Entertainment & Arts

The Ninth Wave bonded by childhood friendship

Image copyright Distiller Records
Image caption Millie Kidd and Hadyn Park-Patterson

Continuing the Newbie Tuesday strand - first featured in BBC Music News LIVE - which aims to shine a light on the best new music from the UK and beyond.

The Ninth Wave's stunning doom-laden post-punk sound has taken them from Glasgow to New York, Los Angeles and South By South West and back again to a coffee shop in East Renfrewshire.

Formed around the long term-friendship of singer and guitarist Hadyn Park-Patterson and singer and bassist Millie Kidd, The Ninth Wave's sudden rise has seen them support fellow Glaswegians Chvrches at a massive homecoming gig and will also see them go on tour with The Blinders and Brighton band Yonaka later this spring.

Kidd and Park-Patterson share both song-writing and lead vocals in part one of their soon to be released two-part album, Infancy.

Kidd joined the band two years ago after being contacted, out of the blue, by childhood friend Park-Patterson. The catch, was that she would have to learn a new instrument.

"We've known each other since I was little, we used play at family get-togethers," explains Kidd.

"And I used to watch the band when they were playing covers of bands like Foster the People. Two years ago, Hadyn asked me to join because he thought I could play guitar - which I can't.

"He was like 'Oh, but you own a bass...' Which I also didn't know how to play, so I learned from scratch.

"I play drums and keyboard, so I think he just presumed I could play. But if you can play the piano, you can pick things up quickly."

Image copyright Roberto Ricciuti
Image caption Park-Patterson still works in a coffee shop to help support the band

Park-Patterson takes up the story, on the phone from his day job at a coffee shop in his native Barrhead, explaining Kidd's first ever show was at the famed King Tut's Wah Wah Hut in Glasgow, considered a rites of passage for many Scottish bands. It was also the place where a young Alan McGee signed the fledging Oasis.

"We needed someone in the band," he says, "and I'd known Millie for a long time but we'd lost touch. I knew that she could write songs and I'd liked listening to her stuff. But she was someone who I felt comfortable with and thought we might as well try and she was up for it.

"She said five minutes before we went onstage. 'I've never stood up on a stage before,' because she was a drummer and a piano player so she was always sitting down on stage."

The Ninth Wave's songs touch on feelings of alienation and the pressure to conform and while their blend of 80's infused synth-pop sounds original, there is something familiar about it, sharing a gothic darkness infused in the work of many other Glasgow bands like The Jesus and Mary Chain, Glasvegas, even electronic pop band Chvrches with whom they played at the SSE Hydro in Glasgow.

"I think it's just honesty," says Park-Patterson. "Just reflecting on where you are. Like one of my favourite bands, The Twilight Sad, are very good at doing that sort of thing. For us though it's just about being honest about the stuff in your head. I guess a lot of people feel sad.

"The sound has evolved a lot, I've never really thought of it as a solid thing, it's been fluid in the sense that, like, we've experimented with a lot of different things. The reason why I like to make the music that we do is to match a musical feeling to the thoughts and the lyrics."

The Ninth Wave made their debut at the South By South West Festival last month and Millie remembers the venue owners had to open windows to let some air into the hordes of people who had crowded into the bar to catch their set.

Image copyright Roberto Ricciuti

"In some ways it was very overwhelming," she said of the experience of playing one of the biggest festivals for new music. "Like everyone's giving it their all and it makes you work harder, you're like, 'Right, what else can I do to attract attention and stand out even more'. I didn't feel competitive but also, we're all in it for the same thing."

The Ninth Wave were one of several Glasgow bands - like Lucia and Rascalton - to gravitate towards each other at the event in Austin, Texas. Millie says it's indicative of a shared sense of collaboration and support that exists in the city at the moment.

"Glasgow is really amazing for music and there are so many people doing so well and it was so inspiring to see. Like, you're with your pals and you're all smashing it.

"The scene in Glasgow is so nice, because everyone does support everyone, we all go to each other's gigs no matter what. And if you have a contact, you share it with someone else, it's the loveliest scene and I'm not sure it happens in a place like London. Every time we've been there it seems very, very competitive."

Park-Patterson agrees saying the city has always been "very creative".

The band's collaborators include London-based Glasgow designer Charles Jeffrey - who has helped mould the band's new romantic androgynous look and Edinburgh director Rianne White - who made the band's disturbing video for Half Pure, which sees supermodels literally suffer for their art while the glammed up band sing: You're only half pure / You're only half pure / Where's the pain and the glamour that you were bred for?

The Ninth Wave release the first part of their double LP debut the end of this month, with the second half coming in November. The decision to split up the 12 tracks was less a creative one and more informed by the way people consume music, says Park-Patterson.

"The way the world is, listening to music now, everyone gets bored. easily," he says. "We took a year to make the album and then if we put the whole thing out, in maybe a month or so, it's like people expect to hear something else.

"We took a year to make, so it should take a year to put it out, I guess is what we felt."

Infancy: Part 1 is released on Distiller Records on 26 April with Part II due on 15 November.

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