INTERVIEW: Nine Tons | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Duncan Lovatt is no stranger to the topsy-turvy lifestyle of the musician. Having cut his teeth with Peel favourites Ten Benson and Swimmer, his latest foray into music is the weighty and bruising Shaütrock outfit, Nine Tons. It has, however, been a bit of a slow-burn for the band in general:

“It’s often a tortuous task searching out people willing and able to stand up in public with me and the noise! I suppose I was quite new to the North East and it took me time to settle in.”

But, with an album already under their belts, October sees the release of Nine Tons’ new EP, Moldwarp. Not the most obvious title, so it seemed rude not to ask the reasoning behind it.

“Moldwarp is Old English for mole and means ‘earth-flinger’. I’m fairly certain that working in the North Pennines and Tyne Valley has heightened my interest in all things mole. I was stunned to see hundreds of moles hanging on fences to dry like biltong by the mole catchers to indicate their catch to landowners!”

Although the record title seems to have been inspired by some of the darker imagery of rural life, the music takes its influences from a variety of sources. “As we got to know each other as a band and found our sound, I started to write accordingly and in reaction to my new life in the North East. I am not sure that I see the new material as being dark or light because I really couldn’t work within just one style or genre. I hope that the EP contains a variety. There is childhood memory through mature reflection through to the influence of spending much of my time outside in the North Pennines, via Victorian murder mystery and suspense. There is rock, punk, prog and disco in there with a touch of Hot Chocolate too!”

we believe that Shaütrock will probably be fitting post-Brexit. We are thinking long-term

Lead track from the EP, Ride Leon, is a melting pot of groove-laden guitars, multi-layered vocals and an insistent, driving rhythm section, set off with subtle electronics; while As Soon As They Come To Find Me is a great deal more motorik in its execution. So, in taking all these influences on board, what exactly is the Shaütrock genre all about?

“Umlauts are everything, as our bass player pointed out. I came up with Shaütrock when we were going through the process of defining our sound but oddly it very rarely appears on those annoying drop-down options. Most of the time it is corrected to Shamrock which can only confuse. I think it comes from being influenced by Krautrock, alternative rock and the like but I remember being quite proud when I turned up to play a gig in Cologne with a previous band to see posters billing us as a cross between AC/DC and Kraftwerk. Nine Tons is a different beast but I think there is still some of that influence running through us. Anyhow, we believe that Shaütrock will probably be fitting post-Brexit. We are thinking long-term.”

Nine Tons’ Moldwarp EP is released on 6th October. The band play Westgarth Social Club, Middlesbrough on Sunday 8th and The Black Bull, Gateshead as part of Oxjam on Friday 20th October.

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