Thursday, February 10, 2022

INTERVIEW: 9 O’clock Nasty

This three-piece band have witnessed a recent rise in popularity by generating a healthy social media following thanks largely to their provocative, sexy, and sensual sounding music that simply leaves its audience both bound and gagged and gasping for air as they beg for more. Their most recent releases can be found across multiple online media platforms as they share their truly inspiring story – spreading a message of love, cheer, and acceptance, throwing a spanner into the works of the norm, and ever-evolving British music scene.  

They have had to overcome challenges presented to them because of the pandemic but have emerged with flying colours and are only going to continue to build from here. The guys have been kind enough to join us to answer a few questions and ultimately share their inspirational story with us on how they came to be in the position they are in today. Without further ado, let’s meet 9 o’clock Nasty. 

Where are you guys from and how did you meet? 

We’re from Leicester, the forgotten city, the beating heart of the UK. Pete and Sydd were at school together, and all of us were in a number of different bands across the city and were friends.  


In truth, Ted met the others in a bar in Prague after being abandoned by the band he was supposed to be on tour with for reasons that have never been made clear. He joined Sydd and Pete as a roadie for their band on tour. He was a shit roadie but they got on. So we kept in touch and saw each other at gigs. 


For a lot of complicated and hard to explain reasons we ended up all looking for somewhere to live just before lockdown and we found a beautiful big house, down the road from another friend (Mr Thumbs) in a village just outside the city. We moved in, each bringing a ton of musical equipment that landed in the front room just as the lockdown for COVID happened. We found that someone had once used the house as a recording studio because it had some old analogue equipment lying about unloved. To entertain ourselves we started fixing the studio up and adding some digital equipment and we naturally spent time playing cover versions and generally messing around to keep ourselves sane while the world seemed to fall to pieces. Once you have a working recording studio, a load of instruments and three musicians locked in the same building 24 hours a day, you’re either going to have a new band, or a murder. Thankfully we decided to not kill each other and started a band. 


First, we were Strict. Then the Koala Mittens. Finally 9 o’clock Nasty. There are various stories about where the name came from, the most reliable one is that is to do with a local Leicester legend of the 9 o’clock Horses. Google Leicester 9 o’clock Horses, it’s an interesting story. 


What inspired you to write the song ‘Do Me Too’? 

We were in our local bar and a couple at a table were talking too loudly about their sex life. They were arguing about their plans to have a threesome with someone they had met on the Internet. When discussing jealousy, the guy said “I’ll be fine as long as whatever you do, you do it to me too.”  The line was a gift and later we had written the song and used it for the chorus. The song grew into a story about jealousy in a supposedly open relationship and the need of the voyeur to think that the excitement they are experiencing second hand, they may one day get to try themselves. 


We never found out about the couple. We hope they had a great time, and indeed, whatever they did, they did it to each other too. Often and successfully. 


Do you have fun making your music videos? They’re all great by the way! 

That depends on the video! Sometimes we have an idea and spend an evening filming - which typically degenerates into us dressing up as raccoons and wandering around in the dark. 


We recently filmed for a new song called Playboy Driver which will be our March single. We hired some high-end sports cars and dressed up. The results will probably leave some people a little surprised.  


The ones that are made as collages of videos can take a lot of careful work to do. But it is always fun to try and bury little details in there, and then when someone spots it the laughter and comments are great. For example, we managed to sneak a short clip of Peter Gabriel into a recent video and nobody noticed until a friend on Instagram one morning said: “hang on is that Peter Gabriel in your video?” 


How do you feel about your recent spike in popularity? 

It’s fun. We exist to write songs and enjoy that, we don’t expect to become popular or make any money out of the project because the reality is that the economics of being in any kind of independent act are not great. Companies like Spotify have taken all the money and a lot of the creativity out of the music industry. That said, it does now mean that the difference between being a minor artist on a record label and indie is almost nothing. 


So, anyway, we aren’t seeking success, but there is a real joy in seeing that a clip you did had 2000 views last night, or in seeing a lot of comments. When King Thing lifted off on Spotify, even though we will make no money on that and we find the company pretty distasteful, well we still celebrated. We are highly competitive and driven people so we naturally want to do better and better. We probably would say that it isn’t a spike, it’s the start of a sustained following and series of good records that reach a wider and wider audience. Every record does better than the one before. 


Real success would be having the ability to plan a small venue anywhere and know it would be full of people that were into what we do. Being able to play in places like Brazil or Philadelphia or Berlin. We will get there. 


Do you have a favourite song that you’ve written so far? If so, which one and why? 

That is a hard question because not only would we each come up with a different choice, it would vary from day to day. 


