As you may have noticed, I’m a big fan of Exit Ten. In a rather excellent first for Musicscramble, I managed to get a few words with guitarist Joe Ward and asked a few questions about the new album, live shows and the progression of their sound.
Give Me Infinity is a subtler record than Remember the Day with a more melodic sound to it. Was it a conscious choice to make a less aggressive record?
Not really. we just grew up a little and matured in our writing. From the start we always went out to impress people with the overall song rather than guitar wankery or by being pointlessly heavy. Songs are timeless. If you get stuck in fads or trends you automatically put a short lifespan on your career. Unless you’re U2…
I said in my review of Give Me Infinity that I felt the lyrics seemed quite personal. Who’s the primary songwriter? Do you write together as a band or do the lyrics come from a single source?
Me and Stu (Steele, guitar) write all the guitar stuff and that’s where the songs start. Ryan (Redman, vocals) writes all the lyrics and melodies. He never chooses the obvious melody and it always works amazingly. We wrote so many songs for Give Me Infinity!!
Who would you cite as the biggest influences to Exit Ten’s sound?
That is the hardest question to answer and the answer for me would be life. I write according to my mood. When everything is going well music pours out of me but if I’m a bit down or I feel a bit rubbish I can’t write a thing. Luckily I’ve been very happy for the past few years! Life is quite easy to control once you know how. I can’t help but write things in a minor key though. Bands we listen to a lot are Tool, Elbow, Soundgarden, Incubus, Radiohead, Muse, Queen. Any band that are completely epic.
It was 3 years between your debut record and the release of Give Me Infinity which some would consider a fairly long time for a follow-up record. The problems with Pinnacle/Deep Burn Records happened around the time of Remember The Day’s release. Do you feel it halted your progress or caused issues that stopped you getting out to the public?
The first record didn’t have a chance. All momentum completely ground to a halt. So we kinda thought “fuck it” and got straight back to writing. We recorded so many demos. We find that with every album you evolve through the creative process almost re-sculpting your sound. Re-discovering your sound. So the first songs we wrote for Give Me Infinity didn’t necessarily make the album but they weren’t pointless ventures. They just flushed out the crap and got us on track.
You’re touring the UK at the moment in support of Give Me Infinity with Fei Comodo and Never Means Maybe. How’s the tour going? What’s been your favourite show so far?
LONDON BARFLY. Amazing crowd response to the new stuff. It’s the best feeling when people sing your songs back to you. It’s almost like a stamp of approval.
Sadly I couldn’t make it to the Glasgow show so I didn’t get to hear how the new material sat with the old. How did things like the orchestration on ‘Suggest a Path’ and ‘Eyes Never Lie’ translate to the live show (if of course they made it to the set list)?
We have to play to a click and the strings are on tracks. One day we would like our ‘S&M’ moment and have a massive live orchestra. I’m completely up for anything goes on record so I don’t let the live thing get in the way of what I want it to sound like on CD. They’re different things, different experiences.
Aside from your own headline tours, you’ve supported bands like 36 Crazyfists too. Who would be your dream band to tour with?
At the moment just going on tour with a bigger band than us would be my dream. We need to widen our audience because people already have their views on us good or bad. We need to be shoved down the throats of new people!
As of the time of writing you have 9019 fans on Facebook and 1909 followers on Twitter. How important is the Internet and social media to you as a means to promote the band and engage with fans?
I try to answer every tweet on the Exit Ten Twitter. Facebook is awesome but I don’t get on with it. I try to keep myself to myself. It’s exciting that you can have convos with your fans.
Personally I ditched physical CD’s long ago and my music collection is now entirely digital. Do you think there’s a future for physical media or is digital distribution the way to go?
I love having the CD booklets though. The artwork is part of the whole package but houses are getting smaller so one iPod has its advantages over 1000s of CD’s or vinyl. Vinyl is where it’s at though. To the trained sensitive ear every medium sounds completely different. When you digitalise something it doesn’t sound as good.
I’d like to hear the whole history of Exit Ten and I’ve got a couple of early demo tracks grabbed off the net. What do you think when you go back and listen to them again?
You can definitely hear that we’ve gotten better, that’s for sure. You can hear that our intentions have always been the same though. We’re songwriters!
And finally, what’s next for Exit Ten? Is it too early to think about a third album yet?
Already on it. I’ve been writing today actually. Theres some good stuff brewing. The third record will be the best!
I’d like to thank Joe for taking the time out to answer my questions, especially considering the band were in the middle of a UK tour at the time. The tour continues in January with a raft of new dates and a slot in HMV’s Next Big Thing tour.