Wonderland.

NEW NOISE: THE NINTH WAVE

Upon the release of their track “What Makes You a Man”, the Glasgow-hailing band talk what we can expect from their upcoming album and their musical influences.

THE NINTH WAVE by Yaël Temminck

Photography by Yaël Temminck

THE NINTH WAVE by Yaël Temminck
Photography by Yaël Temminck

When it comes to Glasgow’s music scene, no one is doing it quite like The Ninth Wave. Having made a name for themselves with their debut album Infancy, the 4-piece has now turned their attention to the next project set to catapult them to the helm of the music industry, as they release track “What Makes You a Man”. Accompanied by a dramatic Rianne White-directed music video, the new song looks to consume listeners with the crash of classic instrumentation and the band’s smokey vocals, all of which culminate in a dreamy punk-rock-tinged sound.

“I’ve been really excited for this single ‘What Makes You A Man’ to come out for a very long time. This song feels like everything I’ve wanted to say but didn’t know how to. Playing it live has made me realise even more just how much it resonates with others. I wanted to release this song to prove that there is power in using your voice, there is strength in standing up to yourself and not taking the blame for other people’s actions. Bad things don’t happen to you because you deserve it. You aren’t to blame for the mistakes of others – and you shouldn’t have to carry their shame with you. I wanted to put the listener into the mindset of the situation the song is written about, so everything falls over itself and there’s a gritty noise saxophone line that stumbles about throughout the song,” explains the band on their newest track.

Upon the release of their latest track, the band sit down to talk their beginnings and the making of their upcoming album. Head below to enjoy our interview with The Ninth Wave…

Hey guys, how are you? How has this year been for you?
We’re suspiciously good right now. We’ve just come back from a ridiculously good UK tour, and we’re fresh off the plane from Amsterdam, where we just played one of our favourite gigs possibly ever. It’s an indescribable feeling seeing people having such a good connection to the music that you’ve made, whether that’s something that’s formed over time or if it’s a product of immediacy. It feels so good to have our sense of community back, all in the same room sharing a moment as if nothing else matters. This year has been one of the hardest years any of us have faced, but with the tough times, there always comes the peaks. It’s an incredibly difficult thing to judge your growth and progress through meaningless numbers on social media, constantly battling with algorithms and comparing yourself to others. The fact that you couldn’t actually share that intimacy with your fans or see the reactions in front of you over lockdown really made things difficult. I think that’s why these past couple months of gigs have been some of the most rewarding yet – it’s so easy to tell yourself that you’re getting nowhere, but it’s not so easy to accept that when you’re selling out shows up and down the country and watching people fling themselves about like ragdolls to your tunes. So, we’re good.

With everything that happened last year, has your creativity been affected?
There was more time than ever to be creative, but no experiences to be inspired by. I guess this forced us to look a little bit more internally and process things in a slightly different way, as we were listening to our own voices more than others for once. We wrote songs individually at first, then padded them out and adapted them as a band, so our creative process wasn’t jolted too badly because we couldn’t all get in a room together. We were still able to throw demos across to each other, it just meant there were maybe slightly more stages and alternate versions before we found what worked best. Creativity relies so much on stimulation, and when you’re looking at the same four walls every day of your life, sometimes searching for new ways to stimulate that creativity can prove hard. I think you can hear the tension and frustration of this in a lot of our new material.

How did you guys first meet, and what sparked the interest?
Me and Haydn have known each other since we were wee guys, and it has always been Haydn’s kind of curation of musicians. He asked me to join the band when he needed a bass player, but god knows why he asked me because I couldn’t play bass, and i’d only ever been the drummer in folk bands. Maybe he saw something in me that I didn’t see because I gave up everything within hours of him asking the question to do this and haven’t looked back since. We met Kyalo and Calum through various corners of the Glasgow music scene, I think we all have our own little niches, which makes for something really special when it all falls into place.

As a group, how do you navigate all having different influences or creative paths?
Because we all have our own things we kind of ‘specialise’ in, there will almost always be somebody to fulfil the ambitious musical idea they have. We have Kyalo who knows everything and anything about how to transform a guitar or synth sound into the sound of a screaming child or the most euphoric dreamscape, Calum who can play every instrument under the sun more technically than you’ve ever seen, Haydn who not only writes the most beautiful poetry but also doesn’t stop headbanging to Metallica and ACDC, and I play my silly little notes on my piano and spend all my time fucking up samples and vocal chops. So, when you put all of this together, you can get something that sounds pretty alright. But you can always tell who has written the basis of certain songs because we all have our own processes that we elaborate on top of as a band. I think it makes for a nice consistency of slight inconsistency – it always feels familiar, even if it feels a little foreign.

