DK: First of all, we really appreciate you taking the time to enlighten our readers on who you are, what you do and why you do it.
How are you doing today?
Charity: I am doing quite well, thank you.
Xion: I feel good today. Thank you for the opportunity to get some news to our fans in a different media.
DK: I hate starting off interviews with stereotypical questions, but sometimes it does help for those that don’t know you (or that much about you). Where did the name come from?
Charity: – The word nebulous is defined as, “hazy, vague, indistinct, or confused.” It also means cloudy or cloudlike.” It’s a play on the expression, “cloud 9.” Cloud nine means a state of perfect happiness. Nebulous nine means, to us, that our state of perfect happiness is often clouded with confusion.
Xion: The name was well thought out, and took a long time to come up with. When we were almost done with our set of songs and were tuning up our live show we came up with the name Nebulous 9.
DK: Does it hold any symbolic or spiritual meaning to the music that pours out from you?
Charity: Everything I’ve written is from that very dark place of hazy happiness. My music is very spiritual to me; I am a very spiritual person. That’s not to say every song is about spirituality. Some are fun, some are sarcastic. The Nebulous 9 project is a diary of the struggles of life as a spiritual human being.
DK: When did Nebulous 9 form?
Charity: The original band was formed in 1998. It wasn’t called Nebulous 9 until 2003. Xion and I have worked together on several projects which morphed into Nebulous 9 and thereafter was named.
DK: Where have Nebulous 9 performed to date?
Charity: Dreams, Big Horse Lounge, Penny Road Pub, Oasis 160, Double Door.
DK: If you can define your sound to one sentence, how would you describe it?
Xion: electro darkwave synthpop rock.
DK: Charity has described the lyrics that she writes as being that from her personal life; does she write all the lyrics for the band?
Charity: Yes, I’ve written all of the lyrics.
DK: Xion has been quoted as saying “I want to bring a fresh new aspect to music with a lot of controversy and spontaneity.” Given the polished sound that you have, do you find it hard to infuse that controversy and spontaneity into the music or live show even?
Xion: I try to find ways to dirty things up a bit; I try to make each show an individual one. I find brilliance outside of “just” the music. I have been greatly inspired by shows that appeal to all your senses. A great example is; Rabbit in the Moon, Pink Floyd, Meat Beat Manifesto, Madonna, and anyone who has a vision of what a great show should be. You see these people and they are all over the place, running around doing things to keep your eyes fixed upon the stage. I just have to find my own way to do this, and with the beautiful Charity as front woman, this will make my job easier to do.
DK: How does the band approach new material? Do your songs tend to start from lyrics or music or both?
Charity: The songs and lyrics were created as two separate entities. As I said before, I’d written all the lyrics. To elaborate on that a bit, I actually have journals filled with poems from different time periods in my life. In the creation process, I wait for a song to trigger a mood, at which point I reach for the journal, find the page, and rewrite it to make it fit. Then we all sit back, edit the music and polish up the song.
Xion: I don’t think we approach new music as in the way to look for a sound, it usually just comes out. A beat, melody, or just getting tired of practicing the same songs over and over will lead us into ideas for what songs should come next. Our first song on this album was the first song we knew the journey of the album should lead, and the songs thereafter came later. Our initial idea was “Gravity.” Gravity in this song means to be humbled, attracted, and brought to your knees. This was our intension for the rest of the album.
DK: How do you all know when a song has reached the finished point (where it is ready to be recorded, etc)?
Charity: We are a very odd band in that we recorded every song as it was written. It was only after we had a library of songs (about 60 total, nearly 40 with music and lyrics) that we picked 10 of the ones we liked best for our upcoming album.
DK: You’ve recently completed your latest album, what can you tell me about it?
Charity: I can tell you it was a labor of total love and devotion. We spent two years writing it, and another year and a half recording it. As I said before, we had written so much material, that we had the luxury of choosing the best of the best. We also promised ourselves not to give ourselves a deadline with this album. We realized we had no pressure from a label or really anyone but ourselves to get it completed.
