With the biggest gig in their brief careers ahead of them this week (supporting Errors at The Kazimier), and debut label release later in the month, Ninetails are starting their sophomore year in assured fashion.
Yeah, they’re LIPA lads, and, yeah, there’s a touch of the Math about their art-school assignments: so far so textbook.
But here’s the thing – Ninetails have maturity, authenticity and – get this – a bag of great tunes to throw into the mix. Evidently, it’s not just dishwasher tablets that have a three in one power you can rely on. You’d have noticed this if you caught their support for Three Trapped Tigers for Liverpool Music Week last autumn. They might love an asymmetrical time signature but, God, they don’t let maths ever become homework.
We caught up with the city’s latest artistic huddle of chancers as The Most Important Month in their history (Superstar Destroyer Records have snapped them up, and will be releasing Rawdon Fever on the 27th) stretches out ahead of them. Are they daunted? These are men who eat complex riffs and florid guitar signatures for breakfast.
What do you think?
Tell us who you are: and what duties you perform.
Phil: Ed Black and Jordan Balaber are vocals and guitars. I, Phil Morris, am the bottom (we’re guessing that’d be bass, but we’ve been wrong before. He’s first L on the pic above) and Jake King keeps the metre on the beat.
What’s the big idea?
P: Infectious, never less than catchy, more often close to genius. The songs aren’t dumb, but they’ll still burrow into your skull and lay eggs.
Nine Tails in seven words.
P: Shiny Pseudo-Pop Nuggets of Audible Chocolate
Who’s the dream headliner you’d like to support?
P: Well if this conversation is based in the land of sand, it would be a supergroup consisting of Arthur Russell, J Dilla and Wayne Coyne. They’d be called the Soft Echo Donuts.
What are your influences? What’s your backgrounds?
Jordan: This is actually an incredibly difficult question to answer because we all have completely different tastes, but these differences sort of help us define our respective roles in the band.
For example, I would say that Ed is the most pop-orientated, and that’s helpful because it gives him a fantastic ear for digestible and memorable melodies. The joke is that Phil loves American Indie bands from the 90’s with whiney lead vocalists, but all that really means is that he deeply reveres a good lyric, and he’ll cringe at a bad one. Phil is often our lyricist, (as well as bassist, gurner, and twitter/facebook/general hype guy. He wears many hats, figuratively and literally).
Jake has very eclectic taste and he’s also a bass/future-garage DJ and producer, and his precise ear for rhythm really comes through on our tracks. We were once described as “math-pop with african rhythms”, or something like that. That’s all Jake. And I probably have the most eclectic and varied taste, I really explore all sorts of genres all the time and I consider myself to be a pretty massive muso, but what I bring musically to Ninetails probably stems most from my roots in sunshine pop harmonies, jazzy-ish chord structures, and my eternal love for ethereal sounds (hence the occasional soundscapes and drones).
I would say that Ed was, in a way, more of the “big ideas” guy for Ghost Ride the Whip, while I was more detail-orientated, but that’s changed a lot as of late and now it feels like we switch roles quite often.
What’s right with Liverpool now?
P: Sound City and EVOL not only nurture talent from the local circuit but also provide a platform to perform with the very best of musics contemporaries at a professional level. Now Manchester’s equivalent is dead and buried i think it’s crucial Sound City is taken seriously in order to devolve the London centred industry. There are so many unbelievable bands in Liverpool, we need to make make sure Sound City and Evol are still able to exhibit them for years to come.
What’s wrong with Liverpool now?
P: I think the decision to re-open Eric’s is an insult to the memory of what it once was. I mean isn’t the DisneyLand inspired nightmare that is the Cavern Club (MK2) embarrassing enough? History is doomed to repeat itself it would seem. Perhaps, one day they will re-open The Masque and turn it into a utopian music society.
J: Our sound has evolved a lot since ‘Ghost Ride the Whip’, no pokemon pun intended. Song writing duties have generally been distributed more evenly between us and it’s interesting to see the common ground we’re landing on. I know personally I’m trying to bring a lot of interesting textures into our tracks. I’ve just bought some sound design software that we’re now trying to incorporate into our set. We also plan to focus a lot more on vocal harmony.
We’ve got a few releases scheduled for the coming months.’Rawdon Fever’ is released 27th of February and will be available to download on a pay what you like policy. The winners of the remix competition for this track will also feature as B-sides. Besides, b-sides and releases we’re gearing up for Sound City and the gigs we have booked prior. The February 11th date with Errors will be one to watch too for sure! It’s definitely going to be a pivotal year for us as we work towards a first album.
Errors, with Ninetails and Vasco Da Gama