Where are you guys from? Do you think your hometown has impacted your sound?
We’re all based in Glasgow or the surrounding areas. It’s bleak, and we’re all severely lacking in vitamin D, but we’re surrounded by endless creatives and everybody’s up for a good time. There’s this Scottish attitude of never being proud of what you do, or never really admitting that you think you’re actually alright at something – don’t ask us why, just speak to anybody Scottish and they’ll be embarrassed to tell you about any success they may have had. So our music is dour and dark, but underneath it, there’s hope and knowledge of better days ahead.

You’ve just announced your new album Heavy Like A Headache, what was your mindset going into this project?
For Heavy Like A Headache, we didn’t necessarily go into it thinking that it would be an album. We were all just writing for the sake of ourselves and the joy of creating music. So all the songs on it are very sincere and honest – nothing is forced or filler in any sense. But when we realised we had a large collection of songs we were super proud of, it became apparent that they were all in the same world and complemented each other nicely. Even though all the songs were originally written separately, they were put together in their final form in a couple of studio sessions at The Distillery. We wanted these songs to showcase our progression as songwriters, taking light from “Happy Days!” in the more stripped back and organic sounds, but also keep it familiar to the world we created for Infancy whilst pushing forward. Heavy Like A Headache is our first fully self-produced project, which maybe seemed a bit ambitious at first, but we feel after numerous EP’s and an album under our belt, we know who we are and what we want out of our music. Having four heads to shit filter also makes self-producing a lot easier – we all trust each other’s judgement and know that we all have our individual strengths.

Photography by Neelam Khan Vela

Photography by Neelam Khan Vela

How do you think it differs from your debut album Infancy and your “Happy Days” EP?
All the songs on Infancy were written by Haydn and I, and it wasn’t until “Happy Days!” that Calum and Kyalo joined us in the songwriting process. This created a definite change in the way our songs came together, but throughout each release, you can hear us becoming a lot more comfortable in ourselves. You learn a ton each time you make a record – about yourself, the musical process, your instruments and how other people work. We’re taking less from our inspirations and more from how we are naturally progressing our sound, the instruments and equipment we choose to play and how we want to get ourselves across in the world. Heavy Like A Headache feels a lot more vulnerable and honest – we have a lot more life experience, and we have a lot we want to say. We aren’t in our infancy anymore.

Looking back on the creative process, what was a memorable moment for you?
Before recording his guitar parts, Haydn would put on this ACDC top he’s had ever since he was a wee boy, roll the sleeves up really high, put on some dad sunnies, and ask ‘am I vascular enough?’ before taking a photo.

Creating it during lockdown, did you have any creative challenges?
The recording process was a lot more spread out than in previous releases. It was a culmination of time spent in solitude and deeper reflection, and it all took place at a time of huge uncertainty. We’d be lying if we said this underlying anxiety didn’t weave its way into the songs – and I think this posed a lot of our creative challenges too. You have a lot more time to second guess yourself and overthink choices – I think there is a beauty in creative hindrances, and when you have too much time to decide exactly how something should sound, you lose some of that original essence. We were very aware of this though, and there’s a remarkable amount of the album that’s come straight from the original bedroom demos. We spent lots of time trying to better the sounds we had created in that original moment, but some never quite hit on the same heartstring. We stripped a bunch of songs right back to a point which would have felt uncomfortable before, all for the sake of how we felt a song should make the listener feel, what felt most true to the song.

What do you want people to take away from your sound?
We want people to feel like we’ve stepped inside their heads. That we know what they’re thinking, and we know what they’ve been through. We know what’s on their mind before they’ve had the thought themselves. We want to create the soundtrack for the mood that you didn’t know you wanted to be in.

Who inspires you?
I’m completely taken by the worlds that artists like Yves Tumor and Eartheater have created, the soundscapes they use to transport you to a new place entirely, taking familiarity from artists like Bjork and making it their own by blending it with inspiration from the likes of The Velvet Underground. The sounds that Girl Band manage to create and the feeling they give you deep in your chest makes me so excited about music. Artists like Kelly Lee Owens, Young Fathers, Savages, SOPHIE, FKA Twigs, Warpaint and Massive Attack have all had a massive impact on my musical inspiration, but so have more downbeat artists like Sibylle Baier and Townes Van Zante.

These are only my inspirations – we all have such an eclectic range of who we listen to.

What are you most excited about? What’s next?
I’ve been really excited for this single “What Makes You A Man” to come out for a very long time. This song feels like everything I’ve wanted to say but didn’t know how to. Playing it live has made me realise even more just how much it resonates with others. I wanted to release this song to prove that there is power in using your voice, there is strength in standing up to yourself and not taking the blame for other people’s actions. Bad things don’t happen to you because you deserve it. You aren’t to blame for the mistakes of others – and you shouldn’t have to carry their shame with you. I wanted to put the listener into the mindset of the situation the song is written about, so everything falls over itself and there’s a gritty noise saxophone line that stumbles about throughout the song. The video by Rianne White is equally as unsteady in its ways. It’s also the last of three videos we filmed that all weave together in little ways, so I’m super excited to have all of them finally out in the world together.

NEW NOISE: THE NINTH WAVE

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