Interview: Jesse Hasek of 10 Years

On December 5th, I had the chance to sit down with Jesse Hasek, vocalist of 10 Years, on their tour bus and talk to him about the decision to choose Texas for this short run, the reason they chose the support they chose for those shows and much more! I want to thank Rick Mendoza, Claire Batchelder (Colourful Synner) and Chad Machan-Garland for the questions that they submitted to be answered as well. Check out the interview below and, please if you haven’t already, pick up From Birth to Burial… it’s mindblowing!


BearlySinister: My first question is about the new album, From Birth to Burial, which was released back in April. How has the album been received so far and how have the tours surrounding it gone?

Jesse: The tours have all been exceptional! We’ve been very fortunate to have some very loyal fans support us all these years and they’re very open to us changing our sound a little bit and trying new things. This record is probably the heaviest we’ve done to date just because… we’ve never done anything like this and every record we create, we try to make it have it’s own identity and not kind of… regurgitate what we’ve already done. This one also had a lot of angst about 10 years in bein’ in the business, just kind of getting it out in a therapeutic way. There’s some angst to it, in some songs.

BearlySinister: You guys are on a short run, only through Texas for 4 days. How did Texas come to be where you chose this to happen?

Jesse: Texas has just been a staple in our business since the beginning. This originally came about from a couple shows with Toys for Tots and we just went ahead and turned into a little one-week run. We knew that it’d be a good turnout, good crowds and it’s been great. The only thing is that we’ve been off for like a month and a half and last night it was so loud that I torched my voice a little bit but that’s the nature of the industry, it happens.

BearlySinister: How was this package put together and what has the reaction been to the first couple of nights?

Jesse: Both nights have been really, really great and then I’ve even heard tonight that this one’s sold out, so that’ll be awesome. Every band on the bill is a really solid band. The first band we had out with us is a band called Skytown Riot, they’re from our home town so we know them personally. They’ve got a cool, kind-of-like Muse vibe. Then Spoken’s been around forever, we’ve never played with them so we’re kind of excited to cross paths with ’em finally.

BearlySinister: What can be expected tonight in terms of a setlist? Will it be mainly new material or a mixture of new and old?

Jesse: We try to mix it all up, y’know, be democratic about each album, try to put about the same amount.

BearlySinister: Speaking of older material, I’ve got a couple of reader-submitted questions. The first comes from Chad Machan-Garland and he wants to know what the origin of “Wasteland” is.

Jesse: That song was originally about a family member that struggled with his own demons, his own addictions and it’s spoken in two point-of-views: The addict and the person struggling and then the person trying to help, so there’s a back and forth. The song’s about that. How much can you help someone until they want to help themselves?

BearlySinister: The 2nd comes from my good friend Rick Mendoza, who’s in a band called Freak The Mighty. He wants to know what the origin of “The Wicked Ones” is.

Jesse: That one comes from observation of human beings in life and how we take our innocence and slowly desensitize ourselves and corruption. It’s kind of saying that everybody gets corrupted and desensitized in a certain way it’s just… how far do you let it go?

BearlySinister: The band has been together for a considerable amount of time. How does it feel stepping on stage after all these years and what keeps you going when things look bleak?

Jesse: Really, the energy like, what these Texas shows have been keep us going. It shows that what you’re still doin’ is important to people and still has some life left in it. I think if the live shows were to die down, it would kind of, slowly, kill everything else off. I mean, I’ll always create music for my own therapy but when it comes to touring and all that it’s the crowds and the fans that hold that power and steer us where we need to go.

BearlySinister: What’s been your favorite memory since being in the band?

Jesse: I don’t know that I could narrow it down to one. A long time ago, 2007 or 2008, we were writing our 2nd record “Division” in Seattle and we had befriended the Deftones from playing with them on Family Values in ’06 and they were passin’ through town and we came out to watch ’em and out of nowhere, he [Chino Moreno] invited me onstage to do “Passenger” with ’em and I sang it on Chi’s mic so… that will always have a special place with me.

BearlySinister: Of all the songs that you’ve written over the years, do you have one that you particularly love to play live?

Jesse: Most songs that go over really well live are the ones with a lot of energy and then the softer songs that have a lot of passion… there’s not one in particular. Stuff like “Shoot It Out” will probably always be in our set list because it just has such a good energy to add to the crowd. When we play headlining sets like these, we try to make more ups and downs and we’ll put stuff in there that’s lighter like “The Autumn Effect” It depends on how long our set is, if we get 30 minutes usually it’s like a suckerpunch of heavy songs. If we do our headlining shows, there’s more ups and downs and more ethereal.

BearlySinister: Sean Merren, who is going to be here tonight, wants to know if you will play “Blank Shell” tonight or if you’ve ever played it live or will ever play it live?

Jesse: It’s been sooo many years. Yeah, we used to play it forever ago. Certain songs that are that old, you have to relearn ’em, you kinda forget ’em so that one would have to take some practice.

BearlySinister: To those who have never seen you live, what can be expected out of a 10 Years show?

Jesse: Hopefully, uh, a lot of energy. That’s what we try to do and a decent job of trying to perform the songs and just have a good time.

BearlySinister: What inspired you to be a vocalist?

Jesse: I kind of just tripped and fell into this thing, I had some friends that were all playin’ instruments and they didn’t have a singer so they were just like “wanna give it a shot?” It just happened, I didn’t even really know that I could sing or what potential I had of singing until I was 20. It took a long time to get comfortable as a frontman because I was much more shy and introverted and being a frontman, you gotta get over that fear.

BearlySinister: This one comes from Claire Batchelder, our photographer out of New Jersey. She wants to know what you would be doing if you weren’t doing music?

Jesse: I mean… I do a lot of art. I’ve always done art and will always do art. As a job, I would have no idea. I was going to college to pursue art and I got lucky with this and I consider this to be art. I get to travel, I’ve always wanted to travel, experience the world and I’ve done all those things and created stuff that’s important and it becomes bigger than me, even. First, it’s my therapy but then it becomes personal and intimate for people I’ve never even met, which is really, really cool. If I wasn’t doing this, I don’t know. I’m infected with it now, so I’ll always be doing it in some facet or some level.

BearlySinister: The last question comes from my friend Bradley Dillon, over at The New Fury. It’s been over 10 years since “The Autumn Effect” was released. How do you feel, looking back at that album, and would you change anything about it?

Jesse: Nah, I mean… that album has a special place to us because really just captured that moment in our lives, in a very good way. It turned out to be our very first impression on the world and  it allowed us to open the door to this business and get into it so, not really. I mean, other albums I’d say there might be some things I would change but that one… I’d leave it alone.

BearlySinister: That’s about all I’ve got, unfortunately. Thank you so much for doing this, it’s been an honor and a pleasure. Is there anything else you’d like to say to your fans, our readers and the general public?

Jesse: Thank you! I just wanna say thanks for the many years of support and allowing us to do it.