Debbie Gabrione of Ten Year Vamp Interview

284711_10151306357886971_189430476_nEve’s Scene had the pleasure of interview female lead Debbie Gabrione of Ten Year Vamp. For those who have not been fortunate enough to hear about the band they have recently released their new album ‘Lust and have had songs featured on FOX Sports, TLC and MTV’s The Real World. Ten Year Vamp has also opened for acts such as Aerosmith, Lifehouse, Fuel, Bon Jovi, Hoobastank, Drowning Pool, Finger Eleven and many more. The band will also be performing through-out the Northeast USA during 2011 and 2012. Look for one of Ten Year Vamp’s songs to be featured this fall in a new video game for the Xbox360 called A-Band by Flammable Games. Eve’s Scene: For the PlayStation game the A Game by Flammable Games are they going to use your new album or any of your older songs? Debbie: They actually contacted us about using it towards the end of our promotions of the last album. Not the one we just released this August but the one we released in’09. We were kind of moving forward with a song from the older album and then we started to wind down the production for the new one and we were like let’s just use the new one. The A Game will be with the new songs. We actually just two days ago signed a deal with Rock Band and they are going to be using some of our songs for that as well. Eve’s Scene: How did the band come up with the name Ten Year Vamp? Debbie: I wish there was a really cool creative story. I will be honest with you sometimes we just, I don’t want to use the word lie because it sounds so vicious, but sometimes we tell different stories just to keep it a little interesting. But honestly it’s not really an interesting story. The word Vamp is cool and it has dual meaning. It’s a musical term to play a certain set of measures over and over, to vamp. It is also a female seductress so that was a word that I really liked. Ten Year Vamp was founded by myself and one other guy and actually the age difference between him and I is ten years so we said let’s just go with Ten Year Vamp. Eve’s Scene: When you create, when you make the music how does that process work? Debbie: It has certainly been a process of trial and error but the process that works the best for us is to keep the initial song writing limited. We kind of subscribe to the belief that too many cooks in the kitchen spoil the soup. When we had five of us, or there was even a sixth member for a while, all with their hands in and nothing was meshing. The music and the songs are written by myself and our lead guitar player Andy (Andrew Foster). I write all of the lyrics and all of the vocal melodies. Then between Andy and I we come up with the music for the guitar, bass and drums. Then we bring what we have, kind of elementary recordings, to the rest of the band and everyone puts their spin on it. That is the process if what we have perfected and what works for us. Eve’s Scene: When it came to your dreams as a musician, female lead singer, who was your biggest supporters when you started out and supporters? Debbie: Ironically I went through bouts of wanting to be artistic and not. My family is very, go to college, get a good job, own a home and all that sort of thing. They encouraged the music and I played instruments throughout middle school, elementary school and in high school I played alto sax, French horn, clarinet, flute and trumpet. I sang in chorus and that was encouraged but as far as trying to “make it” that was extremely discouraged. I always wanted it in my life and it’s always been in my family’s life. My dad was a drummer and when we had birthdays and holidays growing up what we would do as a family we would always go see Broadway shows and we would always be signing around the house. Music was always a part of my life just not encouraged to take it on a more serious level. Then I kind of let go of it and I did what my parents said and I went off to college and then I realized that I could have both. I worked it back into my life. Ironically I was really never exposed to rock music. My parents weren’t anti rock music and they didn’t think it was the jewel of the devil or anything but they were always big on the Broadway show tunes and all that sort of stuff. I really only got into rock music when I was in college and that is when I picked up the guitar. So I guess that is kind of the evolution. Eve’s Scene: Do you have any female lead vocalists that inspire you when you started out and picked up that guitar? 269615_10150219365031971_7261364_nDebbie: I was really into Ani DiFranco back then and her energy and her passion. Obviously we don’t do anything like folk music but I liked the way you could feel her through the music and you almost felt like you knew her and her energy. Inspirationally and persona wise she was really active for me. I am really eclectic, Missy Elliot I think she’s cool, Madonna, Joan Jett, even Gwen Stefani. There really are not a lot of female figures in music for me to cling to. Which is cool in a way because then you are stuck becoming whoever it is you need to be without influence. I took what I could from what I saw around me but I really don’t feel like there was anybody who I was like Oh my God I need to be her. Eve’s Scene: What is the scene like in New York? Is it competitive with you being a female lead as compared to a male leads? Debbie: Yes and No. Whenever we play festivals or showcases we are the only band there with a female in it. Literally we are back stage and there could be eight or nine bands going on over the course of the day and I’m the only female back stage who is not like a “girlfriend”. In that regard it really exemplifies how much of a minority women are in the rock field. If you look in the scene in general women have carved out their niche and there are a few bands that are female fronted that are certainly at the top of their game. I guess the answer is yes and no but we certainly are a minority and I’m often the only female around. It does help the band stand out too so it’s a negative and a positive. If you are female fronted you are maybe more likely to get noticed because you are the only girl there. Eve’s Scene: What is your most memorable performance? Debbie: We play a lot of big shows and we play a lot little shows and they are all memorable for their own reason. I guess I would have to go with when we play the New York State Fair in Syracuse it was last year and we opened for Aerosmith and I think they had fourteen thousand people there and we got to meet Steven Tyler and all of the guys in the band. It was a really great experience and it wasn’t crazy with girls showing boobs and guys asking for my number every four seconds so it wasn’t crazy like that. It was just like this is what I want to do. I want to show up, sit backstage and schmooze it up with the other national artists and I want to take