Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Oceans Will Rise Interview

1. Can I get a backstory on the band/ band biography?

Matt: Adam and I started a metalcore band called Cold Dead Sky (2007), and we jammed a few times with a couple of guys (current members of Armada Drive and Orchid’s Curse), and we wrote a bunch of tunes, but nothing became of it other than pursuing our goal to make music together.  After a while, Adam wrote almost twenty songs, and he asked me if I would record the guitars to them as a favour.  I went through all of them, and they were all really great, but one of the songs really stood out to me and it was “You’re No Hero”.  After recording a couple of the songs, we really liked the vibe we were creating and we figured this sound would make a great addition to the Halifax music scene; blending memorable vocal melodies with metal and hardcore music.  We weren’t aiming to re-invent the wheel then (and we aren’t now either), but we felt this was a little uncharted in most respects; however, our greatest challenge then was: “if we sing and scream, then who are we going to play with?”  Nevertheless, Oceans Will Rise became a band in 2008 with a different line-up than we have today.  We played a few gigs, but nothing buzz-worthy.  I met Sean (drums) blast-beating on his counter at a grocery store about a year and a half ago.  I asked him if he was a drummer, he said he was, but I was sceptical, until he came to a jam.  He brought his cymbal rack that still takes a good fifteen minutes to setup with thirteen or fifty cymbals (I forget).  After one jam, I wasn’t worried about asking ourselves “is he our guy?”, but rather “will he want to play our simple songs?”  He took the songs that we had and with his progressive metal flair, he turned radio-ready-metal songs into metal songs.  Within a very short while our repertoire of songs grew and they were becoming heavier and darker, yet more melodic at the same time; our focus hasn’t changed.  The more we dig into our abilities and influences, the more complex the melodies and themes become.  I believe we are writing a musical soundtrack deserving of our name.

2. What lyrical theme do you guys use in your music? What message do you want to send?

Adam: I never set out to accomplish anything with my lyrics. Unintentionally, I think most of my lyrics come across as pessimistic or cynical. Unfortunately nothing about that is contrived. I think the world is a darker place than most people would like to acknowledge. I can honestly say that I have sat down and tried to write more optimistic lyrics in the past and, to me, when I read those lyrics back to myself I can’t relate to them. It’s not that I am a “dark” person in my day-to-day life by any means, but whatever hopeless or subversive thoughts that I have seem to come out in the writing process.

3. How have the gigs you guys been doing been?

Adam: I would say the better part of our shows have been very positive experiences. It takes time to build up that confidence but I think we’re getting to that point now. Some of the shows early on were awkward at times. Every one of them felt like a first date. But as we grew, the line-up changed and our sound and our “stage show” developed into what it is now. And with that we saw the fan base build which helped to instill that confidence in us, both on stage and off.

Matt: We’re no longer in our battle of the bands days!

4. What equipment do you guys use?

Matt: Ibanez and Gibson guitars; Peavey 6505+ head (surprise); Crete cabs; MXR overdrives; old-school Boss; and Ernie Ball strings.

Adam: I use Shure mics, Audio-Technica personal monitors, Rickard’s Red and whatever shitty PA system the venue has for us to use.

5. What bands have influenced your band and its sound?

Adam: I think what influenced us most is the wide-range of musical interests we share within the band. We each enjoy the darker side of metal as well as the more melodic side. Bands like The Black Dahlia Murder, Between The Buried And Me and Lamb of God have all impacted our music. But on the other side of the spectrum, bands like Alexisonfire, August Burns Red, Killswitch Engage and more melody-based bands have had a significant impact as well. I think what helped shape our sound is the notion that we didn’t want to just “pick a side”. There are too many bands that I think stay away from including certain elements because it’s “not them”. What has helped us a lot is the idea that anything we write is still “us”. And anything that isn’t, becomes us.

Matt: To expand on what Adam said, our music is essentially a product of our environments crashing into each other.  My instrument influences stem primarily from Dimebag Darrell & Pantera, but before that I was really into Green Day—Insomniac especially, and to this day, that album never gets old for me.  When I reached high school, my friends and I were getting into Carcass, Nasum, Cradle of Filth, Emperor, Aborted, Dismember, Dissection, Exhumed, Disgorge (both Mexican and American bands), Deeds of Flesh, Zyklon, Sanitys Dawn, Last Days of Humanity, Haemorrhage, Electric Wizard, then obscurely Pink Floyd and Budgie.  I owe a great deal of my abilities to the tenacity of extreme metal and grindcore chops which help build up my dexterity as a guitarist.  Among all of that, my melodic writing became influenced greatly bands like Foo Fighters—they’re like radio rock for metalheads (probably because Dave still kills it vocally and musically), and Adam’s pretty man-voice.

