Sonic Tides: talking Oceans with guitarist Tom Hollands

The release of a new EP suggests 2018 is set to be a potent and busy year for Brighton, UK based Oceans. It is a multi-flavoured, ear grabbing incitement of the band’s post hardcore and alternative rock blended sound building on their previous encounters whilst venturing into new imagination. We recently had the pleasure to dive into Oceans and their new offering with guitarist Tom Hollands, exploring their beginnings, fresh endeavour and more….

Can you first introduce the band and give us some background to how it all started?

Much like the actual Oceans, we are a band made up of 5 mostly water based entities: Zach Silver – vocals, Conor Hyde & Tom Hollands – guitars, Jack Warren – bass and James Gillingham – drums. We all either lived, partied or performed alongside each other before the current line-up was formed, that and our shared desire to create made Oceans happen!

Have you been involved in other bands before? If so has that had any impact on what you are doing now, in maybe inspiring a change of style or direction?

Collectively we’ve all played in bands or made music of many different genres. Perhaps without being fully aware of it we draw on this when writing – We’re all quite different as musicians too so I think we’re bound to end up with quite an eclectic sound.

What inspired the band name?

We came to Brighton and based it on things we saw – So it was either something to do with seagulls, falafel (love it), or the ocean… No unfortunately that’s not true; our guitarist Conor got it from a Mallory Knox song!

Was there any specific idea behind the forming of the band and also in what you wanted it and your sound to offer?

The idea has always been to try to make music that we love and hopefully others do too, and to do this as a career – We always strive to be somewhat original yet familiar enough to still fit into a scene.

Do the same things still drive the band when it was fresh-faced or have they evolved over time?

Most of us didn’t have any real direction until we decided to pursue music. We also love playing live and like most bands can’t wait to hopefully play to bigger crowds and do more tours!

Since your early days, how would you say your sound has evolved?

We’re evermore critical with our songwriting and I’d say we’re starting to really refine our sound – The music has grown darker sonically and thematically and we’ve tried to strike a balance between more poppy hooks and heavier riffs.

This has been more of an organic movement of sound or more the band deliberately trying new things?

Although it’s felt like a natural progression, we’re actively trying to make the best songs we can and sometimes that means tearing apart or scrapping ideas we’ve worked on for ages and doing something completely new instead.

Presumably across the band there is a wide range of inspirations; 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?

We all have rather different tastes in music; artists that have had a considerable impact on us are Incubus, Don Broco, Black Peaks, Deftones, Marmozets… There’s so many. We’ve heard of some bands that will try dozens of different melodies or ideas before settling so we’re just trying to be as critical as possible!

Is there a regular process to the band’s songwriting?

We don’t have a set method, however it usually starts with guitar riffs written at home and then built upon bit by bit in rehearsals. We all have a say in every part of the process so it really is a collective effort. Now we do demos and backing tracks to try out synths and things like that.

Where, more often than not, do inspirations to the lyrical side of your songs come from?

Our singer Zach writes the lyrics – Subject matter is usually based on personal struggles or stories relative to what’s happening in our lives (get over ourselves, right?) – We try to leave things open to interpretation, we want our audience to be able to relate.

Could you give us some background to your latest release?

Our new EP, Far From Composure dropped on March 13th. It’s available on practically all platforms and we see it as a big milestone for Oceans.

How about some insight into the themes and premise behind it and its songs?

Thematically the EP spans elements of coping with mental instability and it’s causation due to physical condition, relationships with yourself/others, escapism… The premise of this EP was to really capture our progression as a band from previous works and most importantly create something very emotive that connects with listeners. We also wanted to write big riffs, hit stuff and make loud noises.

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?

Our intention has always been to enter the studio with finished songs, however we always end up adding bits and pieces and coming up with extra ideas – We actually recorded a whole extra song last time!

Tell us about the live side to the band?

We play with a lot of energy and really like to throw ourselves about, I’d like to think if you don’t enjoy our recorded music at first our live set would… Captivate you… (Pun FFO Marmozets…)

It is not easy for any new band to make an impact regionally let alone nationally and further afield. How have you found it your neck of the woods? Are there the opportunities to make a mark if the drive is there for new bands?

It can be tough for any new band to branch out from their hometown and it certainly hasn’t been any different for us. It helps being driven for sure – We lost count long ago of the amount of gigs we’ve played around trying to make a name for ourselves. We’ve had our fair share of bad luck but we’ve found that the harder you work the more chance of creating positive opportunities you have – Though there are many other factors to consider!

How has the internet and social media impacted on the band to date? Do you see it as something destined to become a negative from a positive as the band grows and hopefully gets increasing success or is it more that bands struggling with it are lacking the knowledge and desire to keep it working to their advantage?

