Jenia interviews Patrick, during the band’s last stop in Montreal
Ten Second Epic, hailing from Edmonton, Alberta, are slowly joining Nickelback and Theory of a Deadman as one of Canada’s most popular bands. Their members consist of Andrew Usenik(lead vocals), Daniel Carriere(guitar), Craig Spelliscy(guitar), Sandy Mackinnon(bass guitar) and Patrick Birtles(drums). Since they formed over seven years ago they have released 3 full length albums, toured throughout Canada with Warped tour and sold out venues across the country.
With the January release of their 3rd album, Hometown, Ten Second Epic embarked on a tour from April until May that saw them headlining shows from British Columbia all the way to Halifax. Joining them on the road were The Februarys and The New Cities.
CONFRONT Magazine caught up with drummer Patrick Birtles and guitarist Craig Spelliscy on May 13th before their show at Cabaret Juste Pour Rire in Montreal. The interview focuses on their brand new album as well as their cross Canada tour. Seeing as how the band has a very large following across the country I also included a handful of questions from some of Ten Second Epics biggest fans.
CONFRONT: Since this is CONFRONT’s first interview with Ten Second Epic I just need you guys to give a brief history of how the band was formed.
Patrick: Sure! We’ve been playing together for about seven years. Craig and I met growing up because we were in the same neighborhood and we played sports together. We adopted Sandy first through Craig’s high school. Then we encountered Andrew through my high school and Sandy grew up with Dan so that’s how we all got together and we’ve been doing it, the five of us, for about seven years now.
CONFRONT: What’s the tour been like so far?
Patrick: It’s been a blast! We started on the West coast and worked our way out East. It’s been a lot of fun.
CONFRONT: Have you seen a difference in the fans between the East and West because you guys appear to have a very strong fan base out in the West.
Patrick: You know the shows have been pretty similar!
Craig: Yeah it’s definitely changing. Coming from the West coast, in our early years we were definitely bigger out there but I think with the influence of radio and Much Music and whatnot more people have heard our music so the shows have been really well attended and we’re having a lot of fun.
CONFRONT: What’s it like touring with The New Cities and The Februarys? Are they good tour mates?
Patrick: Yeah! They are actually. We do a lot of drinking and other debaucheries. We all get along really well which is nice. There’s definitely a language barrier between us and some of the guys in The New Cities but we manage to get around that.
CONFRONT: Aside from that it’s been a good time?
Patrick: Oh yeah of course. Even that’s not a big deal.
CONFRONT: This tour is named after your brand new CD Hometown…
Craig: Yup came out in January.
CONFRONT: How does it compare to your previous album?
Craig: Well I think its better. I like to think its better. Making the last record we had more time, more money and more tools at our hands to really write and record the album the way we wanted to. We’re really proud of it and the response so far has been pretty accepting to it. We’re happy with everything and how it’s going now.
CONFRONT: Do you have a favorite song off of it?
Patrick: My favorite song is probably “Well That’s the Thing”. For some reason I love playing that song live and I love how it sounds on the record. If I had to choose it would probably be that one.
Craig: That’s a good choice.
Patrick: Thanks man! I hope I didn’t pick yours.
Craig: It’s hard. It’s like having to choose your favorite kid. I like them all for different reasons. I like the album as a whole and I’m just happy we wrote an album that encompasses our whole music “awesomeness”.
CONFRONT: You guys have a really big fan base so I asked some of your fans to send in questions for this interview.
CONFRONT: Jessica from Winnipeg wants to know what your main inspiration is.
Craig: Main inspiration? *laughs* That’s a good question. I think as long as we’ve been a band we grew up watching bands and I can remember the first few shows I went to I saw these guys on stage doing what they did; I just always wanted to do that. It looked and sounded like the best job in the world. To hang out with your friends all day, make people happy, go on stage and make peoples day for that hour you’re on stage. It’s kind of cool doing something that people really respond to and seem to enjoy. There are a lot of jobs out there that I’m sure people don’t enjoy doing and people they deal with don’t enjoy interacting with them. We definitely have a positive job and this is all I’ve ever wanted to do. I think that speaks for everyone in the band. We’re lucky enough to live that out and do what we’ve always wanted to do.
CONFRONT: Do you have any musical inspirations?
Patrick: In terms of bands? I grew up listening to alternative rock and one of my favorite drummers that I kind of idolized was Jeremy Taggart from Our Lady Peace. He’s probably the person who got me turned onto the drums.
Craig: There’s way too many bands to name. Everything from metal to pop music to jazz to..
Craig: Everything. We’ve taken bits and pieces of what we like and love and created our own sound around it. There’s thousands upon thousands of bands that I could sit here all day and name but I’m just a fan of music as a whole. Whatever I can take from it I’ll take and run with it.
