Interview with 10 Years bassist Lewis Cosby

- Jul 30, 2006 at 11:55AM
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Ok, here is a group that came out of nowhere and quickly became something huge. 10 Years came together as recently as 1999 and in the short time span since their initial formation have steamrolled their music to ridiculous heights. Speaking of which, the band just came of a North American tour where they shared the stage with none other rock/metal giants Mudvayne and Korn. Yes, things are looking freaking good for this group and fortunately for all you old (and soon to be new fans), PGA managed to catch up with the group in Toronto. Here is what bassist Lewis Cosby had to say about the band’s early history, their rapid success, and their future plans.

10 Years is a relatively new group having formed as recently as 1999. Can you elaborate on how the band came to be and furthermore where you got the name for your band?
Lewis: Um, the band was formed in '99 through a couple of different local bands that we all played in. Tater played in one band and the rest of us basically played in another one. Basically, we just picked the best of each band and formed. We had a different singer way back in the day and ah, Jesse came in, four, almost five years ago, we found him and he was a fan of our band so, we just stole him and the circle is pretty much complete.

What about the name 10 Years?
Lewis: Ah, that’s the only thing we don’t disclose, it’s kind of a personal thing. We found also that a lot of fans, you know, come up with their own meanings that are way cooler than anything we could come up with. You know, it means a lot more to them when it’s personal rather than us just telling them what it means.

Many people might not be aware, but you guys independently released a CD called Killing All That Holds You prior to the Autumn Effect. What’s the story there and what was it like producing that record by yourself?
Lewis: Ah, we had a guy named Travis Wierck that produced it and you know, he was experienced as far as, he was great with guitars and vocals and pretty much everything so he really helped us through our first experience in the studio. But, it’s definitely not what it’s like now, we had two months to go in and spend time getting the tones. You know, we did Killing All That Holds You in five or six days so it was a big rush to make it all happen, but you know "Wasteland" was on that and "Through The Iris" as well which were the only two songs we winded up keeping off that.

What’s the hard music scene like in Knoxville, Tennessee and did you guys have a lot of competition or problems when you were starting out?
Lewis: There actually was a decent rock scene in Knoxville, a couple of bands we always teamed up and played with, but you know we didn’t really have problems after a while selling out our home town venue which was like, eight, nine hundred people you could pack in there. So people got enthusiastic about the band and it was starting to create a buzz in Knoxville so you know, our home town really got behind us.

As you said, everything happened really quickly. You guys quickly established yourselves as a modern rock force and in 2005 signed with Republic Universal. How did you manage to get signed so quickly and what made you sign with this label in particular?
Lewis: "Wasteland" like I said was on our first release, our independent release and the hometown music director of our hometown rock station, he picked up a copy of our disc and really dug "Wasteland" and wanted to spin it on the station. So he put it on the air and within three weeks it was the number one requested song and it stayed that way for like eighteen weeks in a row so it started generating label interest. And we had a couple of different labels that poked around at us, but Avery Lipman who’s the brother of Monte Lipman who’s the head of Universal, he flew in to see us and he was the first guy that really sat down and listened to what we had to say, the direction that we wanted to take the band in. You know, a lot of times we had people from labels come down and they’d just talk about what people they’ve worked with and kind of blowing smoke up your ass. Avery was genuinely interested in what we had to say and he just seemed like he really got it you know, he was the first guy who really got 10 Years. He was absolutely genuine and you know, they just stuck behind us since day one and it’s been a great experience.

How did it make you feel to get signed so early in your careers to such a prominent label?
Lewis: Ahh, yeah a lot of bands wait forever, we felt like we waited forever too. You know, we were blessed, I’m glad we’re at the age that we are, a lot of us are twenty four, twenty five years old, so I’m glad that it happened early on in our careers so we can hopefully make a long career out of this. But yeah man, it’s definitely exciting when you have a major label knocking at your door and you know, you’re making your dreams come true and so, yeah it’s an honor.

Almost immediately after signing this contract you entered the studio and in no time you basically released The Autumn Effect. What was it like recording this record and how did the experience compare to your self-released one?
Lewis: Like I said, we had over two months, almost three months to do this record so we had a lot of time to get the tones and stuff that we wanted to do and we had time to do pre-production and you know, get everything down the way we wanted to do it. And we were kind of nervous about going in there with an A list producer because we were scared that we were going to get a guy in there that was going to try to change our sound and make us into something that we’re not, but that wasn’t the case. Josh Abraham let us make the record we wanted to make so all in all it was a pleasant experience considering I’ve heard many a horror story from other bands about what happened to them, our sound was never compromised and we did what we wanted to do.

