Glasgow is a lot of things, some of them contradictory. Glasgow is grim and grey and beautiful. It’s cold and romantic and colourful. It’s the home of Glasgow School of Art, the birthplace of Creation Records and, legend has it, a city with more secret fast food menus than any other in the UK. It’s also given us a lot of music. Primal Scream. Orange Juice. Hudson Mohawke. Shitdisco (lol). And now The Ninth Wave, a goth-pop band comprised of two old mates, Haydn and Millie, alongside a rotating cast of live band members (earlier interviews posit them as a four-piece, but I'm told they’re officially now a duo, both on guitar, both on vocals).
You might not have heard of The Ninth Wave. They’re yet to release an album, but they have released a bunch of brooding singles and two EPs over the past two years, Reformation and Never Crave Attention. Their sound is a brilliant, bleak mixture of 80s rock bands like The Cure and Sonic Youth, but with a synth pop sheen – the kind of thing you might listen to while smoking in the bath and ruminating over past lovers if you were feeling particularly dramatic.
Their latest track and video, “Used To Be Yours”, which we’re premiering above, fits in with this energy. It’s shot by David East (who directed The Japanese House’s beautiful “Lilo”), and shows a woman in various solitary moments, mainly among nature – the lakes still, the clouds grey and parted. “Isn't that what everyone is afraid of? / So incapable of being alone / Isn't that what everyone is afraid of? / So incapable of making a home,” they both sing in sombre tones, the woman in the video throwing her head up towards a darkening sky.
When I ring Millie, she's just finished making coffees all day. When she's not touring with the band (their most recent tour saw them travel the US, from New York to Austin), she works in a coffee shop in Glasgow – a strange transition, but one she's gotten used to. Over the phone, she's gentle and softly spoken. Sometimes I have to press the phone right against my ear just to make out what she's saying, and ask her to expand (which she does politely). And so, because we all prefer bite-sized information, here's everything I learned about The Ninth Wave.
Haydn and Millie met when they were wee kids
“Haydn and his cousins played in a band together called ‘The Ninth Wave’, but they did like covers of AC/DC and I was always terrified on them, I was really intimidated. I was probably about eight. We were proper wee kids. We kind of lost touch, then a year and a bit ago he asked me if I could play guitar and I said no, but he was like ‘you can play bass, can’t you?’ and I was like no, but he was like, ‘you’ll pick it up.’ Now The Ninth Wave is me and Haydn.”
They don’t want to leave Glasgow – why would they?
“Glasgow is such a cultural hub. It has everything. So many amazing art galleries, and the music scene has always been incredible. So many good bands come from Glasgow. Everyone’s working together, it’s not competitive at all. You want to see all your friends doing well.”
Millie likes art that freaks her out, mostly
“I’ve always liked things that were a little bit unsettling. Anything that makes you on edge. I’m reading The Death Of Bunny Munro by Nick Cave at the moment. I read it when I was younger, maybe about 15. I only read it because my mum said ‘never read this book, it’s the most vulgar book you’ve ever read.’ It was the same with American Psycho, which I read as soon as I was tall enough to reach the bookshelf.”
Their music tastes have no bounds
“I’m named after one of the Cocteau Twins' songs. But as I started to grow up, I found my own music taste. I was really influenced by my older brother, who into Radiohead. Then I got really into Grimes, FKA twigs and Marika Hackman. Haydn is into literally everything. Lynyrd Skynrd. Boy Harsher. He listens to a lot of folk stuff, actually. When we were in Austin, he was blaring traditional Scottish songs out the laptop.”
“Used To Be Yours” is about exactly what it sounds like it's about
“That track is a confession of my downfall. I was going through this awful no-mans land after I'd broken up with someone, but it still felt like we both had possession over each other. I kind of realised that I have this fear of being alone, but I also don't have the capability to hold down one person. So the song is kind of my way of writing an apology.”
They've got an album out later this year
It's called Infancy. It's coming out in two parts, the first part dropping 26 April, with its sequel following on 26 November.
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