The 99 Degree – Interview
Interview with Pete Devine of Pete’s Rock News and Views (http://petesrocknewsandviews.com)
PD: What type of artist are you?
PT: I guess we’re sort of a trashy garage-punk-surfabilly, ten-handed artist.
PD: Tell us the brief history of yourself.
CT: The 99 Degree started out as writing project for Phil and Joe. They then decided to turn it into a band after a few gigs as a duo. Me and Phil have played in a number of bands together before The 99 Degree as have Joe and Paul, so it made sense for them to ask us to join. At the time, I was living in London so we started practicing once or twice a month in Manchester. We started gigging, I moved back to Manchester and we’ve gone from there.
PT: Stu joined last year to add to what we had in the locker before recording El Monstruo and here we all are.
PD: Who are your musical and non-musical influences?
CT: Everybody and nobody at all
PT: Yeah, it’s a difficult one. When writing we try not to be influenced but obviously you are. A couple of bands we like are The Monks, The Mummies, Television Personalities, Country Teasers, a lot of old blues and folk too. Things like soundtracks and movie scores too. The Wicker Man’s soundtrack is great. Whether it’s influenced us… other people are probably better placed to judge.
PD: What are your dreams and goals?
CT: To hope for a vaccine against this bastard virus and for our beloved clubs and venues to get through the current climate unscathed. Also for this pathetic government to be held accountable for their negligence throughout all of this.
…. Also the chance to tour again. And world domination.
PT: I’d just like to go in Aldi without the fear of coughing and being set upon at the moment.
PD: Who writes your songs, what are they about?
CT: Well the way it works we tend to have a pretty sound formula; Phil writes the music and some of the lyrics and Joe writes the lyrics, seems to work quite well. We’ve all contributed in some way, but this is the way it normally works. We used to send recordings back and forward when we couldn’t get together and practice when we were starting out and this really helped. It gave us all an idea and a feel of the song, also what to contribute and bring to the practice. We still do this now, I think it works really well.They tend to be about, mythical local serial killers, old west outlaws. And male impotence.
PT: I didn’t write that one.
PD: How do you promote your band and shows?
CT. Pretty much any way we can. We use Facebook, Instagram etc but we also do lots of postering and handing out flyers before our own gigs. Since Jo Lowes started managing us she’s really helped with more radio and media coverage. There’s also word of mouth, that’s still surprisingly a thing.
PD: What do you think about downloading music online?
CT: Personally I don’t mind the concept, as long as the band/artist are paid fairly for the download. It’s only when certain “media service providers” exploit this and make it almost impossible for bands/artists not to use these platforms, that it annoys me. I guess it also makes it more difficult for more niche and “different” bands/artists to really get noticed. If you’re not generic and commercial you don’t really stand a chance with it. So actually, yeah maybe I don’t like downloading music online, let’s go back to cassettes and CD’s!
PT: I’m not a fan. Big businesses taking art and massively profiting from it without properly paying the creator would just have been called piracy ten years ago. Just because we’ve all been railroaded into accepting it because consumers want it (and why wouldn’t they want unlimited virtually free music) doesn’t make it right. Maybe we should all get together and agree that landlords should only receive pennies on the pound in rent without involving them in the process? Plus the quality of mp3s is awful.
PD: What song do you wish you’d written and why?
CT: Tough one, changes all of the time, the song I can’t get out of my head at the moment is Pyscho Killer – Talking Heads.
PT: That’s a good one. I’ll say Dry The Rain by The Beta Band. At the moment.
PD: What are some of your pet peeves?
CT: Reality TV, Reality TV “stars”, Boris Johnson, Hollyoaks, Cricket, Golf, the list goes on and on.
PD: What is your proudest moment in music?
CT: Joining The 99 Degree, next question….
PD: So what are you working on at the moment?
PT: Just that elusive vaccine to eradicate coronavirus. To be honest it’s not going very well, what with having no medical background whatsoever. I don’t really know how to start. Also, new songs are in the pipeline. We can’t get together to work on anything for now obviously but we’re still planning. Got some good ones.
PD. What music have you available online and where can we buy it from?
PT: We’ve got three releases out. All tapping into that vein of our obvious, commerciallly viable genre. Our new mini-album EL MONSTRUO has been going down well recently. There’s also the BOOT HILL SURF CLUB EP and double A-side single LOVE (LIKE I NEED YOU)/BED OF BONES. All available via Spotify, Apple Music, YouTube Bandcamp etc. There’s also a lovely gentle, dignified video for FLATLINE on YouTube that’s well over 1000 views now. The single versions of that and our latest release JOHN THE KILLER are available exclusively on Bandcamp.
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