Bend the knee!
For her majesty:
Here comes The Ninth Wave!
Source: YouTube, TheNinthWaveVEVO
What’s so special about this band whose singer reminds me a tiny bit of Robert Smith from The Cure? The reason is very clear: It’s not just him, Haydn. ‘Cause there is also Millie. The presence of her and him as a duo leads to such a powerful perfomance, just let me say it that way: The Ninth Wave is dark and dangerous! These combined personalities are unleashing a storm so full of energy that it’s no surprise I couldn’t forget their powerful perfomance at last years Reeperbahn Festival. This concert freed so much energy and the band spread such an aura that most bands have lost these days. As stoked as I am, now I need to name the very one thing that has gone wrong. They decided to split their debut album. Infancy Pt.1 is out now, but we need to wait six months for the follow up. Such a shame! To clear this issue, Annekatrin from abgefreakt.de and I decided to meet the band in person.
Why did you decide to split the album into two parts and release them separate from each other?
Are you afraid of blowing your load with just one record?
Haydn: It’s more in a way that people are not, as we feel like, paying attention to stuff anymore. Everything is a bit more disposable. And we just put that in two halves so that the songs would get listened to more. I guess people are paying attention to it more. We also took a year to make the album. To put it out in one go then …
Millie: You could interpretate it as fear of blowing your load in one go because no one wants to be disposable nowadays. So yeah, tactically spreading it out over the year, the people listen to it more instead of just at once and forget about it. So in a way, yeah, to be honest!
We also noticed that the release took turn one week later than originally announced.
What has been the reason for that delay?
Millie: We don’t know. It has nothing to do with us. I think it was reprinting. We never got told. We just got told it’s not happening anymore.
I went to the flea market on Sunday and grabbed a vinyl of Kate Bush. This happened by accident but we (Annekatrin and I) talked about it earlier – your inspiration for the band name. I flipped the record and noticed: The Ninth Wave.
„Wave after wave, each mightier than the last
‘Til last, a ninth one, gathering half the deep
And full of voices, slowly rose and plunged
Roaring, and all the waves was in a flame“
Tennyson „The Coming of Arthur“
Is this part of The Coming of Arthur the reason for naming the Band The Ninth Wave?
Millie (towards Haydn): You named it.
Haydn: I came up with the name when we were quite young. And to be honest, I don’t know.
Millie: The name has come to a lot of different interpretations. I think as we kept developing as a band we thought of new meanings for the name and were like ‘Oh I really like that one, let’s take that one.’
Haydn: The Russian painting.
Millie: Yeah, the painting… The ninth wave being the strongest and the most dangerous one.
Haydn: It’s in irish mythology as well. There is some story behind that.
Your music, your look, your videos for example:
‘Half Pure‘, ‘Love You ‘Till The End“ or your latest one ‘This Broken Design‘.
Source: YouTube, TheNinthWaveVEVO
It’s all kind of strange, dark, arty. Are you following a kind of concept? And do you have a name for it?
Millie: Post-punk in war. I like that one.
Haydn: What did we get called?
Millie: Tragedy at its best.
Haydn: That was it.
Millie: We are not trying to follow concepts. We just kind of expose what is in our heads.
It is just happening.
Millie: Yeah, it’s in our blood.
Okay, Millie – Anne told me that you were asked by Haydn to join the band, but you couldn’t – and I read this even on the Internet today – play the bass or the guitar. So why did you say yes? Weren’t you afraid to fuck up?
Millie: Yes (laughing). But I played the piano when I was younger. And I was a percussionist as well. So I had a good grasp with music. I wrote my own songs.I feel like it was a blessing and I always like to challenge myself. So I was like just do it, see where it takes me. I really don’t know why I did it. I was at university at that time. I just dropped everything. I dropped my whole life. And here we are. Sitting in the Molotow.
So Haydn, now we know you made a brilliant choice.
But how could you know that? Why did you ask Millie?
Haydn: We actually know each other for a very long time. When we were younger we used to play at these family parties, like mutual friends of the family. And I’ve always listened to Millie’s stuff. She used to put up piano covers and like play songs and stuff on piano. So I knew she was a good musician. I don’t know, I guess if you’ve known someone for a long time, you trust them more than anyone else.
When it started you were a band with four members.
So how did it turn out that it’s just both of you now?
Haydn: It was always kind of rotating with following members.
Millie: When I first saw The Ninth Wave, it was Haydn, his little brother and his cousin. Over the years it just developed and formed into the last constellation – like me and Haydn writing most of the songs. Then it just starts to get to the part, where everyone is really busy with their lives. But me and Haydn wanted to make this the focus of our career. And everyone was like ‘I can only do this gig or this gig’. So we were like: ‘It’s always just been us anyway that has been writing.’ So we just make it us.
