With a new singer and label, and spot on the 2008 Vans Warped Tour, it’s a new era for post-hardcore band From First To Last.
After the departure of vocalist Sonny Moore in last year, guitarist and co-founder Matt Good found himself stepping up to the lead mic. The Georgia-based troupe moved from Epitaph to Suretone Records and, after hitting the road with Hawthorne Heights and others last summer, FFTL was tapped to open for one of their heroes, the Deftones, in Canada. They recently entered the studio with engineer Josh Abraham, and mixers Brendan O’Brien (Pearl Jam, Bruce Springsteen) and Ryan Williams and have has come out clean on the other side with a self-titled effort, their third full-length, due April 15.
“This is kinda like starting over again, a second chance to do something really great,” Good says of the new album. “It’s not like we weren’t doing well before but now we know what works and doesn’t work for us.”
When Moore left the group in early 2007 to pursue his own project, Good didn’t find it difficult to take over. “I’ve been singing backup for the last four years and we’ve all written songs together,” the 24-year-old says. “It’d be a lie to deny that it wasn’t overwhelming when I started doing it, but it also felt really good.” The music hasn’t suffered, he says; the band has worked to write material that suits Good’s voice better and can be better replicated live.
“We’re still playing old songs live and it doesn’t feel 100% natural for me, but we’re just really happy we get the chance to keep doing what we’ve been doing.” The group also christened a new permanent bassist/backup vocalist Matt Manning.
As for “From First to Last,” the set treads similar territory to the band’s previous albums, 2006’s “Heroine” and 2004’s “Dear Diary, My Teen Angst Has a Bodycount.” The group alternates between soft melodies and distressed, brooding vocals and riffs in its metal-paced rock tracks. It’s a style that makes them well-matched road mates with Every Time I Die, the Bled, August Burns Red and the Human Abstract for the forthcoming Take Action Tour, which kicks off this spring.
The charity event will take the bands from Detroit on Feb. 14 through March 23 in New York. In conjunction with Hopeless/Sub City and mall retailer Hot Topic, the Take Action tour helps raise awareness and funds for Do Something, an organization that encourages teens to improve their own communities. “It’s good cities, good venues, good, new audiences. It’s the whole package,” Good says. The band is also slated to perform again on Warped Tour this summer.
Fans who are used to following the band’s adventures in their video diaries on MySpace and their Web site can also count on a few videos and thoughts from the road.