In 2006, 10 Years came to Australia for the first time as part of a massive tour where they played alongside Korn, Disturbed and Hatebreed. Their singer Jesse Hasek still has fond memories of that trip. “Growing up, one of the main things I wanted to accomplish in life was travel, and through this job we’re allowed to do that. Once we got in Australia we were completely blown away at just how nice and hospitable everyone was and how beautiful it was. We were able to have a couple days off here and there so we took the ferryboat ride over to one of the zoos in Sydney, we went by the Opera House on the waterfront, so we were able to be tourists for a minute. But the crowds and the way you guys support rock music is what was really impressive.”

 

Hasek didn’t always want to be in a globetrotting rock band. He says when he was a kid he was “a bit of an introvert” who was more interested in art and wanted to be a sculptor or painter, but he spent most of his teenage years just skateboarding. When his skating buddies needed a singer for their band they roped him in, but he was so shy he performed at their first few gigs with his back to the crowd. “It took a long time for me to develop and grow into the shoes of being a frontman in a rock’n’roll band,” he says. It wasn’t until they started recording songs that he really began to enjoy being in that band. “That creative process is what got me hooked. That’s when I knew that’s what I want to do. Creating the music is by far my favourite [part].”

 

10 Years formed in the college town of Knoxville, Tennessee, which may not be a hub of culture but had a music scene that was vital in helping the band out in its early days. Hasek describes a scene where the dozen or so local bands all played together and pooled their fans until they started pulling surprising crowd numbers. “It started off with a hundred people, a couple hundred, and by the end of it we’d have a thousand people showing up to see this local band. We ended up getting ‘Wasteland’ [the single from 2005’s The Autumn Effect] number one in Knoxville for 18 weeks straight, unsigned, and all these labels are like, ‘Why are national acts not beating this local band on the national radio station?’ So Knoxville really lifted us up.”

 

When the labels did start paying attention, 10 Years signed to Universal. Having the support of a major label behind them worked in their favour at first, but after their 2010 album Feeding The Wolves the label began pressuring them to work with outside writers to create a hit, which they weren’t interested in doing. “We just agreed to disagree and parted ways. They were nice enough to let us out of our contract with really no trouble, but we were not really willing to go into the whole co-write world where other people wrote our songs for us. We just couldn’t do it.”

 

Their 2012 album Minus The Machine was released independently, and recorded in a studio they built in their guitarist/drummer Brian Vodinh’s house. That had the advantage of letting them record at their own pace, stretching it out for six months rather than hurrying to finish before a deadline. “I would be lying if I said it wasn’t a little scary because we have done four of our albums in nice studios and used label budgets, but our very first record that we did that was an independent record we did by ourselves, and we recorded pretty much by ourselves. We went back to that mentality.”

 

BY JODY MACGREGOR

 

10 Years play Soundwave Festival 2014 with Green Day, Avenged Sevenfold, Alice In Chains, Placebo, AFI, Korn, Newsted and more at Sydney Olympic Park on Sunday February 23.

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