Nine Days took the world by storm with the release of "The Madding Crowd" in 2000. Their catchy smash hit, "Absolutely" (Story of a Girl) soared to the top of the charts. "Absolutely" remains a timeless classic, but most importantly, Nine Days remains a band who isn't about to rest on their laurels. As the industry evolves, Nine Days continues to evolve, and to grow as a group of individuality and authenticity.
On Oct. 25, 2013, following a decade since their last album release, Nine Days introduced "Something Out of Nothing." The 10 track album which was produced by Nine Days and Paul Umbach contains something for everyone.
I had the unique opportunity to sit down with the entire band to discuss their latest creation. We took time to revisit where they've been, but ultimately we talked about where they're going. John Hampson (vocals, guitar), Brian Desveaux (vocals, guitar), Jeremy Dean (keyboards), Nick Dimichino (bass, guitar, backup vocals), and Vincent Tattanelli (drums, percussion) all contributed to our chat.
Q: How would you describe your latest album?
A: Nick: "It's just a collaboration of the last five years or so of listening. It contains Country/Americana material. It has rootsier stuff like we started out with if you go back to our first self-produced album."
John: "We've been a band for almost 20 years. We were together before "Story of a Girl" from the time it came out, all the way to its height now. If "Story of a Girl" is all you know from us, this record might seem weird or "country," but the reality is we've always been in that Americana vibe. We just kind of leaned more heavily on that this time. It's very natural for us."
Brian: "This record really combines what we sound like and who we are. It's definitely Americana, Rock, and a friend of ours even said it has a Bluegrass sound."
Q: What went into bringing "Something Out of Nothing" to life?
A: John: "We recorded it in Nashville even though four out of five of us are still living in New York (Desveaux is the only member who presently resides in Nashville). We wanted to make the record have as much of a "band feel" as possible. The basic tracks were live. It was all about trying to capture more of a vibe than anything."
Q: Favorite songs?
A: Brian: "I'm going to go with "Flying Saucer." It was a weird song to begin with and it took a while in the studio to really get it. We tried recording it many different ways. We spent about an hour putting a drum set together, but it didn't work. We went back to just doing it like we do it live - and then we had Kyle Everson come in. It just all fell into place at that moment. The mix came out great - for me, that's one of the songs I like to listen to the most."
A: Vince: "Protect Me." One word - I get to play the "COWBELL!" My favorite one to listen to would be "No Easy in Love."
A: Nick: "I could find something about each one, but my son who is about ten, really loves "Indian Summer." As many times as I have to listen to it, I'm not sick of it. I think it sounds the most like what we used to do."
A: John: "I like the whole record but "Alchemy" is my favorite. This song really came together for me personally. Every element came into place - the horns, the clarinet, the solo. After the first take, it felt perfect. There's just something about the sound. More often than not, I feel like songs fall a little short. I just don't know if that one could have come out any better."
A: Jeremy: "I actually have two, and I'll tell you why. With John and Brian both singing and writing songs, you get a different sound. For John, I really like "Protect Me." I think it has a great strong groove and a great chorus. For Brian, it's "No Easy in Love." It was just a very off the cuff performance. Everything from the chords in the song to the vibe of it - sounds great. Then Kyle came in and threw steel on it. The mix is great."
Q: How have you grown as a band?
A: Nick: "We've been away from one another. Brian did solo stuff. John did solo stuff. We just kind of got together, and decided let's see if this clicks and works anymore. We started playing and there it was. Everyone has their own life, but here we still are."
Vince: "I think we've grown as in we can't fit into the same clothes we could as when we started (chuckles)."
John: "We played four or five nights a week. We rehearsed during the day, or we would write. We built such a musical connection together - it'll never go away. Whatever musical DNA is formed, it's still going to be there as you move forward, and I think that's true for a lot of bands. You fast forward, you go though life experiences, musical experiences, but it always goes back to that DNA. We're always going to sound like us no matter what we do."
"I think for me the biggest difference is, for the first time in my adult life, I don't have a single care in the world. I'm not worried about whether my music is going to be accepted by the industry. It's so liberating and so great. I'm just doing this for the sake of making the song be what I want it to be and that's it. Let it be what it is. What we're doing is "our thing" and it feels good."
Brian: "I feel like we've grown musically and as writers. Even though we've gone back to our roots - we've matured and we're growing. It's got to be cool and different. We're not trying to recreate "Story of a Girl," and we don't want to."
Q: What has always set you apart from other bands?
A: John: "Even when you listen to "The Madding Crowd" album, there are hints of other things. I think we've always felt like we were put in another genre, but it didn't quite work. Nonetheless, it was fun, and we're still in with all of these other bands. We're not exactly like these other bands, but for a brief time our sounds kind of overlapped. We had a moment where we embraced more of a rock guitar."
Jeremy: "When you play heavier music with that strength, passion and volume - you almost feel that you have to physically emote that on stage. We no longer play musically where we feel that we have to physically embody music. Modern stage presence is now more vocal - being one with the audience almost, as being opposed to physically trying to jump around and do handstands.
Q: What keeps you going?
A: John: "What keeps me going is I can't not do it. It doesn't matter if the audience is two people or 2000."
Nick: "The industry is such a weed out process. If you're not into it, you're done early. How do you get anything done if you're not obsessed with it?"
(As parents, John and Nick both agree that instruments are around the house if their children want to explore music, but they would only want them to pursue music on their own terms, and because "they can't not do it.").
Q: What can fans expect at your current shows?
A: Jeremy: "A good mix of old and new."
John: "I think it's a looser thing - way more about musical community an lifting people up. It's just celebrating music."
Jeremy (adds with a laugh): "There will be no wrong notes whatsoever."
Q: Future goals?
A: Brian: "We're going to keep recording, keep writing, and keep doing stuff."
John: "We would love to be treated as a new band. The music should stand on its own, whether or not listeners are familiar with "Story of a Girl."
Throughout all the seasons and chapters both in their personal and professional lives, Nine Days remains committed to what they do, and they'll always find a way to "Make Something Out of Nothing."
To purchase their album, and to stay up to date on their latest news, head on over to their website. http://ninedaysmusic.com/album/128282/something-out-of-nothing