The sparks of change: exploring the adventure that is Nocean

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!

http://www.noceantheband.com/    https://www.facebook.com/noceantheband/   https://twitter.com/noceantheband/

Pete RingMaster

The RingMaster Review 12/04/2017

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

The Dollyrots – Whiplash Splash

There are inescapable feel-good encounters and there are others which lead you into lustfully energetic engagements but there are very few which has the body and spirit engaged in a full on party of endless physical endeavour equipped with mischievous behaviour.  Whiplash Splash is one of the few, a feverish riot of sound and inhibition squashing incitement virtually tattooing a broad smile on face and mood.

Uncaged by Californian duo The Dollyrots, the band’s sixth studio album is a new wave of their bubblegum flavoured pop infested punk ‘n’ roll. A year ago, the pair invaded a new plateau in their sound with the Mama’s Gonna Knock You Out EP, itself continuing the new bloom of growth started by previous album Barefoot and Pregnant two years before that. Now the ‘invader’ has become the conqueror, Whiplash Splash owning the new level of creative maturity and instinctive contagion in the pair’s sound leaving the body exhausted and emotions flying in its wake.

If last year was a truly busy time for the couple of vocalist/bassist Kelly Ogden and vocalist/guitarist Luis Cabezas, with the release of the EP and a sold out UK tour with Bowling For Soup backing up the birth of their child, 2017 has the potential of being even hungrier on their time and virulent revelry with Whiplash Splash leading the way. As Mama’s Gonna Knock You Out, the crowd funded album was produced by John Fields with the duo and immediately has ears and attention enslaved with a proposition maybe best described as The Donnas and The Crystals meets Australian band Valentiine infused with Bowling For Soup mischief, a hint which covers all the album though really it is all best pinned down as simply The Dollyrots.

With the album’s title, imagery, and writing spun from Ogden’s passion for and longing to be a mermaid, as well as working as a metaphor for the band’s spilt time living in downtown Los Angeles and coastal Florida, Whiplash Splash just rips itself from the speakers with opener I Do. A squeal and coaxing beats hit ears before a swaggering stroll of Ramones like riffs and further tenacious rhythmic exploit punk instincts led by the catchy vocal lures of Ogden and the equally enticing throb of her bass. Feet and hips are just as quickly involved as too voice and appetite, the song simply punk pop devilry refusing to be ignored.

The following Babbling Idiot is just as virulent, Ogden’s harmonic romancing warming the angular surge of guitar and the sparking of solitary rhythmic seduction before it all boils up into another seriously addictive and physically persuasive chorus. The song has a slim seventies/eighties scent to it, occasionally bringing thoughts of bands like The Photos and The Waitresses, but roars with a punk ‘n’ roll zeal borne of today’s agitation and energy.

Next up is Mermaid, the song pure seduction from its harmonic caresses and flirtatious hooks to a sonic blaze fuelled by just as forceful bait. It is a creative collusion built for the listener’s slavish captivation, success captured within a handful of breaths with similar rewards sought and found by Just Because I’m Blonde straight after. With Cabezas’ guitar jangle the first chain of temptation, Ogden’s probing bassline the second, the track quickly prowls the senses with a lively confident swagger and a throbbing almost salacious backbone. Again hooks escape from each creative twist with B52s inspired keys just adding to the imagination igniting drama.

From its first breath, the album is a puppeteer to body and spirit, continuing its manipulation in fine style with Squeeze Me. Its initial rockabilly hued bass groove is alone enough to tempt submission, an almost taunting tempting soon fondled by sonic invention and subsequently joined by Ogden’s vocal saunter.  As words and song make an increasingly pop punk proposal no red blooded rocker can refuse, kinetic dynamics ensure class ‘A’ catchiness before This Addiction serenades ears with its own boisterously infectious swing and harmonic invention; its croon sliding melodic caresses across the senses like a sultry lover inflamed with lust borne energy.

Dance Like a Maniac more than lives up to its title as a persuasion, its bold and bruising punk rock a bully for feet and body swerves driving song and listener into zealous union while Saturday Morning with a great opening bass groan offers its own headstrong physical temptation. Riffs and rhythms alone are sparks for instinctive compliance and only assisted by the blend of hard and pop rock surging through the song’s imaginative tapestry of sound and ideation.

Both tracks leave lungs gasping for breath and pleasure over flowing, yet still get slightly eclipsed by the hip swinging incitement that is City of Angels; imagine The Runaways and Bikini Kill mixing with The Go-Gos and you have a sense of its mighty romp before things mellow out with the graceful Jump Start This Heart, a song lined with an electro pop shimmer and bound in melancholic beauty as a sonic fire burns in its heart.

The rawer pop ‘n’ roll of Pack of Smokes steps forward next, bouncing along as a caustic air hugs its fiercely catchy enterprise and energy, and though it does not quite match those before it, the song leaves satisfaction pumped before the outstanding Other Trucker with its reggae hinted, attitude soaked summer canter again has pleasure brimming over. As throughout, Cabezas’ vocal backing and unity with Ogden’s is superb, often understated but always a complimentary hue to her almost siren-esque presence, especially on this treat.

The album closes with Walking on Sunshine, The Dollyrots giving the Katrina and the Waves classic their distinctive craft and energy. To be honest, it is a song which has never lit our fires but that does not stop the twosome causing bodies to bounce in the office as the album ends in fine style.

Ogden and Cabezas have hit another high with Whiplash Splash, their loftiest yet in all aspects and fair to say, when put together by The Dollyrots pop and punk has never been more tempting.

Whiplash Splash is out now through Arrested Youth Records and is available digitally and physically @ https://thedollyrots.bandcamp.com/

Upcoming Live Dates

Mar 28 The Rebel Lounge Phoenix, AZ

Mar 29 The Hideout San Diego, CA

Mar 31 The Hi Hat Los Angeles, CA

Apr 01 The Slidebar Rock-n-Roll Kitchen Fullerton, CA

May 11 The Saint Asbury Park, NJ

May 12 Firehouse 13 Providence, RI

May 15 Cafe Nine New Haven, CT

May 16 Ottobar Baltimore, MD

May 17 Kung Fu Necktie Philadelphia, PA

May 19 Sunnyvale – Brooklyn Brooklyn, NY

http://www.dollyrots.com/    https://www.facebook.com/thedollyrots/    https://twitter.com/thedollyrots

Pete RingMaster 25/03/2017

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright