Please give your name and duties in the band.
Jeremy: I’m Jeremy. I sing and boss people around.
Drew: Drew, and I play electric and sing backing vocals.
Andrew: Andrew…baker…or drummer…either one.
Mike: Mike Tobey-Mckenzie. Guitar and backing vocals.
Embers In Ashes has been around for a few years now. Can you give us a quick history lesson on Embers In Ashes?
Jeremy: A friend of mine and I wanted to start a band. Drew joined in, my other friend left and blah blah blah.
Drew: I had played in the Orange County, CA scene for three years before I started school at Samford, in Birmingham, AL. After a while I wanted to get back into the scene and I saw a flyer that Jeremy’s wife had put up around campus, and called it on a whim. Overtime, I brought in the other three guys making Embers in Ashes what it is today.
Mike: One day, Drew asked me if I wanted to join a band. I auditioned. The rest is history. At the time, Jeremy just wanted to sing without playing guitar and I was the only member they lacked.
Andrew: I’m in the kitchen…so I don’t really know.
What is the meaning (if any) behind the name Embers In Ashes?
Andrew: “We might still be able to make more cookies.”
Drew: Embers in Ashes comes from Isaiah 61, which is basically our mission statement. Isaiah 61, in a nutshell, says that Christ called us to bring hope to the broken.
Jeremy: Life In what is seemingly death, its my story and it sounds cooler than beauty from ashes.
Mike: To me, the “embers” in the “ashes” are those that need to hear our message. When we speak our message as commanded, God restores those “embers” into a flame, an eternal flame. We were all dying embers in a bed of ashes when Jesus found us and restored us.
What brought you guys together, and what has kept you together this far?
Andrew: I played in a few gigs with Drew, and he really likes the cookies.
Jeremy: My wife won’t let me quit.
Drew: Our common passion for spreading love and hope, as well as having fun playing music together. We’re all total nerds and will talk video games or comics with you all day, so that’s another commonality. But we’re in it because this is where each one of us feel called for the time being. God has blessed us with the opportunities we’ve had so far, and He won’t let us give up as long as we can still share His love.
Mike: Jesus. 100%.
What is the number one priority/purpose of the band?
Andrew: Definitely to show the hope and love of Christ…but who doesn’t want a ballin’ cookie with their face on it?
Mike: To show people that God has done for us what we could never do for ourselves. He has made a way for us to be righteous in and of Himself, with no credit to any action we could provide. He loves us. There is Hope. There is Grace.
Drew: Our number one priority is to bring hope to the broken and just show people that they’re loved through our music and actions on and off stage. We love being available to talk with people about anything.
Jeremy: To reach people for Christ, to show others that there is Hope and a savior that LOVES YOU.
You’ve recently announced that you will be releasing a new album. Can you share more details with us about this?
Drew: We’re stoked to be heading back into the studio to put out our first full length album. We’ve grown a lot as musicians since our last release are able to do much more musically. Jeremy’s new lyrics are awesome and will pack a punch. There may or may not be some tapping on the guitars.
Jeremy: We need money to record it, http://www.indiegogo/embersinashes.
Mike: We already have multiple songs written that will be featured on the new LP. It’s going to be amazing. But we need help. Things like this just don’t appear out of thin air by sheer will. Donate to our ministry should you feel lead to.
Andrew: Got a dollar?
What sort of things will you be doing different on this new album as opposed to your previous EP?
Jeremy: It will be a bit more edgy but nothing that would turn out older listeners away.
Andrew: It’s gonna be pretty New Age…like a mix of Enya and Phil Collins.
Mike: It will be much more dynamic. New sounds to attract new listeners but a fairly clean approach that our older listeners love and that allow us to be on the radio. It will melt your face but also provoke reflection all at the same time, all without confusing you with overly-complex guitars and screaming vocals.
Drew: More technical, but also more simple at the same time. But because I can’t describe it well, I guess you’ll just have to wait until late spring/early summer of 2012 for the release!
