Interview with Ashes Of Our Sins, contributed by Meryl DeWitt


Ready for a new group of young gun, guitar slingin’, heavy drinkin’, rockers? I present to you… Ashes of Our Sins. Four hot-to-trot headbangers take to the scene in Philadelphia, PA. With influences of Mötley Crüe and Crashdïet, they adorn the hair metal look and sound. Recently Drift & Die Press sat down and interviewed the band.

Make sure to pick up Ashes of Our Sins’ debut EP Born In Blood coming soon!



DND: What’s the general concept & mission of Ashes of Our Sins?

 Izzy Addams: That’s the best question you’ve asked so far! We want this to be fun. For us, for the fans, and for everyone. Just because this is a business doesn’t mean you can’t have fun while doing it. We’ll never be the band that goes on stage and just stare at our shoes while we play. Fuck that!

 Tommy Hayze: Our mission is to not be the band this scene deserves, but the band the rock scene needs.

 Austin Balthaser: To create and play the music we love for the entertainment of our fans. Not just to make it as a band, but to learn and experience the full thrill of achieving what we’ve all dreamed about since we were kids, TOURING THE WORLD!


DND: What’s the story behind the band name?

 Zak Riott: So this one time right, before the band was formed, we were all together with another “friend.” Well, this “friend” had a little too much to drink, going a little wild and ended up grabbing a knife, swinging it around at the rest of us. We were trying to get the knife away from him while also trying not to get stabbed. One of us eventually got behind him and reached out to grab his arms. In an attempt to stab at the one behind him, he ended up slitting his own throat. I know, hard to believe, but it happened. So what are we to do with a body on our hands? Well we burned it and spread his ashes. Before the ashes were spread, the urn was held up and proclaimed as “The Ashes Of Our Sins.” And its like, that’d be a kickass band name!

That’s the story. Swear to God.

 DND: How’d you all meet & get started as a band?

Tommy: We were all at a Cher look alike contest. Zach came in first, obviously. And through the contest they were playing the song “If I Could Turn Back Time.” Austin starts clapping his hands to the rhythm. Izzy and I are humming to the music and then Zach starts singing. It was at that moment that two things happened. I said to myself, 1. That’s the prettiest 3 guys I’ve ever seen, I need an excuse to be around them more, and 2. We should start a band!

Zak: Well I, Zak, was going to New York to see one of our favorite bands, Crashdïet. I got a call from one of my friends asking if I had room in my car for another. I did. I was going to give a ride to a friend of his, who happened to be our bass player, Tommy. Tommy and I had run into each other a couple of times in the past, but never really spent much time together. Needless to say, we had a blast that night and became friends.

Sidenote: Tommy thought I was a “douche” before that night. The reason he thought that, if you ask him, is “Just because.”

Fast-forward a few months and I’m meeting up with Tommy at a Falling in Reverse show. I get there and find him. Izzy’s there with him and we hit if off right away, becoming quick friends. They already had the band formed at this time, but were looking to make some lineup changes. Initially, I was in the running to sign on as a second guitar player, but not too long after was asked to be frontman instead.

Fast-forward about six months after I sign on as singer. Izzy and I are at a show and meet some new people that we keep in contact with. While talking to one of them over Facebook, it comes up that we’re looking for a drummer. He then drops Austin’s name to me and we get in contact with him. And here we are.

P.S. You may be thinking, “This kind of clashes with the previous story as to how the band name was settled upon.” But it doesn’t. Don’t think too far into it.

DND: Do personalities ever clash?

Austin: For the most part, no. No two humans are alike, but we all click pretty well as a band. We connect pretty closely when it comes to writing new material and hanging out as friends.

 Izzy: I can’t say they do. We’re all into different things and have different styles and influences. But we have a respect for each other, both as musicians and as friends, and will try anything that’s brought to the table.

DND: How long has the band been together?

Tommy: One and a half years musically. Four romantically.

Zak: Tommy and Izzy have been bandmates for about four years now. I’ve been in the band for close to a year and a half. Austin’s been with us for seven or eight months.

Izzy: Putting the two answers together……Tommy and I sort of have a thing.

DND: Any interesting stories from the early days of the band?

