Gold Coast’s Nine Sons Of Dan have slowly been building their name in the Australian music scene, and now with some big support slots under their belt (The Darkness/Simple Plan) the group plan to use the release of their second EP ‘The New Kids,’ which was mixed by J.R. McNeally (Anberlin/Paramore), as the introduction to a much wider audience. KYS had a chat to front man Jay Bainbridge about how the band plans to climb the music industry ladder.
Why don’t we start with a little background on the band?
Well basically we are five good friends that grew up together surfing, hanging out and playing music, and around about 2009 our drummer did a course at university, his bachelor of popular music, and he needed a band to record and we all knew of each other from playing in different bands and he invited us all up to try and put something together so we started writing together and realised that we had really great chemistry as a band and as friends so from there it grew on and we did more shows and won a bunch of band comps and I guess now we are here and we’re are up to our second EP as a band and we are just loving life and supporting a lot of big acts all around the country and surfing everyday and just having a good time, which has been amazing.
You have one EP under the belt and you are now releasing a second one, what made you decide to do this over releasing a full length album?
Really just expense wise is one of the main factors in it, just because it is so expensive to record these days and we’re currently unsigned so we’re funding everything we do just out of our own pockets, so that was the main reason. I guess the other reason, and I noticed a lot of other bigger bands are doing it, people like Matt Corby, it’s just kind of a clever way of getting your audience to listen to the songs you actually want them to listen to as opposed to putting out a twelve track album, you have so many songs that sometimes some of the good ones might get lost in them so we kinda just wanna push out everything at a slow pace. I don’t think there is really a rush in it, we’re still growing as song writers so we are just taking our time.
What was it like working with J.R. McNeally?
It was just amazing, we worked with him and another guy named Matt Bartlem who produced our other EP and I guess they just honed in on the American sound that we have, I’m originally from California so I’ve got that American twang in my voice when I sing and all of the band’s that he has done already, a lot of them are our favourite bands, at the moment we are at such a young age, we don’t know if we have found our sound yet so we just want to sound like our own favourite bands and that dude just nails it, there is no gamble, when you go to work with him, you know the product you are going to get because he is just that good, whereas a lot of other mixers, a lot of the time they will try to mix differently every time and you get something back that you’re not sure about so when he gave it back to us I knew straight away it would sound ridiculous and of course it did.
What would be the main thing that you took away from that session that you didn’t realise before?
Um, that’s a really great question, I think for me, I learnt a lot about lyrics, I do all of the lyrics for the band and I’m a writer but I’m not the best writer in the world with lyrics, I’m still learning stuff and for me working on lyrics in the studio is the best thing you can do because you see things from other people’s points of view. Right now I’m starting to see things rather than, like when I write down a story, I’ll see things how they make sense to me but I need to realise that I need to keep the listener, who knows nothing about the story or about me, interested the whole way through the song, so keeping their attention throughout the entire song was the main thing I learnt from this EP.
The band’s sound is very accessible and radio friendly, is that something you guys are conscious of or that is just the way the music comes out?
It’s just kinda the music that we learned to play and the music that we love is that style of music but I think that in a lot of ways when I’m writing something or the band is writing something, if we can hear something that is a definite hook and that we know is going to do well on radio then we know that is going to be the hook of the song so we have to work everything out around that. We’ve learnt to understand what will make a radio successful song so I think when you do write an EP you definitely have to have at least a couple of those in your bunch of songs just so it can actually have some success because at the moment, I think in Australia especially, you can’t really get overly artistic and go in a direction where no one will understand it because there is either the commercial route in Australia or the Triple J route and I think at the moment we’re trying to sit in between those two. We don;t want to make auto-tuned dance music but at the same time we don;t want to make garage band music so we’re trying to fit in the middle of those so so it is definitely something we’ve thought about but we don’t just sit there and go "oh man how are we gonna write the next hit."
The style of rock that you play has never broken out to be a huge thing here in Australia and whilst there are bands like Tonight Alive that play that genre, they have more success in the states than they do here. Do you think it will be hard to make that style of pop-punk something big down here in the mainstream view?
Na, no way, I’m surprised as much as probably anyone else is but the rate that we are moving through the industry at the moment has taken me by surprise and I think a lot of it has to do with our no bullshit attitude when we play live, we do play pop-punk/pop-rock music but at the same time when we do our live show we want to hold ourselves up to the standards of like, the Foo fighters would try to bring to the table, or just big bands, so we try to keep our musicianship up to the highest levels and I think that will always prevail over someone like a DJ standing behind something and trying to dance while he’s doing nothing or like an indie band that is trying to play shit to be cool. As you said there are band’s around Australia that are doing it, Heroes For Hire are a great band, Tonight Alive are a great band live as well and I think Australia is ready for it, I think the fan base for the genre of music is getting bigger.
What is the band’s plan now that the EP is out?
We are doing a tour all the way throughout July and we are going down all the way along the East Coast and hitting up every major city in town that we can and just online stuff, we’re working really hard with marketing, we’re doing this thing, a tweet for a track where people tweet what their favourite song is and that spreads across to all of their followers, just this morning I got a report back from our manager that we’ve made it into the top ten for the rock side of iTunes so we’re pretty excited about that and people are definitely buying it so I guess the main thing with our band is we want to tour as much as we can, play shows and get our music heard so we’ll go to any length to do that. We’ve been playing with some bigger bands lately and that to me is the biggest difference I’ve noticed in our fan base growing. When we play with a big band our Facebook will go crazy for the next month, it’s so cool.
What have you picked up from playing with these bigger bands from a live perspective?
You get the best seat in the house standing side stage watching them play, there is so many tricks that you learn, every band is totally different, there’s things that we learnt from The Darkness, then there is things that we learnt from a totally different band like Simple Plan and they are all veterans and they have done it a million times and they’ve learnt from some of the great band’s they’ve played with so there is things with crowd control stuff, making it more of a show, I think a lot of band’s forget and we do forget sometimes that it’s not just about a bunch of people playing music, you have to put on a show, I want to make it like a Las Vegas show, a spectacle, insane lighting and make it more interesting, I think that we could do a lot more with our live show and we are learning slowly how to do it.