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After their recent show at Effenaar, Eindhoven (NL), we got the chance to have a chat with Dale Tanner and Luke Holmes of Ocean Grove. Since this would be their first time touring Europe and seeing that their music is quite diverse and experimental, I jumped at the chance to interview them. You can find the entire transcript below!
Jared: So, to start things off, have you guys played outside Australia before this month? And if so, how was the experience?
Ocean Grove: This is our first time playing outside of Australia, really. We have played New Zealand once but that is in a ways an extension of Australia so we don’t believe that really counts! It taught us how to tackle International customs, but outside of that the shows were somewhat like those back home. So, we’re pretty amped about being on the other side of thew world for the first time as a band and as people!
J: What do you expect of the European crowds as opposed to the more familiar Australian ones?
OG: I think we are expecting some strange looks haha, people not quite grasping what we are bringing to the table at the beginning. Australia has had some time to adapt to our way of going about our music so we’re expecting our music and performance to come as a surprise to the European crowds, but that’s not a band thing! We have heard many anecdotes of crazy, energetic European crowds trumping the crowds we get back home, so we’re hoping the crowds live up to that expectation!
J: You just came in from Slam Dunk, where you headlined the Rock Sound Breakout stage. Was it a good experience?
OG: Headlining the Rock Sound Breakout Stage was a massive opportunity and in honesty a privilege that not many international bands are afforded on their first time, so we were excited for the get go. We found our time slot, being later in the evening each day, was competing with the bigger headliners like The Bronx and Enter Shikari and this meant we really had to work hard to earn every spectator, and I guess that’s where we usually thrive- when we have to overcome the odds and be a bit of an underdog. We think it was a huge success because we could feel momentum building from the second and into the third show, with word getting around a bit. Each night we found ourselves playing in front of people who chose to be there, instead of the many others stages on offer, and that was the cool part. Everyone in the room was either singing or grooving along and the atmosphere was amazing.
J: Is there a big difference in preparation between a festival headlining set and opening a smaller show like tonight?
OG: Not at all! We have always said we like to approach shows the exact same way, with the same mindset every time, and that is treating it like it’s the last show we might ever play, to leave everything you have up on the stage and be relentless. So in that way, whether big or small, we are always in control of our performance and aren’t too phased by external factors like crowd size. That being said, we are very much a psychological band, and if the crowd are getting into it more than usual, then that usually gives us an extra 1% haha.
J: I’m pretty sure you guys heard about the attack that happened at the Ariana Grande concert in Manchester. Did you notice anything differently due to the attack or did you find yourselves acting differently?
OG: I think it was mostly a bit confronting seeing police and armed forces walking the streets in London fully geared up with machine guns in hand and on high alert when we arrived. However I don’t think we acted any differently, because although very sad and devastating, you can’t let these things dictate the way the approach life and the outside world, because i guess that’s when these terrorists truly win. Music is a great antidote to chaos in the world, through uniting people and giving them a voice, and it was pretty special coming over to a country that has seen some horrific things in recent times and be part of the reason bringing them together celebrating the good things in life.
J: The tour kicks off today together with Beartooth and Sylar. Have you met either of those bands before, or are they new to you?
OG: We met Sylar on day one of Slam Dunk as they were playing the same stage as us, and we got along like a house on fire. It’s the first time in the UK and Europe for both us bands so we’re sharing in the same novelties and experiences for the first time which is cool. We haven’t met Beartooth yet, but I’m sure we will get a chance to hang out tonight!
J: Do you feel like this set of bands is a good combination, and why?
OG: I reckon it is a great combination because every band is doing something different in their own right, putting their own spin on heavy music. When you have a bunch of bands doing something new it fosters a more open-minded thinking in the audience and hopefully helps it all translate a little better!
J: When going through your music I found that it’s pretty diverse, which I definitely don’t dislike. Who or what is your music influenced by?
OG: The diversity stems down to the number of different influences that we all have. Although there is some crossover, not any two members in the band have very similar tastes in music. We have influences spanning from childhood to now, from thrash and nu metal, right through to electronica, shoe gaze, hip hop, grunge and Brit pop. Our studio member, Matt Kopp AKA Running Touch, is heavily based in the electronic/EDM world and so when he writes music for us, it carries with it many of the nuances of that scene. The reason for such diversity I guess also spawns from our urge to be experimental, which we have always seen ourselves as being, and flirt with as many different ideas as possible in the one release without it seeming too random haha!
J: Your newest album, The Rhapsody Tapes, landed you a fifth spot on the ARIA Chart. How did it feel to reach that spot?
OG: This was a monumental moment for us as a band. Literally ticking the box to a long term goal of the band, somewhat sooner than we had expected we would achieve it too which made it all the more sweeter. This accolade is widely recognised within Australia no matter what age you are or how involved in the music scene you are. So I guess for us it was also cool finally having a benchmark or kind of point of reference for people who don’t really follow us to get a understand where were at as band and give it all a bit of context really. At the end of the day we landed that spot because people went out and bought our album and to know that it has been anticipated and received well is a huge complement and great feeling.
J: Your site said that this album was written in a bedroom. Why did you guys feel like this was the right place?
OG: This is where our drummer, Sam Bassal, who is a record producer, records all his bands, so there was no need to mess with the formula and it meant we had 24-hour access to his pantry! Sam recorded our previous Black Label EP and he did such a good job that we were confident he could achieve just as good if not a much better result on The Rhapsody Tapes given he had developed so much. It also allowed us to have complete creative freedom over our work as there was no outside influence like an unknown producer or label dictating what we were doing.
J: On your previously mentioned 2015 release Black Label, you managed to find ex-Northlane vocalist Adrian Fitipaldes and Young Lions vocalist Zachary Britt for some guest vocals. Where did the ideas for these collaborations start?
OG: Adrian popped up as a possible idea at the time worth the ask. It was a heavy part we envisioned for him, the heaviest part on the EP arguably and we knew he had the potential for some gnarly vocals that were shown in Northlane’s earliest material. So when he said yes we knew it was going to be the right fit. Zach is a long time friend and we have always admired him for being a true rock musician with a stand alone voice. We had mentioned the idea to his maybe 12 months before the recording and he was on board straight away. He wrote the section himself pretty much on the spot in the studio and did a pretty amazing job so we were wrapped!
J: In 2014, Matthew Kopp left the band – or rather, became a studio member. What were the reasons behind this change?
OG: As mentioned, he is now heavily involved in the electronic dance music scene under the alias of Running Touch and is now quite successful. He plays most the mainstream festivals across Australia. In 2014 it became evident he could no longer tour full time with us when shows for this side project were beginning to conflict. So we all decided the best move was for Matt to remain as studio member, very much a part of the band behind the scenes, and pursue his other passions in music at the same time.
J: Where would you like to see the band in the future world?
OG: To be honest there isn’t too much more we are expecting, as we have essentially achieved almost everything we ever set out to do when we were starting out as a band. Once we hopefully once day make it to America all the original goals will have been achieved and from that point everything is pure bonus. We have no idea what the future holds and we’re just taking it day by day and not getting ahead of ourselves and just enjoying everything that comes our way!