Dirty strides and mischievous smiles: delving into the virulent charms of Ocasan.

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Splitting their forthcoming album up into a trilogy of diverse and creatively exhilarating EPs this past year, UK rockers Ocasan has undoubtedly provided British rock with some major thrills. It is not the first time the Milton Keynes hailing trio has made a striking and adventurous contribution to the scene, their acclaimed debut album Ricochet one such triumph, but it is fair to say using recent release the Confessions EP alone as evidence, that the band is breeding a new plateau and depth of invention and virulent sound. With thanks to drummer Luke McDonnell, we set about exploring the heart of the band and those recent releases whilst taking in mutual appreciation of a certain band, learning the back ground to particular songs, and simply exploring Ocasan in general.

Hello Luke and thanks for taking time to chat with us.ocasan5

You’re welcome.

Tell us about the beginnings of the band and what inspired you to start up Ocasan.

We’d all come from numerous past projects and like most acts shared a love for the same music. When writing we found that songs poured out like vomit from a size nine Friday night slutty binger.

Is there any special meaning behind or influence to the band name?

It’s my family name, well the Irish side. We were the Ocasan’s. It’s also Japanese for ‘Mother’.

And talking of influences what have been the biggest inspirations to the band and personally in sound and musical intent?

We’ve been on a massive journey. Having stayed together for about a decade now, our influences are constantly in flux. We’ve spent many year writing singles and mainly pop oriented tunes but now rediscovered a love for our grungier roots. We’re writing music we’d want to jump up and down and scream along to drunk in a grotty venue. It’s the tits.

One of our all-time essential listens are Reuben and I heard you guys have a taste for their inspiring sounds too?

Well this follows perfectly from what I was saying. We rediscovered Reuben’s Racecar is Racecar Backwards which led to listening to their other latter work. It’s a little obsessive and we’re seeking help.

You biography mentions “abandoned stables, hippy communes and rock and roll pubs” as well as “hot tubs with millionaires” and parties with Russian oligarchs. We can assume the band’s life to date has been something out of the ordinary?

It’s had its ups and downs but some of the ups have been out of this world. What’s incredible is that it has all stemmed from the music. OK, so we’re not a big band. We’ve been trying for years to get a break, but the one thing we’ve taking away from being in Ocasan are some life changing experiences. We’re by no means done yet.

You recently released the third of a trilogy of EPs, Confessions, which comes around three years after debut album Ricochet of 2011. How would you say your sound has evolved between what are to our mind, two rigorously contagious and imaginative releases?

Our first record Ricochet was written with sole intent of breaking the market. We were still writing music we loved but were set on writing singles people could sing along to and record labels would be interested in. As each year goes by the “Fuck that!”s from all of us becomes increasingly louder. Elixir (the EP trilogy) concentrated more on our lives and our story so far. There are mentions of some serious life changing moments that we had to deal with during the record. We thought this would make the album more sincere rather than writing about teenage fancies etc. We think it’s done just that and every song is an honest story. Apart from Confessions….that’s sung from the point of view of a piano. I’m not a piano.

ocasan confessions-artworkIt is easy to see each of the EPs, London Town, Whitey Two Step, and of course Confessions, working perfectly together within Elixir but they also show distinct personalities from each other, especially the last. Was this something purposefully set out or just organically came about?

Organically…When we set out (reluctantly may I add) splitting up the record we found certain songs had something similar in common. EP1 was our ‘hello we’re back’ EP. There are some strong numbers on there and good examples of what was to come on the follow ups. EP2 More light hearted, whimsical and more creative lyrically. EP3 was much darker both lyrically and musically. We figured if we had you sold on the solid, slightly more commercial stuff from the start, you’d be digging this by now. Safe to safe this is one of the most popular records.

So each has an individual theme and is there a more personal intimacy across the EPs than maybe explored before by the band?

I would add that the third is the most personal. It explores a few subjects that were hard to write about. A good friend of ours (our tour manager) had a brain tumour and we expected him to not be with us by the release. Dark cloud was an infamous cocaine dealer from central London that we had some nasty run-ins with. etc. etc. You’ll need to have a listen to pick apart the rest.

Elixir will be released at some point as a single entity I assume?

Yes, we’re looking at early next year once our agent has sorted the next tour.

Will you sneak in anything new or rework tracks to offer another tasty dose of freshness for fans already devouring the EPs?

