Making Waves: The Ninth Wave on Infancy
Ahead of releasing the second part of their ambitious debut album Infancy, The Ninth Wave talk exploring new sounds, a dying music industry and why Glasgow is "fucking class"
Typically, a debut album showcases a band’s progression from earlier EPs into a fuller body of work, resulting in a record that comes half from expectancy to do bigger things, half from needing to define a sound via that medium. Infancy sees The Ninth Wave do both of these things – but then again, they are not your ‘typical’ band.
On their debut, boldly released in two parts over the space of six months, the Glaswegian duo consisting of Haydn Park-Patterson and Millie Kidd undoubtedly quench the urge for bigger things while simultaneously positively defining their project. “[Writing Infancy] felt different to when we just released EPs, because it’s a big bunch of songs,” Patterson tells us. “I think a lot of people were expecting us to put something bigger out this year, and then when the first half came out, it was really nice to hear all the nice words people said.”
It’s undoubtedly a release that raises eyebrows (not just through its split release), moving through the gears as it progresses, and pushing their sound far beyond the realms of expectancy, into the swirling unknown. “We started to write a lot more, and more songs sounded like they belonged together,” Kidd admits. “It wasn’t like ‘right, you need to make an album’, it was just a natural progression for us and that’s what made it so nice to make. It might not sound it in the songs," she jokes, "but we definitely had a nice time writing and recording it.”
The pair create music that’s invitingly interesting, sonically rich and seam-bursting with ideas – and its staggered release only goes to exemplify the thought going into their music – even showing astute self-awareness of their place in a malnourished music scene. “[Releasing Infancy in two parts] reflects how disposable the music industry is nowadays,” Kidd reveals. “Everybody gets so impatient over music and will wait for months for an album to come out, then will listen to it over and over, and after a while they’ll think it’s done and then not listen to it again, moving onto the next thing that comes out. We didn’t want to be a throwaway band, so by releasing it in two parts I guess it just reminds people that you’re there.”
It’s an interesting concept, and one that’s hard to disagree with. As a release, both parts sit nicely individually but really shine beautifully when put together to complete their post-punk puzzle. “I think when you listen to it in its entirety, it definitely feels like more of a progression as the album goes on, but equally they’re both as good on their own in their own rights,” Kidd says contemplatively. “They were all written and recorded at the same time, but they can definitely be listened to as individual parts,” Patterson adds.
The second part is set to complete the record upon its release on 15 November, with the group telling fans to "expect the unexpected". “The opener of part two [Human Behaviour] is the first time we’ve made a song like that, where it’s all based around Millie on the piano,” Patterson reveals. “It’s got her little sister playing the trumpet on it as well, and it’s the one that changed the most from the demo to the finished thing." Kidd adds: "I think because we have such a defined sound, people always expect us to do the same tricks. Infancy has allowed us to prove people wrong, that we’re not just the one thing, not just the big reverb swells and guitars – we’re much more than that. Both of us have quite extensive musical influences, and we wanted to explore more complex musical terms, and that’s elaborated on in the second part of Infancy more than the first.”
When it comes to influences, the band admit to having a pretty wide range of inspiration: “For me, it’s always Cocteau Twins and that kind of sound, but also more modern stuff like FKA Twigs, with their broken drum samples and harmonies that they explore and play with in their songs,” Kidd shares. Both of those artists can be found on the band’s 16-hour-long Drive to Bath playlist that contains "all sorts of stuff". Yet, one undeniably key part of the band’s genetic make-up is their love of their hometown.
“Glasgow has been, and still is, a really good place to develop yourself and grow as an artist,” Patterson happily admits. “The band has been around Glasgow for two or three years, but we as people have been here in music for god knows how long,” Kidd adds. “You can always take inspiration from other people as well, because everybody is always giving it their all, and everyone is such a fighter for their place in the Glasgow music scene. It’s small enough to really know everyone well so that they’re your friends and you want to see them progress. There’s always a lot of other artists in the crowd that will make the effort to get the crowd going as well. It’s like if you scratch our back, we’ll scratch yours.”
The group also like to keep it close to home when exploring the more visual aspects of their work too. “What’s been really nice about Infancy," explains Kidd, "is that we’ve been allowed to visually explore in all of our music videos, working with great new, up-and-coming Scottish directors like Beth Allan and Ainsley Bowman. It’s given us a lot of creative freedom to express more about the songs than people might realise. We’re trying to work with as many local talents as we can, keeping it in Scottish blood – we want to show everyone how good Scotland is.” “It’s fucking class,” Patterson interjects.
The Ninth Wave are already an award-winning group having bagged the Best Newcomer Award at the Scottish Alternative Music Awards (SAMAs) back in 2016. While Kidd thankfully notes, “it was great for getting our name on the map,” Patterson openly admits, “we were a different band then” despite noting to himself that the award proved to be “some form of validation for what [they’d] already done at that point."
“We polish it every day!” Kidd reassures us. “Just give us more awards!” she jokes, and on current form The Ninth Wave might not be waiting long for their next one.
Infancy Pt. II is released on 15 Nov via Distiller Records