Xion: The way we wrote our album transformed the songs over and over again to come up with a final product that really appealed to us, and made us believe that what we have is really different than what’s going on in music today. Although our music is all ours, we had veterans in the music world back us up, thus in turn helped us achieve great ideas into better ones. Everyone to us seemed they wanted to have a part in our music or some kind of influence in the defining process.
DK: Compared to previous works, how does this collection of songs sum up the band at this stage?
Charity: This collection of songs shows the bands maturity as songwriters. We’ve grown and really put the time into making really good song structure. Our sound has developed immensely, it’s very clear, yet has a lot of the edge of our older songs.
Xion: – Our first album was really electronic based, and dance oriented style. This album has a real rock/pop element to put us in a bigger category. Over all our sound is bigger, and became more in tune with our own personal styles.
DK: Do you each have personal favorites from the album?
Charity: The song that I favor most changes with my mood. When I’m feeling a familiar feeling, some songs speak to me more lyrically, and that becomes my favorite. While we were in the mixing process, every time I‘d hear a new mix; that would be my new favorite.
Xion: – “Voice of Reason” and “Ashes” are most likely my favorites but then again, like Charity, they change with my mood.
DK: How was the recording experience for you? Did everything go smoothly?
Charity: It was challenging to say the least. We were plagued with bad luck. At one point, our home studio as struck by lightning and we were forced to start over. Midway with Signal Sound Source, the external drive crashed and again, we were at square one. Other than those quirks, it was really enjoyable. We had the pleasure of working with George Langis, and Andy Lagis, who I personally think are both very wonderful people.
Xion: – The actual recordings went like clockwork. Everyone in the studio was on the same page musically. It was a real pleasure to work with such experienced song writers.
DK: You are featuring the track entitled “Plastik” on your MySpace page http://www.myspace.com/nebulous9 how has the response been so far for it?
Charity: – I’ve only received positive feedback. People seem to really like the song, because it’s absolutely ridiculous but true.
DK: Who are each of you on a personal level? What do you all do apart from music?
Charity: – I’m a mother, poet, songwriter, and singer. I also read, draw and paint. I spend a lot of time taking care of my children and my sick parents. I also am the Vice President of a small pizza chain (4 stores), and in my free time I exercise. I also meditate and pray daily. Outside of Nebulous 9, I’ve recently worked on a side project called The Orkid Project.
Xion: – I’ve been Dj’ing for over 10 years now. I do graphic design, and work in other medias of art as well. I love bartending, cooking, baking… “yes baking” carpentry, painting, remodeling, and long walks on the beach.
DK: Is Brian also a parent?
DK: As parents, how do you feel about your children growing up in a digitally enhanced society?
Charity: – I think it’s wonderful. I think a sign the times are changing is when my oldest child asked me to “text the Easter bunny” because he wanted a “rock guitar.” We live in a digitally enhanced society, but don’t live like that. I’m very old fashioned, and as a parent I make sure my kids are outside getting plenty of exercise, doing their homework, and participating in sports. Yes, they use the computer, play video games, and listen to my ipod, but they also spend a good time playing non-digital games as well. The beautiful thing is the balance. They are so blessed to be living in these digitally enhanced times.
Xion: – My kids will rock your kids.
DK: How do you balance financial responsibilities, parental responsibilities and your love for your music and dream to succeed?
Charity: This one is the hardest of them all. I believe it truly is about mastering your self. Albert Einstein said, “The true value of a human being is determined primarily by the measure and the sense in which he has attained liberation from the self.”
That said, I keep this in mind. To me, self liberation is knowing where I fit in the big picture. Everything in its place and my place is last. This means every other persons needs will be fulfilled before my own needs are. I sacrifice my time, my energy, and my money for the family first, then the band. It has to be that way for me, or I wouldn’t be able to sleep at night.
DK: Being parents, how much harder does it become to play out?
Charity: It’s difficult to play out, but we manage. We chose to stop playing out when we were writing because as parents, you only have so much time to dedicate to yourself. We don’t have the luxury of a lot of free time, so we make choices about what we think is best for us, and then work through those choices.