You’ve recently announced that you’ve signed to Red Cord Records? What was the path to choosing this label? Were there any other labels in the picture?
Jeremy: Yes there were other labels and Drew can answer the rest.
Mike: There were other labels, but God orchestrated what has taken place. We pray and rely on Him to orchestrate even more to bring glory to His Name.
Drew: We had a few options, but Red Cord really stood out to me. I remember reading an interview with Joey about Red Cord on IVM and it really stood out to me. Ever since then I’ve kept an eye on them, eventually we started keeping in touch, and now we’re signed with them!
As a lyricist, do you believe in a blatant (straightforward) or eloquent (metaphorical) approach?
Jeremy: I believe it depends on what God tells me to write. Each song is different so a good mix of both is good. A ton of prayer goes into the lyrics of each song.
Mike: It’s all based on prayer and what God wants for that song. This is His band and His songs He inspires us to write for Him.
Who influences your music? Where do you get your ideas?
Jeremy: I love Foofighters, Incubus, Hoobastank, 5 for fighting, Plankeye, Killswitch. but really the ideas come from A WIDE variety of styles and genres.
Andrew: If it’s groovy, I love it. I also REALLY love bubblegum pop, and that is by no means a joke or lie. Heavy and low-tuned is also a big plus. Dream Theater and Necrophagist were big influences in high school.
Mike: Andrew, our drummer is simply a prodigy. He inspires me and influences me immensely. I wouldn’t be the same guitarist without him and I will continue to become better simply because of him pushing me. Also, I listen to a ton of hardcore and metalcore, this influences me greatly. But I also spend a fair amount of time listening to slower-paced indie rock that has begun to affect my writing.
Drew: Personally, I pull influences from all over. I’ll listen to everything from Tchaikovsky to Norma Jean. I enjoy diversity in music, so it’s fun trying to bring different approaches to the table for each song
What’s your favourite song that you have written and why?
Andrew: Rescued Me. I love moody stuff, and I also don’t ever pay attention to lyrics…but it definitely has a fantastic message.
Jeremy: Rescued Me. Its slower, sweeter and the message says it all.
Drew: My favourite song off our Sorrow Scars EP was Rescued Me, because the lyrics hit home, and it’s just fun to play too. However, Outsiders is my favorite overall, because the writing process was extremely team oriented.
Mike: I would have to say “Outsiders”. It mixes great vocals and thoughtful lyrics with insanely tasteful guitars.
What is your production workflow like? As in, how do you produce a song, start to finish?
Jeremy: There is really no way to answer this because we will all have different answer …imagine a group of baboons trapped in a room with instruments…
Andrew: Yell at Jeremy for no reason, hear Mike play the same Harmonic Minor scale multiple times, watch Drew fiddle with his delay pedal. I bake until I’m needed.
Mike: Each song is usually based on something that one of us has loosely written, and then we, together, build the song keeping dynamics in mind. Again, it’s all based on Jesus. He orchestrates stuff like that.
What has been the most defining moment for Embers in Ashes up to this point?
Jeremy: Finding out Mike is a Jew.
Mike: The signing of course. But definitely the recording of the EP in Los Angeles with producer Tomas Costanza. Additionally, I think the people and members God has given us in the last year have really been the most defining moments for the group.
Andrew: Finding out Mike is Jewish.
Do you find it hard to be a Christian band in your genre of music
Mike: Yes and no. It’s always hard being a Christian in this world because everything we live for is contrary to the world. But at the same time, it’s what is in our hearts, so we do this with joy, no matter the cost. We can’t help but be as faithful as possible to the God who has made this all occur.
Jeremy: We find it hard to survive haha
Andrew: Being a Christian band period regardless of genre is hard already, but playing heavier music is a double-whammy. The music industry as a whole just isn’t overly kind to either of those things.
Which band member smells the worst and why?
Jeremy: Mike, because he wears way to much AXE so its more of an issue of to much of the mess is so strong it will give you a headache.
