Wednesday 13 February 2013

We Are The Ocean // Interview & Live Review

Essex quartet We Are The Ocean had a pretty spectacular 2012. Not only did they release their new album "Maybe Today, Maybe Tomorrow" [to rave reviews] and play sell out shows in UK and Europe but also played Wembley with You Me At Six.

Back on tour again they are now selling out much larger venues. Est.1987 headed down to catch up with the guys to chat about touring, career highlights and their cure for everything...

We Are The Ocean lead singer Liam Cromby on stage in Manchester

So last time we caught up with you, you were on a club tour playing smaller venues and the new album had just come out. Now you’re back, the album’s been out a while and you’re playing bigger shows. How’s it going?
ALFIE [Scully, guitar]- Oh yeah, it feels good. That was getting the new material out there and letting everyone live with it for a while, and now it feels like people have heard the album front to back a good amount of times.
 LIAM [Cromby, vocals]- It’s good to see people singing along to the songs now, and being in bigger venues you can put on more of a show. It’s exciting.

And in terms of the set list, is there more of the new album now it’s been out a while?
LIAM- There’s more new songs in there for sure, but we’ve also kept a couple of the older ones.
ALFIE- It’s new stuff heavy; we want to show that we can play the songs live but we want it to be a rounded show for people, so old and new.

We Are The Ocean in Manchester at their sold out show
London KOKO was the biggest headline show to date right? Were you guys excited/nervous?
LIAM- It was incredible. The buzz afterwards was insane, such a good crowd. I was kind of nervous and then helped myself to a bottle of Jim Beam which kind of helped out. A couple of GnTs later, feeling invincible, nothing can stop us now.
ALFIE- It was an amazing atmosphere, such a great venue.

You’re half way through the tour; is it taking its toll or are you pacing yourselves?
LIAM- It’s just getting started really [laughing].
ALFIE-Normally we do a tour and then straight away head off to mainland Europe, so this is a shorter run really. We’re savouring it as it goes, no time for laggers, we’re just going to get on with it.

Alfie Scully on stage at Manchester Academy 3

“Young Heart” the new single was added to the Radio1 A-list alongside acts like Rihanna, Biffy Clyro and Calvin Harris. Guess that was a really rewarding moment for you guys?
LIAM- Huge. Unbelievable really.
ALFIE- Pretty crazy, massive, unexpected, incredible. It’s awesome that the guys at the BBC are giving us support and supporting British rock music. I think we had a lot of ambition for this album, but didn’t really expect anything like this so we’re just patting ourselves on the back.
LIAM- It’s kind of like just sitting back and being like, “ok”, taking it in and enjoying it while you can.

It’s just been announced that you’re back playing Slam Dunk Festival for the fifth time this year are you looking forward to it?
ALIFE- We were recording last year when Slam Dunk was on so couldn’t play it and it did feel weird not playing it. People were talking about it and we were just like “aww man”.
LIAM- We wanted to be there and hang out.
ALFIE- We’re big fans of the Leeds Slam Dunk experience. It’s exciting to be asked back again and it’s always a good laugh playing it, and you end up seeing all your mates there.

You had a great year last year- touring, the new album, Radio1 Rocks ad you played Wembley with You Me At Six. What was the highlight?
LIAM- Last year was Wembley. It was absolutely insane. literally just walking in and the room being empty and just being like “what are we doing here?”.
ALFIE- It was just a pace around the room for four hours, being like “what do I do, what do I do?” and then someone was just like “have this” and handed me a beer.
LIAM- It seems to be the cure for everything [laughing]. There were a lot of good things last year, like releasing the album and doing a headline tour and stuff. But I think Wembley just topped it. I think generally in our bands career that was a big thing.
ALFIE- To play in such a prestigious venue was just so good. We actually got to say “Hello Wembley” [laughing].

Liam, you also featured on Rat Attack’s “Heartbeat”; how did you get involved?
LIAM- Yeah, a couple of the guys in the band live by the studio where we record and we’ve been there twice now. Last year when we were there they were doing their new tracks and they just asked would I sing on this song. I heard it and was just like this is great and was really happy to do it. It was really fun and I had free reign to do what I wanted on there, so most of it was just jammed and off the bat. They’re really cool guys, they should be doing some good stuff.

