nineplanfailed – an intriguing name, tell us how that came about…
Our name is taken from one of the tracks on Adam and the Ants’ first album, ‘Dirk Wears White Sox’ (1979), and this is no accident. This album, and the period that its from (i.e. late 70’s / early 80’s) tends to inform a lot of the choices we’ve made in the band in terms of content, sonics and presentation. It’s kind of weird because although we all missed this period of music when it happened, we’ve all kind of rediscovered it individually – serendipity in action. There’s something about the energy and experimentation of so many bands from the era that really excite us. And because so many of the artists from this time were so influential, when people hear us playing, even if they aren’t aware of the original bands (e.g. Adam and the Ants, Public Image, Killing Joke), they can hear more recent bands through us (e.g. The Pixies, The Strokes, Franz Ferdinand).
You’ve enjoyed some airplay on Bethan Elfyn’s show recently – how important is that to you?
You forgot to mention a couple of plays on Jen Long’s show as well – not that we’re keeping count, or excited, or anything! The truth of it is that its a massive shot in the arm for us. We were talking about this recently – other bands, I’m sure will sympathise; we’re lucky enough to be invited to play a lot of shows…whilst that’s great, what isn’t so good is playing to smaller (and sometimes non-existent!) audiences. Insecurities make it easy to think that punters were avoiding us – but I don’t think that’s necessarily the case as other bands tell similar stories. So when complete strangers in the shape of Darren Broome (Bethan Elfyn’s producer) and Jen Long determine that actually, our tracks are worthy of being played over national radio, it feels like a validation. I’m not absolutely convinced that we’re getting any new ‘fans’ out of the airplay…that remains to be seen.
What’s the new release called and what are your hopes for it?
We didn’t actually give the release a title – we like the idea of it being just ‘EP’ in the same way Public Image released an album called ‘album’, back in the day. Our hopes for it are twofold – we hope that as many people get to hear it as possible (and hopefully like what they hear!), and secondly, we hope that it provides a decent enough return to Death Monkey Records, the guys who were good enough to give us this opportunity and provide the resources to allow us to record and release it. They’re genuinely committed to discovering and promoting exciting new music, and to have worked with them has been a real honour.
South Wales produces a lot of decent bands, why do you think that is?
Everywhere produces decent bands – I don’t know if South Wales is particularly special in that regard. The crying shame is that while there is a massive appetite for regurgitated, safe, unchallenging nonsense that is served up to the unthinking, brain-washed masses every Saturday night (we all know who I’m talking about) – while this is happening there are new, exciting songs being written and performed RIGHT NOW in the venue down the road from you. And while your brain rots and your soul is being devoured by SyCo and the like, you’re missing out on the most important song you’ll ever hear. But that’s ok, here comes another cover version by some manufactured halfwit that has had any semblance of individuality sucked out of them…ooh, he’s cute/she’s sexy…doesn’t really matter , does it? DOES IT?
How has where you come from, shaped your sound?
Geographically, I’ve moved all over the country while growing up – as a result I don’t really feel a part of any group or tribe. Although born just outside Newport, I don’t feel especially Welsh. I don’t feel especially anything. A lot of the time I’m not even sure I’m part of the human race. So lyrically I often draw on these feelings of isolation and frustration as I see world events unfold via mainstream media outlets – knowing that I’m being lied to on an hourly basis, yet powerless to do anything about it other than share my thoughts to a largely disinterested populace. Similarly, disenchantment with much of the current music scene has caused nineplanfailed to develop a lo-fi, post-punk aesthetic that harks back to what we consider to be a very interesting and exciting time for music – late seventies/early eighties. Punk had come and gone and shaken up the establishment – bands like Public Image Ltd, Killing Joke, Adam and the Ants we all brave enough to challenge accepted thinking and tastes…its that attitude that shapes nineplanfailed’s sound.
What other Welsh bands are you digging at the moment?
Cut Ribbons (https://www.facebook.com/Cutribbons) are in the forefront of my mind at the moment due to lots of Radio 1 airplay, and a number of high profile festival appearances in their schedule. I’d say that I’m sick with jealousy, but the band are such nice people that I can only wish them well (whilst calling them ‘dirty sellouts’ behind their back – they’re not, but it makes me feel better. ‘We hate it when our friends become successful’, as someone once sang)
100,000 Bodybags (https://www.facebook.com/pages/100000-Bodybags/147886891921501) are one of those bands that never fail to impress, or excite – whether its their tunes or borderline contempt for their audience – either way, their shows are always good fun.
Heavy Petting Zoo (https://www.facebook.com/heavypettingzoouk) are another band that take a look at what current musical trends are, and blatantly ignore them, creating a sound that is genuinely out of this time – they sound like what the Happy Mondays think The Doors sound like (only nothing like that).
Paper Factory (https://www.facebook.com/paperfactory)are a no frills, no nonsense three piece that manage to create their own garage rock – but when you hear them, you believe them. Then there’s World vs World, Miacca, The Effect, all brilliant for different reasons…
And non-Welsh bands…
Earlier in the year, nineplanfailed were asked to provide support for Event Horses (https://www.facebook.com/EventHorses) – a three piece alt punk/hardcore band from Northern Island – really great lads that put on a great show with tunes that quickened your pulse and let you know that you were alive!
What’s the worst plan you’ve ever had?
I’m still working on it – it could go either way…
by 247 Magazine