Brian Vodinh‘s scene is a “busy” one. The guitarist/drummer/vocalist in alternative rock group, 10 years, states: “Basically when I’m home, I’m one of those people, and this is probably going to be the death of me one day, I never ever ever create free time, because I own couple of businesses in addition to the band and really the only free time that we get is us as a family here at home and just being together as a family unit, it doesn’t really matter to us what we are doing as long as we are together. Our kids are totally content and happy going to the local park or going to a place like that. We don’t take lavish vacations, we just work hard, and try to just stay busy.”
Vodinh took time out of his busy schedule to talk to us about life, Nirvana, and 10 Years’ latest release, (how to live) AS GHOSTS.
Who were your influences?
Growing up, when I was young my first instrument was guitar and I was basically trying to learn every Metallica song ever written. So back then I was obsessed with Metallica and then all of a sudden out of nowhere a band called Nirvana happened. The interesting thing that i remember, I was probably about 12 or 13, I remember, thinking, you know, I’ve spent the last couple of years trying to play all the intricate Metallica riffs and trying to play a millions miles an hour but then I realised that man you can really write an incredible song with just a few chords. you know. So that’s the biggest thing that struck me. When that shift in music happened, back then and I was probably maybe 13 years old when I started really getting into Soundgarden and Nirvana and Pearl Jam and some of those bands, and Tool and then the next thing was you know this band, 10 years, when I was 15. So, yeah it was cool, it was. I was young I didn’t really have any idea of what I was doing at the time. But I just knew that music was a part of me and that those bands really influenced me at that time. They did something to me that I couldn’t explain and they fulfilled so many emotions. And I felt like when I picked up the guitar and tried to write a song, maybe just maybe, there was a chance for me to do that for someone else out there. So, that’s when we started. [pullquote]those bands really influenced me at that time … they fulfilled so many emotions. And I felt like when I picked up the guitar and tried to write a song, maybe just maybe, there was a chance for me to do that for someone else out there.[/pullquote]
Why did you call your band: 10 Years?
That was the name of a song that we had originally. Now the song didn’t ever get finished and the song was actually a dud, it wasn’t a very good song. But it had a cool name. And so we just went with that because we all showed up at band practice one day with a list of potential band names, that everybody had come up with. And when we ran through the list we realised that they were all terrible, so, we just stuck with 10 years.
When you spoke about liking Nirvana and Pearl Jam earlier, was there ever a rift in the US between those who liked one band as opposed to the other?
Amongst my friends, no. Most of the people that I knew they liked all the grunge stuff, altogether. It was kind of like the dividing lines were by genre not really by band. But I can tell you though that when I was in high school, if you liked Nirvana or Tool or Deftones or Korn you wouldn’t be caught dead liking Dave Mathews Band or something like that.
I think it’s still the case.
You could be right.
Did you like both?
I did. I loved both, but I didn’t exactly flaunt it. I was fascinated by all different genres and I remember like listening to jazz music and stuff like that and classical. My dad was a violinist in an orchestra so from the second I was born, all the way through childhood, I grew up with my dad playing classical records, and my mum playing Elvis and The Beatles. So, it was like getting a good mixture of classical orchestration meets modern traditional songwriting pop music. So, it was really neat. I really think it did have a place in shaping me musically.
How do you go about writing songs, writing lyrics and music in the band, and has it changed over the years?
It has changed over the years. I think historically the way we have gone about writing was either myself, I would try to write all the music and then present finished songs to the band and then if anybody had any ideas to add some sparkle to the finished idea, then they would put it down and contribute in that way. But this time around, this album was the first album where we actually tried to write all of it in a room together. And that was definitely different and I welcomed it and I loved it, so it was, yeah I think it really has contributed to how healthy and energised the band is now. We are all on the same page and we are all felling really good and it really did work well.
Were there times where you would rather go back to how it was? Was it challenging?
