Named for a Kate Bush song, Glasgow goths-du-jour The Ninth Wave are causing a splash of their own. Their latest single, 'Maybe You Didn’t Know', the follow-up to 2020’s ‘Happy Days’ and Scottish Album of the Year Award-nominated ‘Infancy’ - retains the heady emotion and synth-laden pomp that’s become their signature.
They’ve alighted on a sound that finally manages to house their ambitions. The trick? Producing it themselves. Inspired by the recording of ‘Happy Days’ - that saw them go off-grid on the Isle of Blackbay for a week with Faris Badwan and turn fishing gear into percussion - this found-sound fluency translated into a city centre studio.
“When we did 'Happy Days', we wanted to focus a lot on organic sounds, because we’re always known as this heavily synth-laden band,” says bass player and vocalist, Amelia Kidd.
“For this, we wanted to meet in the middle-ground of the worlds we created for 'Infancy' and 'Happy Days', taking the influences of both - and putting that with the ways that we’ve adapted and changed.”
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Self-production wasn’t a walk in the park. “It’s very easy to overthink stuff,” agrees guitarist/vocalist Hayden Park-Patterson. “You’re not really able to do that so much when there’s another person there.”
“It taught us to focus more on including influences from around us, instead of what’s in the box, under our fingertips” agrees Amelia.”There aren’t any recordings of us hitting crab-floats or anything like that here, but the vibe is there. The intention is the same.”
All part of 2020’s reprogramming of changed circumstances - a year that saw the launch of ‘Human Behaviour, as a means of keeping a connection to their fans.
“We wanted to take our fanbase off social media., because of the way that the media lords have taken the world in with the algorithm,” says Amelia. “We wanted a direct connection, where we could share the stories, anecdotes, theories that we have.”
“Part of it was getting people to send in samples, or lyrics, or an idea for a song. We’d then create a song just for them. Something a bit more personal. Our fanbase is so important to us, and social media doesn’t get that across these days.”
Was it freeing, as writers, to get written prompts from elsewhere? “Definitely. You can get stuck sometimes, with the same ideas or inspiration, so to have different stuff... it’s been crucial for learning new things. Getting better at our instruments. Thinking about things differently. It’s been a nice double-sided bonus.”
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Being unable to play live has been “pure shite” according to Hayden. And live streams can sometimes feel like playing into the void.
“It’s very difficult to base how well you’re being received on numbers, instead of hearing the audience singing words back to you...a comment on a post or a like is never going to be the same” says Amelia.
Keys player Kyaolo is more philosophical on what it’s meant for their upcoming material: “We wouldn’t have been afforded as much time or focus that we’ve been given on the new stuff [if it hadn’t have happened]. In some ways, it’s a blessing in disguise.”
“'Happy Days' was really well-received, but we never actually got to perform any of the songs. It’s almost a year old now. August, if the shows go ahead, will be the first time.”
Whenever it is, they promise to rip the roof off. “There’s some amount of fucking anticipation,” echoes Hayden. “When we were recording ‘I’m Only Going To Hurt You’, we were in the studio saying ‘Fucking hell, this will be so good when we play it live’. And we still haven’t.”
”You can hear the pent up energy as well,” says Amelia. “It’s been stored inside us for an entire year.”
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Catch The Ninth Wave at the following shows:
6 Newcastle The Cluny 2
8 London Omeara
9 Brighton The Hope & Ruin
10 Birmingham Mama Roux's
12 Manchester The Deaf Institute
19 Aberdeen Tunnels
20 Dundee Church
21 Glasgow Oran Mor (Sold Out)
22 Glasgow Oran Mor
Words: Marianne Gallagher
Photo Credit: Neelam Khan Vela
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