Tommy: Well, one time we were in Santa Monica, and four other dudes and us went riding on our motorcycles and we all passed out in a cave after drinking. Anyway, we wake up and Corey Feldman and Corey Haim have stakes out trying to kill us! Talk about a shitty morning.

Zak: I was with Izzy when he got the band Winger’s logo tattooed on the bottom of his foot. That was pretty memorable.

Izzy: The teddy bear.

DND: Who’s the band trouble maker? Worst trouble he ever got himself into?

Zak: I’d have to say Tommy. I haven’t personally been there for his worst times, but have heard stories of him falling asleep outside on people’s lawns on multiple occasions.

Izzy: Tommy. Same reasoning as Zak. I think there’s a story of him falling out of an upstairs window once.

Tommy: (no comment)

Austin: I walk a pretty straight line, I mean I was DJ’ing a house party of almost 300 people that got raided by cops, haha. Lost my license for 90 days. Reason why I couldn’t join Ashes right away.

DND: Who’s the band’s ladies man? Has he ever had any horror story w/ groupies?

Izzy: Definitely Austin. Sometimes he even shows up to practice in a skirt and some grape fruit shoved in his shirt. I mean we accept it and it makes him happy. But he’s definitely the ladies man of the band.


DND: What’s the best gig & the worst gig stories you have?

Austin: Some of my most fun moments with Ashes resides in our experiences on stage. We never play two shows that are alike. There’s always some kind of comedic aspect to our live show that changes what kind of crowd we have. It’s not only great to see people rocking, but creating a few laughs during the set (especially at one of our favorite venues, Dobbs). Dobbs has housed us from the beginning. I’d say in particular our first show there on July 4th was the most pleasing for us all. It was one of the first times playing together. We had a large crowd, and just had a ridiculously good time!

Izzy: We’re at some shitty nothing bar/restaurant in bumble fuck nowhere. We had our set cut short and maybe only got paid 20% of what we were promised. On top of that, some wacko “fan” stole the mixer for our microphones. We got a ransom message later that night demanding money for it to be returned. Won’t share how we got back at the venue. Got the mixer back and didn’t spend a dime. Needless to say, any gig where none of that happens is a win to me. I’m easy.

Tommy: Best gig story is eating at Lorenzo’s after playing Dobbs. They have weights in the top room. Worst- we’re perfect. We don’t have bad gigs.

DND: Best tour/studio prank you’ve ever pulled or been victim to?

Tommy: I think the only victim was the guy who had to record us.

Izzy: And he let us stay overnight. So he had to put up with us quite a bit!

DND: Tell me about what work you’ve already done?

Austin: We have five songs ready to come out on our debut EP “Born in Blood.”

DND: Can you give a little insight into what you’re working on at the moment?

Izzy: We’re all constantly writing, which is really great. It’s exciting to see what everyone’s got ready. Booking as many shows as humanly possible and always working on getting our name out there to as many people as we can. We’re also in the process of sending press packets to radio stations, record labels, etc., setting up some promo for the release of our EP.

Tommy: Well after going back in time, we’ve decided to write the greatest song in the history of songwriting that’ll save the earth. In the future, everyone will be happy, the water will be clean, the air will be clean, even the dirt will be clean.


DND: What’s the studio atmosphere like for you all?

Zak: For the most part, it was very relaxed and fun.

Izzy: It was a very busy experience. A lot of travel went it to making this EP. We went to one guy to record the drums, another guy for the guitars and bass, another for vocals, and yet another to mix and master it. We didn’t want to cut any corners recording this. We wanted the absolute best we could find for each individual aspect. I think it’s that determination and commitment to what we do that will really make it stick out.

DND: What’s your writing process like?

Austin: We all pretty much come up with the songs. Someone will bring in an idea and we’ll pick it apart, dissecting it each and every way until it comes out as something that we all love. We put all our time and effort into every song we write so in our opinions, there’s no filler songs. It’s really a full band effort more than an individual member.

DND: Of all the songs you’ve written, which meant the most to you & why?

Izzy: Refuse to Fall.

Austin: Out of all the songs, personally Sinners and Saints means the most to me because the way I play to that song makes me feel closer to my idols. I put a lot of different spins on that song that are influenced by my idols.