Unspool My Heart was the first thing we did that really clicked and felt like it wasn’t an experiment, it was something anyone could enjoy. Sexy Back was so much fun to do and won us a lot of friends. King Thing is probably the purest expression so far of what we intend to do. Do Me Too is the new shiny and a really good pop song with that slightly darker edge to it. Well, big darker edge. Well, it is mostly darker edge, but there is some pop song too. 


If anyone wanted to discover a bit more about the band, listen to Unspool My Heart, Walkman Walk, Gravy Train, and King Thing, and then you’ll be pretty much caught up. 


What’s the meaning behind ‘Indoor Boyfriend’ 

He is a real person. We met him at a rare party, in the strange time between the big lockdown and the next big lockdown. It was probably the only party we went to all that summer and it was in a huge house and beautiful garden. Although we can be quite difficult people, this was a comfortable place with lovely people and we were very chilled and on our best behaviour. There was a beautiful couple there, and it seems that the girlfriend managed to lose her boyfriend and went indoors meaning he was left alone and latched onto our table for company.  He proceeded to tell us how great he was for several hours as gradually one by one we escaped. In the end, Pete, who is capable of dealing with very difficult people after his long period in the military, was the last one sitting with him as he explained he could charge so much more for what he does. 


The truth is he was the 'Outdoor Boyfriend', but it scanned better lyrically to make him Indoor Boyfriend. The words of the song are almost entirely taken from things he said. He was possibly the least self-aware and sexually powerful men we have ever met. 


How’s Mr. Thumbs keeping these days? Will fans be seeing him make an appearance sometime soon? 

He is very well. We actually sat down with him last night and played him demo versions of six new songs we’ve written for release after May to see if there were any he wanted to play on. We want him to appear in the artwork for the next LP as he contributed to it, but he isn’t sure about wearing the raccoon makeup and we will have to insist he does. We have a plan to start rehearsing properly soon to play live and we want him to join us as a second guitarist we will be filming those so that is probably the first he will ever be seen as the “Fourth Nasty.” 


He is a lovely man and probably regrets getting involved in our madness. At the moment he has taken one of our songs that we had a total mental block on, called “Choke It Up” and he has rebuilt it and made it into a long expansive goth anthem. It is unlike anything we would make, but it sounds like one of our songs which is a strange feeling. It will be on the LP. 


How would you describe your music and who writes the lyrics? 

We started out with a mission to make 2-minute garage rock songs. Gradually that has become more and more mixed up as we try new things. We work very, very quickly in intense periods and the style of a song can depend very much on how we were feeling that day. Probably the single song that best describes the direction we’re heading is King Thing, That best maps out the future for the band. The label we like best is New Indie. There are a few bands we’ve become friends with that are using the #newindie tag to describe what they do. It’s a loose genre that covers a broad range of music. 


Songwriting and lyric writing are very mixed. We’re all songwriters and sometimes have an idea that is quite well-formed to take to the band. Sometimes though the idea is generated very spontaneously. Sydd for example is the absolute master of listening to something that is almost right, and adding that one observation or idea that brings it home. In most cases, the person that sings the words, wrote the words. 


What do you think about the music scene in the UK? 

We’re not entirely sure that is even a thing anymore. We aren’t a UK band, we’re a band based in the UK. The bands we are closest to are from the UK, USA, Serbia, Australia. We get a lot of our plays in Brazil.  


We grew up in a world where there would be local music scene with bands and venues and fanzines, then a national one when you had reached a certain level. Technology has in some ways killed that. There are still some good venues run by good people. But we can reach a bigger audience with a Reel on Instagram than with a year of touring pubs. We are also more likely to reach people that like our music that way. 


So we try not to think in terms of a UK audience or even linking with other UK bands. 


What are your plans for the year ahead? 

We’re really focused on writing and recording at the moment. We have two singles after “Sex.” Playboy Driver comes out in March and is probably the best thing we’ve released so far. We dropped a copy on our newsletter subscribers at Christmas and had some great feedback. 9 Ball follows it in April and it is another really strong song. A proper firecracker of a song with sweet gentle ending. 


In May there is the LP, “By All Means Necessary.” It might surprise people because this time we’re using the format of an LP to try some different things. There will be people that buy it just for the artwork which is very special. 


After that, we already have a pipeline of more songs. We will be rehearsing and hoping to venture out with a live show. It will be more cabaret and weirder than a straight gig. We might try some live streaming shows too, but that’s hard to do well, as we don’t want to be worried about the technical details, we want to perform and leave people a little bit nervous and a little bit happy. 


Antony Bailey  


Image: 'Sex' Official EP Cover

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