Photography: David Howard

If you gather obsessions easily then NINETAILS are not the band for you. Once you’ve been captivated by their sauntering guitars, ethereal soundscapes and beguiling melodies, you’ll find it near impossible to pull yourself away.

Beckoned from a mutual affinity for Battles and alcohol, the dynamic quartet began their foray into the Liverpool music scene simply through LIPA’s freshers’ week. As Ed Black (singer/guitar) states, “It’s pretty hard to not talk about how we started without dropping the ‘LIPA bomb’. It has provided us with some great opportunities and connections; it’s like a bubble from which no bands escape and cliques can form.” Operating in tandem with other mercurial talents from the institute has clearly boosted Ninetails’ capacity, spurring them to blossom from a hotbed of ability.


Within all scenes an emphasis on genre and labels is vital in establishing identities; however, with such an emphasis on clarification there is a shift from what bands sound like to whom they sound like. Math, experimental; attach whatever category you wish to Ninetails, their individuality instead lies within their ability to bleed genres and transcend boundaries. As Jordan Balaber (guitar) explains, “We never wanted to be labelled exclusively as ‘math-rock’ because we feel like that association completely misses the point of what our music is about. We’re more into emotion than technical structure, and I feel like that title implies that we have a very little heart.”

“Music assures a man that within the monotony of universal comparability there is still something particular” Theodor Adorno

As Theodor Adorno has stated, “Music assures a man that within the monotony of universal comparability there is still something particular”. With Ninetails’ genre-bounding approach, their particularity is a potent eclecticism. This can leave listeners either desperately trying to grasp at something specific, or basking in the excellence of their complexity. Fortunately, with Ninetails it’s absolutely the latter. Citing vastly different influences, each member has a pivotal, yet fundamentally diverse, role. As Jordan explains,Ed is pop-oriented and has a fantastic ear for digestible melodies; Phil deeply reserves a good lyric; Jake has a precise ear for rhythm, which is probably where our label of ‘math-rock with African melodies’ comes from; and I’m rooted in jazz chords and an eternal love for ethereal sounds. We all have completely different tastes, but these differences help us define our music.” The intricacy of their individual layers culminates in an astonishingly coherent product, which works so that each component of their sound complements every other, rather than fighting for space. Ed agrees: “It’s an interesting juxtaposition with our clean, angular and often-effected guitar parts, which is what gives us the bulk of our sounds as opposed to just using distortion. With each new song our sound is changing and developing.”


So what’s next? Well, for both Ninetails and local hotshots Vasco Da Gama, a crucial moment in their careers will be supporting Errors on February 11th at the Kazimier, and it’s a stage that they’re both more than ready for. “It’s obviously a huge gig for us. I’ve been listening to Errors for time, so to support them so early on in our formation is a most auspicious piece of luck,” states Phil, modestly. Jacob King (Drums) agrees: “We’re not expecting a breakthrough, we’re just doing our thing. I think our Three Trapped Tigers show last year was our big arrival on the scene, but the Errors show will surely be our best.” Phil concludes by saying, We’ve got a few releases scheduled for the coming months. It’s going to be a pivotal year for us as we work towards a first album.” So keep an eye on the stage for these virtuosos, as not only are they lucky to be part of such a vibrant scene, but we’re lucky to have them gracing ours.


Rawdon Fever will be released on February 27th via Superstar Destroyer Records 

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