DK: What other bands have you performed with?
Charity: Can’t quite remember them all, Mindsight and Sudden Dark, Spizm, hmm…
Xion: Flood Ritual, Anemia…
DK: Do you ever have trouble being lined up with bands (or clubs) that are near your style?
Charity: – yes, it was tough. Once we were booked with a metal band. There was also a ska band once. Back then, there weren’t any bands like us. Now, the sound has changed and it will be easy to play with like bands.
DK: How would you describe your live shows so far and how would you like them to evolve into as the band develops?
Xion: – We always try to put more into our live shows, more than just plugging in and playing our tunes. I mean we put a lot into costumes, lights, sound, and dramatics as much as we can. Like I said before; I was always into big production shows that stimulate every sense to keep your eyes fixed upon the stage. As we develop our shows should follow suit.
DK: What do you have lined up for the next 6 months?
Charity: Quite honestly, I’ve taken the past few months off from music. My father was diagnosed with an inoperable fatal brain tumor. He was given 6 months to live 9 months ago. I decided at that point it was time to put my dreams aside, and dedicate my time to helping care for him and my mother. Xion and Brian decided to stay with this project and give me my time. At this point, when this chapter closes, I will again pursue this project full force, which will include a number of things. Hopefully, the next few months will mark a shift back on the focus to myself, however it is all in God’s hands, in his time.
Xion: Of course get through the family situation, and then get our band back in place to hit the local scene.
DK: Any plans beyond that at this point?
Charity: We plan on releasing this album when the time is right. After that, playing shows and living out the dream.
DK: I’d like to thank you once again for taking the time with us and sincerely hope that you enjoy the fruits of your labor for that which you love so much!
Xion: Thank you Dennis for the chance to be heard. I wish all your endeavors grow just as sweet.
Nebulous 9 Biography
Xion and I began making music together in 1998. He was a dj, I a singer and keyboardist. We played in a live band, I sang to his dj sets, and then we began working with musicians on individual songs.
We invited Mike Shadley, a longtime friend of Xion’s to play on one of our songs, and the chemistry was instant. We at that time brought him in full time, and began writing our first album.
When we had a nice collection of songs, we went to Signal Sound source and recorded a 5 song ep. This Ep was given out for free at our shows. We began playing shows, with good response and a dedicated fan base, but began to feel musically we weren’t where we wanted to be.
We, as a band, decided to stop playing shows completely. Xion and I were parents all along, and we felt that with that restriction, we could only concentrate on one aspect of the music a time. Either we continue to play shows and work on the live performance, or we write songs. The choice seemed simple; we would much rather have something musically fantastic than live in the spotlight of live performance.
That said, we undertook a process of songwriting that took much longer than we had initially thought. We wrote nearly 60 songs, and then started to narrow down the list. Two years later, we had what we considered to be a very strong album.
We took the project to Signal Sound Source once again. We thought the recording process would take a few months, it took a year and a half.
Midway through the recording process, my father was diagnosed with lung and throat cancer. The strain on me personally was great; I took on the responsibility of his radiation and chemotherapy treatments, because he was unable to drive himself. I did this in addition it raising my family, recording my album, and working a full time job. I had the full support of the band and most importantly my husband, Xion. We worked through this, finished recording the album, and added Brian to the band so we could begin working on the live show.
It was after the recording was finished, the live show was coming along, and we were steps away from mixing and mastering the album that again, I was faced with family illness. This time, my father was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor. He was given six months to live.
I could live out my dreams, release the album, and play live shows, or I could give my time to my dying father.
I chose to care for my father once more. This time, we lost our bass player. The toll of the time off had taken on him, and he wanted to pursue other ventures. Xion and Brian have decided to stay with the project, and give me the time I need.
It is now October. 9 months have passed since the initial 6 month diagnoses, and my father is still battling brain cancer. The album is mixed, mastered, and the artwork is done. We are ready to release it, when the time is right.