Interview: Ten Kens

Genau ein halbes Jahr ist es jetzt her, seit die ersten Zeilen von AufTouren ihren Weg in das World Wide Web gefunden haben. Ständige Begleiter in dieser Zeit waren die vier Herren von Ten Kens, die uns von dem Tag ihrer ersten  Single bis zur Ankündigung, das gleichnamige Album hierzulande doch noch in diesem Jahr zu veröffentlichen, keine Ruhe gelassen haben. Mit einem großartigen Debüt im Gepäck ging es für Dan Workman (Vocals), Dean Tzenos (Gitarre), Lee Stringle (Bass) und Ryan Roantree (Drums) aus Toronto nun das erste Mal für eine Tour in den UK. Kurz zuvor hatten wir noch schnell die Gelegenheit, Dan mit einigen Fragen genauer auf den Zahn fühlen zu können:

AufTouren: Two years ago, there already existed a what we can call early version of „Ten Kens“. What happened from the moment you first recorded the songs 2006 till the signing to FatCat?

Dan: It actually wasn’t long after we completed our first recordings that we signed to FatCat. We put a tremendous amount of work into those early recordings.  It was never our intention to create a ‚demo‘, our ultimate goal was to create a finished album…a difficult task for two guys with no prior recording experience.  It took well over a year to complete.  Once it was done, we packaged it and mailed it off.  That was it.  They listened, liked us and signed us.  The planets aligned in our favor without question.

AufTouren: Compared to the first version from 2006, the record now sounds different, less row and more precise, but without losing its charm. What was the reason you changed the tracklist?

Dan: The first record was recorded in a small bedroom.  We had lousy microphones, old equipment, and were fumbling around with music programs we didn’t fully understand.  It definitely had a certain charm because of all that, and we still adore those early recordings.  However, when FatCat asked us to go into the studio to re-record, we jumped at the chance.  We knew that with the proper engineering and equipment we could achieve so much more in terms of sound quality and power.  We had some new material ready to go when we went into the studio, and we simply made the call to substitute a few of the older songs with some of the newer ones that we felt would be a better fit on what would become our ’new‘ record.

AufTouren: Let´s get back to 2003, Dan and Dean, that is the time you were collaborating for the first time, right? Then you played together as a three-piece, with Lee playing the bass. It took some time, utilising several drummers, till you finally found Ryan. Very interesting aspect, because I think the drums are one of the main parts for the typical Ten Kens-sound, it fits so well. So this was real blessing…

Dan: Correct.  We too felt that drums would always be a very crucial part in achieving Ten Kens distinct sound.  There were always drummers, and we were always able to express what it is we wanted from them, it just took a while to find a perfect match for the band.  Ryan was a great find and most welcome addition…and the beat goes on.

AufTouren: If you took a minute and let the year pass by, what are the pictures in front of your eyes? Your most exciting experiences?

Dan: We’re still very new, but one experience definitely stands out among the rest.  After having only played 5 shows (and not very good ones mind you), we were put on a big festival bill with No Age and Deerhoof.  That was very exciting, it was our first big show.  We had an absolute blast and played a really great set.  It reaffirmed our belonging in this business, and has pushed us to become the band we had envisioned we would be.

AufTouren: Now you are close to the day to kick off your first UK-tour. What are your expectations?

Dan: We’ve never toured the UK, so we have no idea what to expect.  As always, we’re just going to go out there and play our hearts out, and whatever happens, happens.  We’re expecting nothing, but hoping for the best.

AufTouren: We are really excited to see one of your shows in the nearer future. So when will we get the chance to be part of it here in Germany?

Dan: I can’t say exactly WHEN we’ll be there, I can only say that we WILL be there.  Sooner than later I’m sure.

AufTouren: Back to 2008, what are your favourite records? And what do you think will still be recent in a few years?

Dan: I’ll give you my top three 2008 records, and really, I think all three will stand the test of time.

1) Snowman – The Horse, The Rat And The Swan

2) Crystal Antlers – Crystal Antlers

3) The Walkmen – You & Me

AufTouren: Looking forward into the future, what are the next steps you will take? Do you already have plans for the next record? We are still waiting for a vinyl release of „Ten Kens“…

Dan: Our plan is to tour until we can’t tour anymore…and once that’s done, we plan on heading right back into the studio.  Vinyl is on the way.

AufTouren: Thank you very much for taking the time, we wish you all the best for 2009 and hope to see you on stage soon!

Dan: Thank you, most appreciated!!

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