The haunting vocals, killer riffs, and mesmerizing sounds of alt-rock group 10 Years are coming to the STX, making stops in San Antonio and Corpus Christi.
The band is touring for their latest effort, (how to live) AS GHOSTS, featuring their popular single “Novacaine.” (Check out my review for the album- https://wp.me/p7l8R8-1ZJ ) They will bring their 2018 Fan Summit, featuring new interactive fan packages and a special setlist, to the Rock Box on January 20th, making their stop in San Antonio the biggest of the tour. Then, on January 21st, they will give another hot Texas performance at Brewster Street Ice House in Corpus Christi.
The Fan Summit is an annual event the band created to give their fans a behind-the-scenes look at the setup and performance of a live show, as well as the opportunity to see the band perform deep album cuts and fan favorites not normally played. VIP packages include “6th Member Rockstar” (allows the fan to perform a song with the band onstage), “Roadie for a Day” (allows fan to help set up the band’s gear before the show), “Photographer for a Day”, and opportunities to attend a Soundcheck Party and get an onstage rig rundown with the band.
Guitarist/drummer/founding band member Brian Vodinh was kind enough to speak with me from his studio in Knoxville about the new album, the tour, and why there is no better place to play than Texas.
Rob Gomez– Good morning, Brian. Thanks for taking the time to talk to us.
Brian Vodinh– Absolutely, man. Thanks for having me.
RG– (how to live) AS GHOSTS. This is a huge album for you guys, especially since this is the first time you’ve written the entire album as a group. What was that experience like?
BV– It was fun! It was the first time that we had fun doing it. We had tried in the past to do that, but the personalities involved with the previous lineup made it a little bit too toxic and we weren’t able to write as a group because it always just ended up in a fight. This time around we had the right culmination of personalities to where it was a fun experience. We had times that were difficult and challenging, but the songs came together really quickly. I think we spent the most amount of time working through the vocals and then the actual music comes really quick for us. It was just a great experience. It also helped build a lot of camaraderie and unity within this lineup now.
RG– And the vocals are definitely a change from what you’ve done on previous albums. Jesse’s (Hasek) voice is very unique and he usually uses a lot of different effects and echo. This is really is more of a straightforward rock sound, compared to the other albums, wouldn’t you say?
BV– Absolutely. The producer, Nick Raskulinecz, played a big role in influencing that. When we first met with him, he had listened to a lot of our older catalogue, especially the last couple of records that I produced. There are a lot of songs on those albums that have a lot of vocal layering and a lot of effects, and that’s the result of when Jesse and I are left to our own devices in the studio. We tend to gravitate towards those types of sounds. We like a really cinematic approach to production. Nick wanted to completely stray from that path this time and, like you said, present something that was a bit more of a straightforward, abbreviated, almost more vulnerable vocal sound for Jesse. I think the result was awesome. It was weird for us, at first, to try to understand that and that it would have the power that he kept telling us it would have, but the end result was great and we’re happy with it, for sure.
RG– Since you guys created this album as a collective, does that make playing it live more enjoyable?
BV– It does. In the past, Jesse and I would kind of hole ourselves away and write and I would handle most of the musical duties. Then, I would always be concerned with how that would be presented live, because you have to figure out who is playing what parts and everybody has to get comfortable and familiar with the material. This time around, we didn’t even really talk about the parts. Someone would play something that would get everyone else’s attention and we’d say “Hey, let’s work on that! Keep going!” Then, all of a sudden, we have this song and everybody has their parts and we’ve fallen into a groove with it… and we don’t even discuss it. On the guitars for this album, Matt (Wantland) and I never talked about who was going to play what or how we wanted to approach the song. We just figured it out with our ears and by listening to one another. That’s about as close to any form of musical magic that this band has experienced. It’s really fun when the song dictates what we do as individuals and everybody falls in line in an appropriate place and we don’t even discuss it. It was really cool!
RG– In a time where most music is streamed and downloaded, how does an artist even measure success anymore? If you look at “Wasteland”, it almost has 20 million hits on Spotify, but is it the same feeling of satisfaction as selling physical copies of an album?
