It’s a great day! We had a chat with the brilliant 9 O’Clock Nasty! Read the full interview below!
Hi, 9 O’Clock Nasty; tell us about your brilliant new release, ‘Too Cool’?
We set ourselves the challenge of taking risks and feeling uncomfortable this year. We want to push ourselves to create something special. One thing we have always done is have very tight control of everything that we make. We know how we want to sound.
Last year we got talking to a producer, Hugo GT. He’s from Canada and has a very different take on music to us, but we could hear something very special in his work – he’s obsessive and hyper-talented.
So we decided to take a risk and let him produce one of our songs: ‘Too Cool’. So ‘Too Cool’ is somehow sharper and more muscular than we would have made it because Hugo has the courage and self-belief, and skill to turn that dial all the way to 11. That’s made it into something that works well as solid, fast-paced mainstream rock, but it still has that weirdo energy that we love. We have really enjoyed working with him and already have another project in the works.
What is your songwriting process?
Chaos. War. We tend to write in a very freeform way with lots of ideas competing. We can sometimes have an idea for a song in good shape very quickly. That means we then spend a lot of our time and energy refining and removing.
It is always about being a servant to the song. We do have a formula, I guess, if you can call it that, where no matter what the style of the song, we always aim to keep the song short and to ensure there is a killer punch early on.
Also, if there isn’t a memorable chorus, then it isn’t a 9 o’clock Nasty song. If we don’t jump around shouting the chorus when we play it, then the audience won’t either.
What message do you think your music conveys to your fans?
We tell people what we think a song is about, but they can decide what the message is for themselves, and that may be entirely different from our intention. That’s fine. We’re the awkward squad. We really would burn it all down. But we also believe in kindness and respect.
So if nothing else, we want that to come across. We’ve been described as quirky and humorous, but hopefully, it is clear by now that when we joke, it is to make a point. There is always a point.
Who are your musical influences?
Each other. None of us could write a 9 o’clock Nasty song on our own. We listen to a lot of music. The influences change from moment to moment. It could be some kicking Betty Davis funk, or it could be a Pere Ubu song. We just love good sonics and good songwriting, and we try to combine to two.
Right now, there are a lot of other artists creating some wonderful music, and we can’t help being inspired by that. Whether it is the raw, freak power of Archfemmesis, the sublime pop of Bones in Butter, the killer choruses of Our Man In the Bronze Age or the dark, raucous pop of Produkty, or one of the many other bands we know and love, there is a wash of great stuff to draw energy from.
Who are your non-musical influences?
Conversations. People. The news. Late-night radio phone-ins. SpongeBob. Cathi Rae’s poetry. A night out in Leicester, talking and soaking in the city colours everything you see. A lot of our music comes from a phrase or a sound. That’s all you need. A loose thread in the universe you can just pull hard at.
You are prolific writers; where do you get inspiration from?
We’re obsessives. We work. We throw away two songs for every song we complete. Ideas we reject come back again with a different angle. It isn’t a question of inspiration; it is a question of craft.
If you build, the inspiration comes. You just need to put yourself in positions where it can. If all else fails, we can take a late-night cab ride into Leicester and just let it all wash over you.
What scares you most when releasing music?
Honest answer? Absolutely nothing. We make what we want to make, and we release that. There is nothing scary. We lost the fear a long time ago.
What do you think are the biggest obstacles for bands/artists today?
There are so many positives now. A lot of the gatekeepers that would control the release of music have lost their power. Journalists would discover and then trash bands. Radio pluggers, record companies, distributors, bookers.
If you’ve got time and ideas, you can reach an audience, and that is wonderful; Of course, it also means that a lot of bad music gets released, but people can make up their minds about what they want to hear.
Probably the two biggest issues are how music has lost any value so that it can be essentially free and the dominance of advertisers making the media and them being against anything that could be considered edgy. It is death by Community Guidelines.
We’ve got to the point where the marketing manager of a sugary drink company influences what you can say online more than a government or a religion. But we feel that people will always find a way to break things and remake them.
What advice would you give to other bands/artists starting out?
Just do it and keep doing it. Don’t wait for perfection. Release, learn, repeat.
What are your plans for 2023 music-wise?
With ‘Sleepy Policeman’, we started a new cycle for the band. We’re looking to take more risks and release more varied and more challenging music. ‘Too Cool’ is probably our most straight-down-the-line rock song, whilst we’ve got some out-and-out punk, some very punchy offbeat rock stuff, and an absolutely sweet pop song that will probably surprise people more than anything we’ve done before.
It will all come together as an LP at some point. We’re looking to collaborate much more in 2023. We’ve already done some remixes of other people’s songs that will come out soon and are recording some collaborative songs. We really hope to finally get our super-group with the Qwarks together to make some kind of drooling mess of a record that will be loved or hated by anyone that hears it. Essentially we’ve got a lot to say, and we intend to keep saying it.
FVMusicBlog January 2023