Many had expected alternative metal quintet 10 Years to move on after the release of their 2014 record “From Birth to Burial”. However, the band have returned and started anew with a fresh record from the studio under the title “(How to Live) As Ghosts”, and have been able to continue to give the world another dosage of 10 Years. Speaking with long-time member who has done a number on drums and guitar for the group – Brian Vodinh, we had a chat about the band’s renewal and perpetuation in the shape of their latest record.
“The recording and writing process this time around, was quite different than usual” he begins. “Usually when we write, it’s basically just the singer Jesse (Hasek) and myself. The two of us just hide out for a while, write everything and then take it back to the rest of the guys. But, this time around, we kinda wanted to try and make it a group effort, and have everyone write and participate. So, pretty much, the record came about from all of us in a room jamming around and sharing ideas. And of course, working with Nick Raskulinecz, I mean, he’s produced everyone from Foo Fighters and Alice In Chains, and a lot of bands that we really look up to. He wasn’t afraid to say if something we were trying wasn’t good, and he never let us overthink, this time. Because, as a band, we had a tendency to overthink a lot, and he definitely didn’t allow us to do it, this time around.”
While vocalists Jesse Hasek has never left the band since joining in 2002, Brian Vodinh and Matt Wantland were there ever since 10 Years started in 1999. However, both members have had a hiatus of their own as the years went by, which led to the band being put in a stale and insalubrious state. Now, with Brian and Matt back since last year, along with two new members Chad Huff and Kyle Mayer, Brian is definitely feeling positive and revitalised, once again.
“It’s really been great, and to be honest, the last album we did was called “From Birth to Burial”, because we thought that it was probably gonna be the last record of the band. The state of the band was unhealthy, caustic and there was a lot of drama and fighting. So, with the lineup changes and with me coming back after a three year hiatus from the road, we’re all refreshed and excited. We feel like kids again, so it’s been working out really well!”
Brian then goes on to talk about what incarnated the conceptual side of 10 Years, with the occurring theme of life playing the big part of the band. According to him, from everything that revolves around (How to Live) As Ghosts was inoculated by the experiences that he and 10 Years have faced over the years.
“It’s one of those things where a lot of times when we write, we tend to fight ourselves. Some of the songs take a long time to really come together. This time around, everything seemed to come around pretty quickly, and I think it’s because we wrote so many of these songs around the same time. That inevitably influenced the theme of the record and a lot of the content in those songs. Now we’re a little older, we’re in our thirties and some of us are married and have kids. Sometimes, life starts to creep into the lyrics and we write lyrics a little more selfishly, when they weren’t really supposed to be understood by the listening audience. I think life is just the theme, more specifically, the aspects of life for sure.”
As he continues, Brian brings up how much happier he and 10 Years have become, as well as how he looks back on all of the old records the quintet have put out over the years as a “snapshot” of where they were back then, and how it’s affected them in the most recent years.
“For me, every album that we do is just a snapshot of where we’re at the time. It’s actually refreshing for me to look back and see how dark the content was from the last couple of records, and now to see how refreshing the new album is, not just content-wise, but musically. It’s even down to the artwork to the album, because we chose something that felt more optimistic. I think we’re now more optimistic because of all the negativity that we’ve been through and all the hurdles along the way. For us, this is what we do – we’re musicians and we’re creators. We do this because we love it and we feel we have to offer something to the world. So, I think the ups and downs are always gonna be there, but we’re always gonna learn from them. For now, I really feel like we’re firing from all cylinders and we feel good and strong. We had to go through the dark to get to the light, and that’s how we feel about this record.”
10 Years’ first single “Novacaine“ came with a music video that follows a concept that humans can face in their lives, on how anesthetising life can become. According to Brian, this comes straight from the lyrical side of the band, which helped create the idea for “Novacaine’s” music video.
“The idea for the video came from the lyrics that are talking about the numbing of life. That’s pretty much what Novacaine is, for us. Some people literally numb themselves with whatever their lives may be, and some people face the same routine of life – waking up every day and doing the same job and the same thing, which can sometimes it can suck the life out of you. We kinda wanted a spinoff from that movie Groundhog Day a little bit. It’s basically, this guy who’s living the same day over and over, and it literally starts to drive him mad. And so, in the video, you can see that happening with him and then at the end, it shows he’s alone at work and left with his thoughts about him being numb to life and that he was dreaming that whole thing.”
Even though 10 Years have apparently had the album done for some time, they’ve also performed a number of the newer material from “(How to Live) As Ghosts” including Novacaine onstage for the crowd. Brian goes on to share his view and experience on the audience’s reaction to the unreleased songs, and how the radio airplay has helped the fans get to know the tracks better before seeing them execute it all live.
“The shows that we’ve been playing, a lot of the fans like hearing the new stuff but, once they’re familiar with it, we notice a really big change in the reception. When they hear something that they don’t know just yet, a lot of times, instead of being really physically into the show and jumping up and down, they seemed to stand and listen. So, we noticed that before Novacaine was played on the radio, people didn’t know it, so they didn’t react as much. But, now that Novacaine is getting a lot of radio attention, we definitely see a big difference in the crowd and it’s getting a really good reception. In fact, we had to move that song towards the end of our set, because it was a big moment for us in our set and people were really receiving it well. We’ve had the album done since earlier this year, so we’ve been living with these songs and ready to play them for a long time. So, we’re definitely sneaking in new songs into the set and play a huge chunk of the record.”
10 Years have had their fair share of Australian visits, including their appearance at Soundwave in 2014. While they’ve had many of opportunites to come to the country, Brian says that there’s a good chance of the band returning to Australia for a headline tour of their very own.
“We’re actually talking about getting there next year. So, it’s definitely on our radar, and we would love to make it over there. The hospitality has always been tremendous. Australia may be across the globe for us, but once we get a chance to hang out with people over there, we realise that human nature is a pretty strong force. Even though you guys are far from us in Tennessee, there’s still a lot of similarities. We just have a lot of good times over there!”