Thursday 31 August 2017

***NINE ELEVEN exclusive interview***

GenresPunk / Hardcore / Post-Hardcore / Post-Metal / Crust / Doom
Related artistsAmanda Woodward, The Apollo ProgramAussitôt Mort, Burning Bright, Sequoia, D.F.I., Daily Mind Distortion, Ed Warner, Think Twice, Verbal Razors, End It, Death Mercedes, No Time To Lose and Real Deal.
CountryTours FRANCE
Years Active2005-present
Song: "Apocalypse"
Album: "Sentinels"
Year: 2016
For fans ofAmber, Monuments Collapse, Lamantide, I Am Your Curse, Sarin, Rosetta, Cult Of Luna, Nionde Plågan, Fall Of Efrafa, Back When, Light Bearer, The Solexine Chapter, Vi Som Älskade Varandra Så Mycket, Remains Of The Day, The Alaskan, Envy, Amanda Woodward, Titan, Buried Inside, Raised Fist, Fall Silent, Sick Of It All, Old Soul and Isis.
Label(s): Self Released / Sieve Sand Records / Zegema Beach Records / Kill Me Twice Records / Chorus Of Trust The Hype / Customcore Records / Emergence / Free Edge Conspiracy / Break Out Records / STS Network / Brain Ache Records / Effervescence Records / Bad Mood Records / i.corrupt Records / World's Appreciated Kitsch / Trivel Records / Epidemic Records / Twenty-Four And Nine Records / Unlock Yourself Records / Ugly And Proud Records / Dingleberry Records / Désordre Ordonné / Hardcore For The Losers
This post's artist is from the August 2017 Mix. This is track #10.
You can download: the August 2017 Mix#8 right here or get the new September 2017 Mix#9 here.

***update: this band seems to be showing signs of being comprised of horrible people. Victim shaming, sharing victim's names, causing shit, etc. and thus has been removed from the Zegema Beach Records bandcamp. Cuz fuck that shit.


In mid-2016 I was talking to Sieve Sand Records' Antoine, who also happens to be the drummer of NINE ELEVEN as well as Burning Bright, The Apollo Program, Death MercedesAmanda Woodward and Aussitôt Mort. He asked if I could help release their new 12" and as I'd never heard the band before I checked them out. I dug it, but knew that Zegema Beach Records didn't have the funds to help. After helping premiere a music video for the LP I soon fell in love and kicked myself for not selling something in order to help out with the release. Now it's a year later and that sucker is all sold out, so a repress is in order and this time I scoured for monies and nabbed some copies as ZBR will be helping out. NINE ELEVEN have gone through some changes, but the newer material (2013 onward) is prodigious and imposing post-metal/post-hardcore in the vein of later Amber, Titan, Cult Of Luna and Buried Inside.

As only a little more than half of their recorded material is housed on the NINE ELEVEN bandcamp page, there are a few releases I have yet to hear. Considering the evolution of the band I'm not overly inclined to scour the recesses of the internet for more early work generally sounds like a mixture of Equal Vision metalcore from the late 90s, aka Fall Silent mixed with Sweden's Refused and Raised Fist-esque hardcore. It's okay, but doesn't hold a candle to the awesomeness that is 'Sentinels'. Songs like "The New Shame of Punk to Come", "The Quick and the Dead" and "Sen" from 2009's 'City of Quartz' LP as well as "Starkweather", "Dance On Your Own Ruins Tomorrow" and "Maison Dieu" from 2012's 'La Reve de Cassandre' show some glimpses into NINE ELEVEN's future by incorporating some bigger, atmospheric post-hardcore/post-metal, but this is pretty much a straight up hardcore affair. My primary issue with these early releases are the vocals, which are in by no means bad, but they're monotonous and lack the intensity and power that the later material packs.

'24 Hours' gets pretty dang heavy right off the bat as the opener "Fleeing From God..." boasts much deeper vocals that aren't far from the Perth Express and Graf Orlock/Ghostlimb department. "...Defying the Sea" slows things down a tad and injects more of the old-school NINE ELEVEN, but the transition to epic post-hardcore/post-metal is pretty much complete. "Face the Triangle" is my personal favourite, although it doesn't get immense and crushing until 4:23 and is easily the closest thing to their 2016 undertaking. "Into the Storm" is a brooding and crusty number that packs a wallop while "Under the Foam" reminds me of I Am Your Curse. The finale "Never Fear a Goodbye" is their first foray into 8+ minute territory, as this covers nearly 10 and has some of the sickest bass drops at around the three-minute mark.

