Thursday 27 September 2012

We Are The Ocean // Interview & Live Review

It is a new era for We Are The Ocean. The recent departure of vocalist Dan Brown has seen the band return as a four-piece with a brand new album and sold out tour; not bad going eh?  In what feels like forever since the band toured the UK they hit Manchester’s Deaf Institute for another sold out show.

Est.1987 headed down to check out their live set and caught up with the band pre-show to chat about the new record, the progression of the band, oh and Lord Of The Rings soundtrack.

Hiya guys. You’ve been on tour for a few nights now- how’s it gone so far playing these more intimate venues?
JACK [Spence, bass]- It’s good yeah. It’s really nice because we haven’t done the UK in years so it’s nice to come back to smaller venues, a lot of which we’ve done before. We like the big shows as well, but there’s something about these sweaty shows. This venue’s really cool.

After this you’re heading out to tour mainland Europe; are you looking forward to it?
TOM [Whittaker, drums]- Yeah, well there’s the language barrier…
J- But yeah, Europe’s really picking up for us; we haven’t been in the UK because we’ve been in America and Europe. It’s always a bit more special when people who don’t really speak English sing along. The UK shows you know what you’re going to get, but European shows it’s a bit of fun turning up…
T- Seeing what happens!

We Are The Ocean's Liam Cromby on stage in Manchester 

The new album “Maybe Today, Maybe Tomorrow” just came out; how have the new songs gone down so far?
T- Yeah. I mean we’re not playing too many new songs because we want to save it for our tour in February, but we do four songs from the new album and they’ve been going down really well.

You’ve also been doing some instore sessions meeting fans and Liam and Alfie also play an acoustic set. Do you feel a bit left out?
J- [laughing] We get to sit in the corner and watch them play but we do the signing after. Sometimes we do full band acoustic stuff, but we want to keep that few and far between. The signings have been good though. That’s the thing, it’s all about the new album so people have been telling us songs they’ve heard already and stuff like that. It’s nice to talk about that.

Alfie Scully at The Deaf Institute
Download was the first time you played as the new line-up. Was it nerve wracking and have you settled into playing live with the new line-up?
T- Yeah, Download was the first time. We kind of jumped in at the deep end with that show because literally a few days before was when it was announced [that Dan was leaving], and we’d been in the studio for six weeks or something so we hadn’t really been able to rehearse as much as we wanted.
J- That was a really bad idea [laughing]
T- We rehearsed like two days before Download. It was a bad idea, but we knew where we wanted to be and were just like we’ll go out and do the show; err, it was a good show…[laughing]
J-  …it was a show. We got through it. But a few days after we went to America to do the Warped Tour for about six weeks, and that was playing every day so yeah by the end of that we were ok.

To fans who don’t see you as the same band, I guess every band progresses and changes and it’s about thinking forwards and the old records are still there to be enjoyed? Is that how you see it with Dan leaving?
T- I think we’re still the same band, and still playing a lot of our older material. Kids can still come to the shows and hear the songs that they’ve heard before.
J- I mean I think there was more of a jump from out first to second album. The first album was kind of us finding our feet and was a lot heavier. The second one we found our sound a bit more. So the transition between the second and this one has been less noticeable and natural I think, even with Dan leaving. I don’t see why anyone that doesn’t like the second album wouldn’t like the third. It feels like more of a natural progression. 

"Maybe Today, Maybe Tomorrow" the new album
Working on the album this time around; did you go about the writing/recording process differently?
T- It was a bit longer.
J- We are slowly becoming perfectionists as opposed to “that’ll do”. 
T- A lot of the songs we re-wrote and re-worked.
J- It’s always really been the four of us though.
T- We just wanted to make it all flow and for us to be happy with every part of it, whereas in the past we’ve kind of settled.
J- Usually we are on quite a tight time limit, especially between touring it’s harder to get into the writing persona. But, with this album we started writing straight after the second album so we had enough time. 

