The One & Nines are soulful like few others in the current New York scene. Of course, this is not without caveats: they’re from New Jersey, actually. Also, they conjure up a decade-hopping mix of girl-group pop, tender soul, and other whispery elements from the 1950s and ‘60s that feel immediate, pure, and timeless. (Listen to “Something On Your Mind,” from their self-titled EP, and try not to imagine them sharing a tour bus with the Ronettes or the Platters.) In short, they’re revivalist soul-pop with plenty to offer the contemporary scene.
We beehived our hair and dropped off our Band of the Week survey to Jeff Marino and Vera Sousa, guitarist and vocalist of the One &Nines, respectively. Turns out, their memories of sneaking into Greenwich Village clubs are pretty timeless, too.
What song says New York to you?
“Spanish Harlem” by Ben E King, or “Rhapsody in Blue” [by George Gershwin]. That's how I see and hear New York City in my mind, anyway....
What artist or band?
Ronnie Spector or the Ramones
What's your greatest memory of experiencing music in NY?
Some of my strongest memories would be my earliest live music experiences in NY. My friends and I would slip into the city from Jersey after midnight and spend many, many late night hours at either Smalls jazz club in the Village or the Wetlands on Hudson St. Those were easiest to get into as underage teenagers. This was back when Smalls was still very low-key. It's still great today of course, but it's much more publicized.
Back then we could bring a few beers inside and hang out until dawn and listen to the best jazz we'd heard up to that point in our lives. A very hip situation to 17-year-old kids.
If you could give one album to everyone in this city, what would it be?
The 5 Royales - King Records Hits & Rarities
What is your favorite venue to play in the city?
We've had many fun times and memorable performances at the Bowery Poetry Club. We've been playing there 2 or 3 times a year with a few other fellow Jersey bands.
What, or who, do you find exciting in the current New York music scene?
We love Joan Wasser, or Joan as Policewoman -- she's a New York artist through and through but seems to be more popular over in Europe. We've loved her music for a long time. Also I guess we can't forget Daptone and Truth & Soul Records out of Brooklyn ,who've been blowing up the last several years. In general, there are always so many artists and eclectic styles in New York and there always will be. And that's what's exciting.