In 2016 NINE ELEVEN released 'Sentinels' and it is glorious. Truly an achievement, the one 35-minute track is broken up into five themes. Theme A's 8:29 "Elysium" opens up and is a hefty 8-something and establishes the basic NINE ELEVEN sound, which surprisingly enough is my least favourite section on the record. That being said, it's still a great tune, it just lacks the poignant swells and climaxes that leave a signature on the other four themes. This thing is a massive, rolling and thunderous introduction with even darker and heavier vocals, and it's great for what it is. Theme B's "Guidecca" is next, and holy fucking smokes this thing gets me from interested to bloody giddy, as this is over 8 minutes and absolutely massive. At 1:38 we are introduced to recurring spacey guitars that give the monstrous riffs an even larger feel and transition nicely into deathly single note breakdowns come 3:56. There are also some excellent trumpets that lead the denoument from five minutes onward. "Purgatory" is a shorter theme, with C clocking in at 5:49 of pummeling post-hardcore/post-metal. The changeover just before the 30-second mark is fantastic with some killer basslines as well as insane drumming, dual vocals and some Rosetta sounding riffs at around 1:42. Theme D's "Apocalypse" was the song/video that I got to premiere on this blog back in September of 2016 (linked here). This thing is epic as fuck and blatantly evident from the get-go with walls of riffs that fill up the room with deep, resonating darkness. At 1:43 things slow down and get pretty goddamn grooving and beginning at 3:21 layer a heap of sweet guitar harmonization amidst the atmospheric wanderings. The final theme, E, is titled "The Final Circle" and is the shortest track at 4:56. Beginning as the fastest song on the record, it is a worthy conclusion that brings in more trumpets to close it out, making it sound almost like a post-metal spaghetti western.

Upon deciding the help corelease the repressing of 'Sentinels' on Zegema Beach Records (pre-order coming soon), I asked Antoine from NINE ELEVEN (drums) to do an interview regarding his past and present projects, some of which include Amanda Woodward and Aussitôt Mort as well as the label Sieve Sand Records. Read it in full below.

1) Hi Antoine! Thanks so much for agreeing to answer a few of my questions. So...let's start! Aside from playing in bands like The Apollo Program, Aussitôt Mort, Amanda Woodward, Burning Bright and Nine Eleven, what else have you done/do you do?
In terms of music? I've actually played guitar at the very beginning of the band called End It. I have also played guitar for Death Mercedes on a pretty lame Russian tour. That's basically all the serious things I've been involved in apart from what you have listed. Lately I've started to get interested in more electronic and hip hop music. I just came back from Amsterdam where I went to visit my friend, Buster. He is the drummer of Kidcrash, and he is “now working for the biggest rap band in the world,” as he said. So he was on tour with them and we managed to take some time off to make music together. I really enjoyed that experience. I think I need to try different stuff, now. Also I have started a little DIY label some years ago called Sieve and Sand Records. I definitely don't have the business skill and it doesn't garner much attention, but I enjoy putting out some records I like for the people I like. It goes slow, as I don't have much time for it and barely any money. Lately my last activity was to build up a DIY place here in Caen where I live. The project was to get a place where we could converge our DIY punk scene and the more political activists and activities. It is pretty cool, we can make shows again, and try to work on a legacy.

2) Sieve Sand is an awesome label, how did it start? Why the name? What has been your most well received release? Which is your favourite?
Thanks for the kind words mate. It is actually a pretty lame structure. But I like the bands I've put out. Well I wanted to do it for years. Basically when I would see a band I liked, I would rather do music with them or at least take part in the project. Helping bands to release records was something I could do without being intrusive. At some point I started Burning Bright. I didn't feel like looking around for labels and asking for help, so I just felt it was the opportunity to start something. The name comes from Fahrenheit 451 from Bradbury. It's almost the name of the second chapter “the sieve and the sand”, Burning Bright is actually the third. This book has had a major impact on me. My best release I think was Burning Bright – Domesday which we repressed, but it has been easier for me to support it as I was playing in the band and selling records at shows. Also the Aussitôt Mort / Catalyst were gone quickly. My favourte release is a tough question. I like them all very much. Some were easier to put out, others easier to sell, but maybe my fav is the Wild Guess LP which has always been so problematic to put out. I think we will finally be able to get this out soon, and I m very happy with it.

3) What’s coming up for your label?
Recently I had that Child Meadow / Appletop 7” split. So next I hope will be Wild Guess, and probably the new Burning Bright record.

4) Tell us about The Apollo Program. There seemed to be a few different drummers. Also, that band seems pretty obscure here but I think your stuff was excellent.
True, I think I was on the third one. I never get to record with them though, but it was my first steps into the DIY scene. I learned a lot very quickly with this band and from the ashes of this band we built Aussitôt Mort.

