Walking away from a longtime relationship with a major label is a major moment for an artist.
But for drummer/guitarist Brian Vodinh and the other members of the Tennessee hard-rock band 10 Years, severing ties with Universal Records made perfect sense.
“It got to the point where we knew that wasn’t a good home for us,” Vodinh says. “Basically, with our last record [2010’s Feeding the Wolves], we fulfilled our contract with them. At that point, we could either renegotiate a new deal or decide to go our separate ways. So instead of us trying to put together a new deal and stay with them, we decided to start our own label.”
After throwing around a bunch of names, 10 Years decided to call its new imprint Palehorse Records.
“It came from that movie Tombstone. I think the 10 potential names that were up to be the name of the label all came from Tombstone,” Vodinh says with a laugh.
With Palehorse, he adds, “We have full control over everything; we know exactly what’s happening with our money. It’s just a lot easier that way. First and foremost, we just want control, and we want to be creative.”
For the band’s aptly named Minus the Machine album, due Aug. 7 on Palehorse (distributed by Warner/ILG), 10 Years also chose to keep production duties in house, with sessions taking place at Vodinh’s Kashmir Recording.
“Even when we worked with other producers in the past, I had been the voice of the band as far as when we’d make our music,” Vodinh says. “I’m very hands-on with the production, and I used to work in a studio, so I know that side of it well. This time around, everyone in the band was just like, ‘Dude, you should just do it.’ And for me, I’ve always wanted to take the reins like that, but we’re a team, and I wanted to make sure everyone in the band was completely on the same page. They really encouraged me to take the reins and do it.”
Along the way, Vodinh did solicit outside opinions from “other mixers and other musical ears I know and trust,” Vodinh says. Among those confidants was friend and noted pop mixer Dave Pensado.
“I sent him something to check out,” Vodinh recalls, “and he told me at one point, ‘Stop thinking. I can tell you’re thinking [too much]. … When you start thinking too much, that’s when the music loses some soul.’ And that’s very true.
“So we didn’t do hardly any thinking on this record,” Vodinh adds, laughing. “It was really organic; everything just flowed. And it’s funny because this record has more individual tracks in the songs and more orchestration than anything we’ve ever done before, so in a way, if you’re not thinking about it, it’s going to be a simpler record. But the not-thinking aspect turned it into the opposite. It has more textures and depth than anything else we’ve done.”
— By Chris M. Junior
10 Years on tour (schedule subject to change):
* Aug. 4: Disc Exchange — Knoxville, Tenn.
* Aug. 11: Shadow Hill Ranch — Twin Lakes, Wis.
* Sept. 15: Capone’s — Johnson City, Tenn.
* Sept. 16: WXEG X-Fest — Dayton, Ohio
* Sept. 18: Peabody’s — Cleveland
* Sept. 19: Club Fever — South Bend, Ind.
* Sept. 21: Elbo Room Lounge — Rhinelander, Wis.