No, because that’s before, I also produced the last two albums and played all the instruments on it, so for me, this time around where I didn’t have to basically pull the weight of six jobs, by engineering, producing playing and all that, I actually had a great time making that record. I did actually play drums and guitar and I do the backing vocals. And even doing those things I still welcomed someone else producing the album and I loved that the other guys were contributing and we were firing ideas up against each other. It was awesome. It was a great team effort and I felt really good about it this time because everyone that was involved is very capable and very talented. Prior to making this album, before I actually came back to the band in 2016, we had a guitar player that the band actually fired who was a long time member, but with that change happening it really did make for a healthier environment where now we can sit in a room together and play. Before we actually couldn’t.
Do you think that they appreciated you more?
I think that me being gone on the road, it was one thing and there’s a lot of great players out there, to take your pace on the road, but when it came time to write and actually do a record, that’s really when Jessie called me about coming back, that’s been my heart and soul since the beginning. So I don’t know that if they had made a 10 years record, without me writing anything on it, I’m sure it would sound quite different. But you know even this new record, it has a fresh sounds, it’s the same band that people know, but still just a fresh sound because there’s a new perspective in it I think.
And you had Nick Raskulinecz producing the new album. What was it like working with him?
He was great because he had a clear vision for what kind of record he wanted us to make. He also wasn’t afraid to tell us if he thought one of our ideas sucked. Very straight to the point, which we loved actually. I loved that, because we have the tendency to overthink. I mean we can overthink and overtalk, and it was nice to have someone on the outside say ‘don’t waste your time on that’ ‘the idea isn’t that good let’s go this direction’ and so he really helped steer the ship, which was really great.
How do you manage your drumming and guitar roles, especially live?
Well, live I’m just playing guitar, and in the studio now we kind of, there’s like an understanding, in the band I guess that when we go to record, I should play the drums and the rhythm guitar, because there is something about those instruments with me that they dictate one another. So whatever I play on the drums I know that I can make the guitars work with that perfectly, to make our sound. I think that is a big part of our sound.
How would you describe your sound?
Well, it’s a little dark, we tend to lean towards, almost having a somewhat cinematic feel sometimes but, you know this album, especially is straight forward hard rock, we still try to bring in some emotional elements. But I think it’s dark emotional hard rock. We have heard the band described as all kind of genres, and people have even called us ‘nu metal’ which i disagree with completely. But alternative metal is a bit closer to correct.
And with great influences, from classical to Nirvana. I still can’t get over that.
Oh yeah, that was a big game changer for me. I’m going to tell you this and I haven’t told anybody else on the planet this yet. I’m not even sure I’m supposed to but I’m going to tell you anyway. But we did a cover of Heart Shaped Box. That’s going to be a bonus track on our album. Wait til you hear it.
Am i allowed to print that?
As far as I’m concerned, I don’t mind if you do. I don’t know if the label will, but i think its fine.
Is the bonus track going to be available in Australia?
I don’t know, I’m not sure yet how they are doing that. We had to give them 4 bonus tracks, so I don’t know how they are going to do that.
That’s fantastic, I’m even more excited about the album release now.
Yeah yeah, we gave it totally different spin, so it’s different; it’s really neat. We actually tripped it out a little bit, it might be a little bit slower actually.
What about your sound in food form?
I like this question a lot. We would be like maybe like a cheesecake or something that’s like indulgent but somewhat elegant. I would like to think that we have a bit of elegance and classiness to our sound but we are still rough around the edges. So maybe like a cheesecake that’s not that good, like a cheesecake with like an Oreo crust or something. You can tell I’m a dad. I’m talking about Oreo crust cheesecake.
Do your kids know that you’re famous?
I always tell them that i’m not, and my oldest is 9 years old and so she understands a little bit more than the younger kids, because my other two are 3 years old and 2 years old, so they don’t really know. They don’t really understand it yet. But my 9 year old she has had teachers from her school that have talked about me and things like that, so you know I think she gets it. She thinks it’s pretty cool though. Now she is at the age where she sees what I do, and now she wants to be in a rock band. She was actually in the studio with me yesterday, she was singing some stuff so it was awesome. She was having a good time.
