Thursday, 17 November 2011

Interview: We Are The Ocean

We Are The Ocean are the latest British band about to try and conquer the  USA. Before they want on stage to support The Blackout at Portsmouth Pyramids, we had a chat about their secret plans for Slam Dunk Festival, why they don't scream so much any more, and the British music scene they are (temporarily) leaving behind...

How are you finding touring with The Blackout and Canterbury?

Jack Spence (bass): We’ve managed to hit Hull, Lincoln and Edinburgh. We’ve never been to Lincoln before and Edinburgh we went to ages ago. But it’s good to do some venues that aren’t just London, Manchester, Birmingham.
Alfie Scully (guitar): You can really tell the people coming to show appreciate the package.
Jack: Lincoln last night was probably the best crowd. They’re thirsty for it because they don’t get that many shows. Whereas in London they’ve probably got another show to go to the next day.
Alfie: Also there’s been no tour awkwardness, no getting to know each other because we’ve all toured with the bands before.
Jack: It’s a reunion tour!

You’re all British bands on this tour, but are there any other British acts you admire at the moment?

Alfie and Jack in unison: Loads!
Alfie: Deaf Havana, TwinAtlantic, Straight Lines, who are a really good Welsh band.
Jack: There are loads of bands from Wales. They’re lucky, they have the cream of the musical crop. Canterbury are one of my favourite bands . The UK scene is really thriving at the minute. You’ve got You Me At Six at the top, who are making it more accessible and helping everybody out.
Alfie: It’s a very close knit community.

You’ve toured with a lot of bands, who has been your favourite?

Jack: There are different ways to answer this. I think the band we liked the most and listened to the most were Thrice and Underoath. They were tours when every night, you want to watch the bands.
Alfie: There’s those tours and then there’s the tours where you havnt necessarily first heard of the band but then you meet them and it’s mindblowing. They turn out to be really nice guys and you stay friends with them.
Jack: Then there’s the ones where you just get along with the bands so well. Like a year ago, we did a tour with Mayday Parade and they were just the nicest guys. So there are different reasons but weve been really lucky with every tour we’ve had. There’s no band we havn’t got on with.

You’ve also played a lot of festivals, which has been the most memorable?

Alfie: Reading Festival 2011. Brilliant festival.
Jack: It’s the biggest thing we’d done
Alfie: It was a good head-turner, that we were going to open the main stage.
Jack: Our second album was out, we’d had a great tour and so that was just the cherry on the cake, right at the end of festival season.

You’ve become regulars at Slam Dunk Festival now, will you be back next year?

Alfie: Ooh I don’t know, they’ve had us for every one so far. I think now, if they we’re to not put us on, we’d take it personally.
Jack: I think we should do a secret set. Beacsue if we’re announced everyone will be like ‘ah they’re playing again?’ But I kind of want to see how many times we can do it now. Every year we climb up the bill slowly so if we keep doing maybe we’ll headline the main stage and we can say ‘right that’s it, never again!’
Alfie: Even if we don’t play next year we should just demand that our music videos are played throughout the sit.
Jack: There has to be a We Are The Ocean presence, whether you love us or hate us.

You have just signed with Side One DummyRecords in the US, so what are your 
plans for conquering America?

Alfie: Well we can’t just go over and start dictating. We need to make friends first and lure them in.
Jack: We’ll use out Brit charm and accents. We just want to get over there now. We we’re supposed to go over there in December (supporting Dance Gavin Dance), but that’s been cancelled.
Alfie: But the album is on iTunes over there at the moment and the physical release will be at the beginning of next year.
Jack: We want to branch out and take this album over there and see how it goes. And the way to do that is touring. But America is so much bigger than the UK so it’s impossible to hit everywhere.
Alfie: It will be like starting again, it’ll be wicked.
Jack: Exactly, in a little cheap van just trotting along the highway until they’re sick of us.

You’ve been to America before though right?

Jack: We recorded our debut album in Baltimore and then we went to New Jersey and did BamboozleFestival. We didn’t get paid and we weren’t announced because we didn’t have the right visas to get paid. So it was just a little favour for our manager while we were out there.
Alfie: It was all a very ‘under the table’ type thing. It was a really good experience though we got a surprisingly good reaction considering nobody knew who we were or what time we were playing.

The album ‘Go Now & Live’ has been out for a while now. Are you pleased with the reaction it has received?

Jack: The whole campaign leading up to know has been more than we expected. The reviews were good, the old fans liked it and new fans came.
Alfie: It was ‘the difficult second album’. And you’re always going to have you naysayers but a lot of the feedback online and at shows has been good stuff.
Jack: It’s always hard because nobody wants to rehash the same album but at the same time you don’t want to do a new albums and all your old fans don’t like it. So we had to find a sound we were happy with but it was still the band.
Alfie: We always had that worry that people weren’t gonna get it. But we like it so we don’t care!

There’s a bit less screaming from Dan (joint lead vocals) on the new album compared to your debut ‘Cutting Our Teeth’, was that a conscious decision?

Jack: It wasn’t like we sat down and said ‘no more screaming!’
Alfie: No and if you watch the live set you’ll still see Dan going crazy with pure aggression and energy. We wanted to keep but harness the albility and use it as a musical dynamic and have more melody in the songs.
Jack: I think Dan wants to challenge his own voice as well.
Alfie: We just wanted to raise the bar with the second album and try something new.

What have you got planned next?

Alfie: In December we maybe want to write some more songs and see where it can go.
Jack: And then in the new year, we want to get touring. But we don’t want to over saturate anywhere so we want to get a nice cycle of UK, Europe, America, Australia going.
Alfie: We have been touring the UK for a very long time now
Jack: It’s worked well for us, getting our name out, but we’re at the point now where we can’t do it as much anymore because people are going to get sick of us.

Are you nervous about making album number three?

Alfie: I wouldn’t say we’re nervous. I’ve found that practising and writing with the band has been the most fun it has ever been.
Jack: And because we’re starting really early this time it’s a lot more fun when there’s no stress. When it comes to we’re going to the studio in a week and we’ve only got four sings, that’s not as fun. But as we’ve already started writing it’s going to be fun, not much pressure at all. 

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