The album has been really well received; Zane Lowe said your single “Bleed” was the best thing you’ve ever done. Is it reassuring to have that? Was there ever a point where you kind of worried how it would work without Dan?
T- I don’t think we were worried…
J- The thing is, we always like our stuff [laughing]. So the first credible person that isn’t in our band then it’s like sweet, it’s not just us. We were pretty confident that it was the best album we’d done. We were confident in the direction of it and that the songs would justify the band line-up change. So yeah, especially when Zane Low and Annie Mac genuinely like it and aren’t just playing it for the sake of it, it’s great. But even outside of Radio1 looking at reviews…
T- There hasn’t been a lot of negative. It’s a progression and I think people can hear that.

We Are The Ocean play the sold out Deaf Institute 
The title “Maybe Today, Maybe Tomorrow”- what’s the meaning behind that?
T- I think it’s about kind of s**t happens, but it kind of doesn’t matter because tomorrow’s a new day.
J- A lot of songs on the album start with a negative vibe and then by the last chorus-bridge it picks up to a positive note at the end and generally it’s quite a positive album. So yeah, the title just summed up that it doesn’t matter what today brings, tomorrow will be better, you can begin again. I liked “S**t happened, but it gets better”, that’s what I wanted to call it [laughing].

So you’ve got the album out, you’re touring for the next month or so. What’s next? You’re supporting Lost Prophets in November, right?
T- Yeah, we’re going to focus on the UK a bit more. A lot of people in the UK haven’t seen us since we came back as a four-piece. And, it’s kind of proving to those people that maybe doubted us; we are happy with what we’re doing and as strong as we ever have been.
J- We’ve got a headline tour in February as well that we mentioned earlier.

And finally, what have you guys been listening to that we should check out?
[Both laughing]
J- The worst!
T- This song by The Lonely Island
J- No, don’t say that.
T- “Jack Sparrow” is the song
J- They’re a parody band
T- Basically when we put that song on in the van Liam [Crosby, vocals] just doesn’t stop laughing.
J- But…credible music; Of Monsters & Men is the tour tune which we’re over playing, but generally we listen to lots of, I’m going to call it “dad rock”; Beatles, Toto, Eagles, Fleetwood Mac….Lord of The Rings soundtrack driving through Buxton.
T- Jurassic Park soundtrack, loving it!

You guys are just too cool!
J- We know [laughing]
T- Don’t tell people this
J- Yeah, can you just say the credible ones, like the Beatles

[So, if you hear We Are The Ocean debuting a new repertoire of songs on their February tour [taken namely from Lord Of The Rings, Jurassic Park and Ghostbusters soundtracks] you can credit us, as it was our suggestion! No, really! haha]

And here's what happened when We Are The Ocean took to the stage...

Lead vocalist Liam Cromby
As soon as We Are The Ocean burst on to the stage that they show they are back and mean business, appropriately kicking things off with new album track “Machine”. Hard hitting, the song soars out into the venue, definitely making a statement. We Are The Ocean are back, better than ever, playing a selection from throughout their back catalogue including “These Days I Have Nothing” and “All This Has To End” (taken from their debut album). The crowd revel in every minute of the show; blending old and new there is something for everyone here tonight. And if they don’t already own the album then the taster tonight is as good an incentive as any to buy it as new tracks shine through.  Singles “Bleed” and “The Road” are mature and effortlessly catchy and work perfectly in the live arena, as well as giving the band commercial success via radio. “What It Feels Like” and “Nothing Good Has Happened Yet” summon a sizeable pit in the middle of the venue which branches out to nearly the walls. The fact that We Are The Ocean has transformed from a five to four-piece only works in the band’s favour tonight; an assured performance holding the audience’s attention from beginning to end. If this was a prelude to the tour next year, which will see the band play their biggest venues to date, then we suggest you get your tickets right away.

We Are The Ocean
Re-working older material to fit in with the new line-up, We Are The Ocean prove that they are stronger than ever; more confident, tighter and excelling musically. The night concludes with a fiery performance of “The Waiting Room”; the last of the infectious refrains from the band this evening give the appreciative crowd one last chance to rock out. A confident, bold performance and with an impressive new album under their belt the band’s popularity is only set to increase; a busy year ahead for the four Essex boys. Tonight was undoubtedly a success.  

"Maybe Today, Maybe Tomorrow" the new album is out now.