Last week, Chicago was lucky enough to see Nashville natives 10 Years warm up the crowd at the Allstate Arena. As the guys have since traveled on to Flint , Michigan to play at the Machine Shop, I was lucky enough to catch up with front man Jesse Hasek. As album sales for The Autumn Effect have jettisoned past 225,000, we talked about music industry comparisons, music videos and traveling around this wide world.
: The Deftones were just here in Chicago a few weeks ago on the Taste of Chaos Tour. How valid do you think the constant comparison is between you guys and them?
I think that when you put the records in you can definitely tell they're different bands. But, we grew up listening to the Deftones from the very beginning. So, there's definitely an influence there. But, the one thing you want to do as an artist is make sure you create your own music instead of copying someone else's. I think there's an influence but I don't think there's like.like you can hear it but it's far-reaching to say we sound like them.
Being that you guys were just in Chicago , this question fits in perfectly. How was your experience being on a portion of Disturbed 2005's fall tour?
They were actually really, really nice to us. They were very hospitable and by the end of the tour we became really good friends. They gave us respect. It's cool to have a band that's in the industry and sorta like at a veteran level and earn their respect as a new band.
How does it compare to being on the road with Korn and Mudvayne?
I think the bigger a band gets, the little longer it takes to get close to them. Mudvayne is. The bands we got close to are like Disturbed, Sevendust and Mudvayne. They're like really, really good friends of ours. Korn was great to us. They were very nice to us. But, they've been doing it for thirteen or fourteen years. They've gone through their partying stages already and now they just play and rest.
How excited are you to go to Japan?
It's a dream come true. The one thing I always wanted to do. Even as a child I told myself that I wanted to see as much of the world as I could to really understand it. And, to have a job that offers the opportunity to do that. It's the greatest job you could have.
Yep, "job" is hardly the word.
(Laughing) You get to be pretty much an artist and write and really express your emotions. And, get paid to it and see the world. So, yeah.
Shifting gears; can you give me some insight into the creative process of The Autumn Effect with producer Josh Abraham?
I think that the reason we chose to go with Josh Abraham is because we noticed that every project he's worked on, the bands all sound different. They don't sound t he same like the producer made it sound like their spin on their music, you know? Like the sounds like such and such producer's project. And, for instance, like Orgy sounds like Orgy. Staind sounds like Staind. Velvet Revolver. I mean, none of those bands sound the same. And, what he does is really allows the artist to take control and he just sorta oversees it and gives his opinions. But, he never at any point steps in and says, "No, you need to do it my way. This way." He wants you to do it the way that you do it and be natural. That's the way he let us do it. It was really cool.
"Wasteland" has been such a successful single for 10 Years. Yet, I know you guys want fans to look beyond this single and dive deeper into the album. What other song or songs do you feel are as strong or just as powerful in nature? Well, I mean, I guess I have a biased opinion but I think the whole record is just as strong. A track to check out right away is a song called "The Autumn Effect." It's a different.We try to write different sounding songs. We don't want any of the songs to sound the same on the record. So, we've got stuff that gets melodic but really moody like "The Autumn Effect." And then you've got all the way on the other end of the spectrum something acoustic like "Seasons to Cycles." And, then you could turn around and get more of an aggressive song like "Half Life." We wanted it to be like a rollercoaster ride. Pretty much, music is emotion. And, we were trying to express all the emotions that we go through on our record. Really pour our hearts into it. Sometimes you're not in an aggressive, angry mood. Sometimes you're in a chilled, just very spaced-out mood. That's where we get all these different sounding songs from.
Cool. Can you tell me a little bit about the video-making process that I know you guys recently did for "Wasteland?"
