Interview by Mark Bayross
The Lucky Nine comprises A bassist Daniel P Carter (on guitar here), Hundred Reasons’ Colin Doran on vocals, ex-Cable drummer Richie Mills, plus Justin David Rowe on bass and Ben Doyle on guitar. After a self-titled EP earlier in the year, the band has now released their first album, TRUE CROWN FOUNDATION SONGS. I spoke to Dan about running his own show (for now).
So, how did The Lucky Nine get started?
It started with me demo-ing some songs while we were writing HI-FI SERIOUS that just weren’t suitable for where that album was going. So I recorded them with Richard, the drummer from Cable, and we demoed them together, turning them into songs. After that, we needed some singing on them, which I tried to do but was piss-poor at, so then we had the idea of getting different people to sing on each one, like the This Is Menace album. We contacted Colin from Hundred Reasons, Ian from Lostprophets, Matt from Funeral [For A Friend], Darryl from Glassjaw… Colin was the first one to come along, with the intention to just sing on one song – and he ended up singing on three. So, we recorded them and then we got the tour with Hell Is For Heroes, so we had to put a full band together – that’s when I got Jay [Justin] and Ben on board.
It took a while for you to release the album. Was that just down to practical reasons?
Yeah, it’s been a long time coming…we had a few issues of politics to get around… The album was finished for a year – we actually had it written before the EP came out, well the bulk of it. The bonus has been that we’ve still been writing since then, so most of the second album’s already done.
What’s the significance of the band name?
It started as a personal thing, really. I kept noticing the number nine cropping up through coincidence, like a recurring theme. Things kept happening to me in threes and nines. Then one evening I was out with some friends – there were nine of us – and we went to this Chinese restaurant. We all got given these fortune cookies and I took the last one; I opened it up and it said, “The number nine will keep your future fine”. So, that was that really. It just registered with my interest in numerology and tarot – nine also an auspicious number.
Who bears the responsibility for song writing within the band?
Musically, I do, but I’m into that! The way things are with A, any of us will bring a song to the band and everyone will pull at it – which is great, it’s how most bands should be… But this is more of a dictatorship – for now at least! I’m not sure whether that will still be the case with the next album.
What extra dimension does the band give you all from your day jobs?
We get to do things that we don’t normally get to do within the realms of our other bands. No doubt people will compare us to Hundred Reasons as Colin sings in both bands, but we’re all getting to do things we wouldn’t normally do, broaching different subjects and coming up with stuff that’s not appropriate for our other bands.
Is there some sense of catharsis involved?
That makes it sound like we’re not getting to do what we want to do with our current bands, and that’s not the case. I think it’s more an opportunity to work in a different creative environment. Besides, isn’t playing music always cathartic in a way?
Do you think the rock community in the UK is becoming more collaborative?
Not really, I think that’s always been the case. With UK bands, everyone knows everyone else and there’s a sense of camaraderie, especially when you’re at festivals. It’s scary in a way – I don’t want us to be lumped into being referred to as a side-project or, even worse, as a super-group as that only raises people’s expectations! We’re just a bunch of people playing music together.
Is there anyone else you would like to work with in The Lucky Nine, maybe other guest vocalists?
Oh, there’s a bunch of people – most of the vocalists I mentioned before for a start! I do have a wish list of people I’d like to work with, but for the most part it’s pretty far-fetched…
Maynard from Tool for example; it would be incredible to have him sing with us… I’ve got a lot of love for Wes Borland – he’s a great guy and he’s done his own thing, fair play to him. I think Marilyn Manson’s a genius. He gets a lot of bad press for the way he presents things, but he’s a smart guy who covers some fascinating subjects in his music.
How was the Download festival?
It was good. It was a strange day as we did the “two sets in one day” thing – A on the Main Stage and The Lucky Nine in the evening. It was hard work as we were up against Velvet Revolver and In Flames. For the most part I spent the day running round like an idiot as I’m also tour-managing The Lucky Nine – although I do love that part of it. Plus I got to hang out with people I don’t get to see that often and have a lot of respect for.
I see you’ve been touring Japan, what was that like?
Yeah, we only got back on Saturday, actually. It was an A tour with The Lucky Nine supporting.
No rest for the wicked then?
No, 15 minutes between the sets. That’s all the wicked get these days… [Laughs] It was great being in Japan, especially with Jay. We grew up together and he played me certain albums that helped define my musical tastes; we went to the same school and played in bands together there, then we went our separate ways. So it’s good to be back with him, to get to do all the things I’d done before like touring but to have him there as well this time. It’s been very gratifying.
Did you find switching to guitar has allowed you greater freedom as a musician?
Quite the opposite, actually. I’ve always played bass guitar and I’m most comfortable playing bass on stage. The guitar’s a new thing for me, at least played one live is. I’ve always written on the guitar – for this band and for A – but it’s one thing sitting at home demo-ing songs and another thing entirely presenting yourself on stage as a guitar player. Weirdly, Jay plays bass in the band but he’s actually a wicked guitar player. So we get these situations in rehearsal or playing live where one of us starts getting feedback or screws up and the other one glares across from the other side of the stage.
You weren’t tempted just to swap instruments?
No, we keep it up purely down to idiocy on our part! [laughs] Actually, it’s one of the reasons I wanted to do this – to try something different. What’s nice with Jay being such a great guitar player is that he’s now also become a great bass player!
I’m sure I read an interview with you somewhere where you talked about your Satanic beliefs…
It’s not so much that I’m sat there reading La Vey’s writings. I think all these things are just a step in one direction to make things clearer to yourself. It’s more a case of I’ve decided that this is what I am, I have my own thing. I’ve taken a bit of this and a bit of that and come up with a way of life I feel comfortable with.
What’s next for The Lucky Nine?
Well, in ten minutes, we have to pack our instruments in the back of a truck and drive down to London to play a show! Beyond that, we’ve got a tour at the start of November, where we’re opening up for The Bloodhound Gang – that should be a laugh. Then we’re supporting This Is Menace in December, with a great band called Ghost Of A Thousand opening up. We’ll be seeing how the album does and touring when we can.
And the second album?
Well, it’s in the process of being written and we’re all keen to get it done. We like to keep things rolling along as naturally as we can…