I really admire bands who have the strength to resist the trap of commercialism and release creative and unique albums. One of these bands is 9ine. On the 14th of March and only minutes before the bandís final soundcheck, I met Nay (Guitars/Vocals) and Mead (Decks and Programming) and the friendly chat we had reminded me that a musician must be, above all, a free spirit.
OK guys, give me a short bio of the band.
Nay: After I left my old band, I got together with Darren, our bass player, Wallace, and we started jamming tunes and decided to get together every Friday nights to raise the voltage a bit and make some noise. We did that for a couple of months and then we got Mead in and wrote a couple of songs. After a while Darren left and Finch joined the band. One night we were playing live and Karl (Demata: promoter) came to see us, liked our music and gave us the opportunity to sign a contract and release this album, so...here we are!
What do you believe Karl found in your music that made him become a fan of the band?
Mead: Karl has always been a fan of good Rock and psychedelic music, man, and I believe that 9ine are playing something completely different than all the other bands out there. I know it sounds retro, but not completely retro.Nay: You remember when you told me that weíre not easy to be categorised? Many people that interviewed us had the same problem. People would call us Stoner Rock, others Doom Rock, Psychedelic Rock or even Pop Rock or whatever - people donít know what to make of it.Mead: Thatís actually the problem nowadays. The current music scene is so trend influenced. People will not give a band the chance unless they belong to a certain scene or trend. This is actually very wrong and it will eventually kill music. If one member of the band writes a song and we like it, we will play it regardless of the style. If we donít like it, we will not play it.
In principal I agree with you guys - I donít like labels either, but the thing is that in the 80ís it was much easier for fans to understand what a band sounded like, because the scene was much smaller. Nowadays, we have 100 times the amount of bands that we used to have back then, and itís unfortunately the only way to give a rough idea to the people of what a band sounds like.
Mead: Yes, it is difficult to categorise a band nowadays, but we donít care about that.Nay: When I want to write music, I pick up my acoustic guitar and usually I come up with plenty of ideas. Then, I start to think of the voice I want to use. After I finish I present it to the rest of the band to see what we can do with it. When we write songs we do not try to sound like any other band, and as you said it makes things a bit difficult.
"Somnamballistics" is an album with such a variety of influences that trying to put a label to it is like trying to find a needle in a haystack, and that is the bandís success as far as Iím concerned. Where was the album recorded?
Nay: The album was recorded in Kidwelly, South Wales, and we used Tim Hammil as a producer, whoís a great professional and a good friend of ours. Tim really dedicates himself to his work. We had a couple of really good session musicians. A female singer came in, one of my best friends did some keyboards - it was a really joyful experience.Mead: We just let things loose in the studio rather that go in and record as a live band, see what we can do. We may decide not to record like this ever again, but weíll see what happens in the future, man.
So you had time to sit back and think how you wanted the album to sound like.
Mead: Yeah, we had time to think about different backing vocals, female backing vocals and stuff like that, man, it was really cool
Talking about vocals, one of the things that impressed me about the album is the variety of vocals that you guys used.
Nay: You mean the slightly distorted vocals? I think that youíre talking about the track " Flight of the Hypnopotamus", yes? We started that song as a drunken jam and we had nothing on it, just a stupid guitar. We went to the studio and we recorded it, and as I was sitting on the couch I thought "I can definitely use something in it". I started writing some words and I ended up narrating them. Then I thought that I would like my voice to sound like a distorted robot, like a K9 (laughs).
Ok, apart from alcohol, what other things influence you as a band then?
Mead: Musically? We listen to a lot of stuff, man. I listen to Trans, Psychedelic Trans, Techno. Nay likes stuff like Jeff Buckley and Led Zeppelin, anything thatís really good like the new Killing Joe album.Nay: Good music is good music man. Iím not always in the mood to listen to Saint Vitus and things like that man. Different days demand different songs.
What are the lyrics of the album about? What kind of feelings do you feel the need to express as musicians?
Nay: We get inspired by many different things. A couple of the songs talk about how I felt when I split up with my ex girlfriend...bitch (laughs).Mead: (laughs).Nay: No, a lot of them are like observations of things that happen in everyday life.Mead: Little everyday stories.Nay: Most of the times we get together, we drink some Vodka and we come up with all these strange ideas. We pick up a subject that weíre interested in and try to make the best out of it.Mead: Taking something that happens in reality and weíre making a tale relevant to reality.
Since you are such a multi-influenced band and you hate being categorised, what kind of audience are you targeting with your music? Today youíre playing with Witchcraft, a Doom Metal band. Is that the ideal audience for The 9ine?
Mead: Well, yeah. We do sound different as bands but we both have the same backround which is real Heavy Rock music. Rush never used to sound like Motorhead, but they always had the same link: real songs played heavy.
So 9ine can play in front of any audience if given the chance.
Nay: Any audience. Pretty much the majority of the Rock audiences wonít mind our music. We got the balls vocally when we play live, we got the volume, so letís see how it goes tonight. I hope we will appeal to the Doom crowd.
What are your plans for the future? Any gigs coming up?
Nay: We just got a new member in on guitar. Mead is going to play decks and produce sound samples.Nead: We want to broaden our sounds and make cooler productions and be more creative in general.
Do you have any new songs ready as we speak?
Nay: Yes, we have a couple of them ready. We have a gig coming up next week and then we will concentrate on writing new material. We need to improve ourselves so as for the next album to be as good as possible.
How is the next album going to sound? Are we to expect any more surprises from the band?
Nay: Again, this is not something that we consciously plan. Maybe we will take on board all the things that people who listened to our music have said.Nead: I think that no matter what we decide to play we will still be recognised as The 9ine. I believe that we have grown as a band and with all the changes that happened we have become more The 9ine than we were when we recorded the album. Weíll still be the same band, we wrote some new songs which sound really good and weíll just have to wait and see what happens. Nay: Back on that album, proud as we are of it, I think that perhaps we over-cooked it a bit. Maybe if we had the chance to record it again, we would chill out the production and have fewer things going on in it.
Most of the artist that Iíve interviewed are normally quite "defensive" of their new releases, so you understand that Iím really surprised by what you just said.
Nay: Weíre true with what weíre doing - we always take things on board.
Your last words to round up this interview?
Nay: Come and see us live, come and say hello if you like good Rock Music
Mead: Donít believe everything that you read in the press (laughs).
Interview © 2004