Social media has played a big part in enabling us to reach people we otherwise wouldn’t have been able to. However, working round changing algorithms and the like can be difficult when trying to connect with fans (Or gain new ones). It’s a big discussion, though now it’s pretty much a necessity for new artists to engage in social media. Like with anything, it’s really about figuring out how to utilize it most effectively for your band, we’re definitely still learning! I’d say do what you can without losing sight of what’s important, the rock and/ or roll (or whatever genre you play). Cliché I know…

For further dips into Oceans check them out @

https://www.facebook.com/pg/oceansukband   https://twitter.com/oceansukband     http://instagram.com/oceansukband   http://oceansuk.bandcamp.com

Pete RingMaster 13/04/2018

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Mindset X – Oceans

Mindset X_RingMaster Review

Since emerging in 2006, US band Mindset X has never been slow in enticing ears with hook laden and inventively melodic songs, creating anthems which grip the body as firmly as the imagination. Equally though the past years and releases have seen the New Hampshire trio explore a more progressively seeded enterprise as their sound and songwriting has evolved and matured. It has been a perpetual time of potent songs and attention grabbing releases luring frequent acclaim, praise forcibly matched by their live presence and hunger. Now the Manchester band has set down another benchmark with new album Oceans, a fascinating, imagination fuelled concept album unveiling band’s most expansive and emotionally intimate sound yet.

The eleven track encounter is an absorbing proposition which around body manipulating escapades, immerses ears and thoughts in a soundscape of emotional turbulence and discovery wrapped in atmospheric and progressive rock suggestiveness. Each track has its own tale, its own unique narrative of sound and word, uniting for one gripping incitement. As most releases, certain moments have bigger success with personal tastes than others but at no point does Oceans lose its hold on the adventurer sharing its journey or leave a quickly triggered appetite feeling unfulfilled.

cover_RingMaster Review       Recorded with multiple Grammy Award winner Jay Frigoletto and featuring guest appearances from Paul Bielatowicz and Simon Fitzpatrick of The Carl Palmer Band and John Wesley of Porcupine Tree, Oceans opens with the brief Zero 220. The track sets the album’s scene, the charm and solitude of coastal waves lapping the senses as a gentle melody courts the air. The imagination is on alert and quickly fed with the hard rock grooves and bluesy spicing of I Imagine straight after. Typical Mindset X in that it is a swiftly engaging stroll of inventive hooks wrapped in a melodic wine that intoxicates as it colours the growing context of the song. The distinctive voice of Steven Haidaichuk is as equally expressive as his guitar enterprise whilst the swiping beats of drummer Adam Cote provide a textured grounding to match the throaty growl of Paul Davidson’s bass.

It is an accomplished and highly enjoyable full start to the album but soon outshone by the band’s new single Shockwave. Striding in on a rhythmic magnetism cast by Cote, the track soon entangles ears in spicy sonic scythes and a moody bassline, all as contagious as they are suggestive. A fresh snarl lines the tones of Haidaichuk as he proceeds to prowl the persuasive web cast by the predator like encounter. Two thirds in and an apocalyptic aftermath sizzles, providing more food for thought with the lyrical side, before things are back in a virulent swing hard to resist let alone ignore.

From one peak to another and the glorious incitement of Flatline where again bass and drums spring a highly compelling and provocative trap that thoughts grip greedily, before a gentle caress of guitar hugs emotive vocals. The hypnotic lure of the track increases as crescendos erupt and caustically sizzle on the senses, the tribalistic rhythms continuing to provoke and bewitch as the heart of the protagonist theming Oceans melancholically flows out.

An electronic ambience makes a thicker presence in Island next, the keys of Davidson shadowing the melodic and emotion drenched croon of the classic rock spiced song. Though it does not quite light the same spark inside as its predecessor, the track is a ripe bloom of resourceful invention and creative colour which only feeds ears and mind with lingering enjoyment. Being placed within the might of the previous song and The Bends which follows does it no favours though; the new track a spellbinding wash of sinister atmospherics and sonic intrigue around more personal and intimate introspection from the album’s character voiced impressively by Haidaichuk. Around him, keys and guitar create a cloud of temptation, a climate stalked by the moody lure of the bass and graced by subsequent celestial harmonies.

The infectious rock ‘n’ roll of You and Me takes over next, its easily accessible yet precisely sculpted swagger a quick and unshakeable persuasion leading to a brewing addiction whilst the initial exotically sultry ambience of War and Crime lights a fresh fire in the passions with its smouldering seduction before breeding a glorious infestation of grooves and spiky hooks for gnarly rock ‘n’ roll drawing on angst and social inspirations for its virulent tempting.

The flowing elegance and melodic prowess of Castaway is another which does not tickle personal tastes as firmly but still leaves ears full of potent temptation. For others it will undoubtedly be one of the highlights and easy to see why with its emotional charm and melodic beauty, but for us The Great Divide Part I quickly steals attention from it with its instrumental theatre whilst setting up the imagination for the triumph of The Great Divide Part II. The closing song on Oceans, it is also the most inventive and experimental, Mindset X spinning a tapestry of numerous styles and flavours into an emprise of craft and heart which just gets stronger and more delicious, not forgetting irresistible, with each and every listen. The pinnacle of a consistently thrilling album, it is also quite possibly the best any song written by the band, ingrained favourites aside, a slice of invention as emotionally provocative as it is contagious. At times it is raw rock ‘n’ roll, in other moments a cinematic adventure, and persistently a progressive lined exploration to enthral and incite.

Mindset X has had a potent and increasingly growing sound for a fair few years now but they have tapped into something deeper and fresher within their imagination with Oceans, with us the listener reaping the rewards.

Oceans is out now through most online stores with the single Shockwave available as a free download @ http://mindsetx.bandcamp.com/track/shockwave

http://www.mindsetx.com  http://www.twitter.com/mindsetxband   https://www.facebook.com/mindsetx

Pete RingMaster 06/10/2015

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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