Yeah, the first time around.We've been asked many times why did we do it over. The first time around we had less of a budget and it was just trying to get a video done and it didn't really represent the song the way we wanted it to. And, then we met up with Kevin Kerslake the second time around. He's done a bunch of Nirvana videos, Chili Peppers videos, Stone Temple Pilots videos. He's a great guy. He really has good vision. We explained to him what the content of the song was about. Which, is life and overcoming struggles and adversities and to make it through life as part of the growing process. And, we came to the conclusion that instead of showing teenage angst or the very typical cliché American video, we wanted to show the U.S. social awareness of the struggles that other countries go through - that other people go through and how easy we have it compared to their lives.
The band's web site biography has your quote of "Humanity is slowly shutting down" and ".there's no thinking behind the music that's out there today." What makes The Autumn Effect an album that rises above this so-called diluted mess?
The biggest thing we try to stay true to is that we write the music of ourselves, for our emotions and the way we feel going through this crazy world and life instead of trying to write a product that's made to be sold. There's a fine line because you want to keep your integrity but you also have to make a product that needs to be sold. I just thing that there's a lot of bands out there when one style of music takes off, the industry want to copy that sound and ride it out until they bleed it dry. It seems that a lot of bands are more concerned with HOW they're selling and not WHAT they're selling.
Has 10 Years written any new material for a follow-up release?
Well, we're brand new so we've been on the road since the beginning of May last year (2005). So, we've been pretty busy day in and day out just playing. We write but and pieces here and there but we haven't come together with full songs. What we do is if we feel something, we'll get out a little recorder and record it and we'll go back through it all and put it together in the end.
On that same thought, are you guys coming out with anything else? A DVD?
There's a possibility. We're definitely open to all angles. One thing that we do well is try to adapt our album. More of our distorted, plugged-in songs we like to turn them into acoustic songs just to play acoustic shows. We have a couple of live tracks that are actually online that you can get a hold of. That's another cool angle.
While doing some research, I found that you guys listen to a very diverse group of music weather it be new, old, light, heavy, whatever. Do you think these influences will be reflected even more so in your next release?
I think that the best way to explain it is that as musicians, as writers, we definitely never limit ourselves and always as long as were traveling down this path of this entertainment world we'll always keep growing and changing. People expect to hear a different record. We never want to re-create one record over and over. You want to grow and change. The band that do it wand do it well are the ones that really have longevity. So, I mean, we might go extreme in both directions. IT could go heavier, it could go lighter, it could go both. It just depends. It's really too early to tell.
Looking ahead, what summer plans can you tell me about? Is there anything even beyond that you can tell us about?
I think for the duration of the summers, its just touring. We get to do a handful of European festival shows which is pretty amazing. There's a lot of big acts. I know one of them Metallica is going to be the headliner.
That's the one they play every summer, isn't it?
Yeah. Even if we play in the daytime, we don't care. Just to be a part of that.
Isn't that the Download Festival?
Yeah, the Download Festival. That's just huge. We managed to be part of that. Probably early in the evening, but still just to be anywhere in the same association with Metallica; those guys are legends.
OK, Final Question. Have you guys decided yet to tell everyone why the band is called 10 Years?
Well, I can let you in on the fact that it started internally with us. It was a very personal matter. In the beginning, we decided to keep it a personal matter. Then, the more and more we noticed that we weren't giving it away it built this own mystique and mystery to it and became its own entity. Then, people started coming up with their own meanings to it. For instance, I had a person, a fan come up to me and explain how one of their family members had been battling with cancer for ten years and just passed away. What we've realized is that what it means to us, weather its personal or not, it means it to us. If other people can come up with their own meaning to it, then that will mean way more to them that what it means to us. So, we sorta just like to let people personalize it the way they want. It's neat to leave it with that mystery it's got. It does have a personal meaning to it that we don't want to let out.
I would like to thank Jesse Hasek of 10 Years for his time and willingness to chat with UnRated Magazine. Thanks also go out everyone at MSO PR for making this a reality. Also, check out my album review of The Autumn Effect and email me at firstname.lastname@example.org about anything at all!
Interview by Tim Hargesheimer