After a couple of EP releases, March of 2016 saw the release of Los Angeles-based punk duo The Two Tens’ debut full length ‘Volume.’ Led by front man Adam Bones’ fuzzed out guitars and infectious melodies with big thumping beats from drummer Rikki Styxx, the band channeled influences of 1960s garage rock and ’70s punk to get their raucous sound.
Behind the release of ‘Volume,’ the DIY rockers took to the road to promote the new album crisscrossing the United States leaving ringing ears in their wake. The rave reviews from press started pouring in and the Two Tens fan base started to swell. In the process Styxx and Bones self-funded the making of several videos for fans to sink their teeth into to gain more exposure and the gamble certainly paid off.
Still in their infancy, the Beaverton, Oregon-based label, Man Della Records stood up and took notice of The Two Tens’ strong work ethic and signed the band to rerelease ‘Volume’ on clear vinyl late last year. The deal between the band and label also includes The Two Tens’ forthcoming second long player (coming July 14th). The band worked with famed producer John Fields in his Minneapolis studio where they recorded the majority of the tracks including “Keeping Hope Alive” that was released as a single on February 10.
In preparation and promotion of the new album, The Two Tens are packing up and heading out on the road to tour with one of L.A.’s finest – the Dollyrots. Styxx is no stranger to the Dollyrots as she has toured with the band as their live drummer in the past.
We sat down with Rikki Styxx to talk about the tour, the new album, and life on the road.
Innocent Words: Let’s get this out of the way and you don’t have to answer this, but are you two a couple?
Rikki Styxx: Nope. Just good friends that love to make music together.
Innocent Words: How is the new album coming? Have you got a title yet?
Rikki Styxx: Adam and I have been kicking around ideas and the dust has settled and I think we have a top three as of now. The artwork concept is moving forward too. Sometimes that’s the hardest part, the recording it is easy. Coming up with a name and the front cover can take twice as long.
Innocent Words: Can fans expect any changes in The Two Tens sound compared to ‘Volume’?
Rikki Styxx: We wanted our second album to just have “more.” ‘Volume’ captured the energy and rawness of our live sound, but we wanted album two to capture who we are as artists and highlight our creativity in the studio. We branch out a little more into different genres and play around with different sounds and production. We used a different producer for album two, so we know in the end it will sound different. It will still be “us,” just a more mature “us.”
Innocent Words: Speaking of your new producer (John Fields of Dollyrots fame), what is it about Fields work that lends to the punk duo sound?
Rikki Styxx: Fields understood us as a band right away. He listened to the demos, considered them for about five minutes and within a few hours we cut three tracks. He works extremely fast. We didn’t want our songs “over produced” but we did want a BIG quality sound that Fields has going for him. The drums were just so big and booming and he had such great ideas for guitar sounds as well. I even think we laid bass on a couple tracks (shhhhhh don’t tell anyone) and that was something we didn’t really do on ‘Volume.’ I think overall, Fields has fabulous taste and any band would benefit from working with him.
Innocent Words: You are no stranger to the Dollyrots and now you are heading out on tour together, how did that come about?
Rikki Styxx: The Two Tens were on tour in Spain and Luis (Dollyrot’s guitar player) called me and said “Hey ho, let’s go.” Logistically it makes sense because Adam and I are both in LA and we can meet them in Chicago and it’s just one more person (Adam) since I’ll be playing in both bands. The Dollyrots’ fans have been wonderful to The Two Tens and we couldn’t be happier to get to tour with them. It just makes sense. Plus Luis lit the fire to get us to crowd source our first album and also matched us up with John Fields. He’s really taken us under his wing because I think he just loves music so much and he wants to see hard-working bands succeed. Plus we are all family now.
Innocent Words: Do you have any certain city or landmarks you are excited about seeing while out on the road?
Rikki Styxx: I’m very excited because my dad will be driving us on this tour. And he’s a history junkie so I’m sure he’ll want to be up early everyday to go exploring. I’m probably most excited to get back to Texas and get some good BBQ honestly.
Innocent Words: Now that the Dollyrots have two Dollytots, is babysitting part of the contract of the tour?
Rikki Styxx: Of course I love hanging out with the babies but they bring a kid wrangler on tour for that sort of thing. Kelly and Luis do a fantastic job at managing both aspects. And I just usually stay out of the way and focus on the drums, more so now since I’m playing double duty.
Innocent Words: As a duo, what’s the best part and what is the worst part about touring compared to a full band? How do you find alone time?
Rikki Styxx: The worst part is we don’t have other members to split up the driving duty. Best part is we don’t have to sacrifice bathroom time. Less members means less gear and less stuff to worry about. But yes, we do tend to be together 24/7 so it’s extra important to get time for ourselves when we can. Luckily I love hanging with Adam and our tour manager, Chris, so it’s never been an issue.
Innocent Words: How many new songs will you be bringing to the set list?
Rikki Styxx: In Europe we played seven new songs but we also had to play over an hour set each night. On the Dollyrots’ tour, our sets will be shorter so I’m guessing 4-6 new songs. I love playing new stuff but I know not everyone has heard our older stuff either so it’s hard to choose.
3/10 in Flagstaff, AZ at The Museum Club
3/11 in Cortez, CO at Sunflower Theatre
3/12 in Denver, CO at Goosetown Tavern (Rikki’s Birthday Show!)
3/13 in Lawrence, KS at Replay Lounge
3/16 in Chicago, IL at Reggie’s Rock Club
3/17 in Indianapolis, IN at The Melody Inn
3/18 in Lansing, MI at The Avenue
3/19 in Dayton, OH at Rockstar Pro Arena
3/20 in Columbus, OH at Rumba Cafe
3/21 in Newport, KY at Southgate
3/22 in St. Louis, MO at Fubar
3/23 in Dallas, TX at Three Links
3/24 in Houston, TX at Satellite
3/25 in San Antonio, TX at Bang Bar
3/26 in Austin, TX at Sidewinder
3/28 in Phoenix, AZ at Rebel Lounge
3/29 in San Diego, CA at The Hideout
3/31 in Los Angeles, CA at The Hi Hat
4/1 in Fullerton, CA at Slidebar