On the Road with: Exit Ten
Exit Ten, a British Rock/Metal band, just released their second album “Give Me Infinity” in October to excellent reviews. We chatted with the band’s drummer Chris about overcoming tough times, working with family, and what it takes to put on an unforgettable live performance
What’s it like being on tour again after being away for some time?
Chris: It’s really nice to be back out because we haven’t done a tour, this long anyways, for a couple of years. Obviously it’s really important for us to play as much as we can since releasing the new album, and the idea is always to get out to as many places as we can. So it’s been really, really nice.
Is there anything that stands out about this tour compared to previous tours?
C: Well because of the new album the biggest difference for us has just been getting to play our new songs. It’s great to go out there and play our new stuff for people who are maybe hearing it for the first time. It’s nice being able to mix things up, to play our old and new stuff. It’s been really fun.
You guys faced a few setbacks and it took a couple years to get the new album “Give Me Infinity” out. Can you give us a quick recap regarding what the band has gone through the past few years?
C: Well, we released our first album in 2008 and we did a couple of tours and got really good reviews and things like that. When it got to the New Year we were about to do more gigs and come out to Europe, but then the company basically went bust. We had to deal with a bunch of legal stuff like trying to get the rights to our album back, because the album was taken out of the shops, and everything kind of ground to a halt. So we had to rethink a lot of stuff. And at that point you know, you either say “Well, that’s it,” or, you look at what it is you can control. And for us that’s writing songs. So that’s what we did until we got to the point where we had enough to record another album, and that’s where we are now.
“Give Me Infinity” has been described as upbeat and inspiring. What were you guys aiming to show with your new record?
C: It would’ve been easy for us to write something kind of dark because of what happened to us, but we tried to be uplifting and remain positive. It is dark and heavy in places, but overall it’s quite positive. And the fact that we were even able to get it all down and put the album out…the message is not to give up on what you’re doing and keep pushing forward. We’re really happy with how it came out in terms of its tone and everything. We’re really proud of it.
One of the differences on the record is that you’ve incorporated more layering into your sound with the addition of strings and piano. Why did you guys decide to go in that direction?
C: Well, we had dabbled with it in the past, but this time we thought if we’re going to put a part like that in let’s not half-ass it; let’s do it properly. We wanted to really make it affect the song, and the strings do bring it to the next level. Also, since it has taken us so long to getting around to do another album, we got to experiment a lot more and had the opportunity to try new things in the studio. It’s nice to forget about what people might say or how it might sound and just try something out to see how it works. So we had a lot more time to figure out what we wanted, and we’re really happy with the outcome.
Similarities with Pearl Jam have been pointed out on “Give Me Infinity”. Who were your biggest influences when creating the new album?
C: Our influences are always so wide-ranging from a lot of heavy metal bands like Tool to A Perfect Circle through to Pearl Jam. So our record really reflects that variety. There are so many different sounds and bits to the album because we have been listening to so many different things. And also, it has been over two years since the last album so there’s a lot of new stuff we’ve been drawing inspiration from. So all the things we’ve been listening to all just came together. There wasn’t one main thing.
Three of the five members in the band are brothers. How does that dynamic work within the band? Do you think it makes working together easier or more difficult?
C: Oh, it’s definitely easier. Also, we’ve known the guitarist Joe since we were babies and grew up together so that’s really where it all started. We were playing music before we could play instruments. That core family base has always been there and it’s never going to go away. I think that it definitely helps in difficult times. That close bond is always there and is always going to help you push on.
What’s your favorite song to play live?
C: “Technically Alive” because it takes it down a notch. It changes the mood and Ryan really puts his heart and soul in it. It’s a really fun way to finish a set. Everyone gets involved and it feels really good to play. We’re really proud of that song so to finish the set every night with that I would say is definitely my favorite.
If you could choose any place to perform where would it be?
C: The pinnacle would probably be playing at Wembley. That’s where you want to be. Wembley or Leeds. That would be my choice. In the UK anyway.
What does it take to put on a great live performance?
C: I think performance is the key word. You can go see a band and they can be great at their instruments and have really good music, but if they just stare at the floor and aren’t engaging with the crowd it’s going to suck. You want to see the band enjoy themselves. For us, in particular Ryan, it’s all about connecting with the crowd. No matter how good your music is you have to be able to connect and perform. You have to be confident enough to really sell it to the audience.
Since the band formed what has been the biggest highlight for you?
C: Well back in the early days we supported Avenged Sevenfold and Deftones, so in terms of gigs that’s like pinnacle really. It was amazing. Definitely my favorite gigs. But also, really good memories recording albums. We’re lucky enough that next to all the crap that we’ve had to go through that we’ve worked with some really cool people. All those memories you don’t forget. So we have a lot of good highlights.
What’s next for Exit Ten?
C: We’re going to do more touring in the New Year. We’ve got a European release in February and we’ll be going out to Europe in March. That will be our first time out there so we’re really looking forward to it. We’re just going to keep touring until the summer festivals. It’s just about keeping the momentum going and not getting stuck so we’re going to do as many gigs as we can.