By William Pace
I recently got to talk with Anthony Vincent Valbiro, the man behind Ten Second Songs and lead singer of New York-based rock band “Set The Charge.” I hope our conversation will give you an inside view of Anthony and his love of music.
Me: When and why did you start playing?
Anthony: I started playing bass when I was 11 and then I never stopped playing music after I saw Metallica perform at MSG in November of 1999 with the Symphony Orchestra.
Me: Do you play any instruments other than guitar?
Anthony: I play the bass, sing, and program music. That’s how all the Ten Second Songs videos are made.
Me: What was the first song you learned?
Anthony: I learned the bass line for “Self Esteem” by The Offspring.
Me: Is that your brother on drums in Set The Charge? Any other musical talent in your family?
Anthony: Yes, Frank is my brother. We’ve been playing music together since we were kids. You can say musical ability is in our family. Our father is a singer/actor.
Me: Did you do CM Punk’s entrance music?
Anthony: We didn’t lol. At one point we ended up getting a CM Punk following on the internet because of an old cover of “Look At Me Now” by Chris Brown/Busta Rhymes, and a CM Punk YouTube channel used it in their video. We then rose to the occasion and did a cover of his theme song “Cult Of Personality” by Living Colour.
Me: Which musicians do you admire and why?
Anthony: So many. SO SO many. I can’t list them all. All I’ll say is I’ve been a Metallica fan since I was a kid. They’re one the biggest acts in the world so you gotta admire them for making all the decisions they have over the years. Big Queen fan, so Freddie is a huge influence. Big fan of Muse. Maiden. You know, all the bands that pack stadiums and arenas.
Me: How was working with Robin Zander from Cheap Trick on AXS TV’s Breaking Band?
Anthony: Robin was a very good man. He had great insight and he was fun to be around.
Me: Have you learned from other musicians?
Anthony: I have picked up a lot of tricks along the way of my encounters with musicians both in working situations and in passing. That’s why it’s important to never limit your musical experiences and play with lots of different musicians. Also listen to many, many kinds of music.
Me: Describe your first guitar.
Anthony: It was an Ibanez bass guitar, and it was in midnight blue. It was glorious. I was very proud of it.
Me: What’s your musical memories? In your house? In your hometown?
Anthony: My favorite musical memory from when I was a kid was when my metal band Rot in Pain had a hometown show in July for our CD release party, and it was a GYM packed to the brim. Crowd surfers, toilet paper, circle pits–man, it was wild. Miss it all.
Me: Were you influenced by older albums? Which ones?
Anthony: All of Metallica’s discography, the Beatles, ‘50s music, pretty much anything on the oldies station that our parents would play in the car.
Me: Who are your favorite groups? What’s in your CD player?
Anthony: I haven’t had a CD player in some time, but my favorite groups are Metallica, Queen, Iron Maiden, Nirvana, Muse, Type O Negative
Me: Have you been in competitions?
Anthony: Other than high school battle of the bands? No lol.
Me: Where do you perform the most and any plans for touring?
Anthony: We perform in NYC, and we should have an answer for that touring question soon!
Me: Tell us about Ten Second Songs?
Anthony: Ten Second Songs is a YouTube channel I started where I take songs, classic songs and pop songs, and perform them in 20 styles of various musical artists.
Me: How do you handle mistakes during a performance?
Anthony: You just keep it moving. You act as if nothing is wrong, you don’t call attention to it, and most of the time if you do those things people won’t even notice.
Me: Do you get nervous before a big show?
Anthony: Yes I do, but it’s a good thing. I live for that.
Me: What advice would you give to beginners?
Anthony: Just get out there and do it, sing many songs, pick up your instruments, play with friends, start bands, upload your music online, have fun, get creative, but don’t get discouraged because results take time. If you stick with it, it pays off in more ways than one.
Me: What was your favorite part recording the new LP?
Anthony: Having it be available for download and purchase LOL. This album took a while to record because it was on the back burner for a little while. Me and the guys are really stoked to finally have it out. The best part was to finally finish it and hear how all the tracks worked together. It was cool to see it come to life.
Me: How often do you practice?
Anthony: We aren’t on a steady schedule because we’re still recovering from recording time. But now that the record is out we’re getting back in the groove and solidifying our stage act.
Me: What do you practice – exercises, new tunes, hard tunes, etc.?
Anthony: We practice our set list and new songs when we write them.
Me: Do you teach music?
Anthony: No way! I barely have patience and time to LEARN new tricks. I’m not qualified to teach either. LOL
Me: How do you balance your music with other obligations – family, women, job?
Anthony: Well it’s easy for me. Music is my job, Ten Second Songs being my full-time job. I have no time for women so that’s not an issue lol.
Me: What was the thought process behind the LP and the new video?
Anthony: The thought process was to make an album that’s completely uninhibited and not abiding by any rules. Now obviously when you write with this mentality, the chances of you appealing to a LARGE audience are pretty slim, but that really wasn’t our intention with this record. We wanted to write something that we felt represents us and something we could wholeheartedly call our own. And we did that. Very happy with it. The new video was directed by our friend Steven Miosku. He came up with the whole concept so it was his artistic interpretation of the lyrics.
Me: Tell us how Ten Second Songs started?
Anthony: It started as a way for me to make money doing custom songs on the internet. I would have people pay me $5 for me to sing a song, ten seconds in length, in any style they wanted. Once it proved to be a promising venture, I started to take my business to new levels, earning a living. It made it possible for me to do music full time. From there I wanted to promote it on a bigger stage, so I started a YouTube channel. I figured the best way to promote it was to cover a pop song in 20 styles. The rest is history
Me: Your band released an EP back in 2015 Auditory Insemination. How was that received?
Anthony: It didn’t chart or anything, I’ll say that much lol. Not like Sky Goes On. Sky Goes On sold like 25 records in the first week. I can’t tell you how overwhelmed we are with its success. I think we’re #30 on the reverbnation charts in Port Chester, NY. Dude. That’s INSANE. Amazing.
Me: Tell us about the video for Dogs on the Deegan?
Anthony: It was one of the highlights of my year in 2014. We filmed that video in the first week of December I believe. I was on cloud 9 that day. I had a great year and that was the cherry on top. Great friends, just all of us packing into a set at the YouTube space in NYC, and just having a fun day. I loved that day.
Me: Ant, man, thanks for taking the time. Keep us informed on those upcoming tour dates and keep on rockin’.