Some of the greatest bands of all time come out of the UK and while it seems like we are all getting hit with new music from every direction, there’s a new band on the scene who is surpassing the odds and quickly becoming the band to watch out for. Nine Miles South is dominating radio airwaves and their debut self titled EP is set to be released on September 7, 2015. (For those of you who are frequent Screamer Magazine readers, we have done a review on this album in our August issue.) Their EP is a mere teaser and will leave the listener wanting more. Their first single The Reckoning in which they also have a music video available has been receiving rave reviews from their fans in the UK and we can only hope that this enthusiasm spreads like wildfire to the US because these guys are exactly what the music industry needs right now with a concomitance of classic and modern rock, blues and country.
With the Guildford, UK-based band Nine Miles South being so new and their rapid oncoming success so far, it was our duty to delve into the history, the drive and inspiration behind the musical genius of members Seb Mikkelson (vocals and guitar), Jon Antony (guitar and backing vocals), Andy Sleigh (bass and backing vocals) and David Wilson (drums) so Screamer Magazine not only felt an obligation to music fans but to everyone to get the details and put the word out. We were lucky enough to catch lead vocalist Seb Mikkelson the morning of a show they had coming up in Belham, England at The Bedford which is an old theatre style venue. “We have known each other for a while” Mikkelson tell us. “All of the current members aren’t the original members, they were in other bands and I really like the lineup we have now. We have only been together for about a year and a half but we did know each other and were already friends. As other members left we just brought in new ones. We all had seen each other on the music circuit and we actually studied together at a contemporary music school just south of London called The Academy of Contemporary Music, basically they teach musicians how to play contemporary rock but the band formed and was not part of the school, it just happened we all met there.” Nine Miles South’s name was just words we came up with, it didn’t mean anything really. Just sounded good together” Mikkelson says. And to our curiosity, he is mostly a self-taught musician, only receiving a handful of guitar lessons. He founded the band which actually started as a jazz band interestingly enough. From there it took off and they began getting gigs and then within the last year and a half they switched to the sound they currently possess today and they have been touring and playing ever since. “There really wasn’t any extraordinary story about how the band met or came to be, we just did it.”
Being part of a band is always not easy and chances are at some point there is a difference of opinion personally or creatively and sometimes it is just simple respect for the music and project. A lot of times this can make or break a band and for Nine Miles South, it is better they worked it all out now before they become well-known. In the end, they will be a better band for it and they seem to have their act together in all aspects of the music business. “It was a situation that didn’t work when it came to the members we had before. They really didn’t know what the music business entailed. You have to actually make sacrifices to do it and you actually have to show up and be on time. A few of the guys nowadays don’t even touch music anymore. They work in restaurants or stores, which is fine of course, I am not saying anything against that, we all have to make a living but if you are playing music, you need to make the commitment.” Mikkelson details. “In the first lineup, one of the members wouldn’t turn up to a showcase for a festival and this made us look unprofessional and he finally showed up hours after we were scheduled to play. In the area we live, we are lucky enough to meet a wide selection of musicians and industry people so it wasn’t hard to find replacements.” As Mikkelson continues to express his feelings about the rough start the band had, he tells us about the first guitar player who just simply lost his faith in the music. “It was really sad to me. It wasn’t that he was a bad person or a flake, he just lost his drive.” Unfortunately, this happens often and some incredibly talented people stop pursuing their passion for whatever reason. Sometimes it is as simple as just needing a break and sometimes it goes much deeper with depression or just plain old insanity. Frequently though musicians do come back to their passion and the guitarist Mikkelson spoke of has done just that but not with Nine Miles South.“ Now we have members who really want to do the music and want to devote their life to the music. Only the strong survive. I am motivated by the fact that every show we play, it all makes sense and when you play live shows you meet so many people. Even if it wasn’t our best performance, we look at it as a learning experience to grow from and I could not imagine doing anything else even though I do other things to make a living but it is funny how when people ask you what you do and you say you’re in a band. They sometimes think you are crazy or it’s not possible and then they see you play live and for me, even though I know it’s tough to stay in the music industry but we all just agreed that this is what we want to do and since we have been kids, it’s all we want to do.”
Mikkelson has always been the primary songwriter for Nine Miles South and if had could have, he would have loved to write collaborate with Randy Rhodes and says things have started to change recently. “Our lead guitarist, Jon has been expressing his interest in contributing to the songs on a songwriter’s level and he’s been bringing ideas such as the melody parts and lyrics and then we all sit down and agree on the arrangements. I write a majority of the lyrics and structure the songs though. In going back to their music style, their sound is just a coincidence. Between all four of us, it is just what we end up with and we all shine through, My writing is based on inspirations from acoustic blues or country songs and classic rock. Then Jon loves classic rock and our drummer is a metalhead, so that is where the combination comes from, just different styles that all come together.” Mikkelson admits that his favorite guitarist is Zakk Wylde and he is heavily influenced by his music as well as Eric Clapton, Ozzy Osbourne, Pink Floyd, Alison Krauss and even Dolly Parton. He enjoys the mixture of sounds and that they don’t want to be obligated to stay within one style. One song might sound more classic rock and one may sound a bit more country and you may even hear a little blues in their music and that is what we are going for because we love such a wide spectrum of music.”
The members of Nine Miles South are excited about the team they have. Mikkelson raves on about their manager, booking agent and press agent. “This is exactly the team we need and the people we would want. Some bands we have come across are rude and unappreciative of the people they work with and it’s bothersome to me. As far as ever being signed, we have no plans at this time, we really don’t need a label at this time because the people we are working with do all that a label would do and more.” He admits they wouldn’t be where they are without such a great team behind them and in the music industry, that is utterly important to be able to trust in the people on your side and know they have your best interest at heart.
In November, Nine Miles South is scheduled to play a show with Black Label Society which Mikkelson mentioned with an obvious excitement in his voice, and he would also love to play with would be Shinedown and Rival Sons in the future and this is definitely something we could see happening with the level of talent this band is already showing. Their hope is to have a lasting career in music and since this is the digital age and the income reliability is not generally on album sales, their love of playing live shows and doing as many as they can will bring them fans across the globe. “The music industry is ever-changing and we are just happy that people continue to listen to our music and we want to bring more people to our music. Even though we all work part-time jobs right now, our hope is we can do this full-time and for the rest of our lives.” Mikkelson works in a local pub, our guitarist is a session player along with weddings and parties which is not his cup of tea and our bassist is an engineer and builds steam trains. Mikkelson encourages mentioning the steam trains and jokes about how he is going to get a hard time for saying it and it will be worth the laugh.
Nine Miles South is a band that will soon be on everyone’s radar and as they continue to grow their fan base playing live shows and with their first EP, success is on the horizon for these guys. Expect prodigious things from them.