We fall in love with artists, we watch them flourish, we see them evolve, and sometimes we see them move onto other things, which is where they need to be. Earlier this year we’ve seen Brit-Frenchman Aaron Matts depart Betraying The Martyrs, (BTM) a metalcore band that paved an impressive path of LPs with records like Breathe In Life and Phantom in the early 2010s.
Immediately after announcing his departure from BTM, Matts announced his next musical project called ten56., with ‘Diazepam‘, their debut track. The ferocious front-man started something truly darker with bandmates Arnaud Verrier, Nicolas Delestrade, Luka Garotin and Quentin Godet from bands like Novelists FR, Kadinja and Uneven Structure.
Don’t fret for BTM though, because while all this was going on, the band were planning their big comeback track ‘Black Hole‘ with Rui Martens, their replacement vocalist. To conclude the musical chairs happening here, we recently discovered that ex-BTM drummer/back-vocalist Mark Mironov has joined Russian prog-metal band Shrezzers, who happened to just release a track titled ‘UVB-76‘ with Thy Art Is Murder‘s CJ McMahon.
Enough context and background, let’s revert back to the topic at hand; that is the disgustingly heavy and dark animal ten56. Fans of Matts went wild with their opening nu-deathcore vehicle, and whilst expectations were high, the band delivered ballistic tracks ‘Boy‘ and ‘Sick Dog‘, which are all sitting on the band’s debut EP Downer Part. 1 (our review here) coming out on Friday, November 25th via Out of Line Records.
Got it? Good. We grabbed Matts on a Zoom call with his Paris apartment in the background, to chat about the madness we can expect on the band’s upcoming EP. After reminiscing on the show I saw Matts perform at with BTM in Perth back in 2014, he shared the rollercoaster of emotions between releasing the singles we’ve heard so far.
“We were a little nervous about like the first track, then really confident about ‘Boy’, and then with ‘Sick Dog’ we were a little bit [unsure],” he says shaking his tatted up hand to indicate hesitancy. “We thought maybe people were not going to like it that much, but the reaction to it was great, it’s quite an experimental track.”
Having chatting with us recently with the release of ‘Sick Dog‘ and the EP announcement, relating to his exit from BTM, he had shared with us that he’d “much rather be fully and truly integrated into something small, than be a guest in something bigger,” and ten56. really does deliver on that.
“But I don’t want to take all the credit,” he laughs charmingly, whilst referencing the awesome work by the rest of the band to get them where they are today.
So for those wondering why Matts truly left BTM, he’s a pretty open book about it. “I just wanted to do something, really heavy and dark. I’ve always had this itch that I wanted to scratch, doing something stupid heavy,” he says passionately.
“I’ve been wanting to sing about gross shit and just go all out crazy on it for so long. But obviously, I can’t just come to the band and change the whole formula.”
As the vocalist picked up on my accent, he made it known how Aussie bands have influenced his style. “I’m definitely really inspired by the Australian scene. Alpha Wolf are great,” as well as others who we’ll refrain from naming (but take a wild guess).
On further influences, he says “also the Chicago scene, like back when Sworn In did The Death Card, now that’s the f*ckin’ sh*t,” he says grinning excitedly thinking about the 2013 record. Interestingly enough, that Sworn In record really links these bands together, as it was only earlier in the month that Alpha Wolf rhythm guitarist Sabian Lynch gave that exact record a shout-out on Twitter:
If you’ve ever jammed my band but never listened to The Death Card, you gotta go listen to The Death Card
— -sabian (@sabianlynch) November 8, 2021
“It’s always been that kind of music that I’ve gravitated towards,” Matts shares openly. “I just thought to myself, ‘I’ve been doing BTM and metalcore for a long time, and although I did really enjoy the music that we did, I just wanted to do something heavier.”
ten56. have set themselves up with a truly unique nu-deathcore sound, similar to that of bands like Darko (US), combining spectacularly heavy elements with synth-tones, which was not actually part of the original plan for the Frenchmen.
“I actually met Luca, our young guitarist in the band, at my first ever show with BTM eleven years ago, and he was thirteen years old,” the Parisian shares. “We ended up somehow getting hooked up through our other guitarist, and he’s been basically writing 95% of the stuff and he just kind of brought those elements in and into one of the tracks as an interlude and it just really worked.”
On top of the synth-tones, further sounds kept getting layered on. “The industrial elements too, they were never really planned, they just kind of came out we then realised that we have the opportunity to do something quite different.”
With Matts’ bandmates all reigning from impressive heavy bands respectively, they’ve all been basking in the experimental nature of their new piece of art, and the creative edge is sparking. “Everyone in the band have been operating within a box that’s already been established, that was definitely my case. I think I can say that that’s also been the case for the other members of the band too, where we’ve been able to kind of break free and do something completely different from square one.”
