Shoegaze duo Ninth Paradise chat to Roisin Kelleher about their music, their influences, what makes a good album and their future plans.

I got the chance to interview the amazing Ninth Paradise, a modern shoegaze band with real passion, ambition and charm. Here is the interview. Have a read and listen to their songs, it’s worth your while.

LTW: Where did the name come from?

Jack: Liam came up with that. Go on Liam.

Liam: I just thought it was quite a cool word. We just went through the dictionary and we liked the idea of having paradise in there. It wasn’t anything too meaningful.

Jack: We want our music to take you to ninth paradise!

LTW: How successful would you like to be?

Jack: I want it to be as successful as it can be without having to compromise.

Liam: We like getting compliments and stuff but we wanna keep complete control. We don’t really care about money and stuff.

Jack: We’d like to live happily, and live comfortably doing music, and one day eventually, if we get big it would be quite good, but if not we don’t mid really.

LTW: What do you think makes a great song?

Liam: Time signatures! (laughs)

Jack: I suppose we try to come up with something that sounds a bit different. We wanna avoid stereotypes and we wanna avoid coming up with something that sounds generic. We tried to come up with something a bit weird and different but which doesn’t stray too far away from catchy songs which you can still get into.

Liam: Our songwriting process starts with a three hour jam and we come up with loads of stuff and eventually it will form a song.

Jack: Vocals are added at the very last stage so we have a complete song and then come up with the vocals.

LTW: What do you think makes a great album?

Liam: Something different. Ambient.

Jack: yeah, but something that fits together as well. Something that has the right balance between variation and something that can run. We’d never want all tracks to sound the same, but at the same time, we think it’s important an album has its own sound.

Liam: I think we’ve built up a good sound that people seem to like. Finally, after many attempts!

LTW: I love the cover art for the album! Who designed that?

Liam: That was me.

LTW: What inspired it?

Liam: It was a photo I took in Colchester zoo. It’s the underground tunnel where sea lions swim. I think you can just about make out a sea lion in the corner of the shot somewhere. I just put it on Photoshop and messed it up a lot, enhancing the colours and stuff. That’s generally our approach to artwork. Now that we’ve told you what the picture was it makes sense but it kinda looks like a weird… it was really sunny so the light on top of the water gives a really odd effect. I caught the women in the jumper at just the right time, sorta half turning around. It’s quite a cool photo.

LTW: What are your plans for the year ahead?

Jack: New material. That’s what we’re working on at the moment.

Liam: And finding a new member!

Jack: yeah. We’re basically working on about 8 songs and we plan to pick the best 4 or 5 and the release that as an EP, because we did think with our previous album, looking back, that maybe one or two tracks we didn’t especially like, and we don’t think we’ll put anything out in the future where we feel like that. We wanna really believe in everything and we want it to last.

Liam: We’ve actually started working on that now. We’ve started three tracks. We’ve got drums, guitar and bass for three tracks. We’ve sorta written about 7 or 8 finished ideas. One of the ideas is quite cool. It’s got three time signature changes.

Jack: Yeah, and also we are looking for people to form a full band so we can play live because at the moment we can only record with just the two of us.

Liam: On our recordings there’s often about a good ten instruments so we do wanna find people to form a full live band with us.

Jack: It’s quite hard to find people on the same wavelength as us. I’m sure they’re out there somewhere. Ninth Paradise is our fourth or fifth attempt at forming a band.

LTW: If you could have any superpower, what would you each have?

Liam: I would have invisibility.

Jack: I would have the ability to clone myself so we could put a full band together.

LTW: How important do you think image is to music?

Jack: Personally, I don’t think it’s important at all. I don’t care, but I know it is important to a lot of people. Even some of our friends who are musicians are quite image conscious. They actually judge bands based on their image. They maybe wouldn’t like a band just because of how they look, whereas me really don’t care.

Liam: if you’re good at your instrument, it’s not about what you look like.

LTW: Where would you say most of your inspiration comes from?

Jack: ’90s indie stuff. Early Byrds stuff. We’re quite into The Sunshine Factory. They’ve commented on our twitter and sort of helped us with promotion which is good. Although we are influenced by certain bands, we do try and put our own spin on it.

Liam: We use weird time signatures rather than just 1 2 3 4. We like to mix it up a bit and incorporate different genres. Generally, we listen to different things. We both love Queens Of The Stone Age.

LTW: What do you think of the state of music at the moment?

Jack: I actually think there’s a lot of good music out there if you’re prepared to look for it. I think most people just listen to radio one and think music isn’t that good at the moment but if you dig a bit deeper there’s loads of stuff out there that you can find.

Liam: Basically, just ignore the stuff that’s in the charts. If you look for new bands that are just starting up, that’s where you get the really good music.

Jack: A lot of people do say that music today is not what it used to be but that’s just mainstream music.

Liam: If you actually try to find bands you like then you will find bands you really like. Like at festivals, if you go to, say, the BBC introducing stage, you’ll find really good new bands

Jack: it’s hard to get big nowadays because there are so many bands out there.

Liam: We are quite lucky that we’re kind of able to afford to promote ourselves a bit. We’re not on massive radio or anything. We are on German radio!

Well, that’s where The Beatles had their first hit! So not a bad place to start at all!

So, there you go, don’t they sound lovely? Check them out for yourselves! And, if you’re in the Norwich area and a keen instrumentalist, they are on the lookout for new members as they said!

Interview by Roisin Kelleher. You can read more from Roisin on LTW here.

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