Interview with Brian Vodinh of 10 Years

UglyScene speaks with Brian Vodinh, guitar/drums, of the band 10 Years about starting the band, their tour and life on the road. UglyScene: I would like to know about the beginnings of 10 Years to give a little intro for those who are not familiar with the band. Brian: We started back in high school in 1998. I was a Junior in high school and originally started the band with me and our other guitar player Tater and we started the band as two guitar players. Ultimately I ended up going to the drums because we couldn’t find a drummer. We built the band that way and played twelve years and when we finally parted ways with one of our other guitar players in 2009 I switched back over to guitar and were are still trucking along. UglyScene: Did you play drums before or did you have to learn to play them? Brian: I kind of was just able to do it. It was weird. I grew up listening to drummers and figured out the drum parts in my head but I never really played that much. When I was fifteen or sixteen I figured out that I could play and it happened naturally. It’s fun and I have a big time passion for both instruments and being able to do both with this band has been awesome. UglyScene: What are the influences for the band in general as far as other music? Brian: We grew up listening to all kinds of music and each member of the band shares music that we have grown up with. From Tool, Deftones, to the classics like Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd and the Doors. We draw influence from all of that music that’s just good rock and roll and good songs. Also from Bjork to Radiohead are things that we also love and have a passion for so we try and pull influence from all of those things. Little elements and I think the one thing that we all share is that we want to create music that strikes emotion and drags emotion out of people and has a certain vibe. I think that the bands that we grew up listening to all share that same emotional grabbing thing that we strive for. UglyScene: How does your new album compare to the others? What is different on this one? Brian: It is definitely a little bit different. Before we made this album we came off of touring on the second album Division and we all were kind of just beat up, worn out and frustrated. The second album had some success but we felt like at that time we needed to do something fresh. I think probably mixing a little frustration with the industry with also wanting to do something a little bit different from the last record I think it ended up naturally going in the direction that Feeding the Wolves went in. We all love heavy music, hard rock and up tempo stuff but we are kind of known for being a mid-tempo and melodic band. On Feeding the Wolves we wanted to stick out necks out there and show people a little bit more of an aggressive side. UglyScene: 10 Years videos have a tendency to be story based. When you invite a director to work with you do you allow them to create their own vision or are you there hands on telling them what you want? Brian: We all are really hands on with the videos and the concepts and everything. The way we prefer to do it is that we prefer to come up with a concept of our own and then send the idea out to various directors. Whoever we speak with that we feel gets it the most and can relate with our concept then we decide that they are the person we would like to work with. We are in the midst of working on a video for our new single Fix Me and we start work on it soon. We came up with a concept and ran over it with our management and the label and everyone was on board with it. Now it is just a matter of time to find the right director. You have to search around and find the people who truly understand your vision. UglyScene: When it comes to writing the songs do you all write together or do one of you come up with the lyrics and then work on the music? How does your process work? Brian: I sit down a lot of times with an acoustic guitar and I’d have to say it’s probably ninety nine percent of the songs start in that fashion. I would come up with a whole song or I may come up with a part or a riff and maybe a vocal melody. If I feel like I have something that is strong enough to present to the other guys then I’ll show it to them. If everybody else likes it then we finish it together. UglyScene: Your songs are not exactly fluff which is great. Where do the ideas come from? Brian: A lot of the songs are personal experiences and it’s interesting to because now that we are on our third album and we have been touring for six to seven years now it’s very interesting to write something that is so personal to you and then when you go out on the road you meet fans on a nightly basis that say “Oh my God I can’t believe you wrote about this particular experience because I’m going through the same thing right now.” A lot of times when we write stuff and when you are writing it from such a personal standpoint you kind of forget that there are millions of other people that are going through something similar as you every day. We write stuff that is definitely personal but we also try to leave it open ended enough to where people can interpret it in their own way and apply it to their life. We all do go through so many of the same emotions and experiences. All these feelings love, hate, confusion and any of that is universal. UglyScene: It there a particular experience you would like to talk about. Say for instance your childhood. Brian: Actually when I think of my childhood in particular all the guys in the band kind of joke about how before we got signed and everything that I never had a question about whether or not we were going to do this. It was like when is it going to happen for us? I was so dead set on knowing for a fact that we were going to make this band work. I brought up very disciplined and I think those positive attributes really actually help everything that I have done up to this point in my life as far as giving me the guster to try and make all of this happen and to always stay motivated and to make sure everyone around me stays motivated. As far