Dead by Sunrise break away from Linkin Park and Orgy associations on their debut, Out of Ashes
Given the stratospheric success of Linkin Park and Orgy, it might seem odd that any project comprised of their members would distance itself from their platinum glow. But as it happens, Dead by Sunrise–comprised of Linkin Park vocalist Chester Bennington, Orgy/Julien-K guitarists Amir Derakh and Ryan Shuck, and Julien-K bassist, drummer and keyboardist Brandon Belsky, Elias Andra and Anthony "Fu" Valcic–and their debut album, Out of Ashes, actually arose from a need on everyone's part to do something different.
DBS unofficially began in 2005 when Bennington wrote a handful of songs outside of the Linkin Park mold. Convinced of their merit, Bennington turned them over to Derakh and Shuck–friends since Linkin Park and Orgy toured early in both their careers–to get their input.
"When we were doing Julien-K, Chester was real interested and kind of wanted to be a part of it, but it didn't really make sense for him to be in the band," says Derakh. "Chester had been playing these ideas to Ryan on an acoustic, and Ryan was like, 'These are really good songs. What are you going to do with them?'"
Bennington proposed that Shuck and Derakh flesh out his acoustic sketches into full-fledged songs. The pair recorded Bennington strumming the song "Let Down" and singing a scratch vocal, and then spent a couple of days building up the track to essentially the '80s synth pop/contemporary wall-of-rock version that appears on Out of Ashes. Bennington was floored.
"He was like, 'Wow, I could never have imagined this,'" says Derakh. "He was really stoked. So we did a few more songs and he kept getting more and more excited about it and was like, 'Let's keep working on it; it'll be like my solo project, and we'll work on it when we can work on it.'"
That summer, the trio assembled over half of the songs on Out of Ashes, but Bennington had to split to concentrate on making Minutes to Midnight with Linkin Park while Derakh and Shuck focused on Julien-K. Last year, they were finally able to revisit the material, to which the remaining members of Julien-K had also contributed. Almost organically, the combination of Bennington and Julien-K morphed into Dead by Sunrise.
"It wasn't so much that we were recording these songs for Chester; it became a band," says Derakh. "It all sort of fell together the end of last year, and for all the right reasons. This whole record was done completely on our own, void of any outside influences business-wise–just friends making music together that they really love. It spans many decades: There's punk elements, new wave elements, rock elements, grunge elements, classic rock elements, and they're all sort of mixed together."
The collective is committed to keeping Dead by Sunrise together for more than a single album/tour cycle. They've done some well-received gigs for Out of Ashes, and while they'll have to work around the inevitable upcoming Linkin Park and Julien-K activities–and a possible Orgy reunion–Dead by Sunrise are definitely a living thing.