Yes, there’s a hidden track and some live stuff that we’ve had stored away for a while. We may even put on some new tracks to hint at the new record. We’ve been recording it all live on reel to reel recently, it sounds out of this world!

There is a great eclectic essence to your sound, a persistently varied energy and invention to your rock pop revelry so how does the songwriting work within the band. It is a group effort in ideas and writing?ocasan1

I generally come up with lyrics and bring them to the other two. They’re both so talented that normally before I have time to blink they’ve written what I was hearing in my head…if not, better. I guess this just comes with working together for a long time.

Parasites from the Confessions EP is one of our tracks of the year, and went down a storm on our recent podcast. Can you give us some background and the spark to the riveting contagion posing as a song?

As discussed earlier, this particular track was about our friend who was diagnosed with a brain tumour. It was seriously traumatic, obviously for him, but for everyone that loved him dearly. I’m delighted to say that he’s still with us today. But yes, that in essence is the ‘parasite’. “these white coats, do they know the ropes” was a stab at the doctors that kept misdiagnosing him and putting him through emotional hell.

All the tracks across the EPs and thus album were recorded with Romesh Dodangoda (Funeral For A Friend, Motorhead, Kids In Glass Houses). How did that link up come about?

We listened to an Attack! Attack! record years back, did a little research and said Romesh was the guy for us. As we worked so well together on Ricochet we figured “if it ain’t broke…” so we went back to do our second album there. We have a big respect for Romesh and would be happy to work with him again.

You have a serious appetite for gigging and have hit stages across the globe as well as nationally. It feels like this is what it is all about as a band for you guys, where you are most at home?ocasan4

We love it! If we could be out 364 days a year (Fuck gigging on Christmas) we would. So many bands believe that you can do well from making music videos and putting them on YouTube but nothing will beat just getting out and playing to new people. We love seeing the world and making new friends, what a brilliant way to do it.

Are you a band which likes to preview and explore new songs live before recording or vice-versa?

Yes, it’s incredible how much audience reaction can help develop a song.

What is in store for and from the band going into 2015?

We’ve nearly finished writing album three. Most of it will hopefully be demoed this side of Christmas. We’re off to a studio in Italy in January to try out a studio south of Rome. We’ll release Elixir as a whole (with little extras) and hopefully have the third album ready for release shortly after. After that it’s just tour tour tour, music video, tour tour tour, music video – repeat.

Once again big thanks for sharing time with us; any last thoughts you would like to leave us pondering?

If the brain was so simple we could understand it, it would be so simple we couldn’t.

Read the review of the Confessions EP @ http://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2014/09/30/ocasan-confessions-ep/

http://ocasan.co.uk/

Pete RingMaster

The RingMaster Review 10/12/2014

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The Reverse – No, I Don’t Want to See Your Stupid F**king Band

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Hailing from London, UK band The Reverse showed themselves quite handy at crafting strongly persuasive and magnetic songs with the release of their Kind Words For Cruel Times album around a year ago. Merging the drama of folk with indie inventiveness, the band’s sound is a gentle and welcoming tempting which does not startle but certainly entices keen attention. Now the band returns with new single, No, I Don’t Want to See Your Stupid F**king Band, providing more of the same charming enterprise which lit their full-length but with even greater colour and potency to its creative flame.

Formed by vocalist/guitarist Nathan Loughran and drummer Jason Moran, The Reverse was eventually completed by guitarist/backing vocalist Sam Hartley and after a previous bassist, James McKeown (ex-lead singer of The Great Divide and The Colours). A triplet of well-received EPs from debut A Clean Incision in 2006 through to Shutterspeed the following year, and in 2008 My Lifelong Psychological Experiment, reinforced the band’s emerging live reputation. It was the Graham Dominy (The Rifles, Razorlight, Ray Davies, Supergrass) recorded and mixed Kind Words For Cruel Times which opened up a broader attention, its success matched by shows with the likes of Klaxons, The Wave Pictures, Lupen Crook, Sgt Buzfuz, and Carina Round. The new single shows another engaging step forward for the quartet and you suspect with a similarly blossoming reaction.fucking_band_front

No, I Don’t Want to See Your Stupid F**king Band opens on a coaxing acoustic strum, the guitar casting a welcoming melody as Loughran begins the narrative bred from experiences and obstacles all emerging bands come up against. With lively yet controlled beats courting magnetic keys and harmonies, the song shuffles and tempts with a radiant weave of melodic prowess as bass and guitar lay down their own highly persuasive bait, the whole mix a gentle and unassuming song musically, compared to the lyrical altercation, but textured with refined and resourceful enterprise to spark the senses.