It must be more difficult now with touring. Do you still enjoy being on the road?
Touring is an amazing thing, it’s such a totally different world than being home because at home, I’m a husband and I’m a father of three kids. And you know we own a business in our little town, and it’s just a totally different world and then you go out on the road. But it is great. We got into this because we love playing music. That’s the bottom line. So for us anytime we get to go out and play, we are grateful and extremely happy about it, but the downside of having a long tour or if you’re gone for 6 months and only been home for for a few weeks, you miss your family. you know that’s the tough part, but it’s part of the deal.
You’ve toured Australia a few times. What were your favourite impressions and are you coming back soon?
Yeah, we love Australia. We can’t wait to come back. Actually, we are hoping to get over there in 2018. Well the one thing that I noticed, being over there was that, one thing that always takes us by surprise is that we go and play and people know the lyrics to our songs. We were over there one time with Korn and the people were so welcoming and so nice, they knew our band and it was just surprising, I loved it over there and we always have a good time. The fans are just very welcoming and I think that there are a lot of people in Australia that like the kind of music that we are doing, they like sincere honest hard rock with an emotional element to it. I think that people are really into it.
What’s next for you guys?
A tonne of touring, so the album comes out on October 27th, so we are going to be doing a co headlining tour with a band called Red, in October and November and we are going to be out with the band called Chevelle in November and December and then the goal for 2018 is to stay on the road basically as much as possible and hopefully make our way over to your great country, and to Europe and UK, and probably Asia. So we are going to be doing a lot of touring. Hopefully we will be seeing you soon.
(how to live) AS GHOSTS is out today. Grab your copy HERE
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American alternative metal band 10 Years return with a new studio album and welcome back band members Brian Vodinh (guitar / drums) and Matt Wantland (guitar). (how to live) AS GHOSTS is the band’s eighth studio album – and their first with Mascot Records – and was produced by Grammy Award winning Nick Raskulinecz.
Singer Jesse Hasek offers, “Six albums and a hundred songs in, I wondered if I’ve already written my best stuff. But at some point, you start to get real adult problems. Life has such a numbing to it. You see people go from such optimism in their 20s to having life just beat them down later. I think we all kind of get desensitized and numb to life on some level. That’s what this song is about.”
Sometimes when band members reunite, it’s as if no time has passed and nothing has changed.
That couldn’t be further from the truth for 10 Years. When guitarist/drummer Brian Vodinh and guitarist Matt Wantland returned to the Knoxville, Tennessee alt-metal/post-grunge band for their eighth album (how to live) AS GHOSTS, they burst through their comfort zones to create something new. Something better. Something career-defining. Hasek reflects, “It’s funny. I named our last record From Birth to Burial (2015) because I thought it was our final record. It just didn’t feel like 10 Years without Brian and Matt, and having them back is really a reunion of the core writing team. This new record actually feels like a real rebirth for the band.”
While Vodinh handled drums and guitar on the new album, he’s switching to just guitar for the live shows, moving Chad Huff from guitar to bass, while Kyle Mayer stays on drums. “We’re bringing it back the way they should be,” says Vodinh, who left the band due to family commitments in 2013. “It feels great to be back with these guys and we’re in such a better place musically and creatively than ever before.”
That better place stems, in part, from a more collaborative writing process. “It used to be that just Jesse and I would write the full song, and the other guys would add a little spice to it. This time, we’re starting the writing process as a full band. Sometimes it starts with a riff. Sometimes it starts with a vocal. Our formula is no formula, and it kind of works. And, we work together in a more constructive and healthier environment now,” explains Vodinh.
The sixth collaborator was Grammy award-winning producer Nick Raskulinecz. “Nick made us step outside our comfort zone,” explains Hasek. “It made for a different sounding record. The one thing we never wanted to do is recreate the same thing over and over. We have always been musicians that love to explore and venture into new horizons.”
Check out the album trailer:
(how to live) AS GHOSTS will be released October 27.
Pre-orders available HERE
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