Making a Positive Impact With Music

Making a Positive Impact With Music

South Carolina band Angels Among Ashes talks about life,music, and the importance of it all.
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Angels Among Ashes is a Metalcore band with influences such as As I Lay Dying, Parkway Drive, A Day To Remember, Issues, Atreyu , Memphis May Fire, and After The Burial. With all these great influences within their music it’s easy to see why the South Carolina band is getting quite a bit of buzz. The overall goal for this band has always been to have a sound that tries to bring certain elements of traditional metalcore and blend it with some of the modern sounds of today. Something that AAA has bought up and I totally agree with is that “Most current bands with the exception of a few have abandoned the dual lead and harmonized riff techniques for a super rhythmic much less melodic song structure. Then you get to the other side of the spectrum with progressive metal bands. They are still very rhythmic and super technical melodically but often times loose that catchiness that appeals to the mainstream fanbase.” In a lot of ways they would be correct. A lot of bands particularly feel, especially within the realm of metalcore, that you have to flow to one side of a river. But when that river breaks off into another direction and into the sea it’s considered to be taboo or that you are not really dedicated to the genre as a whole. Angels Among Ashes are one of those bands that believes that you can go in both directions without abandoning mainstream, simple or technical styles. “Our goal is to bring back the riff, incorporate the rhythmic side of things, add in a touch of a progressive element, and deliver a song that will get stuck in your head all with a message most people can identify with and relate to. We just hope to be the change in people’s lives and inspire everyone we can in any way we can.” This band has always been about the positive messages they seem to bring to others and I for one can’t wait to see what happens next with up and coming band. You can listen to Angels Among Ashes on ITunes, YouTube, Facebook, Spotify, Bandcamp, Reverbnation, Amazon, and Google Play. Be sure to Join their mailing list at angelsamongashes.net and you’ll get a free download of our song “By This Time Tomorrow”. Because who isn’t interested in new and free music? Happy Listening!

Hey guys thanks for letting me interview you! So I wanted to start off with a rather basic question but it's important nonetheless. A band's name sort of sets up the tone for the band and will also set them apart from many other bands obviously. How did you come up with the band’s name and what’s the story behind that?

Angels Among Ashes We actually took our time coming up with the name because as a band the name is your brand. We wanted to try and incorporate a light and a dark element along with something meaningful to us. Angels Among Ashes means you can find the brightest light in some of the darkest places. There’s goodness everywhere. I think it’s important to sometimes put some focus on positive in a world consumed by life’s negativity.



I think that’s a pretty cool and positive message for your fans and also future fans who will invest time in your music. Okay, well tell me a little bit about yourselves for my readers?


Brandon Arnett – Vocalist, I’ve been in several bands starting from 15 years old. I have pretty much stayed on the heavier side of the music world having been in deathcore bands metalcore and post hardcore. I actually moved down to South Carolina from the Chicago area to try and get this band started and have been living here consistently for about 2 years.

Kevin Giarro – Guitar, I’m originally from upstate New York. I moved here to South Carolina at about 10 years old. I’ve always been a fan of metalcore but I have always had an appreciation for all sorts of genres. When I’m not playing music you could find me shooting pool, catching up on my favorite T.V. series or catching some live music. My favorite bands are As I Lay Dying, Parkway Drive, Avenged Sevenfold, Memphis May Fire, and A Day To Remember.

Devin French – Bass, I was born and raised in South Carolina. Bass guitar is my passion in life which I have been playing since I was 13 years old. My favorite color is olive green. My favorite genre of music is math rock. I love to skateboard in my free time. My favorite bands are American football, Penpal, System Of A Down, A Picture Of Her, and early Blink 182.




All very cool bands to listen to. Devin I’m also really into math rock as well and skateboard as well. I feel that American Football is one of the best hidden treasures to great music, and A picture of Her is by far one of my favorite bands of all time. Another unpopular treasure in the world of music. What genre of music do you consider your work to be? Who are your major influences?

We are a Metalcore band with influences such as As I Lay Dying, Parkway Drive, A Day To Remember, Issues, Atreyu, Memphis May Fire, After The Burial , and many others.

Very nice, very nice. So every band has a starting point as to where they met and how, what’s your story on that?

Brandon moved here when original drummer “Woodie” (Matthew Boucher) asked him to relocate and start a band with him. Brandon met some people at a local convenience store who gave them Kevin’s number and mentioned he may be interested in starting a band. Our original bass player and guitar player were friends of Kevin

When did you form your band? What inspired you to make music together?

We all have a deep passion and love for what we do and I feel like we all think this is what we were meant to do. Music has been such a huge part of our lives and helped us through so much we just want to be the one of the bands that lift people up and positively impact others the way so many bands did for us.