Now that Matts has broken free so-to-speak from BTM, he’s seen the band move forward with a replacement singer, which is a funny feeling for Matts who worked so long with the band.
“It’s kind of like breaking up with a girlfriend that you don’t want to be with anymore, but then you see her with a new bloke.” he says in jest, laughs hysterically.
In all seriousness, Matts is incredibly supportive of BTM‘s continuing journey and is even labelmates with them on Out Of Line. “When we were kind of setting up the exchange I met him, Rui is a super nice guy, and super talented.
“Nothing bad to say about him at all, and I think everyone’s in the places they should be right now. He’s got that really good metalcore sound and I think the band are really happy to have someone that’s come in with so much motivation for that project.”
Matts elaborated that he helped with the transitions, but prior to that he had actually planned to release BTM‘s new album with them. “Not a lot of people know this, but I actually went into the studio with BTM and we wrote half [of their next album] together, and I recorded five or six songs for it.”
The process was the trigger to Matt’s realisation that it was time to move on. “That was when I made the decision thinking ‘alright, maybe I’m not as into this as I should be’ and took a step back.”
So after starting a new band, it came down to coming up with its obscure name. Matts really wanted to call the band ‘Downer’, but he came across some challenges “Apparently there’s an Australian rapper called Downer, and I remember a time that Mark Miranoff, our old Russian drummer (who’s now part of St Petersburg band Shrezzers) showed me a song by VILLAINS who changed their name to Yüth,” he recalls.
“I heard this song from them and and it was called 10-56, which is a police code for when the police call in if a body is found at a scene due to suicide or suffocation.”
The dark and suicidal themes mapped well ahead of ten56.’s first single. “It was really last minute and we just needed a name. We already had Diazepam with all this dark suicidal stuff,” so they locked in their new name. However, Matts wasn’t ready to give up Downer – “I just proposed that we use it for the EP and the guys said it sounded great.”
An EP with Part 1 in the title certainly suggests that the band already have more in store for us. “Yeah (he laughs), I mean it’s not gonna be a massive surprise when we come out with that,” he says referencing Part 2, “but yeah that’s what’s happening already, it’s underway – we’ve got a good part of the EP already written.”
Matts is definitely not concerned about the outdated two-year album cycle recipe, and keen to get new tunes out there when they’re ready. “We just want to put songs out quickly. I can’t see right us writing a twelve-track and sitting on it for two years, I just don’t think it’s healthy to sit on sh*t like that for two years,” he says honestly. “I think it’s good to put out music based on the way you’re feeling and where the band is at, at that particular time.“
The 31-year old is conscious that it’s uncomfortable for fans to suddenly see style changes between two-year album cycles, as opposed to incrementally. “If you put out EPs and singles, it allows the band to evolve slowly over a period of time, instead of like going from one album to the next, having some kind of style change and people are like well ‘whoa, that’s a shock’.“
One of the somewhat unique promotion the band have been doing ahead of the Downer Part. 1 EP has been one-shot vocal-takes, something they’ve been doing since their very first track ‘Diazepam‘ came out. If you’re a sceptic that thinks the band have over-mixed the vocals, these one-shot-takes allow you to see how organic Matts’ demonic sounds really are.
“It’s something I’ve never done before,” he admits. “I had some motivation to do it to build some interest in ten56. as it’s not just going to come organically from all the work that we’ve done in the past. I really feel like ten56. is my it’s my baby, so I’m totally prepared to put in all the effort and do all those things that need to be done to get people interested.”
After starting recording them, Matts realised how much he loved doing them. “It’s really enjoyable to be able to put our content out like that, and I kind of asked myself why I didn’t do it before.”
Seems like the band may have started a trend with more of them appearing on YouTube from some big bands in the scene. “I saw Will Ramos from Lorna Shore just did one,” he grins again, his facial expression sharing the ridiculousness of Ramos’ capabilities.
In anticipation for the release of Downer Part. 1 you should prepare yourself for brand new tracks like ‘Exit Bag‘, ‘Shitspitter‘ and ‘Kimo‘, along with the pre-released tracks bundled all together in bow.
Interview by Ricky Aarons @rickysaul90
If you or anyone you know needs help with their own mental well-being call Lifeline on 13 11 14 or Beyond Blue on 1300 22 4636 or find your closest Suicide Prevention/Crisis Support Organisation on Google.
ten56. is Aaron Matts (Vocals), Arnaud Verrier (Drums),
Nicolas Delestrade (Bass), Luka Garotin (Guitar) and Quentin Godet (Guitar).
Pre-order ten56.‘s debut EP Downer Part 1 here
ten56. – Downer Part 1 tracklisting
1. Exit Bag
4. Sick Dog