Long before Nine Lashes was signed to Tooth & Nail Records, the Alabama-reared band was cranking out raucous modern rock riffs and explosive power chords on the road throughout the region. In fact, the group scored a coveted slot at the area’s tens-of-thousands-drawing Magnolia Festival based on the strength of a demo alone, and since the promoter was immensely impressed by the guys’ incendiary set, he sent a demo to a very famous friend (unbeknownst to them).
“The funny part about that whole show was we saw the promoter leave while we were still on stage, so we literally thought he hated our set, but it turns out he left early because he had another commitment,” recalls front man Jeremy Dunn with a laugh. “He actually loved it so much that he sent some songs to Trevor McNevan [Thousand Foot Krutch, FM Static], who he’d known for awhile after they played the festival. Trevor probably wouldn’t have had time to listen to it if his appendix hadn’t ruptured and he was taking time off to recover, so we definitely feel like God had a place in orchestrating the timing of it all.”
After all the connections were firmly established, Nine Lashes found themselves in the studio alongside producer extraordinaire Aaron Sprinkle (Anberlin, The Almost, Jeremy Camp, Hawk Nelson) crafting the national debut long player World We View. Together, the team turned in a sophisticated blend of modern, alternative and indie rock, undercut by a slew of rhythmic influences, cutting edge beats and even an appearance from screamo legend Ryan Clark (of Demon Hunter fame) on “Our Darkest Day.”
“Rock has always been our musical centering, but we definitely wanted to showcase diversity on this record since we’ve matured as musicians since our demo days,” explains Dunn. “A song like ‘Our Darkest Day’ is really aggressive and features a dream collaboration with Ryan, while ‘Memo’ has a Red Hot Chili Peppers kind of vibe. We write what comes out naturally and never want to force anything. Aaron was awesome, giving us such a laid back and relaxed work environment. He created all the loops and electronic sounds on the album and we’re very happen with it!”
Indeed World We View offers a spread of sonic opulence akin to Thrice, Three Days Grace and Red that finds Nine Lashes mounds above most typical freshman acts. And it turns out the band’s lyrical revelations are equally as strong with Dunn honing in on a series of life experiences, alongside uplifting battle cries for fans to rally together towards proactivity.
“I kind of attacked each song one at a time, but they have a shared theme by default since I wrote them all close together,” he assures. “Basically no matter what your circumstances, your dream can be accomplished and your goal can be reached. Things don’t have to stay the way they are, so if you have a vision, don’t change it just because of your current circumstances.”
A perfect point of connection comes in the lead single “Anthem of the Lonely,” which already went to number one long before the album released, residing in the top spot for two weeks and the top ten for over six months! “That song is all about change, and for me, it recalls when I gave my life over to Christ,” reveals Dunn. “But it’s an anthem for anyone to know they’re not alone in whatever they’re going through and that change is always right around the corner.”
Even more engaging is the stirring “Afterglow,” which was written about the sudden passing of Adam “Tank” Jefferson and his brother Jonathan’s dad from a heart attack. Adding complication to the delicate subject was the fact that all the guys were present when the incident actually occurred. “We saw everything and it was a strange event that’s really hard to process,” adds Dunn. “It’s both an expression of that event and a tribute to their dad.”
Despite that tragedy, hope exudes the album at every turn, thanks in part to members’ unwavering commitment to Christ. In fact, the group’s very moniker references the whip used to beat Jesus (cat of nine tails), while using Isaiah 53:5 to remember the wounds He suffered for humanity’s restoration. That grounding even inspired the album title World We View, which as Dunn so eloquently describes, furthers the group’s vision for impacting its listeners with positivity and truth.
“The more we travel and meet people, the more we find a lot of people with an incorrect view of God,” he shares. “So many people think He’s an angry and vindictive God who wants to punish them for everything, but the World We View is one where we draw close to God and strive to make His point of view our point of view. When we start to see the world the way God sees it, our vision won’t be blurred anymore.”