Alter The Press!


Interview: We Are The Ocean - 01/12/2009

Prior to their headline show at London's Islington O2 Academy. Alter The Press! sat down with Hassle Records' latest signing, We Are The Ocean for a brief interview.

The band spoke to ATP about signing to Hassle Records, their forthcoming album 'Cutting Our Teeth', influences, the Essex music scene and more.

Alter The Press: This has been the biggest headline tour to date for the band. How has it been going so far?
We Are The Ocean: It's been great fun. We haven't toured the UK for a while so it's good to play to some fans back home.

ATP: You have just signed to Hassle Records. How did the deal come about?
WATO: I guess it came through our managers. After we did the album, we shopped around a few labels and with Hassle; there was a spark straight away. They have a good family and it does feel, like they are out there to look after us.

ATP: With your first EP, which you self-released, you sold 1,000 copies in the first day. Considering how the industry is today, did you ever think maybe you could have done the same with your debut album?
WATO: We could have. We never were worried that we weren't signed, as there are a lot of bands doing it themselves, and going far, but if a good deal came about, we would’ve taken it but if not, we would have self-released it.

ATP: With the release of the your debut album, 'Cutting Our Teeth,' approaching fast, what can fans expect from the album?
WATO: Maturity is one thing which we worked on, we all evolved as songwriters and musicians. It's a lot more dense, as in, how the songs were put together. We got to work with a great producer for this, like when we did the EP, it was like the first seven songs we wrote, and we pretty much just recorded them. But with this, we were writing for a year with Brian McTernan (produced Thrice/Moneen/Converge etc) who completely turned the songs around for us. There is a lot more variation on the album compared to the EP. With the EP, there was no pre-production; it was exactly how the songs were. As soon as we saved up like £250, we'd go and record. It was like a day at the studio and not written as a CD. We just recorded 7 songs and released them as they were. It was more of a compilation of our early years. This is more of an album, a unit.

ATP: Have you been shopping the album outside the UK?
WATO: There have been talks. We've just been to Australia and we spoke about it there. It's going to be worldwide. Nothing is set in stone, but there will be releases internationally.

ATP: What's stopped the band releasing a full album since the release of the first EP in 2008?
WATO: We never stopped working on the album; it just took that long. After we did the EP, we were always writing, trying to find a producer and finally took the time out from touring to go over to America to record it. It's been another month mastering the album, working out terms with Hassle, and now finally setting a release date. The EP we did for this tour was just a way to give the kids a taste of what to expect. It's our third headline tour, so we didn't want to go out again on the back of the EP; we wanted to give them four new songs.

ATP: Personal favorites from the new album?
WATO: (Dan Brown) 'My Neck Of The Woods', (Liam Cromby) the entire album.

ATP: Who are main influences for We Are The Ocean?
WATO: Metallica, Slipknot, Refused, Pearl Jam, Tool. If there's passion there, you know it's a good tune.

ATP: Was there anything in particular you were listening to when writing the album?
WATO: (Liam) Neil Young. The live DVD is awesome; there were only three songs I listened to over and over. Thrice was one, just the dark vibe. People have their problems and just spill it out. That's the music I like. Storytelling in songs is the best.

ATP: How was it, as a British band, to play Bamboozle? (New Jersey alternative music festival)
WATO: Pretty crazy. We didn't know what to expect and didn't think anyone would even come and watch us. It was raining and we thought there would be just one person screaming, 'You suck!' but it was sick. There were a couple hundred kids watching us in the end. To start with, it was a couple, but it grew a few a songs in, and the crowd got into it. It was good.

ATP: Has there been talks to play the festival again?
WATO: If we got offered, we'd be there in a flash. If it came about, the offer, we'd love to do it.

ATP: Best show or festival you've played in your career?
WATO: Download Festival (British metal festival). We got to headline a stage and it was the first time we even played Download. Even though it was the fourth stage, it's still a massive deal for us. We've done so many festivals this summer that we didn't even think existed, like small rural ones. Playing the London Astoria was the best show to play, just being at an iconic venue. We've all been there loads of times, having your own regular spot by the bar, at the back, because you can sit there with a drink and get the best view and get the best sound.

ATP: All being "Essex boys", are you all in touch with the local music scene?
WATO: There are a lot of good bands in the area, but because we're literally on the border, all the bands in Essex are out in places like Colchester and we don't really consider that local. We aren't sure how it is but in our area, it is really cool.

ATP: Would you say you're at a point in your career where you've branched out from playing the local venues around where you live?
WATO: Yes. We started playing the Camden Underworld loads of times and being on the border of London, that's still local for us. Some of the first shows we did were the Underworld, Barfly and the Harlow Square in Essex. They were closer to us, but if we are on a tour, we just hit London. We did the Christmas show at the Harlow Square like two years ago and we'd love to go back to The Standard in Walthamstow.

ATP: Can you see yourself going back to play a show at The Standard?
WATO: Hell yes. We have to! The sound is so dreadful but we can make a big thing about it, that we are coming back to play there; it probably wouldn't sell out so we will leave it for a bit.

ATP: If you can tour with any band, who would it be?
WATO: Slipknot, Blink 182, Foo Fighters. Pretty much all the bands you can't support like Metallica. To support any of those bands would be amazing.

ATP: What's next after the tour?
WATO: Christmas, downtime, get back to writing, touring, getting the album out, hopefully a run of Europe and Australia next year.

ATP: Besides your own, what releases are you looking forward to in 2010?
WATO: The Bled and At The Drive In, if it's true.

'Cutting Our Teeth' is out January 25th, 2010.

- Jon Ableson

Alter The Press!