With this most recent release, it’s evident you guys emphasize your lyrics almost as much as your music. The emotionally rich lyrical content seems to pertain to life in general as well as socio-cultural issues. Can you elaborate on this at all?
Lewis: Yeah, Jesse really prides himself and takes a lot of time in writing the lyrics. We come up with the music first and pass along to them and he vibes off the mood of the song and writes the lyrics. But we try to write lyrics with substance and truth and meaning rather than just generic stuff. I mean, I see so many bands just saying things about you know, "my girlfriend broke up with me and I’m pissed off" and that’s the end of the song. You know, that’s been beat into the ground, that teenage angst. I think there’s an audience out there that’s not stupid that’s like, really getting what we’re doing and um, we just try to pride ourselves on having something to say rather than just trying to sell ourselves in a manner that’s going to make us money. We really try to maintain truth in what we do, and honesty as well.

If there is one, what would you say is the message your music is trying to convey to the masses?
Lewis: Um, to kind of simplify your lives and not be so obsessed with materialism. There’s so much reality TV and music is so watered down today, we want people to just try and think for themselves again and kind of, to have something to believe in through us, you know that there is still music out there with substance and it’s not all corporate rock. Because I hate that, sometimes people will automatically assume that we’re just another corporate rock band on a major label, but we’re trying to break that mold. So yeah, definitely, just to think for yourself and not be afraid of being yourself.

Korn and Mudvayne. How amazing is touring with these two incredible bands and how did you end up getting added to this bill?
Lewis: Oh dude, it’s unbelievable. I remember buying Korn’s first record in like sixth grade. I was at that impressionable age where I was just forming my musical opinion and Korn was a big influence on that. So, you know to be walking around and these guys know our names and you know, hear them say our names on stage every night. Just to be in this atmosphere is like; you know we never in a million years thought we’d be here. And Mudvayne, I’ve been a fan since like 2000 when I heard their first record and uh, god, you know me being a bass player and watching Ryan every night, like I sit on the side stage every single night and just watch that guy and it makes me want to quit he’s so good. But yeah, this is definitely a dream come true to be on this bill and being able to get on this tour, Korn hand picked the bands on this tour so we definitely feel honored that they picked us. Out of all the bands that were trying to get on it, they picked us.

Speaking of the tour, how has this tour been going so far and how have the fans been reacting to your music?
Lewis: It’s been unreal. You know, we’ve done big shows before and big arena shows and it seemed like when we were first starting out, people would get there late, the room was maybe thirty percent full and it just felt like it was empty. But now, people are becoming more aware of who we are and they’re getting there early. We’re coming out there (on stage) and the place is almost full when we start our set so you know it’s awesome to see it grow and the progression we’ve made from day one. And I’m sad to say that this is like the last day of the tour and then we’re going to be heading over to Japan, Australia and Korea with these guys and doing some European festivals with them so you know, it’s kind of a sad day today that it’s all coming to an end as far as in Canada and the United States.

After this tour, you guys are scheduled to hit Tokyo and even Australia. How awesome will this experience be for you and what are your thoughts on it?
Lewis: This is the first time for us being out of the country. I mean, we’ve been to Canada before, but it’s so close to home that it doesn’t seem any different. But Japan and Australia, god, that’s halfway across the world playing shows in front of an audience that’s five thousand miles away so it’s mind blowing. I’m just looking forward to seeing another culture besides our own and seeing what they’re up to over there.

Other than these forthcoming international shows, what does 10 Years have lined up for the near future?
Lewis: We’re going to be headlining in May for a little while and then in June we’re going to be heading over to Europe and doing a lot of big festivals over there. But coming back and headlining, I mean we’ve done some one off shows on days off of this tour, we’ve done our own shows and they’ve been great, they’ve been close to selling out, fifteen hundred people capacity places. We’d just as soon do our own thing because we don’t want to always be before the opening act and thought of as the support band, we want to establish ourselves as a headlining act. So I think now’s the time so we’re going to take that opportunity and run with it.  [ END ]
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