Please list all of your band members and their roles in the band.
Rusty Sparks – Vocals
Chad Anderson – Drums/Vocals
Timothy Hartman – Lead Guitar
Mark Cole – Bass
Zach Burger - Guitar
For starters, what bands were you guys a part of prior to From These Ruins? How long has the band been around?
From These Ruins has been around since the beginning of 2012 by founding members Rusty, Chad and Tim. Like most bands, in those early stages, we had other members come and go until we finally found the right people in Zach and Mark to complete the line-up.
Just before joining and forming From These Ruins, both Tim and Mark came from a metal band called Deify. Rusty, spent many years in a band called Brazen Serpent and Zach played with a band called Orion. Our drummer, Chad, was part of a project called Page Seven, which had some regional success before disbanding and he becoming a founding member of From These Ruins.
What’s the origin of that name and have you changed the band’s name before?
The original name for the band was Descendant. After a few months and really defining who we were becoming as a band, we decided to change the name to From These Ruins. Faith being a huge part of who we are, the name actually comes from John 2:19. Christ says destroy this temple and I will rebuild it in 3 days. We can identify with rising up from the ashes; with being born anew. We (everyone) have ability to face adversity, and from these ruins, build back up.
Who writes your songs? What are the main themes or topics for most of your songs and do you think these topics will change over time?
The song writing process is truly a collaborative effort. Rusty is largely responsible for the lyrical content. Although, there are many times that another band member will have a great lyric or great vocal idea and that easily becomes the inspiration for a song. It goes the same the other way. Most of the time the band, with a taste of a drum groove, or a sick guitar lick, will write the music. There are those occasions that Rusty, (playing a little guitar himself) will come in with a musical idea that becomes a song or part of a song.
We are fortunate enough to meet and talk with a lot of people being on the road. Through all of these conversations, we have realized that there are a lot more of us who have dealt with or are dealing with struggle, than people may realize. Our inspiration for our songs comes from these conversations, because we have all been there.
We write about our lives experiences, the good the bad and the ugly. We told ourselves that above all else, we will be honest with the people who listen to our music. In turn, people tell us they appreciate and they relate with what we are saying, and a lot of times have gone through something very similar, themselves. We want to tell people our stories, what we are going through, there is hope and that they are not alone. You too, can persevere.
What bands are currently inspiring the music that you’re making?
There are a lot of bands that we all really love and that continue to inspire us. Some of the bands that come to mind immediately are A Day to Remember, Underoath, Bless The Fall, The Browning. Of course, some of our earlier inspirations are always a part of our creative process, including Sevendust, Demon Hunter and Bullet For My Valentine.
Was there a particular band/artist or concert that inspired you to start a band?
We all had various bands or acts that were that first inspiration to start playing music and forming a band, as you can imagine. For instance, Tim got his first real taste of wanting to be a musician from his first music festival experience at Cornerstone. Seeing so many bands putting their hearts out on the stage made it easy for him to want to form a band.
Most of the band can agree, however, that Metallica was probably one of the main influences that made us want to pick up and play the metal at early ages. From the stage performance to the huge live productions and of course, the music! It is Metallica after all. Lars was a huge influence on Chad and his visual style drumming, for example. Having so much fun behind the kit and interacting with the crowd are definitely things that Chad still does at every show, carried on from that early impression of Lars.
What do you do to prepare for a show? Any flexing, exercises, etc …
We actually do A LOT of stretching both before and after a show. People have told us that seeing us live is like a full contact sport! We go hard every show and leave it all on the stage. To keep up with our pretty rigorous touring schedule, we have to stretch and exercise. It would be a challenge to maintain so many shows without it.
Everyone also has their own personal warmups as well. Finger tapping and scales for the guitar players, vocal exercises for Chad and Rusty since Rusty does double duty with clean and dirty vocals. You can usually hear a good hands a feet warm up or two with a double kick pedal and drum pads from Chad pretty much constantly. After all of that and getting mentally prepared for the show, we all come together, reflect and say a prayer together just before taking the stage.
What has been the biggest highlight of the band’s career so far?
That is a challenging question to answer, having been fortunate enough to share the stage and tour with so many awesome bands, and have met so many great people, would have to be right at the top. However, probably the most exciting was releasing our album, Advocate of the Unwanted. We worked so hard on the record and really poured our hearts and souls in it. It was a transitional time for FTR and coming out of all life’s crazy things it was throwing at us individually, with our heads held high, and an album we are so proud of, is a major highlight. It just reconfirms the fact that we can persevere.
One other highlight to note (that places a really close second) would be the release of our music video for Slave to Nothing. Having such an amazing visual representation for what we do is really exciting. Besides, who doesn’t want to have a sick music video, anyway?!
If you could tour with any bands, past or present, who would they be and why?
Wow, another tough one to answer! There are so many, where do we even begin?!
I think an obvious one that we can all agree would be Slipknot. The sheer spectacle of it all and being a part of a major tour would be a dream come true. Of course, we all have our hero bands that we would just give anything to play with because who doesn’t want the opportunity to play with their heroes? To have the chance to get mentored by and learn from some of the greats would be beyond incredible. Bands like Led Zeppelin, Demon Hunter and Metallica would definitely be at the top of that list.
There are also bands that we would love to tour with simply because we are fans of the band ourselves and would like nothing more than be able to get to know them better, have a lot of fun and be able to learn from as well. Killswitch Engage immediately comes to mind. Bands like A Day To Remember, Sevendust and Bless The Fall easily make that list.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
A recurring theme that we come across is that people feel as though they are the only ones going through things. They are the only ones in the world feeling this certain way. Alone on an island. We are here to tell them and show them that they are not. From These Ruins have been there and have seen the darkness, and we are here to tell people that they are with kindred spirits. We are their advocates. More importantly, there is always hope especially if you have the courage to believe in that hope. That is who we are. We always encourage anyone to reach out to us for any reason at all. Come talk to us at a show or hit us up on any social media. We are here for you, unwanted ones.