5) Amanda Woodward was a huge influence for me as I first heard your band when La Decadence was released because I was obsessed with Level Plane Records. What was your time in the band like? Do you feel that the band has lasting value? Myself and many others still hold Amanda Woodward in very high regard.
I actually played for only one year before the band broke up. I was also a huge fan of that La Decadence record. For me it has been really positive as I was still learning a lot from this movement and this music. It has been a pleasure to play songs I loved, to learn how to play the drum parts. I did improve a lot at the time. I have met a lot of different people and some I am still good friends with. My only regret, maybe, is that I was young and not confident in my music skills, and I think I didn't give any value to the band as I didn't feel that it belonged to me.

6) Aussitot Mort was another band that I followed after Amanda Woodward split up and enjoyed thoroughly. They changed their name to Mort, Mort, Mort and I believe you left the band beforehand, correct? Did you leave on good terms? Did you enjoy your time in the band?
Well I was in Aussitôt Mort from the very beginning and as I was saying I was not a very confident person when we started. I think after the years past I became more and more confident, but it also became more and more difficult with each other. I'm not gonna tell the story here, and point the finger at anyone but it became totally impossible to make music together or even to talk to each other. Pierre (the bass player) and I left the band like rats from a sinking ship. We couldn't make more music and our friendship was shit - no need to go on. They kept playing the same songs again an again under the name of Mort Mort Mort which I don't want to be related to. Nowadays things are going better between us, since everyone has their own path and projects since we have this DIY place. But in the end I feel that I had good times, meet great people and had awesome experiences. And I really enjoy the 'Nagykanizsa' album. Just the last year with the band was terrible.

7) What bands are currently active? How is each band different for you?
At the moment Nine Eleven is the most active one. We often tour and might start to work on a new record. Burning Bright is also active. We have recorded a new album, we just need to finish the vocals. It might take a little while as everyone is very busy but I think by the end of the year it should be done.

8) Nine Eleven started way back in the late 2000s, how did y’all start? And how has the band evolved to where you are now?
Once again I joined the band only two years ago. I can't talk about a period of time I don't know much about. I can tell you that they started from the ashes of a band called No Time To Lose. They had different singers, drummers, and bass player in the beginning. Only the two guitar players have been in the band since the start. We are not from the same cities, and Aussitot Mort and Nine Eleven met time to time over the years. They started playing modern hardcore and I think we now play something very different. They had already started to integrate more atmospheric or progressive element in their “24 Years” LP and I believe that on the last album my influences and way of making music have led the band in other directions.

9) ‘Sentinels’ is an amazing record. I’m not surprised it sold out and a repress is nearing completion. Was the idea of making a 35-minute song intentional? How did you decide to break it up into the 5 tracks? What was the idea behind the 5 music videos and how did you make them?
Thanks again for the kind words. It was intentional. Nine Eleven has always played short songs and also the idea to play more progressive music would fit better to a long a song. It was quite a challenge but also I think it gave us more freedom during the composing process. It was the first time Richard (guitar player) and I made music together. We both have different backgrounds and skills, so I believe such a song was a good idea to get to know each other better. There was no box we wanted to fit in. The videos come from the fact that when I listen to music I see pictures. We had some ideas but none of us ever made any videos. We didn't want to do cheap pictures has we have no skills, so we tried to tell a story by picking up pictures from different movies or docs and mount it as cool as we could. Richard and I did it. It was a huge amount of work but very interesting as we'd never done it before.

10) What is next for you?
As I told you new Burning Bright is on the way. With Nine Eleven we have a couple of tours planned including one to South Asia in December. I'm very much looking forward to this, and we will also start writing a new album. I have some new life goals in mind including working less, making more music and doing more useful projects.



2005 - Intruder split cdLP

2006 - King For a Day, Ghost For a Lifetime cdEP

2007 - Use Your Disillusion cdLP

2009 - City of Quartz cd/12"LP (stream/donate/download here)

2010 - A Bout De Souffle 7"EP

2012 - Le Rêve De Cassandre cd/12"LP (stream/donate/download here)

2013 - 24 Years cassette/12"EP (stream/donate/download here)

2016 - Sentinels 12"LP (stream/donate/download here)

2017 - Sentinels 12"LP repress

(2017) NINE ELEVEN - "Apocalypse" (from 'Sentinels') official music video

(2017) NINE ELEVEN - "Guidecca" (from 'Sentinels') official music video

(2017) NINE ELEVEN - "Purgatory" (from 'Sentinels') official music video

(2017) NINE ELEVEN - "The Final Circle" (from 'Sentinels') official music video

(2017) NINE ELEVEN - "Elysium" (from 'Sentinels') official music video

(2013) NINE ELEVEN - "Face the Triangle" (from '24 Years')

(2013) NINE ELEVEN - "Into the Storm" (from '24 Years')

(2012) NINE ELEVEN - "Dance On Your Own Ruins Tomorrow" (from 'Le Rêve De Cassandre')

(2009) NINE ELEVEN - "Sen" (from 'City of Quartz')


NINE ELEVEN additional links


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