No, I Don’t Want to See Your Stupid F**king Band is a soothing seduction with a snapping title and lyrical premise, a song which reconfirms The Reverse as a band to keep good attention upon. It is not going to set your world on fire but the track is certainly going to give it a satisfying glow.

No, I Don’t Want to See Your Stupid F**king Band is available now @ https://thereverse1.bandcamp.com/track/no-i-dont-want-to-see-your-stupid-f-king-band

www.thereverse.co.uk

RingMaster 09/12/2014

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Deer Johnson – Another Day

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Seductively melancholic yet inescapably bracing and at times anthemically uplifting, Another Day the new single from Swiss duo Deer Johnson is a magnetic captivation luring attention time and time again. Consisting of Philip Deer and Toby Johnson, two friends on the evidence of their new single capturing a fresh vibrancy and creative energy to acoustic music with their creative presence, Deer Johnson are about to take their sound around the UK in a series of headlining dates and shows supporting folksters Moulettes. The single is released to coincide with the tour and the perfect taster of shows and introduction to the band.

Another Day opens on a caress of guitar, a coaxing unveiling an immediately evocative melody with more than a shadowed quality of The Cure to it. Vocals swiftly join the emotive drama with an expressive tone as suggestive in hue as the colourful intimacy of the guitars now courting its emerging narrative. With subdued yet pungent beats and a wonderful dark bass tone to the encounter, the song croons and seduces with elegant mystery and emotional expression. With both guitars and voices entwining their distinctive but superbly blended flavoursome qualities, Another Day simply mesmerises as it sparks ears and imagination. All the time there is an underlying almost anthemic essence to the song too which in turn only has thoughts and emotions fully roused.

If Another Day is anything to go by, British audiences are in for a real treat this December as Deer Johnson hit the British roads, and the band itself destined to a very healthy reception.

Another Day is available now.

Deer Johnson Tour dates:

10th Dec                   Wolverhampton – Robin 2 (Supporting)

11th Dec                   Wakefield – Unity Hall (Supporting Moulettes)

12th Dec                   Liverpool – Lomax

13th Dec                   Bury – The Met (Supporting Moulettes)

14th Dec                   Sheffield – South Sea Live

https://www.facebook.com/deerjohnsonmusic

RingMaster 08/12/2014

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Sylvia – Wolvey, Ansty

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Ahead of their highly anticipated new album, British trio Sylvia release new single Wolvey, Ansty, and it is hard to imagine a more potent and irresistible lure to raise the appetite for their next full-length. The song is a seductive glaze of melodic enchantment and provocative drama impossible to ignore and easy to devour greedily.

From Moseley, Birmingham, the trio of Daniel Sweeney, Phill Ward, and Russell Collins drew decent attention critically and with fans through their self-produced debut album Rathea in 2011. It is a release still earning new appetites for the band, a lure which new single Wolvey, Ansty should kick up numerous gears as the band leads into its next album.

The single sidles up to ears with a melodic jangle and swiftly eager rhythms, the chattering melody of keys offering a southern air to their temptation and expressive colour to the emergence of the song. It is a provocative lure accentuated by a glorious soar of harmony soaked vocals, their delivery ethereal but also slightly haunting. Around the delicious radiance guitars and rhythms are constantly building up their potency and drama, erupting in a contagious crescendo before magnetically starting the process all over again.

There is thickness and richness to the song which belies the slimmer but vivaciously persuasive textures, it all aligning to create the elegant winds blowing across the senses. As it nears its climax, the track seems to get busier and creatively concussive, voice and sound entangling for a melodic roar and emotive blaze.

Wolvey, Ansty suggests that the impending album from Sylvia is going to be striking in the very least and we suspect, thanks to the single, that anticipations around the country are soon going to shift into hunger mode.

Wolvey, Ansty is available now via Regent Street Records @ https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/wolvey-ansty-radio-edit/id931592367?i=931592368

http://thisissylvia.com/

RingMaster 01/12/2014

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Rivertairs – Jack

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Flirting with the imagination like a mix of Common Tongues, Tankus The Henge, and Johnny Foreigner, the debut single from UK band Rivertairs is an introduction which does not instantly make your mind up about their presence but certainly ensures there is an appetite to hear more of their obvious potential. Carrying a flavoursome blend of varied rock spices as dramatic hues of folk rock and indie pop enterprise add their lures to the aural shuffle, Jack is a captivating and seriously intriguing proposition.