6. Do you remember your first show and what was it like?

Adam: Our first show wasn’t great, but it wasn’t terrible. The only thing I remember is thinking to myself during the set is “what do I do with my arms?”. With that being said, that early embodiment of the band is not who we are today by any means. Not only has the line-up changed but I think both Matt and I have grown a lot as musicians since forming the band. The writing has surely changed and I think we’re a lot more confident with who is on stage with us. After our first show with the current line-up I remember feeling that we were “whole”.

Matt: I think we only played five or six times in two years, because we didn’t know how to book shows or we aware of any politics that come with gigging; so, we took what we could get … BAND BATTLES!  We started gigging as soon as possible, we may have only had five songs, but we wanted to play!    Always at this same place too.  Every time someone would buy a beer at the battle, they would get a list of the bands that were playing, and you would check off who you felt deserved it.  Unless you had alcoholic friends, you didn’t stand a chance in winning!

7.What made you guys decide to form a band?

Adam: Matt and I got a guitar and a microphone for Christmas.

8.What is your opinion on sites posting your guys material and other bands material?

Adam: That’s a very controversial subject among bands, especially unsigned bands like us. On one hand you want that exposure; on the other hand you need the financial support to keep the machine running. I think as a consumer we look at downloading an album for free as just taking a small crumb from the bigger piece of the pie. But for smaller bands like us, that crumb is all that we have to survive on. We definitely have no intentions of ever seeking to put a stop to it. We make music for people to hear, and if the only way someone will hear us is to download the album, we’d rather them download it. But I guess the point is that if someone likes a band’s album enough that they would want to hear more, it’s really up to them to support those bands.

Matt: It’s twisted form of flattery, but if they honestly support our craft, then they will support in some way.  Metal is an interesting form of subculture, across the world, and because “we understand it” (it supports us), we support it in return.

9. Is there any bands that you guys enjoyed playing with more than the others?

Adam: Not really. Most of the band’s we’ve played with have been great to play with. To be honest, when we first started playing shows with heavier bands than us, I was sure that we would be considered a sort of “black sheep”, but there’s really been the exact opposite response. We’ve been welcomed as a “wild card” of sorts. We’ve played shows with some of the heaviest local bands and we’ve also played straight rock shows. For the most part, local bands support each other’s music no matter how varied they are.

Matt: We like to play with bands that like to have a good time and play because they love it.

10. How do you guys feel about the classifications in metal? like deathcore, metalcore and other subgenres and how some get a negative rep.

Adam: I try not to get caught up in the classifying of genres of music. I think in the 50’s, 60’s and even 70’s, music was easier to classify than it is now. With so many fusions of sounds since then however, people seek to create genres out of other genres in an effort to explain it all. It’s a bit silly to me. I think any band that gets a “negative rep” for having a particular sound is the same band that doesn’t really give a shit what you think of them. For me, it’s the bands that are a perfect fit into any particular mould that I would consider criticizing for being “more of the same”. I enjoy bands that throw a bit of themselves into the mix.

Matt: The sub-classifications in metal music is one the most entertaining things to study!

11. What song do you enjoy playing the most?

Adam: I wouldn’t say that I have a favorite song of ours to play really. My favorite song is usually the newest one that we wrote.

12. When not doing things with the band, what can you guys be seen doing?

Adam: I’m a bit of a hermit myself so I’m usually not seen. But I spend a lot of time cooking, reading, watching movies and spending time with my family.

Matt: BBQs and Beer.

13. Your biggest band moment?

Adam: I would say it hasn’t happened yet. Although when the album came out and was put into my hands, I would say I had a minor “rock-star” moment. But that was short-lived. We’re always looking into what’s next for us. In fact, we were beginning to write the next album before our first album was even in stores.

Matt: So far, reaching number 10 on the iTunes metal charts.

14. What is your opinion on the current state of metal?

Adam: It’s refreshing to see a growing number of fans of metal nowadays. I think there was a time where being a metal-head was considered a sort of stigma. I know when I was in junior high and high-school there was a common perception that if you were a metal-head you worshipped Satan or sacrificed small animals or something. I think it’s becoming very acceptable to have undertones of anger and disdain in music, even in more mainstream music. Our world is evolving to the point now where you’d have to be blind, deaf and dumb to not see or hear the corruption and degradation of society around us. I think heavy metal music has always tried to shine a light on such things but was not taken seriously. I think that’s what drew me to heavy music in the first place. It had no allegiance to anything; it was an aggressive opponent of all the things I hated about our world.

15. How did you guys come up with your band name?

Adam: We left it in Al Gore’s hands. He did not disappoint.

16. What can the fans expect to see from you in the future?

Adam: We are already planning our next release, have some new merchandise coming out shortly and are in the early-stages of an east-coast Canada tour next year. We definitely have some big ideas and plans for the future of the band. We’re just getting started.

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