Ace Augustine: Growing Pains and Reawakenings

Ace Augustine has only experienced a mere delay on their highway to success – a rather large bump in the road if you will.  After The Absolute was unleashed through Strike First Records, Ace Augustine went through some tumultuous times and would break up shortly thereafter.  You cannot keep a promising young collective down for long, as the reformed lineup recently presented a brand new song entitled Growing Pains.  Exuding even more passion and intensity, Ace Augustine has truly reawakened, and are ready to take on the world at large.  Here is a recent interview we conducted with one of the Ace members to find out more about their band status, time with Strike First, new songs, their spirituality, and other topics.  Read on…

Introduce yourself, tell me what you do in Ace Augustine, and how long the band has been together.
Hi! My name is Tyler Chadwick and I am the founder/guitarist/clean vocalist/ and song writer for the band. We have been together since 2008! I started it as a freshman in high school and it’s cool to see it still going now that a few of us are freshman in college!

Where is the band based out of and what is your local music scene like there? Are there any local bands you could recommend?
Most of us are from Lancaster, Pennsylvania (our vocalist Ben is actually from Lebanon, Pa) so we just consider the band from Lancaster since the majority was born and raised in Lancaster. Currently we have members in Ithaca, New York (myself), and Frostburg, Maryland (our guitarist Spencer). We love our local scene. Even though it’s gone down since we first got into the scene in middle school believe it or not, the people in it have become practically family and it’s really cool to see younger kids starting to get into like we did when we were younger. There are some awesome local bands. In the same genre, people should check out My Soul for Glory (our new bassist Cody also plays bass for them), Legions, I Am History, and Spencer and myself’s side project band, Homefront! There are some bigger bands from our area that I’m sure that you’ve heard of before that were friends with like Texas in July, This or the Apocalypse, and August Burns Red. We have some awesome talent in our scene, that is for sure!

First of all, are you still on Strike First Records or associated with Facedown at all? What was/is it like working with them?
Unfortunately, we are no longer on the label. Our original deal with the label was for one CD. When the band broke up suddenly, there was no certainty of us getting back together and therefore the label moved onto other bands. That being said, we love our Strike First/ Facedown records family regardless if we are on the label anymore or not. We’re still friends with a lot of the bands that we’ve met that shared the label with us and we will cherish that forever. We also cannot express our gratitude towards the label owner Jason enough. He is a huge reason the band got the point that it’s at now because he was willing to take a chance on some kids from central Pennsylvania and that means the world to us, therefore, Facedown will always have a soft spot in our hearts.

That being said we are speaking to other labels and also considering releasing independently!

What made you decide to give it another shot?
Well, there was a number of things. Because it wasn’t released publicly, a lot of people did not know that I had left the band last May which was unfortunate and truthfully, left a lot of bad blood between the other members and myself. They continued to do their thing over the summer and I basically started a new life for myself because that band had consumed most of my social life for the past 4 years. After a few months, things began to fall apart for them which was unfortunate to see the band I created go through that but I believe that it was all apart of the master plan and I believed that God gave me this band as a freshman to be my output and my way of giving back to the world in some way and it was his will to decide where it went. One thing that the other members and even myself couldn’t help but noticing was the incredible amount of kids that were upset that the band had broken up and ultimately, we didn’t want to hurt our fans because they mean everything to us. I ended up getting a call from Ben (our vocalist) a few days after Christmas (it was the first time we spoke in about 8 months) and we really just settled our past and the problems we had towards each other and that was ultimately a huge step in getting the band back together. But if there was one main reason we got back together, it was for our fans because we recognized that God wasn’t done using us yet.

At this point, do you consider Ace Augustine a Christian band or ministry? Why or why not?
This has been on my mind a lot lately. It’s a really tricky subject for us to talk about and really talk with our fans about. First off, I’ll start by saying that every member in this band is still a Christian in one form or another. We all love and follow Christ to the best of our abilities and try to live our lives through him. That being said, all of us are on much different points in our walk. Some of us have made strides in our faith, others have really fallen in our walk and are doing everything we can to keep our faith. It can be a tricky thing being in a christian band because you have so many people looking up to you and expecting you to act a certain way and be a certain person, and they look to you as if you should be a perfect representation of what a christian should be like and the truth is, a lot of us screw up daily, we make mistakes because at the end of the day, we’re all human and we all sin. It’s hard to say if the band is still a “christian” band. We’ll still believe in Christ and spreading his message, but I think it will be done in a different way then in the past. Our songs will have a lot more honesty in them, a lot more questioning, and a much more realistic factor to them because we want to write songs that help us express what we are individually going through and hope it can help someone else. Not every song on the new album will be positive. Some are shaping up to be negative in certain mainstream biblical aspects. The main thing is, that we aren’t trying to be held back by a label now. Sure we are all Christians, and you know what, a lot of our songs will be about our beliefs or our struggle with keeping faith, but we want everyone to be able to listen to our music and not be held back by the fact that we’re a “christian” band out to preach their heads off because that’s not how we are as individuals. It wasn’t the way any of us became Christians and it isn’t authentic to who we are. I feel like our band is in the middle ground between being a christian band and a secular band. Our music is our worship, and we believe what we believe, but we can’t be limited to being a christian band anymore because those aren’t the kids who need to be shown love and compassion.

Please select any two new Ace Augustine songs and what inspired the lyrics.
Well the newest song we released, Growing Pains, is literally about the band getting back together. The beginning of the song is a lot of questioning and was just us figuring out if we wanted to try this band again and if we thought it would even work, but the ending is the resolution and just realizing that it isn’t in our hands, that somehow it will be figured out and “purity will find it’s purpose finally”.