Hailing from Manchester, Rivertairs first explored their expressive and expansive design of sound with the 2013 three-track demo, Fool’s Parade. It was supported and followed by numerous shows across the north of England which included sharing stages with bands like Space. Now ready to break into a broader spotlight the band is releasing their first single, a “tongue-in-cheek vignette on the infamous Jack the Ripper”.

Jack opens with swarthy strikes of guitar which in turn are joined by a dark bassline and crisp beats. There is an instant creative and striding swagger to the song which grows in boldness as the vocals begin unveiling the song’s narrative and melodic flames wrap around the infectious enterprise. There are essences of folk and indie pop to the rock based offering and even more varied colour to the imagination spicing up every tenacious sway and seductive caress on show.

The track almost prowls with its adventure and has a theatrical relish to its inventive mischief which keeps ears and imagination gripped and intrigue greedy. As mentioned one song is never enough to decide if a band is for the long-term in thoughts and emotions but Jack has plenty to make Rivertairs a prospect needing thorough exploration ahead and an enjoyable companion right now.

Jack is available as a free download from www.rivertairs.com now!

RingMaster 11/11/2014

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Vandettes – Let it All Go

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An eagerly simmering cauldron of melodic expression and emotive energy, Let it All Go the new single from UK band Vandettes, provides a feistily tantalising introduction to a band already raising up a healthy buzz around them. The song is a robust dance of spearing guitar hooks and electronic flirtation immersed in melodies which linger longer than a hangover. It may only be one song but it suggests that Vandettes is a potent prospect here to stay.

Originally from Northern Ireland, the band moved to Liverpool with its members studying music at the city’s university. It did not take long for the band’s live presence and radiant indie sound to stir up keen attention locally and around the UK. This has led to the quartet of vocalist Robbie Cully, bassist Padraig Mcloughlin, drummer Marty Mcloughlin, and guitarist Daniel Kelly signing with SWC Artist Management and subsequently to Glasgow based Twin City Records for the release of Let It all Go.

The single opens on a gentle sonic breeze which is soon welcoming pungent string plucks from Kelly. It is a swift and engaging lure that succumbs to the even more enticing stroll of a dark bassline courted by the excellent vocal potency and v12expression of Cully. Magnetic melodic seduction from guitar and keys, as well as rich harmonies, ignite ears and imagination further, the track soon a bubbling revelry of skilled enterprise and irrepressible contagion. There is an eighties breath to the energy wrapping ears too, a friendly and familiar temptation which evolves into something equal fresh through the modern snarl and tenacity of guitars and rhythms.

Potently impressing from Cully’s soaring vocals to the bordering on mischievous bass invention, the guitar adventure to the crisp provocative beats, Let It All Go is a striking and appetite sparking first step by Vandettes. The beginning of big things it is easy to suspect too.

Let it All Go is available now on Twin City Records @ https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/let-it-all-go/id870573140?i=870573146

www.facebook.com/vandettesofficial

RingMaster 26/09/2014

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These Reigning Days – Opera of Love

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There has been a great many, us included, who thought that These Reigning Days could and would be the next big thing in British rock because of their exceptional parade of gripping and insatiably contagious singles. It has not quite happened yet, but now with the release of their sensational debut album Opera of Love that anticipation is back in full force. The album is sensational, pulling in all the brilliance of their singles, revitalising them, and laying them beside new creative emprises to send ears aflutter and emotions into overload. The Devon trio create rock songs which are as skilled in their textures and invention as they are virulent in their anthemic catchiness, the result an album that is one of the invigorating melodic roars of 2014.

The past couple of years have been a busy time for the band, their increasingly recognised presence seeing the band relentlessly touring and playing at numerous festivals such as Glastonbury and Hop Farm, play with the likes of Metronomy, Echo and The Bunnymen, and The Feeling, and more recently unleash their sounds before 60,000 fans at Milan’s San Siro Stadium supporting Bon Jovi. The past summer was consumed with a host of UK and European dates in support of the new album as well as an appearance at Vladivostock Rocks in Eastern Russia and Emerge in Mumbai, Dehli, and Bangalore. Now the Yoad Nevo (Goldfrapp, Moby) produced Opera of Love, with additional production and mix on the band’s previous singles by Ade Bushby (Muse, Foo Fighters), gets its moment to ignite the country and such its inescapable enticement it is hard to see it failing.

