9 o’clock Nasty emerged gleaming from Leicester’s plague pits. They have a lot of fun with glitter and take no prisoners. They take a sideways look at the world and punish it with pounding beats and subtle sarcasm, despite being relentless and full of love.
“DARKER STAR” was released by “9 o’clock Nasty.” The delightfully analog power ballad was predicted years ago. Some people have their lives figured out before sperm touches egg. Others just can’t seem to catch a break. It’s written in the stars, for sure. Because I was born beneath a Darker Star, I cannot get the same amazing car as you.
They created the first demo version using a cardboard box and a 5-string acoustic guitar. That spirit is still present in the finished result. They believe it is unique and takes them to a new level. “Darker Star” is “9 o’clock Nasty” at its brashest, most spacious, and analog.
We had a chance to do an interview with them. Check it out below:
1. Can you tell us a bit about where you all come from and how it all got started?
9 O’CLOCK NASTY: We have been friends for years. Pete and Sydd were at school together and formed the band Sister Crow when they should have been learning about volcanoes. We’ve all played in bands since, but just at the start of the COVID lockdowns we found ourselves sharing a big recording studio as what went from being temporary accommodation into a long-term home. We had a simple choice; we could kill each other or we could form a band. So, we formed a band.
2. Did you guys have any formal training or are you self-taught?
9 O’CLOCK NASTY: Pete is a trained violinist and has been in some orchestras, in fact he was a professional for several years. Sydd went to New York to study for the opera but found the temptations of big city life too much. Ted is entirely his own fault.
3. Who were your first and strongest musical influences and why the name ‘9 O’CLOCK NASTY’?
9 O’CLOCK NASTY: The name is built from a local legend. In our home city, Leicester, there is the story children get told of the 9 o’clock horses that will take you away. There is real history behind it, it is well worth looking up. We liked the idea of that as a name, but we also liked calling ourselves Nasty. So, we smashed them together.
There are all kinds of influence. We listen to music constantly and always have. Every genre and generation. There is always something worth looking for. Something to learn. What we started with, and I think are still with, was the idea of hardcore garage rock. Simple 2-minute songs that tell their story and then end. We liked the purity of that and always try to cut back to that essential core. Good songs need a good riff and a standout chorus and as little else as possible. We try to deliver that.
4. What do you feel are the key elements in your music that should resonate with listeners, and how would you personally describe your sound?
9 O’CLOCK NASTY: We live by the expression “don’t bore us, get to the chorus.” A song needs to hit you quick. Get you hooked, then make you happy to stay. There are some motifs that repeat, Sydd’s drum loops are often very angular, Ted rarely plays conventional basslines, Pete layers simple melodies over and over to make something dynamic. We love to layer vocals to build something that is on the edge of distortion.
Ultimately, it’s an Ampeg bass amp and a Vox guitar amp, and us.
6. What’s your view on the role and function of music as political, cultural, spiritual, and/or social vehicles – and do you try and affront any of these themes in your work, or are you purely interested in music as an expression of technical artistry, personal narrative and entertainment?
9 O’CLOCK NASTY: Everything we do is a statement. We’ve been labelled as comedians, but we laugh to make a point, not to tell jokes. There is no value in music that doesn’t provoke or move the listener.
7. Do you feel that your music is giving you back just as much fulfilment as the amount of work you are putting into it, or are you expecting something more, or different in the future?
9 O’CLOCK NASTY: It’s simple. We must make music. We have no choice. We would do it together or do it apart. But this group works really well, and we have so much more to say, so many more songs to write. If people listen and like it then we like that, but if the only people listening to our songs were us, we would carry on. This journey is one we must make. Come with us if you will, you are welcome, but we are going anyway.
8. Could you describe your creative processes? How do usually start, and go about shaping ideas into a completed song? Do you usually start with a tune, a beat, or a narrative in your head? And do you collaborate with others in this process?
9 O’CLOCK NASTY: Creation is war. Well maybe it’s sex. Both. One of us has an idea. A hook. A phrase, a beat, a riff. The others add, we argue, we carve pieces, and we build. Once a song has taken shape you cut and cut and cut until only the essential parts remain. Sometimes we cut and cut until there is just silence. Everything we do is collaborative, and it is a conversation.
9. What has been the most difficult thing you’ve had to endure in your life or music career so far?
9 O’CLOCK NASTY: Before this band, we all had the heartbreaks of the bands we thought would make it, the bands that would be the vehicle for success, the ones that failed. Sometimes, after a bad breakup you can spend a year with a bad taste in your mouth and just try to stop the ideas in your head. The whispers. The little songs trying to get out.
The best example is Ted. He was in a moderately successful indie band on tour. They were in Prague and they fell out. Badly. He was left sleeping on the floor at a Czech journalist’s house with just his bass, his amp and an idea for a song called King Thing. He went into the city and saw and English band on tour and got talking to them. It was Sydd and Pete he talked to. He ended up being on their roadcrew for the journey home and took just his clothes and his bass with him. The amp is still in that flat in Prague. One day we will go and get it.
King Thing finally got recorded this year, but only when Sydd has added the killer drumbeat and Pete pulled a guitar hook from deep inside his gut.
10. On the contrary, what would you consider a successful, proud or significant point in your life or music career so far?
9 O’CLOCK NASTY: Without doubt the moment Darker Star was released and we saw people all over the world playing it. We are talking thousands, not millions, but the idea that our song could touch someone’s life in Chicago, or Sao Paolo, well that is cool. We don’t need you to listen. But we are glad if you do.
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