We linked up with the very talented UK duo Less Than Nine for an exclusive interview to discover more behind their magic. We learned where their band name originated from, how they met, what inspires them and much more. Lauren’s beautiful voice against Harris’s catchy rhythm and beats are guaranteed to make you feel good, hit repeat, get up and move.
After reading our Q&A with Less Than Nine, be sure to connect with them on their social media and stream their singles “Now and Then” and “Feels Like Home”.
What does Less Than Nine mean?
Harris: Basically, Less Than Nine is actually a love heart but instead of the number 3 (<3) me and a couple m9's started using <9 instead.
I was just randomly obsessed with the number previous to that which eventually led to the sarcastic use of it.
Tell us, how did you two join forces?
Lauren: Funnily enough we met at our local skate park, Baiter (Shoutout to the BPL crew). I had this portable speaker that I used when I was skating and I was playing 'Say U Won't' by Brasstracks. It's an instrumental song but I always sang my own lyrics to it and Harris came over and said he didn't know anyone else who knew the song - or anyone else who would sing the same made up lyrics to it as he did. After that we ended up chatting about music and eventually, I ended up going to the studio for a jam. After a few sessions there our first single 'Feels Like Home' was born.
Can you share some of your process, such as hardware you use to record?
Harris: We tend to start a track with either of my 2 synths - the Moog Sub 37, or the Korg Minilogue but recently we've been starting with just a piano. Finding a set of chords/good riff is usually the first step for me - unless we stumble upon a ridiculous vocal concept.
After that I tend to put in a rough drum groove and do a basic arrangement of the song to give Lauren a template for verses and chorus. I will often change sounds around during the process and will lay in some riffs on either guitar or synth.
It's not really a case of writing the song then the lyrics (or vice versa), the whole process tends to happen all at once, unless one of us isn't there at the time. Once the song is written and arranged, we usually finish by recording vocals. We have the choice of a Telefunken Copperhead & SM7B (into a UAD Apollo interface) depending on the song/situation. More recently I have swung towards the Telefunken.
To be honest you don't really need much to make a song, just a midi keyboard and computer will do the trick.
That’s encouraging! Simple set up can take us the distance. What are you excited about moving forward, such as performances and collaborations, or touring?
Lauren: At the moment we are mainly focused on finishing the next few releases and getting them out. We have a few collaborations with Neon City in the works which we are really excited for. Comms Unplugged is something that we are always looking forwards to as well. It's a small camping event/festival for people in the Communications sector, but it involves no technology/electricity. We performed at their second event earlier this year and will be going back next year. We are really excited to start branching out and hope to have some more live performances planned very soon!
Congratulations! I’m curious did each of you have your own style before meeting?
Harris: Definitely - we come from very different musical backgrounds.
I started of playing guitar at around 6 years old, and by 12 me and my friend were making dodgy songs recorded onto a mp3 player. In high school I was in a couple of bands just for fun, but nothing ever really happened with them. It was good (but very basic) experience of writing chord progressions and arrangement. Fast forward 7 years - I got into computer music production fully after starting a Drum & Bass label in 2012. I never intended to get into producing music it just kind of happened after learning to DJ and meeting my now good friend Scott (aka SKG).
On the other hand, Lauren came from a more classical background. She started doing classical piano grades at age 4 and started writing her own songs and lyrics as she got older. She has a good understanding of music theory which is really useful. She focused more on the analogue side of music, and performed her music live at any opportunity! It's a good combination because our skills are different but work together really well. Something I don't know she'll know, and it's the same the other way round.
That has proven to be a powerful combination. What is your inspiration for the lyrics?
Lauren: I tend to write most of the lyrics, but Harris always has bits and pieces to add. It usually comes from the things that are around me. We live right next to the sea, and the summer down here is always a vibe. Anything that makes me feel something is instantly an inspiration. I try to make sure that I write about things that people will relate to. I am always looking to capture a nostalgic, feel-good vibe that people can really sink their teeth into. No matter where you are in the world, someone from somewhere else will be feeling the same as you do. I find that really comforting, and I'd like to think that other people will too.