By Ryan Javier
DALLAS – Over the past half-decade, the punk rock trio of Ten Can Riot have been shredding their way through the music scene and have amassed quiet a following, despite only releasing two studio albums. The group’s steadily increasing popularity has been due largely in part to word-of-mouth over their live performances.
Always full of energy and never disappointing, Ten Can Riot is widely regarded as one of the region’s premier punk bands. Ten Can Riot has the proverbial bedpost notches to back it all up as well. This extraordinary trio has shared the stage and held their own with such heavy-hitters as Bad Religion, Voodoo Glow Skulls and north Texas’ own: Bowling for Soup.
Most recently, Ten Can Riot opened up for punk legends: The Dead Kennedys, and Infrared was there. After a stellar set, we able to catch up with the rising band and ask a few questions of founder and frontman, Scotty Diss (SD).
-Ten Can Riot began humbly enough, as a lot of bands do, with a Craigslist ad. Tell me about that.
SD: Ten can riot was officially formed back in late 2009/early 2010. Mick [Villarreal] answered an add on Craigslist I had put out looking for a drummer to start a new punk band. Doug Grabowski also answered an add and began jamming with us. We quickly recorded our first ep in a weekend in early April. Our first gig was in May 2010 for our friends Jess birthday at black swan saloon with the legendary and friends Spector 45. Doug decided to leave the band early 2015 that’s when Phil Sahrs joined the band.
-Your lineup was slightly different for the Dead Kennedy’s show.
SD: Yeah, the official band lineup is me, Scotty Diss [on] guitar and vocals, Micko Villarreal [on] drums and Phil Sahrs [on] bass. Micko was unable to play the Dk show due to his girlfriends graduation falling on the same night unfortunately. Bryan Shultz filled in on drums that night, he has played with us before on cover shows.
-Ten Can Riot’s first LP, City of Hate, was released this summer, nearly five years after the initial release of your self-titled debut EP, in 2010. The EP is brilliant, no doubt, but City of Hate is undeniably some next-level shit. Playing like a well-oiled, fine-tuned machine, City of Hate‘s genius lies in its composition and arrangement and it’s staying power is brought to you by honest, real music that, even at it’s outermost limits, remains true the genre. Oi music at its finest. Modernized, not bastardized. The extra effort put into the LP is obvious, but how long did it actually take to record?
SD: I guess we rushed the first ep. We really wanted to put some time into making a good record. We actually began recording it in late 2013. Spent a few months on it going into the studio when we could working around our day jobs. We initially recorded 17 songs with the intent of cutting a few perhaps if we weren’t happy with them. Once we had finished we couldn’t really decide or agree on what to cut and leave that we ended up just putting them all on there!?
-What the composing process? Is song composing a collaborative effort?
SD: Mostly the songs are written by myself, mostly begin as acoustic songs, music and lyrics, then I will record rough demos on the computer with a drum track, rough bass lines and vocal ideas which I will then give to the guys. I usually have a general idea of the way I want the songs to go, but sometimes things will change in the rehearsal studio, transitions, time changes etc.
-There are a few tracks that appear on both albums, with slight variations. Can you tell me a little about that?
SD: “401” was on the first EP, which we have never been real happy with. I really wanted to re-record it, along with “Got my Rights” and “Dear Grog”, as I felt they could have been a lot bigger. In the end the city of hate versions definitely were a much better quality recording than the originals. Also the addition of organ (played by Taylor Tatsch, the producer of the record at audio styles) on 401 gave it a new and much cooler feel we felt.
-For those readers who are not familiar with Dallas, the cover of City of Hate depicts the accidental burning of the State Fair of Texas’ iconic 55-foot-tall statue, Big Tex. What came first- choosing that infamous image for the cover art or the choosing the album’s eerily apropos title?
SD: Honestly, the idea for the cover and title was what we all had always agreed on and liked from the start of the recording process. It was a Dallas icon, and recognized by most from around the area but possibly not from anywhere else. Also, the title, “City of Hate” [was the] nickname given to Dallas after the Kennedy assassination seemed a fitting title to the image, and sounded cool too!?
-Extremely fitting. I’d be hard pressed to choose a favorite track off City, but if i had to, it’d probably be either “Song for Simon”, “Galaxy of Empty Bars” or “Stabbing”.
SD: “Song for Simon” was actually inspired by a bad acid trip during a music festival back in Adelaide, South Australia called the “Big Day Out”. Rammstein was involved and needless to say, was a scary experience! “Galaxy of Empty Bars” was inspired by my experiences in a band I played with back in Australia called High Stakes[;] basically about traveling around Australia, playing small towns, and struggling, but having a blast doing it! “Stabbing in the Alley (with Rilen)” is about the original bass player of a well-known Australian icon band, Rose Tattoo. Ian Rilen, with whom we had the privilege to play with and get to know while living in Sydney, was a hard living, playing rock n roll guy who lived and breathed rock n roll, in the purest dirtiest sense of the word.
-Your popularity as a group is undoubtedly a result of your stage performances. What’s your favorite song to perform live and why?
SD: That’s tough. “Song for Simon” has always been a favourite as it has a bit of everything, crunching guitars, little reggae bits and a somewhat anthemic chorus. Always seems to go over well. “Brother” is another one. “Love Slave” is a fun little two minute punk song that also gets the blood pumping!
-The next question would be: when and where can someone catch you guys live?
-What would you like to say to all the Ten Can Riot fans out there?
SD: Thanks for giving us a go! – Scotty Diss, Ten Can Riot
Check out some of their sick tunes on Reverbnation and download a copy their current LP, City of Hate from iTunes or cdbaby. Message Ten Can Riot on Facebook to score copy of their self-titled debut EP and other killer schwagg including shirts, cup holders, stickers and more! And be sure to Like the band on Facebook and follow them on Twitter for the latest info on shows and everything Ten Can Riot.