We are in the process of writing some new songs right now. We have about 4 completely done and 2 more in the making and more up in our brains! Doug wrote the lyrics to Growing Pains and I’ve been writing some lyrics to some of these new pre productions I’ve put together and so far, the lyrics are really honest. I can personally say that it is some of the most honest lyrics ace has ever written. One of the lines from the song I’m currently dabbling with goes “Well if I’m only living to die, why am i living at all? If i’m just content with being a statue, why am i waiting so long?” The main theme of this song is basically I felt myself at one point over the last year only thinking about the end and death and how scary it seems. It’s because I got complacent and didn’t know what to do. When you read the lyrics later on, no I did not want to commit suicide at any point in the last year, but it’s all a metaphor on that point in your life where you feel like your running one hundred miles an hour to look down and realize you’re on a treadmill. It’s basically my way of saying, there is no point to your life unless you get on with living it. You can’t give up, when one door closes, find another one, or bust that door down!

How will the new music compare to what was on The Absolute?
I feel like this is the most cliche thing to say but it is going to be so much heavier, with a lot more melody. A few of the songs have some awesome repeating chorus’, others have no singing at all and are by far the heaviest things I’ve ever written for this band. In some way though, Ace always has it’s own niche of being Ace, I haven’t even figured out what it is yet, but when I do, I will let you all know! But honestly, these new songs are really us growing up as musicians and even more than that, songwriters; we’re able to step away and think, does this help the song at all, is this what we’re trying to convey. It has been really cool to see the progression that Ace has taken. To make everyone even more excited on the progress of the band, the only songs that were new at all on the absolute were Delorean and The Debt That All Men Pay (which happen to be my two personal favorite songs). Those two songs were written two days before we entered the studio to record the cd and scratch tracks. What is even more crazy is they had never been played as a band, and Doug had never played them on his drums (unless you consider is lap and coffee table as a drumset). The rest of the songs had been written months prior. A few of the songs were from when we first started the band even. All of this new material is BRAND NEW. None of it was started before January of this year so it really is exciting for us!

How does Doug’s new project Dougie Kent to compare to Ace Augustine and what is the Dougie Kent project all about?
Well I will say, Doug’s project is all his own thing. I know a lot of it is about his experiences in college thus far and it’s been really cool to see himself express himself in a new way. It was real gutsy of him to try something completely new to him and it’s a genre of music that he hasn’t been a part of. I don’t want to speak for doug but I think that he started this as a way for him to show people that he could do whatever he put his mind too regardless of what people think. It doesn’t matter to him what people think because he loves doing it and he’s doing it with his friends which makes it all the better. I also want to add about the project that Spencer and I have, Homefront. It’s basically a band of friends from the area who really just wanted to continue to play music together and it even includes Ace Augustine’s original vocalist, Kyle Irwin. Both this and Dougie Kent have really helped shape us as individuals and give us different outputs to go out and play and write to and then come back to ace and share our experience

How close are you to recording for an all new EP or a full length album?
Well, ideally, we would love to record one this summer and have it out by the end of the summer. Unfortunately, because the band just got back together and some of us are in college or working full time and have families, we really don’t have money to put towards a cd at the moment which makes it really hard for us because we have the material and the drive to do it but sometimes money gets in the way of things and that’s just life. We are trying to find a way to still make it happen so it is definitely not out of the question by any means at all!

If you could open for any band any current or who has ever existed, which band would that be and why?
Hmm.. Well, I personally didn’t grow up listening to a ton of music because my parents weren’t huge music fans when I was a kid so as much as I’d love to say The Beatles, or Led Zeppelin, or someone sweet like that, I really couldn’t. The only thing I really grew up listening to with my dad was Elton John. I still love his music to this day but I don’t think he’d be cool with us opening for him! I think it would be awesome to just play directly under Underoath, The Devil Wears Prada, and August Burns Red simply because those are the bands that got me into this genre in the first place. They aren’t the bands I listen to much anymore but there the reason I’m doing this in the first place and a lot of the reason I came to Christ so they mean the world to me!

How would you describe Ace Augustine’s music to an elderly church lady who decides she just must check your band out?
I always love this question because I have to describe this to family friends, older relatives, and older people from my church all the time. I usually tell them that, ” I play in a christian metal band and it is really loud. You may not like it and I totally respect that, but you have to understand that we aren’t writing this music for you, but if you like it, I’d be glad to give you a CD!”

What would you like a listener to remember after hearing Ace Augustine music for the first time?
When I was younger in the band, I may have said “a super heavy breakdown that makes them want to punch a hole in the wall or a chorus that I sang on” but those are the things I don’t care about anymore. All I want people to get from our music is that they can respect us for working hard and to be as honest and open to our fans as possible and that they can tell that we truly do this because we love playing music and we love meeting all of you. There isn’t some underlying desire to get famous and make buckets of money or anything superficial like that. We write music that we love to make so what if it has breakdowns or if it has something that someone doesn’t like because we like it. Our only hope is that people can respect us and even say, “you know what, this isn’t my cup of tea, but those dudes are doing their thing and that’s awesome!” That is all we ask!

Any final words of wisdom?
Keep your heart and your mind open. Don’t listen to people that try and bring you down. Be yourself and nobody else because at the end of the day, nothing else matters, when you lose yourself, you lose everything.

Ace Augustine is:
Ben Moser – Vocals
Tyler Chadwick – Guitar/Vocals
Spencer Barnett – Guitar
Cody Owen – Bass
Doug Fellenbaum – Drums

(Interview by Kenneth Morton)

Ace Augustine on Facebook

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