An Interview With Ninefinger
In a new EP release from Ninefinger, and hits a very nostalgic alternative rock and grunge sweet spot with an outstanding display of hard hitting but well woven songwriting classic performances by all parts.
The Between Everything Else EP hits the ground running with instant classic feeling tracks like "Breeze" which brings on a tonality that would remind you of Stone Temple Pilots for example.
The best thing about this aspect is that the feel and aesthetic of it is perfect and the track sounds exactly like you've been listening to it on the radio for a decade or two already.
You get some really fun and experimental guitar sections, and the entire soundscape is really just fast and massive most of the time.
Being true to the genre means being heavy and robust or full-bodied, but also giving a lot of gritty and heavy-handed hooks and choruses that stick with you for days after you've heard the song.
These guys hold us off without a hitch and not only that but those riffs guitar-wise really hit that same feel and you remember a lot of those as well.
Songs come off impactful and drums or just ground shaking even when the track is focused on a more melodic standpoint.
You got some really cool bounce back vocals and classic phase and chorus effects throughout the record that all work with that genuine and authentic late 90s alt-rock style.
There's also this great sort of cinematic aspect to the songs that make them bigger or larger than life at times and half the time you get the vibe of live performance because the players seem to be bouncing off of each other's energies the whole time.
This is the kind of thing that you look for with a band like this.
You want to hear something that encourages you to see when and where they're performing next so maybe you can catch a show.
Feeling of blasting heavy grunge songs with pitch harmonics is something that just brings back memories for a lot of us.
There's plenty to be missed from the genre and I'm glad to hear a band that's reaching back and pulling it off properly.
Clearly a really strong mix of influences but all aligned so that it works out the way it was supposed to.
Now, there are songs throughout the EP that stand on their own two feet as singles but listening to the whole record at once is really the way to go here.
The release of such a badass EP we wanted to have a sit-down with the band and see where it actually came from and what might be coming up next for them.
Here's what happened.
Buzz Slayers: Okay, let's start with the Between Everything Else EP! This record had this classic alt-rock feel that hit this late 90's tonality! How did this EP come about?
Mike (lead singer): Thank you! We are products of that 90s alt rock/grunge scene. We grew up on that music and its influence runs heavy through the band: our songs and our sound. We are heavily influenced by Nirvana, Soundgarden, Jane's Addiction, STP. These particular songs came together a little different than how Josh and I normally write. Josh was going to be studying in Paris, France for a few months and so I told him he better come back with some monster riffs.
Josh (guitar): Normally, we write at our studio. I'll play some riffs live that I wrote and recorded on my Iphone or Mike will do the same. And you can see that reaction live, face to face when something hits or sounds good. But this time, it was me and my acoustic guitar and my dog, Shawdy, in an apartment in Paris. Pretty good scenery I will tell you but simple and plain and stripped down. I kept saying to myself, "I can't wait to hear some distortion on this stuff."
Mike (lead singer): I remember when he finally came back and he started running some of the new stuff for me. I was super excited and the lyrics started coming to me pretty fast.
Josh (guitar): On Threw It All Away for example, when we got to the chorus, Mike let out this mighty scream "You threw it all away." Out of nowhere. Intense and emotional. And we both looked at each other and knew that was the name of the song and that was the hook. Our drummer Buddah had this idea for the crazy outro and wanted it to build and build until the very end. So he started playing his idea and as it grew by the end, he had everything just rocking out, double bass drum too. That's my favorite outro of any of our songs.
Buzz Slayers: How did this all start for you guys as a band?
Josh (guitar): Mike and I have been working together for almost 20 years now on different things but we always came back to Ninefinger. Mike is Mr Ninefinger. How he lost that finger is another story for another time! But I will say there might be a video on Youtube of me cutting it off. Just saying. So when I met him I used to call him "Mr Ninefinger." When it came time to name the band, I said how about Ninefinger? At first, Mike was apprehensive but it just kind of stuck. I appreciate him being humble enough to keep the name, named after his missing digit.
Mike (lead singer): Josh and I got stuck in the car together at a girlfriend's 30th birthday. We really didn't know each other that well. Just some mutual friends. So we got to talking about music. We loved all the same bands. We were influenced by all the same bands. Then he told me that he was looking for a singer for a project he was working on. He gave me some demos and I loved it. It was heavier than what I was used to at that time but I could feel the energy. I wrote a bunch of lyrics immediately. Our early songwriting sessions were great. We clicked. Things came easy for us and we worked well together. Still do.
