Return of ‘Shoegaze’

Members of South High band NineVolt talk about their musical experiences

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Avery Eichhorn

Members of the band NineVolt perform at Ballwin Sno Cone on Sept. 18.

“If I didn’t get the [Weezer] blue album for Christmas in 2016, NineVolt wouldn’t exist,” said 8th-grade drummer Sam Vences when talking about the inspiration behind his band NineVolt. 

NineVolt is a rock band from St. Louis, and their bassist, junior Heather Kenyon, is enrolled at SLCC but takes a class at South High. 

Kenyon joined the band in May of 2022, but the band originally formed in the summer of 2021.

“[We formed in] summer of 2021 with me and Jon and Carlos in our basement. I got Carlos into alternative music, and I had played drums for years prior so it kinda fell into place,” Vences said.

Kenyon said she joined the band partly because Jon and Carlos’ mother was her Spanish teacher at South High.

“I learned from Mrs. Vences, I wasn’t in a band, but I wanted to be,” Kenyon said. 

NineVolt primarily plays a type of music known as Midwest Emo and Shoegaze. They cover songs like Your Graduation by Modern Baseball and Edward 40Hands by Mom Jeans. They also play originals. 

“I like playing our originals that we come up with, we haven’t played them a lot, and they’re kinda like the scary ones,” Kenyon said.

When writing originals, they take a lot of inspiration from grunge artists as well as indie alternative, according to Vences. 

“Sometimes it can be hard to get a song idea from Point A, which is a concept, to Point B, which is playing it as a band, but as time goes on it gets way easier to communicate ideas and make a genuine song,” Vences said. 

Band director Matthew Wall endorses bands like these and advocates for students expressing their musical creativity. He mentions also being in a cover band himself, called DadBod. 

I’m in a cover band which does 90’s and 2000’s,” he said.

Wall also talks about forming a club for students to get together and play music.

“One of the things I’ve been trying to get going here is a club where these groups can get together to collaborate and learn the tech and put on monthly open mics. I think it’d be really cool here since students are already involved in those things,” he said.

NineVolt has collaborated with other South High bands like Lemons, as well as junior Athena Miransky and her band, Okay Violet. Miransky is a friend of the band, and she has also been to all of their shows. 

“I know NineVolt because I’m dating their guitarist–he’s pretty cool,” Miransky said.

The band’s favorite places to play are at Ballwin Sno Cone and house shows, primarily at the Vences’ house. Kenyon says her favorite memory is at a house show.

Sam Vences also talks about his favorite memories in NineVolt.

“Definitely the moments leading up to our first show. It was in our basement, and setting up every little detail and seeing people enjoy our music was just so wonderful for a brand new band and it gave us the motivation to keep putting effort into the band,” he said.