the stage with fourteen thousand people and then I want to go eat the buffet. Eve’s Scene: What are the biggest challenges that you have had as a band? Debbie: There are a lot of little things that have come up. A lot of people talk about how the internet has made things easier. It certainly has but at the same time it really hasn’t resolved all the issues that you are up against. I think the two big things or really three big things that we struggle with is first the state of the economy. Three years ago our shows were mobbed wall to wall and no one thought twice about dropping a five to ten dollar cover charge to get into a club. To book a show all you had to do is call and say we are going to be in town, look at our resume and can we play and they would say yes. Now they don’t care how good you are they just want to know if you have a draw in the area and if you can bring fifty people to the club and sometimes you can’t guarantee that especially with the state of the economy. Booking has been really difficult. Money seems to be an issue. You can’t do anything unless you have money and literally you can’t put gas in your car to get to a show unless you have eighty bucks to get there. That’s always an ongoing challenge. Plus it does cost money to produce, master mix and duplicate. You can do a lot yourself but to really be on a competitive level you do need the money unfortunately to buy the talents. I think the third challenge has been the fact that indie artists cannot get their music on mainstream radio and that is how you get introduced to the masses. We have been fortunate with playing for big crowds. We have been fortunate with our licensing opportunities so we have pursued every alternate avenue to get our music and our name out to people but literally all you need is a song on a popular FM station and suddenly you are heard by thousands and thousands of people and that is what you really need. Unfortunately the major labels hold the key to that and you really can’t side step it. Those are the big ones that I have found. Eve’s Scene: Can you tell us a little about Lust your newest CD? Debbie: There are only five tracks on the CD and our last album is a full length album but we decided to do five tracks on this one. Then we are going to dribble out some songs digitally over the next few months to keep it fresh and to keep putting things out there. This album we did as much as we could on our own. We recorded vocals and guitar at our home studio and we did do drums down in New York City in a professional studio. It took us a while because we have been so busy. We would have liked to have put it out a bit sooner and we put a lot of heart and soul into this and we are very big on constructive criticism and we like to take the criticism we got from our last album and go with it so it’s a little bit more Pop than the last album but it’s kind of the trend that music is going in now. We are very proud of it and have a lot of different songs on it. We have a poppy song, a ballad, we have a more intense and driving, not quite angry, maybe more sexual song so it’s a really nice eclectic mix of songs. We are very proud of it and it’s been very well received by college radio and all of the PR agencies we have been sending it out to and hopefully in the next few months we can get some of the tracks from this new album on some licensing opportunities. We do talk to MTV a bunch so they are anxious to get their hands on it. The good thing about being busy is that you are busy. The bad thing about being busy is that you literally have a list of things you need to do and it’s probably number four on our list. We won’t get to push the licensing for probably another few weeks or so. We have a lot of high hopes for it. Eve’s Scene: I was listening to some of the songs and I like how they are different. I love the way your music feels. You have the pop, the sex appeal and a little bit harder and it has such variety to it. Debbie: We try to do that because a) People want it and b) We are round and we are not flat. There are a lot of different things that go into us and in particularly women. As women we have a lot of different moods and states of minds. To put on an album that is just straight forward one thing is depriving ourselves of our range of emotions and our range of ability as in who we can be as women. I think our album is really a great mix and if feel is a very women empowering and emotional all across the board. There is the seduction, there is the lust, there is the love and there is the anger. I think that pretty much summarizes most women. Eve’s Scene: If you could tour with anyone who would it be and why? Debbie: I probably would say No Doubt. They are really mainstream and pop. When I was in middle school and high school that was “the” female band on the scene. I hear they are coming out with a new album in 2012 and putting a tour together. That would be the coolest thing in the whole world to open for them to sold out crowds. I think we would fit well with them. We couldn’t probably play with a folk artist or hip hop artist because you are supposed to have some similarities as far as genres are concerned with the bands that you tour with and I think it would be really fun. Eve’s Scene: Is there any advice you can give other aspiring female artists? 247976_10150187935141971_2852239_nDebbie: I wish someone had some really cool advice to give us. We are always learning so always learn. I think the big thing is that unfortunately the industry is not what it used to be. You can’t just be good musicians. You can’t just have good songs and take the stage and kick butt. That is only half of the battle. The other half is the business end, the networking, the booking and the social network presence. Being creative and having a YouTube presence. You can’t just sit back and be artistic. You really need to be a business person to and it is completely a full time job. There is probably just as much work in it as fun. It stinks but you have to be true to yourself as an artist and at the same time be as smart as possible to shop yourself and get fans. Be creative and push yourself. You have to make yourself into a national recording artist. No one is going to do it for you. Eve’s Scene: Is there anything else you would like to add to promote the band and the new album? Debbie: I always encourage people to check us out on Facebook and to friend request us. We keep that updated daily with whatever comes up. There will be some big shows for December that we will be announcing so keep an eye out. Hopefully some good things coming out of Ten Year Vamp the next few months. Eve’s Scene: Thank you so very much for taking the time to speak with me. Debbie: You Welcome. - Michelle Lynn For more information on Ten Year Vamp: Official Web Site Facebook YouTube

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