Last time you were in Manchester you did an in-store acoustic for HMV. And with everything that’s happened recently what’s your take on it? Do you like buying that physical copy of music?
LIAM- Yeah definitely. I mean I think it was inevitable once the internet came about and there was iTunes. It was kind of this is going to happen, just when. It’s a shame, but things are changing all the time and you just have to adapt to it.

Front-man Liam Cromby
So we’re in February; most people have broken their new year’s resolutions by now. Did you make any and have you kept them?
LIAM- [laughing] The thing is, it would probably be I’m not going to drink or I’m not going to smoke…
ALFIE- Things that I enjoy doing, so why would I want to stop doing them [laughing]

What’s next for We Are The Ocean?
LIAM- Well, we’re going to be going back out to Europe after this tour in a couple of months time then head back to the studio, can’t be giving too much away there, but we have got big plans. In the summer try do as many festivals as possible in Europe and the UK; keep doing what we’re doing and see what else happens.

Another Wembley moment maybe?
LIAM- That’d be nice, Wembley Stadium maybe…
ALFIE- Yeah we go from supporting at Wembley Arena to headlining Wembley Stadium in just like four months [laughing]

Last time you said on the bus you listen to the Jack Sparrow Lonely Island song, Lord of The Rings and Jurassic Park- has that changed at all?
LIAM- Every tour we have a tour song and the Jack Sparrow song was last time. We haven’t actually had one for this tour, have we? We’ve been watching Star Wars.
ALFIE- I’ve started Boardwalk Empire and the music is just really jazzy.
LIAM- No Captain Jack Sparrow this time, ooo I dunno, it might have to make a comeback. One drunken night in the van that’s what it’ll come down to; someone is just going to be like “lads, I’ve got a tune here…and then everyone will loose their s**t”.
Liam and Alfie then break into Lonely Island, Jack Sparrow!

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

Pretty much every show on We Are The Ocean’s tour has been a sell out and it isn’t hard to see why. The release of the new album “Maybe Today, Maybe Tomorrow”, arguably their best to date, sparked a new life for the band. 2012 saw them going from strength to strength, something that 2013 will surely see them build on (if the response to the tour is anything to go by). The last time we caught up with the boys they were playing a club tour in more intimate venues. However this time they have taken things up a notch playing larger venues and owning the stage.

Although the set here tonight gets off to a slow start, beginning with the older “Trouble Is Temporary, Time Is Tonic”, every song remains a hit with the crowd who are suitably lively from the off. By “Pass Me By” and “Golden Gate” (the mid point in the set), We Are The Ocean have come into their own. The tracks, taken from the new album, show off their slight change in direction; catchy, upbeat and with a vintage rock feel, the former is undeniably infectious, the latter with an impressive guitar and drum breakdown. The pace of the set is no unstoppable and is the perfect mix of upbeat tracks and slower numbers, allowing the audience to re-gather their energy. The heartfelt “Confessions” displays their musicianship; Liam’s raspy vocals and Alfie taking to the harmonica.  

Soaring hit “The Road” closes the evening on an absolute high. However, urged back on to the stage and sees Liam on his own performing the stripped back and effortless “Chin Up, Son”. The entire room joins in. The sold out crowd is given two more opportunities to get involved; older hit “The Waiting Room” pitched alongside newest hit single “Young Heart”. Big hitters, they resonate through the room and no one in the entire venue is able to remain still. We Are The Ocean thought they were onto something special when they released the latest album and their hunch wasn’t wrong; is only reaffirmed here tonight. The final song even incites a spontaneous stage invasion; everyone wants to be a part of it.

There is no doubt that We Are The Ocean are stronger than ever and are confidently able to put on an impressive live show. So catch them at these smaller venues whilst you still can, because they may have been joking but headlining Wembley is looking more and more likely.

Photo credit: Danny Peart Photography