The album reveals its might and intent straight away with opener Stand Down. The song opens with the voice of guitarist Dan Steer waking up ears in the embrace of keys. It is an elegant start but even in its gentle coaxing provides the hint of something waiting to spring forth. When it comes it is not the expected surge but a dramatic stroll of thumping rhythms from drummer Joe Sansome and throaty bass tempting from Jonny Finnis. That in turn, with Steer’s expressive tones still in poetic league with the piano melancholy, leads into greater intensity and subsequently a contagious persuasion, the first anthem of the encounter. The melodies cast by the guitar and the radiance of keys only light up further the striding beauty of the song and its irrepressible march on the passions.

The impressive start is surpassed by Changes, an opening croon of bass and guitar matched by voice, luring the imagination into an ethereal flight of keys over an evocatively hued fiery landscape. As the song plays with thoughts there is a TRDfamiliarity to this and others songs which refuses detection, that is until the realisation comes that the recognisable feel is from the band itself and the impact of their sound through previous singles like the sensational Too Late, which itself follows the outstanding new single Thrones. The album’s third song erupts with a throaty tone to its energy and persuasion, the bass especially vocal in its sinew stretched address on the imagination. Harmonies equally spring at the senses with similar success and strength, whilst keys and beats make a respectful but rigorous frame for the blossoming beauty within. The song is unrelenting in its melodic charge, offering a rowdy but composed tempest of beauty and bewitchingly textured ingenuity.

Too Late just as impressively swipes its share of the passion next, riding in on a dark magnetic bassline through sultry scenery of Morricone kissed scythes of guitar. Steer is just as potent as his expels the narrative of the song, everything building to a crescendo of heady hooks across bulging bass bait and tenacious beats with a chorus only the dead could refuse joining in on. Adding a Latin hue to its climactic tone and air, the track is a seriously intensive captivation.

A brief atmospheric instrumental called simply Interlude allows a breath to be snatched before latest single and title track bounds in with melodic seduction and drama fuelled vivacity. The electronic side of the band takes centre stage across the song but with plenty of room for the tight temptation of guitar and rhythmic enterprise to enslave ears and thoughts. Again there is an infectiousness which allows no escape of its binding grip whilst the warm soar of keys apply a provocative seduction. Its triumph is swiftly emulated by I Need Time, a song which takes longer than some to get to the same lofty heights. Featuring the enticing vocals of Jazmyn Mary in duet with Steer, and soaring harmonies courted by romantic melodies, the track is a gripping and mesmeric soar across the senses.

Both the electro stroll of Smoke and Mirrors and the shimmering aural light of Fish Bowl escort an already eager appetite to new hunger The first is seeded in an eighties synth pop revelry but just as alluringly adds a torrent of feisty riffs and energetic rhythmic unpredictability to further stir up its increasingly addictive bait whilst the second sends electronic ripples around and off of a sturdier drive of guitar and rhythm bred tenacity. Though neither matches the lofty heights of say Too Late both leave ears and thoughts basking in their warmth and invention before the dynamic endeavour of Living It Up descends on the passions. Starting with Steer crooning into another subtle yet colourful caress of keys, the track soon rumbles with muscle infused rhythms which in turn sparks a rampant energy infused with snarling riffs and taunts from guitars and bass. Subsequently entwining both sides of its scintillating ingenuity, the song expands into another inimical anthem in the severe contagion of the album.

Through the emotive majesty of English Rose and the similarly evocative breath of the Brit pop like Shine On, band and album show new twists in their creative characters to keep everything fresh and vibrant. That aspect of the album is a given before the pair share their evidence to be honest and reinforced by the following cinematic escapade of Satellite. With a sinister air to keys and bass and fascination to hooks and the more aggressive hues of guitar, the track creates its own unique and pungent enslavement of body and emotions.

Opera of Love is closed by the short McCartney-esque ballad The End, Steer weaving a melancholic finale with equally emotive keys. It is a tightly enticing close to one of the year’s major highlights, and the latest confident declaration that These Reigning Days is ready to crack that intensive spotlight.

Opera of Love is available via Ecco Recordings on September 22nd @ https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/opera-of-love-special-edition/id911377967

www.thesereigningdays.co.uk

RingMaster 22/09/2014

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