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We Are The Ocean - Interview

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So I was lucky enough to catch up with Jack Spence from We Are The Ocean on their last UK tour date in Birmingham, just before they set off to Europe for the last part of their tour and here’s the interview below.  

So how does it feel to be back on the road again in the UK?

“Back on home soil, yeah it’s great, we’ve kind of missed it for about 18 months to focus on other territories.  It’s always fantastic to tour your home town. It’s our biggest territory and you just feel a little bit more comfortable going round the city’s you know better. The shows are always great as well, so it’s been really good to get back into it. Just kicking things off again, we are just going to keep coming back. We come back with Lostprophets in November and then a head line tour in February, so it’s just kind of like we are still here, we are back! Get stuck in again. It’s been great, a really good tour.”

Who were your influences as a band and especially for the new album?

“With regards to the new album we generally listen to 80’s and 90’s stadium bands The Beatles, Foo Fighters, The Eagles and other bands like that.  Bands that write epic rock tunes, not really diverting into sub genres too much. But generally we don’t focus too much on one or two bands or songs, you just kind pick things up like good musical ideas wherever, but The Beatles, Eagles and Fleetwood Mac and bands like that are what stemmed  some of the songs on the new album.”

How has the new album gone done with fans especially as it is a bit of a different sound?

“I think, in regards to the previous albums,  this one is actually the smaller transition from the 2nd (album).  I think the big jump was between our 1st and 2nd album where we went from apparently ‘post – hardcore’ to just rock. So I think I can understand fans not liking that change, but generally anyone that liked ‘Go now and Live’ will like our new album. Generally a lot of people understand that a band will mature, will try new things out and progress, they just go with it. You always get a few people who hate change and they just want the same songs, but we have been really really happy with the response.”

Each of your albums has had a slightly different sound, especially 'Maybe Today, Maybe Tomorrow'. Is this something you wanted to happen or was this the evolution of the band?

“The evolution of the band is a good way to put it. I guess we recorded our first album very early on in the bands career and we were just getting to know each other as musicians and getting comfortable writing together.  So with that album we were a lot more influenced by our pears bands and what people were doing at the time. As we got more comfortable we could branch out and find our sound. Which I think with ‘Go Now and Live’ was a big stepping stone to that and now with ‘Maybe Today, Maybe Tomorrow’ we have found our sound, found our comfort zone, we have found our way of writing. We definitely don’t sit down and say this albums going to go like this and that is going to sound like that. It’s just been a natural progression; it’s the most cliché saying ever! But it’s just getting comfortable as musicians, with each other and getting to the sound we wanted.”

Would you say the new album is one of your favourites, out of all the albums you’ve written?

“I would … I feel like its choosing a favourite child. We are proud of everything we have written, but I think just in regards to our and my personal musical taste. I don’t listen to much ‘Screamo’  or ‘post – hardcore’ or anything like that, so with some of the early stuff, even though I still love it, still love playing it and listening to it. It’s not so much what I listen too aside from our own band. The new album is something I feel I would love to listen to, if it was another band.

Why did you call the album ‘Maybe Today, Maybe Tomorrow’?

“It was originally a lyric, that became a song title and we always wanted a kind of positive and hopeful message from the album. All the lyrics were generally quite positive in the songs , we just thought it summed up the ethos of the album like ‘Maybe Today, Maybe Tomorrow’ you don’t know what’s going to happen, it gets better, shit goes wrong but there’s another day. Kind of all that stuff, we went through a bunch of names to the same affect and ‘Maybe Today, Maybe Tomorrow’ fit the purpose.”

How long did the writing and recording proses take for the new album?

“It’s hard to pin point, we just write songs off the cuff, on tour sometimes, as you get little parts from years ago come into play. I would say we probably spent a year working on the songs, demoing. We spent a lot more time in our local studio re – demoing, re – recording, tweaking, more than we had done on previous album’s and then we went into , a week of pre-production and then four and a bit weeks of recording . It was about a year in the making to actually get the finished product”

Do you prefer the writing and recording process or the shows and touring?

“I mean they are very different entirely. Recording is probably the most fun and the most special part of being in a band, without sounding lame.  Not that it’s special seeing people singing your words. When you’re in the studio seeing an album come together it’s just really exciting and I think that just about pips live shows, but they are both fantastic. It’s just things to do and we love it all.”

Describe you band in 3 words.

“Big. Rock. Tunes.”

How does it feel to be a part of the British music scene at this point in time with the likes of you, Don Broco, Twin Atlantic and LTA all getting noticed and air play?

