At the ripe age of 18 I got my first job working at the super conglomerate, Wal-mart. What does any sensible 18 year old purchase with their first paycheck? They buy an album, of course. My first album was none other than 10 years debut album, ‘Autumn Effect.’ I got a chance to sit down with the Tennessee natives to talk about a decade in the lime light!

How does it feel with the 10 year anniversary of your debut album ‘Autumn Effect’ coming up?
Jesse: It’s wild! We’ve talked about doing a couple of shows where we play that album in it’s entirety to pay homage to it and for our fans who have stuck around. Nothing set yet, but we’ve definitely talked about it.

Nice, I think we’d all love to see that! Now what are some stereo types of Tennessee that you guys put up with that are just ridiculous?
Jesse: That we don’t wear shoes, that one is weird ha. I think when they hear that we are from Tennessee they immediately think of a guy in a straw hat with a piece of hay sticking out of his mouth!

Tater: Yeah just because of our accent, people think we’re just a bunch of dumb yokles, but you go anywhere and there are different accents. Doesn’t mean a thing. That’s not to say there aren’t dumb rednecks running around – God bless’m, but ya can’t pigeon hole everyone into one group.

Jesse: One thing though that has unfortunately kind of become a true stereo type is that damn Sudafed thing man. The whole state has had to really crack down on that. I think though you go anywhere that’s out in the sticks or out of the city, you’re bound to find that shit. People making their own crazy drugs because they can’t get the “mainstream stuff” or whatever.

Oh yeah man, Minnesota has their fair share of crazy meth heads too! Back to the band though, Jesse. I noticed that you are able to sing in the exact same format that you do on your albums, which is pretty damn tough to accomplish! How do you keep your vocals that primed for a whole tour?
Jesse: Well back in the day it was because I had never toured! I had a fresh pair of vocal chords that had never been through that kind of abuse, so I pushed the limits at every single show. We toured for about 18 months straight and by the end of it I was completely shot. It’s like an athlete, you work any part of your body too much and you’re bound to get some injuries. I didn’t realize how blessed I was until people started telling me that not everyone could do that for every show, which I wish I would have known so I could have pumped the breaks haha.

Over the years it’s kind of come full circle where I have learned how to keep from hurting myself, the fans are a huge motivator in that respect too.

Tater: Right and even after a show  you’re yelling over the house music just to talk to people too, which wears your voice out. I’ve even told them to turn the house music down just so I can fucking talk to people. To add to what Jesse was saying though, I can fuck up a couple of guitar notes and no one will notice. If you mess up some vocal notes though? People tend to remember that and even for yourself you know? You can rattle yourself and fuck up the next show because you remember that last night you messed up on ‘that one part.’

Wild! Now there are some bands that you guys have toured with that have since disbanded. Who are some of those bands that you wish would come back?
Jesse: First one that comes to mind is Fair To Midland, Far Less is another one, but there was this band called Five Speed. They were on tour with us and got pulled by their support 1 week after their album release because it didn’t do what it was projected to do. The industry can be a real asshole, so we are super grateful to have been around for this many years.

Jesse: You’ve got to stay humble and any chance that is afforded to you so that you can continue to pursue your dream, you need to take it. So we have worked hard and we have pounded that pavement, we’ve headlined every shithole from here to Timbuktu and promoters are sometimes dumfounded at the fact that we pull the numbers that we do, but it’s all about that dedication. We’ve been able to sell out shows and we haven’t put a record out for 2 years, I’m not trying to toot our own horn but you need to stay motivated, you need to work your ass off in order to be successful. 

You know I’ve spoken with a lot of bands recently and they all seem to be putting out EPs and I feel like I hardly ever saw that shit growing up, but now they’re all over the fucking place! What do you guys think about that?
Tater: See a lot of that is budgets and record companies though. If a record company only gives you (X) amount to go put out a record and they give you some crazy deadline, you might just put out an EP instead. Because what used to happen is they would invest in a full length, and that full length would fail! So record companies are more inclined to budget that way, and then they will invest in a full length if the EP does well. Record companies have still not figured out how to make every record they invest in, successful.

Jesse: Another thing is that the internet has leveled the playing field. There is no mystique left. You can find out any information you want on anyone, at any given time. You used to have to show up 4 hours early just to see them getting off the damn bus, but now you can go on instagram and see where they were, what they were doing, and what they were eating all in one place. So the positive of an EP in that respect, is kids these days have short attention spans and in a world of competition you have 1 song or 1 chance to get people’s attention. Once you get that fan base though, that’s when you can start working towards a full length. Have you seen someone’s playlist on their phone by the way? It’s 1 song from 15 different fucking artists man. That I think is a testament to what bands are dealing with now a days.

Well and with that, technology has changed how people can MAKE an album ya know? People are making albums in their fucking bedrooms now!
Tater: No shit man. When we made our first album we recorded onto 1 inch tape, that’s how fuckin’ old I am! You had to time everything perfectly in order to record on that stuff and it was difficult. “We’ll just fix it in post,” was not an option in my day.

Jesse: Well and going back to that era of having to get it right the first time, there was a whole group of talented people that were able to do it first try too because that’s how they learned to do it. You had to have all of your songs down tight not just for live shows, but to make sure you could record it at it’s best as well. When you look at some of these metal bands now a days, it is chopped, diced, mechanical shit that can be recreated day in and day out.

What do you guys think about phones being up in your face non stop, speaking of technology?
Tater: Man every show, but it’s not so bad unless people are using their goddamn flashes and burning our retinas the whole time. People need to be respectful wether they are using their phones, or even some photographers like yourself will use flashes during our shows…

Ok that kind of shit from a real photographer, is completely unnecessary. Unless the show is in a fucking basement with no lights, it’s just inexcusable and most of the time makes your set look worse.
Jesse: You know and I’ve heard people talk about that at their shows to try and get their fans to put the phones down and the cameras down. “You can’t capture the smell, you can’t capture the feeling and you can’t capture the way this music is moving you right now.” People pay their own money so it’s their choice to do whatever they want, but I feel like you are missing out by not just enjoying the show.

What can you guys divulge about the new album?
Tater: We’ve got about 11 or 12 songs and we are recording it with our old drummer Brian Vodinh, which is great! It’s been really fun to be able to write with him again.

Jesse: With all of the major producers that we have wasted money on, he has always been the underlining producer. So now that we’ve learned better, everything is done with him at his house.

Tater: We truly have been able to do whatever we want with this record and it’s fucking awesome! Musicly Brian and I can push out a song a day and we’ve been doing a lot of it while we tour too. But Jesse has to pull every fuckin’ thing apart!
Jesse: I just question everything haha. I’m just real meticulous with art in general you know? Whether it’s my vocals or anything else. 

Awesome! So how long do we have to wait for this bad boy to drop?
Jesse: We’re trying to make sure this is out between January and March. Everything is almost done, just need to finish touring and get everything mastered.

Tater: This record is going to be a lot different too, but in a good way. It’s still 10 Years and we are staying true to ourselves and our fans, but it is a new album all together.  There’s some heavy shit and the types of songs that people have stuck with us so long for on it as well!

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