local music scene south carolina
The four members of I Nine grew up in Orangeburg, South Carolina. Carmen Keigans and band mates Bryan Gibson (lead guitar, cello) and Matt Heath (bass) had previously played together in a local band that broke up in 2004. Shortly thereafter, they hooked up with fellow musician Brian Whitman (guitar), who had known Carmen and her family growing up. "I usually played guitar by myself but when their band broke up, the wheels in my head started turning," remembers Whitman, who was a regular at their shows. "They were just too good not to be playing anymore."
The songs came fast and furious during their first session. "We just clicked," says Whitman, and within a few weeks, they had written a dozen songs. The band played shows mostly in nearby Columbia, South Carolina and it was clear that their heartfelt rock sound was too large to be contained by such small geography. In a quandary faced by many in small-towns, the four had to decide whether to stay in Columbia or move to another, larger town for a real shot at pursuing their passion. "We knew we had something there, the chemistry was clear," says Carmen. "It was really a do or die moment."
The four quit their day jobs and moved a couple of hours west to Atlanta, living in, what Carmen describes, "as a one-bedroom dump that was home to the best and worst times of our lives." It was in Atlanta, over a three year period, where the majority of the songs on their debut were written and recorded. However, keen observers may recognize I Nine from the soundtrack of Cameron Crowe's whimsical love story, Elizabethtown, performing the song "Same In Any Language," written by Crowe and his wife, Nancy Wilson (of Heart). It was a serendipitous discovery by the director, who heard I Nine demo songs on a mutual friend's iPod and asked the band if they would perform the song for his movie. "I freaked out when he called us," remembers Carmen. "I thought it was amazing to be talking to him but he's such a cool guy and has such respect for music that he thought it was amazing to be talking to us."
Producer Brian Howe (Hinder, Daughtry) worked with the band on two songs including the lead single “Seven Days of Lonely” and the emotionally charged single “Get Out.” Nickelback front man Chad Kroeger also produced two songs, including the passionate “Black Hole” and the fiery “If This Room Could Move.”
Together the four members carried influences of traditional rock 'n roll, emotive singer-songwriters, and, of course, southern rock. However, there's a dichotomy to the songs of I Nine that veers between pop and more artsy, moody tunes – the result of having four people in a band who are all gifted songwriters. "We all had different tastes and influences, some are musical and some are emotional, so it was really “anything goes in the studio," says Gibson.
The band broke up in late 2008 with each member moving on to pursue separate lives and careers. Carmen Keigans returned home where she went back to school and earned a degree in Nursing, married and settled down to a quiet life. Bryan Gibson lives in Atlanta, GA where he now tours with other artists, produces, writes, and composes string arrangements. He has toured with Chris Cornell, Matisyahu, and Tim Brantley. In 2013, he produced and mixed Matisyahu’s “Spark Seeker: Acoustic Sessions (Live).” And he has arranged strings for Ed Roland of Collective Soul and for Teddy Geiger. Most recently he can be heard on the new 2013 release by the band Odd Particle from Brooklyn, NY titled “French Camp”. Brian Whitman lives in Los Angeles, CA and his work can be heard on the 2008 release by Strive titled “Fire” where he is credited for drums/mixing/percussion and production. The 2010 release by Tonic titled “Tonic” and the same year release “The Good Album” by All-Star United where he contributed guitar and vocals. Most recently he can be heard on the new 2013 release by the band Odd Particle from Brooklyn, NY titled “French Camp” Matt Heath lives in Atlanta, GA where he is writing, recording, and performing out regularly.