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10 Years' Brian Vodinh: "We're a Little Darker at Times"

This weekend, on the heels of the release of their fifth full-length album, Minus the Machine, 10 Years visits Houston (...well, The Woodlands) for Buzzfest XXIX, performing alongside Silversun Pickups, Three Days Grace, The Toadies, Dead Sara, Hollywood Undead, Lit and our city's very own thelastplaceyoulook.

Rocks Off recently spoke with the band's drummer and guitarist Brian Vodinh, who can now add the title of "producer" to his resume. After recently cutting ties with their former label, the band recorded their new album Minus the Machine at Vodinh's own home studio, and the band is elated with the finished product.

Two weeks into their six-week tour, these Tennessee natives are happy to be back in warmer climates and excited for Saturday's festival. Bible belt, stand up.

"This is very much another level of 10 Years," Vodinh says of the new record. "We're a little older now and are beginning to really create mature orchestration."

Instead of spending a lump of both cash and time traveling to a well-respected studio and receiving input they weren't interested in anyway, the band took to the comfort of Vodinh's home, where they worked at their own pace without anyone peering over their shoulders or pointing to the clock.

"There are a lot of sounds that just wouldn't have happened if I hadn't had the freedom to work any time I was inspired," Vodinh says. "If it was 2 o'clock in the morning, I might get out of bed and put a string part behind a chorus. I would just sit in there experimenting for days on end, and it made a big difference. If it took 15 tries before I found something that worked, I had the ability to do that."

Beyond being at ease, the band was able to go in any direction they chose, unhindered by pressure to make another radio hit like "Wasteland" or "Fix Me." While this album's debut single "Backlash" is unmistakably 10 Years, it possesses a considerably different feel than much of the band's recent catalog.

"The music that we want to write is a little left of center, compared to a lot of the stuff on most rock radio," Vodinh says of the band's decision to leave Universal Music Group and release Machine on their own label, Palehorse Records. "We're a little darker at times, and some of our arrangements are a bit unconventional.

"We thrive on being interesting and trying to push ourselves creatively, and the major labels are so concerned with the bottom line that they want every band on their roster to stick to a formula," he adds.