Josh (guitar): Mike is a brother to me. He is an amazing front man. Powerful. Charismatic. He fronts the band! Thank God. But behind the scenes, he is a humble guy. He has no problem letting me write some lyrics and we trust each other. We aren't afraid to say something if we don't agree. We don't play "yes man" to each other. And it has worked out great for us.
Buzz Slayers: What kind of things really inspire songs for you?
Josh (guitar): Politics, the state of the world. Bad relationships. Heart break. Bad choices you've made.
Mike (lead singer): Bad relationships for sure. Josh and I were on a roll with that one for a while. We try to write about real issues that everyone can relate to. Things aren't always happy and positive. We don't want to act like they are. We write about stuff we have lived through and I think it resonates because it is real to us.
Buzz Slayers: This EP has some great styles combinations on it! Can you give us some of your biggest influences musically?
Mike (lead singer): Like we said before, 90s grunge and alt rock flow through our veins and are in our blood. Nirvana, Soundgarden, STP, Nine Inch Nails, Jane's Addiction. Smashing Pumpkins. We love "classic rock" as well. The Beatles, Black Sabbath, the Stones. We love 80s new wave too. We just released a cover of INXS' "Don't Change." We like to "Ninefinger" songs as we like to call it. Make it a little heavier. We love throwing covers into our set. One of our favorites is "Killing in the Name of" by Rage Against the machine.
Buzz Slayers: What are you all doing when you're NOT working on music?
Josh (guitar): There is so much behind the scenes stuff that takes more time than people think. I would love to say "Sitting poolside and drinking margaritas." But when you are a DIY band and unsigned, you are on the grind at all times. We are looking to book the next show or checking out other bands or Spotify playlists etc. Then once you book a show, it is about promoting it so it's a great night. Making flyers, ticket links. It's like a full time job. I still practice a lot on the guitar. When I practice, I find that I'm improving my chops and usually end up writing new riffs so it's a win-win.
Buzz Slayers: Who's in all your headphones right now?
Mike (lead singer): Volbeat rock. Still listen to a lot of the classic 90s stuff.
Josh (guitar): Gojira are amazing. A new band I have recently discovered is Pierce the Veil from San Diego. And of course the oldies too. I just went to see Jane's Addiction at the Hollywood Palladium. Man they still got it. What a rocking show.
Buzz Slayers: Are you guys doing any live performances right now?
Mike (lead singer): We are heading to the Mesa Music Festival in Mesa, AZ. It's a three-day festival. We are playing with some amazing bands. LA Guns. Everclear. Everclear is a huge favorite of ours. We are also playing at the world-famous Whisky a Go Go on the Sunset Strip on July 15th with the Iron Maidens, who kick serious ass. We are lining up the rest of the year right now.
Buzz Slayers: Did you record yourselves or hit a big studio for this?
Josh (guitar): We work with a producer, Dan Erhlich, out of his home studio, D2 Studios. He has worked with Slipknot and Metallica and huge Live Nation artists. He is like our fifth band member. He gets what we are trying to accomplish with our sound and our recordings. We have recorded all of our stuff with him. During the pandemic, it got a little weird, so we changed things up. I didn't even see the other guys for about four months, but I would spend a lot of time in our studio by myself. I started looking around and collecting stuff we had in the studio over the years. Microphones, recording gear. I started rearranging the space with a recording space area. I had recorded basic demos before but nothing more than that. So, I took some classes and learned a bit more. Once I felt comfortable, I contacted the guys and told them my idea which was to bring them in separately and record them one by one. Usually, we record live to capture that live energy and feel. The space was big enough with masks etc that we could social distance and still record. So that's what we did. Our drummer, Buddah, and I got the basic tracks down. I would play a scratch guitar while I recorded his drum tracks. Then I would add bass later by myself. I sent the files over to our producer to make sure that they were good enough. Once he approved, we went nuts. We recorded over 20 new songs this way and it worked great. Mike, our singer, came in and recorded his vocals once we had the basics down. I sent all the files over to our producer and he mixed and mastered them for us. It was a great experience, and it gives us the freedom to record whenever we want and keep things moving.
Buzz Slayers: What can your fans expect from you in the near future?
Mike (lead singer): We are finally getting back out there to play live music again. We love to play LIVE. We are looking forward to booking more shows. We will be in Arizona again in June or July. There are a lot of things in the works. As Josh mentioned, we wrote a bunch of songs that we are excited to share.
Buzz Slayers: Before we go, what would you like to say to fans of the music?
See us live. It will change your life. Reach out to us. We love hearing from friends and fans.