DND: Outside of your own work, what songs touch your heart?

Tommy: The most touching for myself is Was (Not Was) – “Walk the Dinosaur.”

Zak: So many really. It’s hard to narrow it down to a few. “Lost It All” by Black Veil Brides is an incredible song and tugs at the heart strings a little. My music taste is a bit on the eclectic side, so songs that touch my heart span out to artists like Josh Groban and 30 Seconds to Mars. Their song “Hurricane” is a top favorite of mine.

Austin: “So Far Away” – A7X, “Dust Bowl” – Joe Bonamassa, “Alive” – Pearl Jam, “Wanted Dead Or Alive” – Bon Jovi.

Izzy: “Fat Girl” by Steel Panther.


DND: What song do you want played at your funeral?

Izzy: “All Bad Things Must End” by Mötley Crüe.

Zak: “Lady Hump” by the Black Eyed Peas. Why? Because it’s provocative and get’s the people goin’!

Tommy: “Highway to Hell” by AC/DC.

Austin: “Arise” – Newsong.

DND: Three albums you’d want to be buried with?

Izzy: Too Fast For Love by Mötley Crüe, Trash by Alice Cooper and Born in Blood by Ashes of Our Sins.

Tommy: Iggy Azalea – The New Classic, Pretty Boy Floyd – Leather Boyz with Electric Toyz and KISS – The Elder.

Zak: Skid Row’s self-titled, Mötley Crüe – Shout at the Devil and Black Veil Brides – Set the World on Fire.

Austin: City Of Evil – Avenged Sevenfold, The Black Waltz – Avatar and Slippery When Wet – Bon Jovi.

 DND: When did you decide you wanted to be musicians?

Tommy: Last night.

Izzy: I was about 8 honestly. That’s when my parents took me to my first concert; Aerosmith. After being in that environment and seeing them on stage performing, I was in awe and knew that’s what I wanted to do. It wasn’t until years later that I actually picked up the guitar but it was that day I knew what I wanted to do.

Austin: When I was about 10.

DND: What career would you have taken if you never became a musician?

Izzy: Nope. I wanted to be a musician and that’s it. No plan B.

Austin: HVAC, and Electrical.

Tommy: EDM maker.

DND: Any crazy or strange fan experiences?

Tommy: One time in the summer last year, one just randomly turned up in our practice space. We had papers with lyrics and music written on them and they blew all over the place. Other than that, no.

DND: You all have individual influences, but as a whole, who is your biggest inspiration as a band?

Izzy: Mötley.

Zak: I would have to say Mötley Crüe.

Austin: Mötley Crüe takes the cake on this one.

Tommy: Infant Sorrow.

DND: On an individual basis, who inspires each of you?

Tommy: Stacy’s Mom (she’s got it going on).

Austin: My first inspiration to become a musician was watching the Godsmack drum battle on YouTube. Seeing that was just a whole new kind of awesome and it drove me to be able to be like Shannon Larkin and Sulley Erna. It will forever be my dream to have a drum off like that on stage in front of thousands of people.

Zak: Sebastian Bach of Skid Row is a huge inspiration for me.

Izzy: The easy answer would be Mötley for me. But Alice Cooper and David Bowie are both HUGE parts of who I am today. Clearly I’m a sucker for theatrics. Sidenote: Godsmack sucks.

DND: What’s it like to know you inspire others with what you do?

Austin: It’s a great feeling! I am grateful for all of those who have supported us along the way. We all were nobody, looking up to the big shots for inspiration and if we do get the honor of joining their ranks, we will know it’s because of our original supporters. People just like us. With all that in mind, we’ll continue to make sure it’s a humbling experience, as well as an inspiration to keep striving forward as a good example to those who look up to us.

DND: Finally, what’s down the road for the band, and where would you like to be in your career by this time next near?

Tommy: To be bigger than Jesus.

Austin: By this time next year, I’d like to reasonably be in the recording studio, working on our first album with a fresh contract under our belt!

Izzy: To be a billionaire with 8 platinum records, 3 helicopters, a private jet and Liam Neeson as my butler. His name will be abruptly changed to Alfred….because I’m Batman!


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