve of it and some who don’t you know “son its not a good way to make living” I mean fuckin hell how many different countries haven they been too?
Exactly, at first they were like go back to school get a job do this and that but now I mean they can go to the store and buy a magazine and see my face in it and its just like amazing they walk around with our shirts on
Kids come up to them and are like “how do you know them?” and there like “oh that’s my son” and they are really proud of it and I mean it means a lot to me that they are happy with what I am doing and supporting me
Do they like the music?
My mum listens to the CD every day and I’m not sure if she likes it or not but she listens to it every day
What are your plans then over the coming months it’s the record isn’t it?
Were going to practise a lot get ready to record the album
Do you get like paid a wage from the record company do they um how does it work? Do you work or have to get a job when you are not on tour?
The label pays for everything recording hotels and whatever; we're going to go home and do the record and in January were going out with finch again here in the states
Are you coming back here with Finch?
No were not, we will come back sometime else. We have the rest of the dates with Finch a further two weeks then in Feb record and tour our assess off for the rest of the year!
I will kind of round up now is there anything or anyone you would like to give shout outs too? Bands that are coming up that we should look out for over here in the UK
Thrice, taking back Sunday from Long Island the guys who played tonight Funeral For A Friend they are really nice guys and that’s it!