Paisley shirts, stunning celestial sounds that evoke sixties psychedelic-rock and emerging from the cauldron that is the Hampshire psychedelic scene spearheaded by the likes of Melt Dunes, Is Bliss, Dead Rabbits, Barbudo and Drug Store Romeos comes Portsmouth quintet, Number 9 who create a sonic odyssey of kaleidoscopic psychedelic rock at its absolute purest.
Returning to the juggernaut of a festival that is Victorious, this time as a full band, we caught up with the outfit ahead of their set on the Saturday where they will be gracing the Seaside Stage – arguably one of the most scenic stages for any festival in the UK with a spectacular side drop of the cruise-liner laden Solent and the same stage psychedelic PO contemporaries Melt Dunes and Is Bliss have warped minds at over the last couple of years.
Your name and sound imply that you’re fans of The Beatles as well as other 60s psych rock? Would that be an accurate statement and also any other acts that have helped inspire the Number 9 sound?
Yes! 100%! We adore the 60s culture, sound and general vibe. Have you seen our shirts??! Bands like The Kinks, Pink Floyd and The Zombies tickle our fancy. However more modern bands have also inspired our music, with the likes of The Brian Jonestown Massacre, The Verve (20 odd years ago in modern to us!) and more recently Temples.
Our name comes from a Beatles track ‘Revolution 9‘ and it’s absolute nonsense so we thought it fits perfectly. Every time someone asks ‘why are you called Number 9?’ It’s been tempting to reply ‘because there’s 9 of us!!’ While pointing at my head in a deranged manner and walking off muttering to myself…
You’ve emerged from an ever-growing underground psychedelic scene in Portsmouth following the likes of Is Bliss, Melt Dunes, Barbudo – is LSD laced in Portsmouth tap water or something? Any reason you think as to why lots of new, exciting, psychedelic sounding bands are coming from the depth of the city?
I’m not sure, but it’s great! There’s some really good music in Portsmouth at the moment! I know the stuff we write is a kind of escapism, maybe they’re feeling the same? There’s definitely something going on though. If it’s the waterworks enlightening us all then I strongly encourage everyone to stay hydrated!
You formed as a duo some time ago but now have a full-line up. How have you found the ‘evolution of Number 9 within the band’ and has that format changed the band creatively or is it a case of ‘original members’ do the writing and the rest learn the parts for your live show?
What tends to happen with the songwriting is, myself or George will get the bare bones of a song together with chords and vocals etc and record a rough demo at home. If the band like it we build on it and add parts together till it’s finished.
This is what we always wanted back in the duo days, a full band. We earnt a kind of telepathy as a duo but it was difficult trying to freak people out with an acoustic guitar! Now we have a bloody a Mellotron! I can honestly say it’s surpassed expectation and we’re extremely happy and have all gelled, some too well…
You’ve played Victorious Festival before as well as Portsmouth Psych Festival and pretty much sold out your headline show at The Dockyard Club recently for your EP launch – any personal favourite shows so far?
That EP launch night couldn’t have gone any better! Such a good atmosphere from fans and friends alike and the Velvet Candy DJs with their authentic 60s light show along with playing our own tunes I don’t see how it could. Best night so far. Though Portsmouth Psych Fest is a close second, we went down a storm and we saw some good quality bands!
Any new-ish bands currently on the Number 9 iTunes/Spotify playlist?
We normally dig deep looking for old psych records but there are a few recent bands that have caught our eyes (ears). Babe Rainbow have some real hippy vibes, we had tickets to see them in Southampton but their tour got cancelled. We were a bit gutted to say the least. Levitation Room from the states came through town recently. Their tunes are pretty tasty. PAUW also have some lovely Mellotron melodies. They brought out an amazing album a couple of years ago but have gone a bit quiet recently.
Collective top five favourite tracks of all time?
Ahh. We’ve just got over the eternal Beatles vs Stones debate. It wasn’t easy but here’s our list.
The Stone Roses – I am the Resurrection
The Kinks – Waterloo Sunset
The Small Faces – Tin Soldier
The Beatles – Tomorrow Never Knows
The Rolling Stones – Gimme Shelter
Can we expect any more material from Number 9 in the not too distant future?
We’re talking about it at the moment but our main focus, for now, is writing new tracks. We’ve got so many ideas in our head we just need to get them out there and have a massive jam. Another EP is on the cards, just not right now! No doubt we’ll be hibernating into the studio once the sun disappears…