How did you first start playing music?
We all started playing music when we were at school well before we even thought about forming a band and before we knew each other. When we all started out I think there were some music lessons here and there but they didn’t last for too long. Now we just bash it out together and make it up as we go.
How and when did Ocean Alley start?
Ocean Alley started after we got together and were jamming in a mates shed for a year or two. Looking back it probably started mainly as an excuse to hang out together but we quickly became very passionate about creating our own music.
What is the music scene like on the Northern Beaches, and how do you think it compares with wider Sydney?
There are so many great bands that come out of the Northern Beaches but unfortunately there’s not many dedicated music venues for them to play at around home. Manly has dedicated music venues but apart from that the rest of the beaches up north only have the odd music bar or cafe which are great for listening to an intimate acoustic shows but lack the infrastructure for larger gigs. Sydney city is the main ground for Beaches artists. We’ve certainly done some laps up and down William and Oxford street.
Ocean Alley’s album Chiaroscuro is out now, where and when did you record?
We recorded at The Grove studios an hour north of Sydney on the Central Coast. It’s nestled amongst bushland out of town and there is accommodation right next to the studio which works well for locking yourself away to minimise distractions and get proper work down. We recorded Chiaroscuro over 3 week long sessions at The Grove last year. I think we started in the middle of last year and finished just before Christmas.
What variety of instruments or techniques did you use throughout recording?
We didn’t mix it up too much but we did have a bit of fun exploring a couple of new techniques. We had a room mic with an empty tin can over it for some reason. Looking for that tinny sound I guess. The last track, ‘Man You Were Looking For’, was done in one solid take with no over dubbing or dropping in. There are only three layers in this song, Baden’s vocals and guitar and Lach’s backing vocals. They were all recorded together in the one take using one microphone. We also recorded a conga track for the first time in ‘Flowers and Booze’.
What or who influenced the sound of Chiaroscuro?
Once we recorded the first few tracks in our first session last year the theme emerged so we kinda just rolled with that for the rest of them. Other than that we were mainly trying to create a record that was a progression from our last but also a record that had different sounds and rhythm.
Did you collaborate with anybody outside of the band during the creation?
No collabs this time around. Would be interesting to try something like that out. Maybe if we can find someone that’s happy to put up with our shit.
Who are you listening to at the moment?
At the moment I’m sitting on the couch listening to Angus talk shit about the surf yesterday. He keeps yapping on about Peak but it’s a shit setup. As for music we all have very different tastes. I’m liking the new stuff by CLEWS and DMA’s but anything with some guitar and choice vocals will do.
The band will be touring Australia this April / May 2018, what can we expect from these shows?
We will be playing all our new stuff and the old favourites too. The shows will be some of the longest we’ve done trying to fit it all in. We’ve possibly got some big surprises for it too but you’ll have to come along to find out.
How do you prepare for each show?
We spend time these days doing production rehearsals before our tours. But before we go on stage we mostly just drink beer and hang out. It’s important for us to be in a good mood and feeling together as a team while we are on stage. That’s the most crucial part for us when it comes to putting on a good show.
What do you most enjoy and also find most challenging touring?
We most enjoy meeting new people and seeing new places while we are on tour. Watching the crowd sing along is also pretty sweet. The least enjoyable parts are airports and hire vans. Even worse is being hungover while travelling. But it’s all worth it. We are bloody chomping at the bit to get back on the road!
You’ll also be touring the USA for the first time in May and June 2018, what prompted the decision to hit up the USA with a 30 date tour?
We were in Europe in 2016 doing a similar amount of shows. It was way too much fun and we haven’t done that in the states yet so it was an obvious decision. It’s another audience we’ve never played to so we want to give them what we got and hopefully they all enjoy it.
What do you have planned for the rest of 2018 after the US tour?
More touring!!! Without saying to much we will be overseas for the rest of this year only coming back to the motherland for a few AUS festivals. We’re also going to head back into a studio asap so we can make a start on some new music. We can’t sit still. That’s all I can say right now but stay tuned for more info later this year.
Who is your favourite Australian band or musician?
One of my personal favourites are The Whitlams and Paul Kelly. Freedman and Kelly both write very relatable and observational lyrics that are quintessentially Australian. Kelly’s more rocky numbers like Dumb Things really get me going. And Tim Freedman’s ballads like Blow Up The Pokies and Leave The Light On can make you cry on a bad day.
What is your favourite food and place to hangout?
Japanese food from a place near home. Jason is the bloke running the show there and the food is on point. Grab a couple of sushi rolls from old mate and go scoff em’ on the beach across the road.
Chiaroscuro is out now independently via UNIFIED Music Group, buy it here.
Ocean Alley are touring nationally throughout April and May, tickets to all shows are on sale now via oceanalley.com.au
Saturday 14 April – The Tivoli, Brisbane SOLD OUT
Sunday 15 April – The Tivoli, Brisbane 2ND SHOW ADDED
Wednesday 18 April – The Enmore, Sydney 2ND SHOW ADDED
Saturday 21 April – The Enmore, Sydney SOLD OUT
Friday 27 April – Groovin The Moo, Wayville
Saturday 28 April – Groovin The Moo, Maitland
Sunday 29 April – Groovin The Moo, Canberra
Saturday 5 May – Groovin The Moo, Bendigo
Sunday 6 May – Groovin The Moo, Townsville
Friday 11 May – Metropolis, Fremantle
Saturday 12 May – Groovin The Moo, Bunbury
Saturday 19 May – The Forum, Melbourne
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