BV– Oh, not even close! Plays are really nice, but you definitely cannot gauge success by sales numbers anymore. In my opinion, success is measured by how many people are coming to your shows, by how many people are buying tickets and buying t-shirts. The live show is such a crucial aspect of how bands can survive now, because unless you’re Taylor Swift or Ed Sheeran, sales aren’t really going to provide you the lifestyle you want! You have to get out there and slug it away on the road. That’s crucial. For us, if we can go to a market one year and have 500 people show up and then go there the next year and have 700 people show up, to me, that’s success. Success is still putting people in a room that care about your music and want to see you perform it live. At the end of the day, we’re a rock band, and rock music is so much about the live show. As long as we can keep selling tickets and people still come to see us, that’s success.
RG– Shifting gears, what is it like playing in Texas compared to other places?
BV– Oh, man! Texas is an anomaly. We always talk about how we don’t know where all these rock fans come from! You go and you play in other states, and we have great shows all over the place, but there’s something about Texas… I feel like the fans are just a bit more rabid and I feel like there’s more of them! It’s very heartfelt and heartwarming when we go there, because the reception is not only good, but the fans sing the lyrics. They know the songs. You can tell there’s just a lot of support there. Texas is awesome, man, it’s like a second home to us.
RG– I think it’s just what they put in the water here, that has a lot to do with it.
BV– *laughs* Must be! It’s something, for sure!
RG– Any special memories of playing in San Antonio?
BV– Oh, man, a lot! San Antonio, even from the early days, the Autumn Effect days, has been a staple for us. Whether it’s playing festivals or… there used to be a place there (I don’t know if it’s still around) called Sunset Station. I remember playing there a bunch. Tons of good memories! I remember, in the early days, before we knew how significant Texas was going to be to us as a band, going there the first couple years of touring and quickly realizing that there’s something different about San Antonio and with Texas in general with rock music. Yeah man, we love it there. We appreciate all the people that come out. Must be something in the water, I guess!
RG– How about down here in Corpus Christi? I saw you guys here in 2008 for the Division tour and ya’ll just killed it! It was amazing.
BV– Oh, nice! Yeah, Corpus is another, man. It’s always a good show there, always good times… and of course, the Texas heat! *laughs*
RG– Oh yeah, being by the water, it’s lovely, isn’t it?
BV– Oh, man! I remember being at that Concrete Street Amphitheater before, multiple times, and being like “Well, now I know what it feels like on the sun” *laughs*
RG– What can fans expect at your 2018 Fan Summit on January 20th in San Antonio?
BV– Well, it’s going to be a good time. The Fan Summit is all about the fans and it allows people to have a little bit more of a hands-on experience. There’s an opportunity to go up and play or sing a song with us. We’re selling packages like “Roadie for a Day” and things like that, so people get a behind-the-scenes look. These Fan Summits are something we have always been interested in doing, because we travel so much and play the same cities over and over. This seems like a way to provide something different to the fans, a little bit of a different experience. You can play the same show over and over, even though you change the setlist, and it’s just another concert sometimes. This gives a little bit of a different perspective for people. The setlist will be a little bit different than usual, so I think it’ll be a good time.
RG– Before we go, any words of advice for the new generation of rockers out there?
BV– Just focus on songwriting. Really, it all starts with that. The one thing I always tell people is that a good song will always be a good song. I can’t say that about the people that chase the fads and the trends. That becomes tough, because you make that song relevant for only a specific window of time. If you go back and listen to “Stairway to Heaven” or some of those classic, really good songs, it doesn’t matter if it’s 100 years from now, that’s always going to be a great song. So I think just focusing on songwriting, and of course, there’s the whole business side to it, but that’s just one of those things. Start with a good song, and then try and adapt to whatever the business looks like at the time to try and lift yourself up and stand out from the crowd. But, you gotta have those songs first!
RG– That’s great advice to give everybody. Thank you so much, Brian, for talking with us. We appreciate it. We look forward to hearing you and seeing you guys here in South Texas.
BV– Awesome, man. Thank you!
You can check out the full interview with Brian online here- https://wp.me/p7l8R8-23M . From Ashes to New and To Whom It May will be opening the shows in South Texas, so go out and support live music! Special Thanks to Steve Karas at SKH Music for being so gracious and helpful, to Jack Stubblefield for being a great friend and mentor, and to Seth Kahain for his advice and support. Don’t forget to check out Seth’s Rock Report on Facebook! Rock on! Don’t forget to drop me a line and let me know what you think of this week’s feature! firstname.lastname@example.org