New Band Of The Week: Tens

Chicago band Tens

Tens didn’t base their name off the number of other outfits that its three members play in, but it’s not too far off. Between solo projects and other bands, the trio – Mike Petrucelli, Ryan Smith and Kyle Manning – have got their fingers in at least seven other pies currently, but the release of their debut self-titled record is a first for all of them. Well, sort of.

“None of us have been in a band long enough to put out a full-length before,” says Smith.

“I mean,” adds Petrucelli, “I’ve done solo stuff, but it’s not like a real full-length in weird way. You know what I mean? So I think for all of us it’s really exciting because it is our first endeavor – not only as Tens, but going through the whole process of releasing a full-length record.”

“It’s kind of ironic,” chimes in Smith, laughing, “that this is our full-length, because all of us have been doing this for so long! But that, I think, makes us even more excited about it because we didn’t just fly by the seat of our pants and write records before – we put a lot of time into this and thought about it for a very long time.”

The easy-going way the pair talk gives some insight into the way they write – the 11 tracks on Tens are boisterous and effortless expressions of everyday life. There’s a booze-infused joie-de-vivre, too, which makes for a set of defiant singalong anthems that’ll make you long for the lazy days of summer and the freedom of youth again, no matter how old you are. The pair have written an entirely relatable set songs that’s both specific and general, personal and universal.

“There’s a lot of stuff on this album,” says Petrucelli, “that stems from some pretty terrible times, but at the same time, our mission is just to write as much as we can – whatever the lyrical content, as long as it’s honest and as long as we’re all okay with it, then we’ll use it. I don’t try to question whether it’s too serious or too personal – we just look to see if it fits the song, and if it fits the song, it fits the song! Writing from a subjective standpoint is something I’ve become a little more accustomed to in Tens – but I also want to leave them open to interpretation, so a lot of the lyrics are vague enough so that only Ryan or me or close friends of mine really know what they represent.”

“Right,” says Smith. “These start off as incredibly personal songs, but then I think we try to chip away at that and take a step back. Like, I’ll write down something I heard somebody say at a party or something like that, and all of a sudden I have three anecdotal things that happened to me that are unrelated but I’ve tied them together in a song, so now it kind of has this more objective edge. Which I think helps makes it easier for people to relate to in terms of something they’re going through.”

While there are no plans for the band to head to the UK anytime soon, they will be heading to Fest in Gainesville in October. It’s the perfect place and environment in which to sing along to these songs – not that Tens actually expect anybody to do so.

“We’ll see if that happens!” Petrucelli laughs. “We have a handful of friends who like our music, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen a crowd full of people singing our songs back. But hopefully that’s what’s going to happen.”

For more information on Tens, visit their Facebook page.