I can agree that music is a great coping mechanism for a lot of the unhappiness in life, and it can be a source of great comfort and inspiration to others. So I’m supposing many fans want to know, are you signed to a record label?

No, we are not currently signed or a member of any music organizations.


This is always my favorite question out of the interview because I dabble in guitar myself and always life to see what people like to play or what instruments make certain songs so amazing. I think you get the gist of this without me geeking out to much over this question haha. What can you tell me about your instruments guys?



Our vocalist is pretty dedicated to peavey gear. He uses an all peavey p.a. from powered mixer speakers and mics. They make really solid gear and we’re in the process of upgrading to peavey 6505+ amplifiers. Other than that if it looks good and sounds good we’ll use it.

Awesome! I’m definitely going to have to check some of that stuff out for myself, so where have you guys performed? What are your favorite and least favorite venues? Do you have any upcoming shows?

We played the Rockhouse live II in Memphis I’d say that’s our furthest show away from Columbia, SC to date but we always love playing New Brookland Tavern in our hometown. The people are always really cool the sound is good and we typically have really good turnouts here. Actually we have a show there July 23rd. You should come out! haha

I’ll definitely try to make it out there guys’ lol. Which songs do you perform most frequently? Do you ever play any covers? Do you have a set play list?

We currently play our demo the title track from our upcoming EP “Infinity” and we cover “A Shot In The Dark” By A Day To Remember our set list is:

1. Intro
2. Cold front Commando
3. Scarlet
4. Saigon
5. A Shot In The Dark
6. By This Time Tomorrow
7. Infinity







Who writes your songs? What are the main themes or topics for most of your songs? Do you think these topics will change over time?

We write all of our own songs. I feel as a band anything less is kind of cheating your fans lol. Right now every song we have was written by Brandon, Kevin, and our ex guitar player Keith Alston (relocated to WA forcing him to leave the band)

In our demo we wrote about the trials and tribulations of relationships with the exception of “Scarlet”. “Scarlet” was about being proud of who you are and to embrace and utilize what makes you unique. Don’t let negative feedback or harsh words bring you down because every person is important in their own way.

Our EP is a bit of a concept album. It tells the story of one man’s journey to find himself in a world that he’s no longer content with. Every song he faces a new tragedy or a moral conflict pushing him further away from the status-quo. So to answer your question, yes our concepts have and will change. It depends on the image we’re trying to convey with each new release.



“A new tragedy or a moral conflict pushing him further away from the status-quo”, I really dig that idea, it’s pretty deep stuff and I think all of us try to do that in one way or another to further differentiate ourselves from others or to just find ourselves and be comfortable with where ever that may lead us. Okay, so we are going to dive a little deeper into the music for a bit. Could you briefly describe your music-making process when it comes to sitting down and making a song or a whole record?

Typically we’ll start with the guitars and get a rough song structure. Then we’ll begin to add in other instruments and tweak things as necessary. Our vocalist start writing lyrics at about 60-70% complete and we tweak a few things here in there to make sure everything fits together fluidly. Then we start rehearsing it fully.

What are your rehearsals generally like? Do you have a set time each week in which you practice or are rehearsals more spontaneous?


We usually start off talking about upcoming events and goals we’re trying to accomplish. Then we run the set and try to iron out any kinks. Finally we’ll just jam out any new ideas and see if we can find inspiration for a new song.

Practices have typically been Tuesdays and Thursday 5pm – 8pm and Saturdays 2pm – 8pm provided we don’t have any scheduling conflicts and we have to reschedule.

How has your music evolved since you first began playing music together?

I feel like we have a better sense of who we are as musicians and what sound we’re aiming for. We’ve been able to add some cool new elements that we didn’t have before. We’re a little more progressive, edgy, and a lot more polished sonically.

Understood, sounds great guys. What has been your biggest challenge as a band? Have you been able to overcome that challenge? If so, how?

Our biggest challenge has been finding reliable members that pull their own weight. Since 2015 we’ve had to replace a few members now for the second time. I’m not going to go into any specifics on who did what and why but to make a long story short we just haven’t been able to find quality members and it’s something we are still struggling with today.

Finding dedicated band members is something that I find a lot of bands go through, and it’s hard when you are dedicated to your craft and there isn’t the same common goal with other bandmates. But eventually you will find these that are committed to what you do and that is what makes the dream worthwhile. What's your ultimate direction for your band? What would you want people to take away from your new music?

We are at the core a metalcore band. It’s what we love and are passionate about. We hope that our music can bring a positive change in people’s lives and give them the same out lit so many bands gave us. Our new music is there to educate and inform. We feel the world as a whole is on a very dangerous path and if we don’t come together and make the necessary changes future generations will be forced to pay for our mistakes. I could go on a long rant but I’ll refrain haha

What advice do you have for people who want to form their own bands?