If I recall that right, you mentioned Safe Gigs for Women in your Instagram story. Would you like to tell us more about it?
Millie: It is actually The Blinders who organised that. We have this thing called Girls Against in Scotland and in England it’s Safe Gigs for Women. The occasion was for The Blinders that if you’re being harassed at a gig, you could go to them and it would be like a safe haven. And you would always be at protection, which is amazing. In Scotland there is more kind of attention being drawn to that by Girls Against, which is also a group of volunteers who go around gigs. You just really bring attention to the well-being of women at gigs. I have been literally the only girl for three weeks straight and it does get a bit intense. Sometimes there are a lot of men in the crowd. At the Birmingham gig, I think it was, a couple of people came up to me and be like ‘Where are Safe Gigs for Women?’, because it is an intimidating atmosphere for some, if you have had something happen to you before. So I think it is a really good organisation to just have a hand and make you feel comfortable. Make you enjoy something that should be enjoyable for everyone and not just be a male dominated scene.
It’s kind of strange, that it’s still is such a matter, isn’t it?
All this stupid behaviour.
Millie: It’s ridiculos. But it’s good that it’s being called at more now. Cause I remember going to gigs when I was 14 and just thinking it was normal. Like this is just what happens at gigs. And nowadays we know that this isn’t right and you should call people for this. I didn’t know, but I wish I had. I would have said a lot more. So it is very nice to see bands like The Blinders are supporting them (Safe Gigs for Women). Because that are the kind of bands that need it. Unfortunately there is a lot of men who come to their gigs.
We want to close with something related to the previous question. Not in regard to idiots who can’t behave, but concert experiences.
Cause the last and first time we saw you play was at last years Reeperbahn Festival.
Are there any special memories about these gigs or about Hamburg in general, that you want to share with us?
Haydn: It has always been amazing playing here.
Millie: I have been saying to Haydn for the past week: ‘Oh my gosh, I can’t wait to play Molotow.’ We have played three times here. And we played every single venue in here apart from the Skybar. So it feels like we complete Molotow tonight. I remember the last Reeperbahn gig we did, was in the club downstairs and then, two minutes before we went on stage, it was quite quiet for the band before us. And I was like: ‘It’s fine, it’s fine. We can play to twenty people’. Then we turned up and there were queues at both doors. And our manager couldn’t even get in to see us, because it was so busy. And I remember just walking on stage and normally we are very like poison and serious and we have like an attitude on stage. But I just bursted laughing and I said into the mic like ‘Fuck me’. And the soundguy in my ear was like ‘Millie, you can’t swear’. But I just lost it. I couldn’t stop smiling. I ruined the goth image. So yeah, happy memories at Molotow. And then after that I can’t remember, we ended up somewhere. We walked back home at Reeperbahn, back to our Airbnb we were staying in. And I really needed the toilet. And I kept trying to walk into the clubs. Cause I was like: ‘It will be fine I’m just going to the bath’. And Haydn was like: ‘Millie you won’t make it out alive. Those are strip clubs you’re trying to get in.‘ And I wore this corset skirt and this big fringy top. I was like: ‘Funny, it will be fine’. But Haydn was like: ‘I will never see you again (all laughing)‘
That’s the last memory I have of Hamburg.
So my last question would be – it’s a classic – Star Wars or Star Trek?
Millie: I’m gonna say Star Trek, because I went to the executive producer of the Star Trek series 50th birthday. And he burnt a big wicker man stag. That was the strangest experience of my life. His children did a performance of the Star Trek theme song for his birthday present. I was like ‘Why am I here? I should not be here’ (laughing). But he was working with my dad at the time and they had hired this big castle in Scotland. And everyone was really into Star Trek. I have never seen this in my life. I’m not even have seen Star Wars. I’m so sorry. I’m more of a documentary kinda girl.
Haydn: I would say neither for me.
Millie: We are the wrong people to be asked that. Every answer is gonna be disappointing (laughing). What would yours be (to René)?
René: Star Wars, of course. But they ruined it with the last one …
And you – Star Wars or Star Trek (to Annekatrin)?
Annekatrin: I have not seen them (everyone is laughing).
Haydn (to René): You’re with the wrong people.
And again we needed to laugh, but honestly, I couldn’t find myself in better company this night. So did you drown in The Ninth Wave?
Text & Polaroid pictures: René Biernath
Interview: Annekatrin Schulz (abgefreakt.de), René Biernath
Instant Film: Color, For Use With 600, Classic White Frame (1, 2 shot with red lense and number 4), Color, For Use With 600, Ice Cream Pastels Edition (3)