Interview: The Perfect Nines
Mon, 22 Oct 2012 12:48:55
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"I remember moments of my life through songs," declares Cinzia Moniaci of The Perfect Nines.
The singer and founder of high-end Italian designer handbag line, Moni Moni, pens music that you'll be able to attach to moments of your life as well. The Perfect Nines nod to the fuzzed-out psychedelia of early Jane's Addiction with a feminine energy a la Garbage. That combination makes for music that's as intoxicating as it is irresistible. These Los Angeles indie stalwarts are as perfect as they come…
In this exclusive interview with ARTISTdirect.com editor in chief Rick Florino, The Perfect Nines singer Cinzia Moniaci talks the group's debut album and so much more.
Did you have one vision or vibe in mind for The Perfect Nines album?
I'd moved to New York for my business, and I set up an office there. When I moved back to Los Angeles, it was a time of soul searching. The business was growing, but there was a piece of me missing—the creativity in music. Now, I'm a businesswoman, a mother, and an artist. Music was brought back into my life around that time. I met with a friend of mine in Manhattan Beach where I moved. When we met, I realized he had a full-on studio. I live in a gated community with a giant park and woods I can walk through and think. That was really my only time to do that. I'd put down ideas as I was walking with my dog in the woods. Then, I'd go record it right away at my friend's place. I started involving the other members of the band. The album's flow comes from that same period of me reconciling with music again. The very first song I wrote for the record is "Life Goes On". That tells it all. When you think it's all done and you can't deal with a certain thing, life keeps going on. You learn, get better, and it's a rite of passage. That song took its own life, and then the whole record did. It all came out of me at that point.
Did the other musicians gravitate towards that?
Yogi Lonich [Chris Cornell] loved the record! He's a very accomplished guitar player with a lot of soul. He's interested in producing the next album. He's joined us on stage too. Stephen Perkins [Jane's Addiction] loved it as well, and he wants to be a part of the next one. He even laid down some tracks. We keep getting surrounded by these amazing people who want to be a part of the project. My exposure in the fashion industry furthers the music as well.
What were some of the themes you wanted to tackle lyrically? What's the story behind "Carry On"?
"Carry On" is about the journey that took me here to the United States. I came from Italy 16 years ago. It's rare in this day and age for someone in Italy to move here. When I made the move, it was about learning a new culture from scratch. I'd left my boyfriend at the time too. I was ready for a new chapter. In the song, I talk about the pain I left and the emptiness in that void. The need to follow my destiny was unstoppable.
What artists shaped you?
You were right on with the analogies of PJ Harvey and Garbage. I very much come from the indie rock 'n' roll of London. When I was a kid, I was listening to The Charlatans and The Stone Roses. I also loved The Smashing Pumpkins and Jane's Addiction. Those musicians very much inspired what we do, but I wanted to bring femininity to it. The Pretenders are always who I've been associated with vocally. It's a mix of that vulnerability in the vocals, which is really me. My personality is very strong on one end yet feminine on the other. I'm the businesswoman and the mother. I'm the girl and the rocker. I'm the fashionista and the aggressive rock 'n' roll girl. The yin-and-yang make the music interesting.
Is it important for you to paint visual pictures with the songs?
Absolutely! I'm glad you brought that up. As a little girl, my goal was to be a writer. My very first jobs were in journalism. I'd interview celebrities and rock 'n' roll people in Italy. When I moved here, I was a correspondent and I interviewed Beck and Gwen Stefani. I was raised to tell stories. I've always been the life of the party. In a song, you have to tell a story in just a few phrases. I learned to write within those parameters with bridges to take things a little further where I'd have more space to be free.
If you were to compare your record to a movie or a combination of movies, what would you compare it to?
There are a couple of movies I'm fond of which have the same effect on me that the album does. One of them is Zabriskie Point by Michelangelo Antonioni. He's an Italian director, but it was shot in the United States. Antonioni paints a picture when he creates an idea. He doesn't necessarily tell you the whole story though. He lets you imagine it in your own way. I also love Blowup from the '60s. The fashion at the time and the enfant terrible spirit of the film impacted me. The character is in search of a calling of eternal beauty and perfection, but he never finds it. It blows up in him and the people around him. That's in there as well as that youth, rebellion, and free spirit. The characters are impossibly beautiful but completely damned because they're in search of a perfection inside that doesn't really exist.
Have you heard The Perfect Nines?