as the other guys I know there is stuff in other people’s childhoods that motivate them in different ways. Lyrically I was lucky I had the white picket fence childhood but like Jesse our singer and some of the other guys in the band had different ways that they grew up. I think a lot of that comes out in some of the lyrics as well. Us coming from so many different backgrounds actually has been such a good thing in the writing process. We can cover a lot of territory between the five of us. UglyScene: One of the purposes for UglyScene is looking at the other side of glam. That comes from the idea that music is inspiring and music can, in my opinion, save someone’s life. Also that if a person hears someone that they look up to musically talk about certain issues they can get the help they need. Would you like to talk about anything regarding this? Brian: One of the main things I can tell you in that department is that after seeing so many people around me go through addiction problems and all that. It’s pretty much a fact that no one is going to be able to help someone with an addition problem until they are ready to be helped. Our singer his cousin was an actor who was a child actor and grew up in the Hollywood scene. He recently passed away due to his addiction. It’s one of those things where seeing someone like that and other people I know you can’t really help them until that person is ready. I went through certain times in my life where I, I wasn’t crazy or had too much of a problem, but people did try and say hey you might want to slow down or you might want to take a look at how things are going. I had no interest in listening to them or to even acknowledge what they were saying to me because at that point I wasn’t ready to admit to myself the problem. That is the thing I’ve learned over time that you have to help someone get there on their own if that is possible. UglyScene: You have a concert here in Council Bluffs, Iowa. Have you ever worked with Stone Sour before? You also have two different shows close together. How did that come about? Brian: Yes. We did a Family Values tour with them with Korn and Deftones. We always try and keep really good relationships with all of the radio stations that support our band. We even tell the people at the radio stations that we don’t have a career if they are not playing our songs. If they don’t play our songs and don’t support the band then who is going to buy the tickets when we go to play the shows? Anytime those stations want to have us come we always try to make sure we can. A lot of times those offers we can’t refuse and we definitely love playing those shows. We want to be there too because they support the band. UglyScene: How do you balance family life and touring? Brian: That is the hardest part of what we do getting up on stage every night and performing and getting that out of your system that’s amazing. There is no feeling that can compare to that but on the other side of the spectrum I have a daughter that just turned three years old and I had to miss her birthday. Hearing my little girl on the other end of the phone saying daddy just for my birthday can you come home? That right there is literally is this grown man in a rock and roll tour bus with tears flying down my face. That is the hardest part and you just have to try your best to always try. I try to speak to my daughter every day and I tell her how much I love her every single day that at least helps. For her she knows that daddy is on a tour bus and is working but getting to hear each other’s voices really does go a long way even though it’s not in person. A couple of us do have kids and we make it a point to where we will go out on a tour and instead of jumping from one tour to the next we come home. It’s about three or four weeks and then we go out on another tour and come back home. We try to ration our time pretty evenly since we are obviously gone a lot due to the nature of our jobs. When we are at home we make that time count. UglyScene: Is there anything you do special for your fans? Brian: Almost every single show that we do we end up going inside the venue and meet the fans. Since the radio festivals are coming up they typically do arrange meet and greets on site. I’m sure we will be doing some stuff like that. We are playing and people are supporting our music and we wouldn’t have a job if people were not out there buying our albums and coming to the shows. It makes a difference and we understand that and appreciate it. Every show we play we try and make an effort to go out and meet people and sign stuff and take pictures and all that. UglyScene: How do you feel when a fan stops you and says one of your songs has made a difference in my life? Brian: It is a very unique feeling because again we write these songs from such a personal point of view. When something that is dear to us like that and it also touching the heart of someone else all the way across the world it’s awesome. It’s a special feeling and I really don’t know how else to explain it other than it feels good to be providing somebody with something that they can relate with just as much as we can. UglyScene: Do you have any plans for an acoustic tour? Brian: We don’t as of right now but we have definitely been talking about it. It is something that we would love to do. Who knows, maybe by the end of the year we will try and throw something like that together. We love doing the acoustic stuff and will definitely be making an effort to go that direction at some point. UglyScene: Is there anything else that you would like to add? Brian: We would like everybody to know that we really do appreciate every fan that supports the band. We are out here working hard and living this insane rock and roll dream that when we were younger always joked and talked about and now we are out here doing it because people are listening to our music. They care about what we do and we want them to know that we genuinely do appreciate it. Thank you Brian for your interview and time. Check out the 10 Years web site for their new album Feeding the Wolves.

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