NINE ELEVEN: We could be killed if we play in the USA

Sadly we did this interview over e-mail so I didn’t have the opportunity to at least ask in a direct conversation about the few statements in it that I don’t really agree with (which would have been fair). Now it would be lame to put sarcastic remarks in brackets after every other word. But here is what Richard from Nine Eleven wrote me, probably from his job’s computer during work hours:

- OK. I understand that you have named your band after the date Pinochet took over Chille, but please could you explain the reasons behind that name further?
- Well, it has been posted on our MySpace page, but here you go: 9/11 ... 1973 in Chile. Pinochet, aided by the C.I.A. and American companies, overthrows the democratically-elected President Allende. The outcome of this coup has provoked the untimely death of 5000 victims who did not deserve the tears the Western World shed 28 years later over the ones of the World Trade Center attacks. Facts are no longer what they are but take on a whole new meaning according to the interpretation of the media.

- Many common Americans are terrified by the very mention of their words*, so I was wondering if you get many e-mails by angry USA people?
- Only messages we received from American people concerning our name are positive ones from people who think some things good about it, considering the meaning behind 9.11.1973 and 9.11.2001. Andrew from Comeback Kid also told me that the band’s name was great, even if he thinks that we could be killed by someone if we play in the USA.

- Back to your band. You are often compared to the likes of Comeback Kid and Bane. Do you think you sound like these bands?
- I think both these bands were an influence at the beginning of Nine Eleven. But I think and hope that now with our new album “City of Quartz” we have added a personal touch to our music without hesitating to incorporate some stuff from different kinds of rock like post rock and post hardcore to our melodic stuff. We like many bands from different scenes. For example, beside hardcore stuff, I like bands such as Nirvana, Portishead, Bjork, Radiohead, Muse’s early stuff and many more. But when it is up to hardcore, we’re not close minded and we’re listening to many different bands from different hardcore scenes: screamo (Amanda Woodward, Saetia, Yaphet Kotto, Envy), Post hardcore (quicksand, 108), new stuff (Verse, Have Heart, I Rise, Carpathian), oldschool bands (Minor Threat, Youth Of Today, Chain Of Strenght), melodic stuff (Satanic Surfers, Bad Religion, NOFX, A Wilhelm Scream, No Trigger), metalcore (Walls of Jericho), crust (Tragedy, Remains of The Day, From Ashes Rise), etc.

Nine Eleven don't ever leave home without a wide angle lens.

- From where do you draw your influences?
- Our influences come from the energy, passion, beautiful moments and feelings shared with people that we meet during the shows on tour. They also come from our hate for the capitalist system and the way it’s mechanizing our lives, separating people making them alone more and more, making us like a slave knelt down front of new or old idols.

- And what is it that you work really?
- I work at a high school and I’m paid to survey students there. But I am actually usually connected on the web during my job’s time and take care of things concerning Nine Eleven, my label and promotion “agency”, Free Edge Conspiracy (with Vincent, the our bass player). I’m also working on a couple of webzines – a political zine called “Squat De Casbah” and a DIY Hardcore zine called “Sedition”, as well as some others stuff. This job permits me to have many days off, or to concentrate my job’s times in only two days, so I can leave as soon as we need to go on tour switching my job’s times with people I’m working with, and spending time with teenagers who make me laugh a lot when I watch them kicking the school bureaucracy asses! Concerning the whole line up of Nine Eleven, working – slavery is only for food and nothing else! So everyone inside the band has a permanent (or not) job which permits to live our passion before the satisfaction of common and comfortable “desires” we’re feeding of.

- I spoke with Knuckledust from London the other day and they said that right now, because of the whole global economic crisis and everything, they are actually afraid to take days off from work because they might get fired and this actually prevents them from touring. Anything like this in France?
- Yes this kind of problem is concerning many bands in France too. They’re afraid to ask for many days off considering they may not have the right to do it. Even in the punk hardcore scene, people are really scarred of losing their job and prefer not to take risks, rather than not to give a fuck about the “safe” life inside it’s so easy to lose ourselves. But everyone has to make their choices and everyone may have good reasons to make them.

- There are plenty of dates for your tour with Fire at Will and a great deal of them are in Eastern Europe. Have you ever been to these places before and what do you know about the hardcore scenes there?
- It will be our 9th European tour with Nine Eleven, visiting more than 20 countries in Europe. Concerning the Eastern conference (hihi) we already visited Russia, Belarus, Ukraine, Romania, Poland, Latvia, Finland, Slovakia, Hungary, Croatia, Serbia etc. So we already know about some of them, and we spent amazing times with sincere and passionate people met during the shows played everywhere in these places! This time, we’ll discover countries like Bulgaria, Greece, Macedonia, Montenegro, Bosnia, so we’re really excited to put our feet on new places and to meet new great people. The tour’s name, “BALK to the Future”, is a reference to the Balkans and the dumb American movie.

Nine Eleven is actually not a 5-member band, but as you can see - a 10 member one. Half of them afre ghosts.

- To be honest I don’t really know many bands from France, so please tell me about the scene there and the most important bands in it.
- OK. France is not the best place to play hardcore because the musical French culture is fed by alternative rock and metal styles for many years now. So people there usually go more to pop rock, indie and metal shows than to hardcore and punk rock gigs. I think the problem is not in their musical tastes but their lack of knowledge about hardcore music and the way of show’s promotion inside this community. However, there are some cool places to play in France like Nevers, Lille and some cities around, Lorient, Rennes, Bordeaux, Toulouse, Lyon etc. Concerning the most “important” bands in here : Guerilla poubelle (French punk rock), M Sixteen (the best stuff in Europe mixing the best of Strike Anywhere which would play At the Drive In and The Mars Volta), Alea Jacta Est and Providence for beatdown fans, No Guts No Glory, Fire At Will and Fake Off concerning old school – melodic punk hardcore, Birds in Row in the vein of dark and heavy stuffs from Portland scene, Thrashington Dc (fast and thrash hardcore), and more.

- What is your opinion of the hardcore scene worldwide today? There seems to be way more people than ever before but many of them think of it just as of a fashion – are they killing hardcore or real hardcore died in 85 anyway?
- Hey dude, I’m not nostalgic about the 80’s because it’s a period that I have never known. That’s why current bands and things have more meaning for me than legends from the past. Even if it’s really important to know about the bands and people which participated to the movement’s emergence! And if I thought that hardcore movement died in 85, I think that I would not play this kind of music anymore. By the way, remind you that some ugly things happened during this period considering the racism and patriotism invasion of hardcore scene, for example. It’s the same thing concerning bands like DYS that did not care about ethic and were on the right side of the public politic. So I think each period from the independent scene has its own good and wrong sides. This is what makes the movement evolve and grow up. If we talk in present tense about the hardcore scene, It’s great to see how the music inside evolved and is still evolving. It’s great to see that DIY is growing up against mainstream conquests with development of crust and screamo scenes and structures during these last years in USA and everywhere in the world. It’s really nice to see how this community is permitting to put people inside in relationship. And concerning your question about fashion’s invasion in the hardcore scene, I agree with you dude, but I think that’s a general movement, common to every kind of independent art and music. Every independent act, movement, idea, thought and more born during the XX and XXI century was swallowed by the dominant culture and was transformed like a consumption product in order to kill the original danger inside. It’s why I think what makes you hardcore and independent is not the music or wearing styles, but the way you’re living your passions and life.

* I worked in the USA for three months last summer and there really were people who were terrified by the fact that what they bought totaled at $9.11.

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