Be very clear in what your plan is. Outline your goals and start to make it happen. If you want to be a local band and just play some shows that’s awesome it shouldn’t be too difficult but if you’re trying to be serious and develop it into a career research and educate yourself. No one is going to come in to your local venue and off you a contract. You have to have a business plan, marketing plan, fan base beyond your local scene, a pleasing sound, and you absolutely 100% have to tour, tour, tour. Labels don’t help develop bands anymore so you need to do all the leg work yourself. It’s time consuming expensive and stressful but if you believe in yourself it’s definitely all worth it.

How can fans-to-be gain access to your music?

We are literally everywhere. ITunes, YouTube, Facebook, Spotify, Bandcamp, Reverbnation, Amazon, Google Play, and you can join our mailing list @ angelsamongashes.net and you’ll get a free download of our song “By This Time Tomorrow”. Free music is always good right?

Is there anyone you'd like to acknowledge for offering support over the years as you continue with your success as a band?

Absolutely! Our guitar players parents Andy and Sue Giarro have been more help than you can imagine. I’ve seriously never met more supportive parents. Endless gratitude to both of them. We’d also like to thank our good friends Noelle and Alice. Noelle does merch for us most shows even in some less than pleasing environments and she has truly been amazing to all of us. We’ve always called her the 6th member of Angels Among Ashes. Alice is honestly our biggest fan if you think she’s not, mosh with her. LOL She comes out to almost every show we play and always shows so much love and support its unreal. Finally our producer Matt Jacques has been such a pleasure to work with and always supportive in and out of the studio. He gives us supper valuable coaching on some things and really helps us clarify our vision and direction as a band. He even filled in on guitar at our last show! He’s a super smart and capable individual and we couldn’t be more blessed to have him in our corner.

Alright thanks guys for your time, its been fun! Are there any last words for your fans before we conclude this interview?

To all of our fans THANK YOU! Your kind words, advice, and support have helped us keep moving through our darkest times. We can’t believe we have so many amazing people believing in us and pulling for us. Without you there would be no AAA. WE LOVE YOU ALL!


Cover Image Credit: https://www.facebook.com/AngelsAmongAshesBand

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I'm The Girl Without A 'Friend Group'

And here's why I'm OK with it

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Little things remind me all the time.

For example, I'll be sitting in the lounge with the people on my floor, just talking about how everyone's days went. Someone will turn to someone else and ask something along the lines of, "When are we going to so-and-so's place tonight?" Sometimes it'll even be, "Are you ready to go to so-and-so's place now? Okay, we'll see you later, Taylor!"

It's little things like that, little things that remind me I don't have a "friend group." And it's been like that forever. I don't have the same people to keep me company 24 hours of the day, the same people to do absolutely everything with, and the same people to cling to like glue. I don't have a whole cast of characters to entertain me and care for me and support me. Sometimes, especially when it feels obvious to me, not having a "friend group" makes me feel like a waste of space. If I don't have more friends than I can count, what's the point in trying to make friends at all?

I can tell you that there is a point. As a matter of fact, just because I don't have a close-knit clique doesn't mean I don't have any friends. The friends I have come from all different walks of life, some are from my town back home and some are from across the country. I've known some of my friends for years, and others I've only known for a few months. It doesn't really matter where they come from, though. What matters is that the friends I have all entertain me, care for me, and support me. Just because I'm not in that "friend group" with all of them together doesn't mean that we can't be friends to each other.

Still, I hate avoiding sticking myself in a box, and I'm not afraid to seek out friendships. I've noticed that a lot of the people I see who consider themselves to be in a "friend group" don't really venture outside the pack very often. I've never had a pack to venture outside of, so I don't mind reaching out to new people whenever.

I'm not going to lie, when I hear people talking about all the fun they're going to have with their "friend group" over the weekend, part of me wishes I could be included in something like that. I do sometimes want to have the personality type that allows me to mesh perfectly into a clique. I couldn't tell you what it is about me, but there is some part of me that just happens to function better one-on-one with people.

I hated it all my life up until very recently, and that's because I've finally learned that not having a "friend group" is never going to be the same as not having friends.

SEE ALSO: To The Girls Who Float Between Friend Groups

Cover Image Credit: wordpress.com

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Poetry On The Odyssey: It's a Girl

An ode to the little girl raised to be insecure.

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They raise little girls to be insecure

Little girls grow to be big girls

People always ask big girls why they're so insecure

Big girls aren't quite sure

Day after day the big girl can't keep up

She's exhausted

Her soul feels worn

The big girl learns to grow hard

In a way, she's a bit stronger

People call her a bitch

Bitch

What is that?

How can she let that affect her

It's simply the only way to be her

She mourns that little girl

Hoping that one day

She'll be strong


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