CONFRONT: Allison from Ottawa wants you guys to name one fan experience you’ll never forget. Positive or negative.
Craig: Positive or negative..
Patrick: We played a show a few months ago in Saskatoon and it was a college show and there was a lot of drinking and one fan threw one of those stadium cups full of beer on the stage for whatever reason, I don’t know if he hated our music or what. Andrew, our singer, in one motion grabs the full beer right side up, chugs the rest of it and throws the cup back. I got to watch the whole thing as I’m playing the song and that’s something I’ll never forget. I think that’s the coolest thing that has ever happened on stage for our band.
Craig: Yup. That’s a good one.
CONFRONT: Allison also wanted to know if you could listen to one song on repeat for the rest of your life, which song would you choose?
Patrick: Oh. One song? I’d probably just shoot myself.
Patrick: If I had to go with my favorite song it’d be Black Balloon by The Goo Goo Dolls. Even that though, after 5 times in a row I’d break my CD player.
CONFRONT: Okay so that’s just your favorite song.
Patrick: Sure, yeah.
Craig: That’s a good choice. Yeah I don’t know!
Patrick: It’s tough.
CONFRONT: Well what’s your favorite song to listen to?
Craig: There’s a song by a band called Strung Out, a punk rock band, and the last song on their album is called Matchbook. It’s probably my favorite song ever.
Patrick: That’s a good track.
Craig: Yeah. Something you listen to as a kid and I’ve probably heard it a thousand times throughout my life.
CONFRONT: December from Winnipeg wants to know if you had the opportunity to tour with any band, who would it be?
Craig: Blink 182.
Patrick: Yeah sure. Absolutely.
CONFRONT: Randean T is also from Winnipeg, you guys seem to have a lot of fans from there..
Patrick: *laughs* Yes we do!
CONFRONT: She says that you guys played a show where Andrew was sick so you asked the crowd to provide the vocals. What was that experience like for you as a band?
Craig: It was fun
Patrick: It was wild
Craig: Yeah but I’d never want to do it again. It was one of those situations where we could cancel the show or make the best of it and we chose to do the latter and I’m glad we did. It was a blast and everyone that was there had a good time. We definitely did. But yeah we’re a five piece band and we’re going to stay that way.
CONFRONT: Where was this show?
Patrick: Ottawa. Andrew was super sick and we put him up in a hotel and he was like “I can’t sing” and he had no voice. So we were like “Okay we need to do something about this”. The show was already sold out so we couldn’t cancel it and we knew we had to do something. So we went to a Staples or something and printed off literally all of our lyrics so you could read them from far away. As people came into the venue we handed it to them and everyone was like “What the hell’s going on?!” So we kind of wandered through the crowd and explained to people that our singer was sick and he couldn’t make it and if they wanted refunds we’d make that happen or they could stick around and have a good time. We turned it into karaoke. We had a couple of people from bands who we knew could sing and we gave them the lyrics and they came on stage and took the microphone. It was a pretty memorable experience for sure.
CONFRONT: That sounds awesome. She also wants to know if you have any plans to cross the border and tour the States a little bit.
Patrick: We have been across the Southern border to the States. It’s a slow process. We have a lot of fans up here and we’ve experienced some success and hopefully it’ll translate down there eventually.
CONFRONT: Right now you’re just enjoying touring across Canada.
Patrick: Yeah! It’s a lot of fun.
CONFRONT: The last fan question comes from Felisha H from Ridgeway Ontario. What’s one song you’d love to cover?
Craig: Oh that’s a good question. We were talking about this the other day. What was it? A classic rock song.
Craig: Probably like ACDC.
Patrick: It was an ACDC song!
Craig: Yeah I’m sure as our band goes on we’ll pick songs. We’ve done Back in Black and Eye of the Tiger. I think we’re going to do some ACDC coming up.
CONFRONT: She also wants you to name one item you can’t live without when you’re on the road.
Craig & Patrick: Cell phone.
CONFRONT: Finally, what do you want your legacy to be. Either as an individual or as a band.
Craig: I think we want to be remembered as just a real band. A down to earth, hard working, hard touring band that took no bullshit and had the most fun out of any band ever. I don’t necessarily want to be remembered as the biggest band or the best but I’ll know, and I hope everyone knows, that we have probably had more fun then any band. We will continue to do so. That’s what I want to be remembered for.
Patrick: Well spoken.
CONFRONT: Well thank you guys!
Craig & Patrick: Thank you!
Even though their Spring 2009 “Welcome To Your Hometown” tour has come to an end you can still swing by your nearest music store and pick up their new album which includes the hit singles Life Times and Welcome to Wherever You Are.
To learn more about Ten Second Epic you can visit the following websites: