It has been spectacular watching the rise of Ocean Alley, though it feels like this success has been a long time coming… what do you think finally clicked with audiences?
For us it definitely felt like our EPs were warming up to something with a bit more substance. We feel much more comfortable and confident creating and recording new music and I hope that shows with this latest record. Maybe that’s what finally clicked with the audience. We hope they respect our progression and more complex song writing.
You’ve even sold out shows in Europe, the UK… that must feel surreal. How do the shows differ abroad, compared to at home? Do you think your international fans consume your music differently?
We’ve sold out a show in Amsterdam before and had some crackers in the UK but we are yet to head to the states. That is set for the middle of 2018 and hopefully we can sell a few out there too! I reckon our music gets consumed similarly in most places. A lot of international fans find our stuff on the internet and when we were in Europe the shows had a similar vibe to some of those here.
Your latest single ‘Confidence’ has had an overwhelmingly positive response – is this something you can sense during the creative process? Do you know when you’re onto something big? Or does that come afterwards?
Whenever we start working on a new idea it doesn’t stand much of a chance unless we all agree it’s going to work out. We lose interest in things easily if we don’t feel it straight away. ‘Confidence’ felt good for us during writing because it was different to other tracks we were working on at the time and we didn’t want to pass up on the challenge of making something different. Audiences always respond well to being challenged too and hearing a different tone or rhythm gets people curious.
I’ve heard the band all writes their own parts and then jams it out together. It seems like a very organic, authentic process. Do you think this says something about your collective relationship with music and how you see yourself as a band?
Of course it does. We make music together because it’s a shit tonne of fun but also because we want to create art and share it with an audience. I think making art for arts sake and living what you do is best done in an organic and free flowing way. If you don’t enjoy what you do it’s probably never going to last.
There’s obviously a very broad array of musical influences that inspire Ocean Alley’s sound – who or what were some of the key influences that inspired the creation of Chiaroscuro?
Nothing specifically inspired the creation of Chiaroscuro, I guess it was a natural progression of our last record. Each of our tastes in music is very different and that can help give us a unique sound, but these 12 new tracks were just the next ideas we had lined up. As we were recording them all we realised they kinda fell into two categories, optimistic and pessimistic or light and shade. This didn’t exactly drive the theme of the album, more so it emerged as a product of its creation.
Can you imagine the band’s sound changing much from the current reggae-meet-surf-rock vibe, based off the artists you’re listening to in future?
I think it will change as it sees fit, without too much thought behind it. Once we start messing around with some fresh ideas for the next one I’m sure the sound will have evolved but also still be a progression of and relatable to what we’ve done before.
Some artists struggle with extensive tours – we’ve heard stories about sleeping in the gutter and missed flights. Does the band enjoy being on the road? What are you looking forward to about this upcoming run around Australia?
We love being on the road and all the stitch ups that come with it. Of course you have to try and do your best to stick to the plan but sometimes the good times get the better of you. We are looking forward to playing some bigger rooms on this tour. We have a new light show and stage setup that we are excited to experiment with. Also keen for a party.
Chiaroscuro is out this Friday 9 March independently via UNIFIED Music Group, available to pre-order here.
Ocean Alley are touring nationally throughout April and May, tickets 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
Saturday 21 April – The Enmore, Sydney LAST TIX
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