Last year saw a change of line-up spark a new evolution in the sound of emerging and exciting rockers Nocean. It was as if everything fell into place for the Swedish quartet, evidence coming with their subsequent single. Time to find out more we thought when the chance to talk with Nocean arose. So with thanks to vocalist Hanna, we peer into the origins of Nocean, those changes and a new direction in sound and much more…
Can you first introduce the band and give us some background to how you all together?
Nocean is a rock band from Sweden (Stockholm) that plays alternative rock with metal influences and electronic elements. We are four members: Hanna (vocals), Patrick (drums), Ozzy (guitar), and Sara (bass). The band started back in 2013 as a classic hard rock band, but has switched some members and developed the sound towards alternative rock. Me (Hanna) and Ozzy has brought the band forward since some members quit last summer and so we found Patrick through a Swedish site called “band finder”. We knew Sara a bit from before and she joined the band last fall. They both saved us back then, and we started something fresh and great.
Have you been involved in other bands before? If so has that had any impact on that change of style or direction within the band?
We have all been in other bands before, in different genres from hard rock to extreme metal. It can of course have an impact on what we are writing now, we blend our references together. It’s important for us to have the same musical taste in rock/metal.
What inspired the band name?
Nocean is a play with words – Notion – Nocean!
Was there any specific idea behind the forming of the band and also in what you wanted it and your sound to offer?
When I first started a band called Lobos Libre (before Nocean), I was very inspired by The Runaways and the spirit of pure rock n roll. But that has changed over time; when we wrote our debut album we played around a bit in the rock/metal genre and we found out more about which direction we wanted to go – more towards a modern, alternative rock sound in the style of Thirty Seconds To Mars, Muse, and Paramore.
Are you still driven by those same core aims or have broadened them as Nocean has grown?
We have come to a new level and with each level you get your motivations from different things of course. In the beginning our main goal was to play as much live as possible, in any venues. Now our goal is to focus on the recordings, social media and to play at larger stages. This summer we are playing at Sweden Rock Festival!
Since your early days, how would you say your sound has evolved?
It started as a classic hard rock band, blending in some metal and our debut album is a mix of different kind of rock/metal styles. So during this past year we have developed and streamlined our sound to alternative, modern rock and we also added some backing tracks/synthesizers and electronic elements to create a heavier, more massive sound.
Has it been more of an organic movement of sound or more the band deliberately wanting to try new things?
I would say both. Since some members quit and left me and Ozzy alone with this ship last summer, our new sound is now based on me and Ozzy’s personal musical taste of course. And it’s based on what we like nowadays of course, since I was more of a classic hard rock girl before and Ozzy was only listening to metal core for some years ago. As Patrick and Sara joined the band, they were all in for this sound and we even found out that we have a heavier reference as well in common – Devin Townsend. And so Sara and Patrick also add their influences to our new sound and that becomes what Nocean is today.
As you have suggested there is a wide range of inspirations across the band; are there any in particular which have impacted not only on the band’s music but your personal approach and ideas to creating and playing music?
In the start it was The Runaways/Joan Jett (for me) and Halestorm. Halestorm is still there as I found Lizzy Hale being a great inspiration and their music is also still quite similar to ours. Then a year ago me and Ozzy found Thirty Seconds To Mars and smaller bands in the same genre and got amazed. Muse has always been one of my favorite band, but it wasn’t obvious to have a band inspired by them because I wasn’t sure of what I could or could not sing. Straight forward hard rock is for me an “easier” genre; both in the writing sometimes and with the vocals since it suits me well and I know how to master it. What we are doing now is more challenging in some ways and for me that is awesome.
Is there a particular process to the songwriting within the band?
We put together the songs in the rehearsal room. But me and Ozzy often write some foundations to the songs that we bring to our rehearsal. Patrick adds his cool rhythms and details to the songs and Sara adds her dynamic thinking. I write the lyrics and Ozzy produces and writes the songs at home in his home studio.
Where do you, more often than not, draw the inspirations to the lyrical side of your songs?
I write what is true for me right now and I often describe my lyrics as letters to people who need to hear them. It’s very often about change and going in a positive direction with yourself.
Can you give us some background to your latest release?
We have released two songs since the new line up was formed and with our new sound. The first one – The Change – was released in October last year along with Sweden’s first rock video filmed in 360 degrees. It went viral and we gained many new followers from Mexico and Brazil, where we think our music is much appreciated. In March this year we released a second single – This Must Be – with a music video which included some live clips from a great big venue outside Stockholm.
How about some insight to the themes and premise behind them?
I try to always be positive and encouraging in my lyrics. I want it to be somehow poetic more than straight in your face, and I want it to be subtle, in that way a song about love can as well mean something else for someone else. Feelings are the same sometimes, like whether it’s about losing someone to death or separating from someone you have a strong relationship to.
Are you a band which goes into the studio with songs pretty much in their final state or prefer to develop them as you record?
Since Ozzy is the master of the sound (recording for us), he likes to build a song step by step. So it’s a constant process!
Tell us about the live side to the band, presumably the favourite aspect of the band?
We have a lot of energy on stage and we love to interact with our audience, and to be on stage together! You can see clearly that we all love to be on stage. We want to tour abroad as often as we can, it makes us stoked and it’s so great to combine your passion for music with traveling around the world, meeting different kind of people.
It is not easy for any new band to make an impact regionally let alone nationally and further afield. How have you found it?
Yes of course. Our answer is quite obvious: social media. Using Facebook ads and targeting the right audience, knowing your audience, posting the right content on the right time, making YouTube covers to let new people find your music… the list goes on. There are lots of opportunities for bands to go on their own today.
So the internet and social media has positively impacted on the band to date?
Yes, I think that I’ve found a way to make it a positive way for success and that other bands should discover this and have a lot of patience too. It takes much time to learn all about it, to find your target audience and how to reach them. But it’s all worth it when you see results.
Once again a big thanks for sharing time with us Hanna; anything you would like to add or reveal for the readers?
We are coming to England on tour again in May! Playing in London, Tamworth and Birmingham… It’s gonna be a blast, we came last year for the first time and played with the London based metal band Evyltyde. Thanks to them we found some contacts and are now able to go on our headline mini tour. To smaller bands that want to tour abroad: make gig swaps. Let a band come to your home town and book them on some gigs and let them do the same for you. Share lodging, transport costs and voila! You’re on tour abroad without any expensive booking agency. Don’t be afraid to Do It Yourself! Big thank you for reading all of this and thanks for the interview!
The RingMaster Review 12/04/2017
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