Mike: Andrew. He doesn’t believe in deodorant or daily cleaning.
Andrew: Mike…because he wears poop-tons of Axe to smell good for 14-year-old girls.
Drew: Majority rules: Mike.
What has been the most difficult or “trying” time for the band?
Jeremy: RIGHT NOW. We have to raise 6500 dollars and we’re at…like 300….
Andrew: Pretty much right now.
Mike: The past 6 months. For multiple reasons.
Drew: Now. But it’s also a great time for the band as well, because we have never trusted God more as a collective. It’s been a great time of growth and co-aligning with God’s mission for us.
Who are 3 active current bands/artists you’d like to tour with?
Jeremy: ….Nickelback…. haha
Mike: Emery, Ivoryline, and My Epic.
Andrew: I don’t know about 3 bands I can name since touring with any is a cool thing…but I’d love to tour with Animals as Leaders. Not really anywhere near the same genre or speed of our music, but they have a great stage appearance and appear to genuinely love playing.
Drew: Anberlin, Sent By Ravens, Ivoryline, and the Classic Crime.
Who are some of your favourite artists to tour with? Any crazy tour stories you’d like to share?
Jeremy: Drew, Mike, Ryan and Andrew are my favorite artists…Distal (RIP).
Mike: Pretty much the artists in this band. They’re amazing friends and all hilarious.
Drew: Other than these hooligans, the guys in Silverline, I Am Empire, and Distal are awesome. I don’t think I’m at liberty to say… haha. All I can say is Jeremy was reeeeeaally sleepy.
What is your favourite album of the year so far?
Mike: Wow, that’s a hard question to answer. “Leveler” by August Burns Red was pretty awesome, I’m in love with “Children of Fire” by Oh, Sleeper, and My Epic released an album this year called “Broken Voice” and it simply the most playable album I’ve listened to a while.
Jeremy: I like the new Five for Fighting album.
Andrew: Good question. So far, the most impressive one I’ve listened to that’s a full album is “Februus” by Uneven Structure. As far as EP’s go, “The Compass” from Circles takes the cake.
Drew: Thrice’s “Major/Minor” and Life in Your Way’s “Kingdoms” EPs. Both albums have amazing lyrics and are insanely well done musically. “Broken Voice” by My Epic is also a great one.
What do you guys do to continuously push yourselves from letting mediocrity set in?
Jeremy: We beat Mike with a club.
Mike: We meditate on Ronald Reagan, Chuck Norris, and George Bush while watching their speeches and “Walker, Texas Ranger” in still reverence.
Andrew: The bakery.
Drew: Keeping each other accountable in our journey with Christ is probably the most important thing we do. What’s awesome is that we’re not just a band, but we’re a group of best friends that is constantly pushing each other spiritually.
What is one major positive and one major negative aspect about the current state of the music industry?
Mike: Positive? Not a lot of positives right now. Negative? Too many to mention.
Drew: Positive: the internet has definitely helped unknown artists gain fans. Negative: Piracy.
Jeremy: The HUGE amount of competition out there forces you to bring your ‘A’ game. (TONS MORE but ill list that one) That really can be a positive as well though.
Andrew: It seems like the industry is starting to loosen it’s non-acceptance on heavier music, but they are also starting to throw fees on everything that make is suuuuuuper hard to even pay for food.
Thanks for taking the time to stay in touch with your fans at Indie Vision Music. Is there anything else you’d like to add to this interview?
Jeremy: I like goats and guns.
Andrew: You want a cookie with your face on it?
Mike: Give us your money. We’re opening a bakery.
Drew: Thanks! You guys are awesome. If you have the chance, go read John 3:30, and Isaiah 61. Keep an eye out for the “Fighting Words Tour,” and expect our full length out late spring/early summer of 2012 (donate at http://www.indiegogo.com/helpembersinashes to help make it happen)! Keep us in your prayers and God bless!