Make Your Own Path

10 July 2012 | 7:47 am | Michael Smith

There’s either the triple j route or the commercial radio route. Either you have to be super commercial, where you don’t have any kind of almost artistic [laughs] kind of sound

The first single, Diamond Skin, from the second Nine Sons Of Dan EP, The New Kids, couldn't deliver a more appropriate message from this feisty Gold Coast five-piece. “That song is like, for me, one of the most deep and meaningful songs that I've written,” California-born lead singer Jay Bainbridge explains, “because, as a lot of people would know, it's such a hard thing trying to push your art out there and have people listen to it and try get them to like it. It can be a very hurtful thing. Some people, you know, can say some rude things about your music and whatnot and you've just to stand up and say, 'I don't care',” he laughs, “'I've got diamond skin.' That's kind of the way we live as a band.”

That said, you'd have to say that Nine Sons Of Dan have had a pretty dream run of it since Bainbridge teamed up with guitarists Daniel Cox and Alex Pundyk and drummer Morgan Blake on a university recording project that evolved into a full-blown touring band, with bass player Wil Edgar soon joining to free up Bainbridge to concentrate on just singing. Two years ago, they were just another aspiring indie band putting out a debut EP, Landslide, albeit featuring Paramore guitarist Justin York on one track, and hoping for the best. The next thing they knew, they were getting plastered all over radio.

“Yeah, it kind of switched over pretty quickly,” he admits. “We won a competition called New Artists 2 Radio. It's basically a really, really cool competition that commercial radio put on where they take one band in Australia to really, really plug hard on all the commercial stations. I guess we had a song [She's So Fine] that was commercially friendly at the time as well, and it really just kind of boosted everything really, really fast. They gave us a certain amount of airplay and then the stations could kind of choose whether or not they wanted to keep playing our song. They did and they kept playing it for months and months – I still hear it sometimes.”

Bainbridge moved to Coffs Harbour nine years ago with his parents, and he's always been fascinated by the way the Australian music industry works.

Don't miss a beat with our FREE daily newsletter

“It's kind of like there are two paths,” he feels. “There's either the triple j route or the commercial radio route. Either you have to be super commercial, where you don't have any kind of almost artistic [laughs] kind of sound – sort of more like just dance music – or the triple j route, which is very garage band-y, very indie kind of left-field stuff. We kind of sit in the middle, so I'm pretty excited to see what happens with our band. I don't think we're going to go down either [route]; I think we're just going to sit in the middle and keep cruising that way – make our own path.”

The Paramore connection came through the engineer, Tyse Lee – who has worked on both the band's EPs alongside producer Matthew Bartlem – whose credits include Dead Letter Circus and Avalon Drive. “He had a connection with Justin, over the Internet, just talking to him about gear and things like that. He just decided to drop the bomb and ask him, which is a hard thing to do, to play on some independent band's EP and sent him some tracks we'd already started doing, and Justin loved it.”