An epic rise 

Edmonton band takes mainstreams punk underground

By Nicole Fitzgerald

What: Punk Night

Who: Ten Second Epic

When: Sunday, Feb. 4

Where: Garfinkel’s

A ragged tattooed guy in a very small Speedo doesn’t leave much to the imagination.

Sandy MacKinnon, bassist for Edmonton’s Ten Second Epic, plays a lifeguard who pushes a mundane job into a pool with a splash to commit himself to music in Ten Second Epic’s latest music video.

And while the rebel lifeguard position with cigarette in hand maybe fictitious, the sentiment of leaving behind the mundane to seek out the divine is what Ten Second Epic is all about.

Even their name is built on the premise of life changing in a split second — or three months, as is the case for the punk pop band’s recent album, Count Yourself In , on the Blackbox/Universal label, that is propelling their music into the mainstream.

“We don’t exactly fit the mold perfectly as a radio band,” said frontman Andrew Usenik. “We always believe music is accessible no matter what genre it is. A lot of bands similar to our sound remain underground.”

There is nothing underground about Ten Second Epic’s recent success with the Count Yourself In video debuting this Friday on the MuchMusic Countdown. Radio is also tuning in, with the single hitting number 68 on the Canadian rock charts.

“I hope this week we continue to climb and gain momentum,” Usenik said.

There was a solid building base to begin with the band’s first video, Suck It Up Princess, garnering major MuchMusic rotation. The band was then bestowed with the 2006 Best Band accolade in Edmonton by See Magazine. The group ran every single date of the Canadian leg of the 2005 Vans Warped Tour and Taste of Chaos Tour.

Their new album was produced by Garth Richardson, whose past credits include Red Hot Chili Peppers, Rage Against the Machine and Hedley.

With fuel to the fire, the Edmonton band, only four years old, is now devoting itself to their music fulltime.

“I think that is the constant life of the musician: Giving up your job, your life, your friends, girlfriend and family,” he said. “It’s a major sacrifice. Even when you are home, you are committed to perfecting the band. And for us, we aren’t home that often. You get to a point where you realize where you make music work and your career and you have to make sacrifices to give the full amount of time allotted to do that.”

Ten Second Epic has never sat around the phone just waiting for that record deal to ring. The road dogs have kept up a colossal touring schedule, getting their music to the masses one fan at a time. The fivesome have always kept their dreams in the real world even from the band’s inception — a gathering of friends having fun, rather than a planned coalition of musicians.

The hard work is already paying off with Universal taking notice of the band and signing them to their subsidiary label, Blackbox.

“Because it was our first album, they didn’t have much expectations, but we’ve come phenomenally out of the gate and Universal has taken notice,” Usenik said. “We’ve pushed the album to the point where we have surpassed all expectations for it… It motivates you to bring it to that next level when you see how quickly things can materialize.”

Maybe a little longer than Ten Seconds, but not much.

Ten Second Epic plays Punk Night on Sunday, Feb. 4 at Garfinkel’s along with performances from The Set, and Cowboy and the Prizefighter.

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