The Two Tens: Keeping Hope Alive

Photo Credit: Suzi Moon

The Two Tens came on to the music scen like a ball of fire in early 2016 with their debut full length ‘Volume.’ Now, with a relative quick turnaround, the band – Adam Bones (guitars, vocals) and Rikki Styxx (drums, vocals) – are back with their new 14-track sophomore effort ‘On Repeat’ (Man Della Records).

“We had a lot of good inspiration. I went through some emotional times, both bad and good, so it was good fuel to write songs,” Bones said. “Rikki and I have a good process down when writing and working out our songs, so we tend to move along and get stuff done.”

Rikki Styxx added, “I quit my teaching career to go play drums, so I was spending eight hours a day learning songs and working on my craft. Adam just kept sending me stuff to learn and it didn’t stop.”

In between albums, Styxx toured the globe with her other band the Darts (who are releasing their full length in September on Dirty Water Records), then came home and toured America with yet another band, the Dollyrots for their latest album ‘Whiplash Splash.’ Bones spends his time solely working on the Two Tens material, making for a productive schedule for both members.

The Los Angeles-based duo pick up right where ‘Volume’ left off with ‘On Repeat.’ Bones and Styxx have that recognizable punch-to-the-gut song structure with quick bursts of garage-punk music. Styxx and Bones also open up a little musically by adding pop elements, including keyboards, to their sound giving it a rhythm and groove.

“I’ve always gotten influence from power pop, rock, or even punk songs that have good melody. I’ve always had that in me,” Bones said. “I guess it just really came out this time around. I don’t think we necessarily set out to have power pop songs on the album, but it happened and I’m glad it did.”

Primary songwriter Bones also travels down a new path with his lyrics, penning a few love songs for the album. Bones, never one to shy away from honesty, bares his soul on ‘On Repeat’ showcasing the ups and downs of life, relationships, and the ensuing results of heartbreak and depression.

“I used to be that way [hesitant about being so personal in lyrics]. I’d censor myself or tell myself to stay away from certain things,” Bones said “But feelings and life experiences that are most inspiring when writing. We like to be authentic in what we do and that, first and foremost, includes the songs. It’s also a great therapy for me to be able to express myself. I went through some intense ups and downs and it was nice to get that off my chest.”

From the bombastic opening title track throughout the sequence, ‘On Repeat’ captures the Two Tens live, in-your-face sound with the positively pop groove of “Keeping Hope Alive,” to the nearly metal offering “Mean Spirit” and a cover of Unknown Mortal Orchestra’s “Nerve Damage!”

“We’re fans of Unknown Mortal Orchestra and their song “Nerve Damage” happened to come up and we decided that we wanted to cover it and make it our own. We thought it would be cool to do a cover of someone that is a bit different than us musically,” Bones said.

Styxx adds to her already impressive resume by taking the mic, singing lead while playing drums on the hardcore punk track “Leave Me Behind.” At one minute long, the track is a tornado of drums and guitar punctuated by Syxx’ punchy vocals.

“This is actually the second time I have sung lead,” Styxx said. “We did a cover of “Strutter” by KISS for a compilation album and Adam talked me into singing vocals. So, on the album, Adam had me write some lyrics and pretty much just wanted me to scream the part. Luckily, I had some good inspiration that day.”

The Two Tens will be once again taking their new songs out to the fans with extensive tour dates. With only two members in the band, it is a lot easier for them to tour than a bigger more traditional band set up. They don’t have to worry about other member’s schedules or who gets to sleep where etc.

“The biggest perk is that we don’t take up much space. There are only two of us, so we each get a bench in the van and we don’t have to worry about not getting a bed at hotels. As for driving tunes, typically whoever is driving gets to decide what we listen to,” Bones said.