“Yeah, it feels really good to be band in that scene. I think British rock is definitely coming along quite strongly at the minute. I feel ‘You me at Six’ have kind of been at the helm of that in recent years.    There is a lot more main stream radio and TV stations that are getting a bit on board with it like Radio 1, who have been really good to us. Which I think is helping to propel it into the main stream. We are stoked to be in that group.”

Well it’s quite an achievement.

“Definitely, it definitely is! It’s just nice to have songs on the radio. It opens doors to whole new crowd. Like I said the kind of bands we listen to are, not to say they are pop rock bands but they have been made accessible, like the ‘Foo Fighters’ who still write heavy tunes but they are somehow accessible to people who might not normally like the sort of music and I feel we want to go down a similar path were someone who listens to R&B may be like ‘that’s alright, that’s a jam’ and just like it. Definitely there have been a lot of doors opened in the rock scene in general, we have been fortunate, Twin Atlantic and Lower than Atlantis have been equally as fortunate and are really doing well from it. It’s just good to have that platform to reach different people opposed to just being boxed into one niche in a way.”

Would you say your fan base has grown because of the availability of your band?

“Definitely, when we started out there were primarily, I would say young female fans, which is by no means a bad thing but I have notices there were a lot of them.  But since the Radio 1 exposure, there have been more varied people at our shows, these being more guy, more adults and 30 year old girls. Which is great, we like playing to anyone and everyone but to see the mix is kind of nice, when you know that your music can reach different people. It’s always hard to say, it’s a bit of a mixed time for the band at the minute going from a 5 to a 4 piece. I don’t know where our fan base is, but it’s definitely doing pretty well at the minute.”

How has the dynamic of the band changed after Dan (Browns) left the band?

“In terms of writing not a whole bunch, the main change is the live show, one thing we said was the way the new songs were sounding and the kind of shows we wanted to be playing are less suited to having a front man doing all the stage diving and things like that, it’s more like a groove than banging your head kind of music. So I feel we are in a kind of transitional period at the minute where obviously people aren’t used to it and they might find it weird, but I think as people get to know the new songs, it will make sense. But I think we have adapted really well. It’s nice I’ve got space now, I’ve got a monitor , I have a quarter more room! I think it’s definitely changed; some people will miss the kind of front man in the pit, while other people might just enjoy it because they can stand there and get properly into the music. It’s kind of a double edged sword really.”

So have you had a favourite show on this tour (UK)?

“Last night in Cardiff was really fun because a stage diver/crowd surfer knocked some water onto the power, blew the power which to start with was shits – vile but then Liam busted out an acoustic guitar and we were all at the front of the stage singing with no mics, well there was not any electricity. Singing ‘Chin up Son’ which is an acoustic song off the new album, and it was just a ‘what can we do?’ kind of moment.  We didn’t know if anyone would know it, but mostly everyone there we singing back. It was just a really nice moment. Then the power came back on literally as the song finished and it was like ‘that looked planed’. But that was really good. We went over to Ireland and had a few headlining shows over there, which was really fun. Just because we have never really been there, I think a lot of people were ready for it. There were a lot of people who have been waiting a while to come and see us. We went to Dublin once four years ago, so a lot of people had been waiting since then.  They really got involved, but all the shows have been fantastic.”

How was Warped Tour?

“Warped Tour was an … experience. A great experience, a hard experience. It was fantastic, definitely a to do box checked off. I think it was really quite a humbling tour. It was also our first tour as a four piece, so that was the main honing in on the live act period.  It was just really humbling because we were doing our own merch, setting up all our equipment and waking up at 8am because you find out what time you are on stage on the morning of each show.  There’s a lot of hard work but it makes you more grateful, because if we sold a decent amount of merch we would feel better for it and we would walk around playing people our music telling them to come check us out. We had only been to America once before, so if we had a big crowd again, I don’t know, it kind of feels like we earned it a little bit more than normal. Aside from that there is the social expect, like all the tours were a tight knit family. Playing sports together, hanging out together, so it’s probably one of my favourite ever tours. But it is hard.”

Would you do it again?


So what does the future hold for We are the Ocean?

“No time off apparently, we have been told. Like I said we are going from this to the Lostprophets UK tour run, then our biggest headline tour to date in the UK in February.  Go back to America, go back to Europe. Just pushing the album. There will be new singles and videos coming out towards the end of the year. Yeah just basically getting the sound out there, definitely touring a lot in the UK because we have missed it, but Europe, Ireland and America are territories we want to keep hitting as they are picking up quite nicely. Then it’s just writing, it’s just a constant cycle really, you write, you tour, you tour, you tour, you write, you tour. But no it’s good and there’s Christmas of course! That’s our next day off.”

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