Interview: We Are The Ocean [May 2015]

By Lais

Today We Are The Ocean’s eagerly awaited fourth album ‘Ark’ comes out, so we went down to the House of Vans to speak to the whole band – frontman Liam Cromby, bassist Jack Spence, guitarist Alfie Scully and drummer Tommy Whittaker – about what we can expect from the new material and their busy summer ahead.

You recently released your single ‘Holy Fire’. How has it been going down?

Liam: Good.
Jack: Really well. I mean, it’s early days, but you heard it on the radio the other day [to Liam]. In the car three minutes and it came on! It was good. We’re getting some good radio play.
Alfie: We just shot a video for it as well. We went to Potter’s Bar in Hertfordshire. I don’t want to give too much away but there was a lot of running involved and there was a lot of steel toecap boots and running and the end of the world.
Liam: And lots of mud.
Jack: It was pretty much Tough Mudder.

So when will it be our for everyone to see?

Alfie: Well, that would be telling too much.
Liam: AKA, we don’t know.
Jack: Between now and June, I think.

How does it feel to hear yourselves on the radio?

Alfie: It feels weird.
Jack: Sometimes we get told we’re gonna get played and that’s cool, but it’s nice when you stumble across it, when you just happen to put the radio on and you hear the song and it’s quite nice. It feels more real that way, less forced. But yeah, it’s cool. The big thing is we’ve had a lot of support from Radio 1 and we’ve noticed a change in our crowd since that. The demographic shifted quite a lot and now it’s a more broad spectrum of people which is good.
Liam: It’s always nice when you’re in the car with your friends and it just comes on.
Jack: “This is me!”
Liam: Pretty surreal.
Alfie: We all listen to really different radio srations.
Jack: The day it comes on Magic – I mean, it’ll probably be 30 years from now that they’ll play it on Magic, but that’ll be a good day. We can play it to the grandkids then.
Alfie: “Shut up kid, listen!”

Your new album is called ‘Ark’. What does it mean?

Jack: What does ‘Ark’ mean or what does the album mean?
Alfie: It’s rock and roll…
Liam: Nothing to do with Noah. People have said that and if you want to take a biblical element from it then crack on.
Jack: It’s just a word. It was a word before the Bible, but I guess it’s just a vessel. There’s no underlying theme with the songs, it’s just a collection of varied music, so it’s the idea of it being a collection more than having a concept to it.
Alfie: There’s a lot of different stuff on the album, and ‘Ark’ was the first song we put out, so that in itself anchors the whole thing. It’s a new step for us so we felt like that should be the album title, rather than just coming up with –
Jack: As a word, I think it’s quite grandiose and it sums up a lot of the songs, the nature of them.

So what can we expect from the actual album? How does it compare to your previous material?

Jack: It’s more eclectic.
Alfie: We recorded it in a different way, so instead of doing all guitars, all drums and a massive session of vocals, each day we’d work on a song and try and finish it that day. Overall the recording process was different so it sounds different to the albums before. It sounds more live and a bit more natural.
Liam: I think because we spent time working on different songs and focusing on one thing at a time, it sounds quite diverse. I don’t think it sounds like anything we’ve done before. You can go through all the songs and hear all the different directions. There’s definitely a little bit of old We Are The Ocean in there, and you can’t shake that off, not that we wanted to, but I think it has a completely different feel to what we’ve done before.
Jack: Something for everyone!

So what album are we on now? Four?

Jack: Album number four.

It’s funny, I still think of you as a really new band in my head.

Alfie: No, we’re old. Jack got 47 on the age test.
Jack: I’m feeling it in my back and my joints. But going back to the question, I think when we started we were writing pretty heavily, so we were doing an album a year. I think this is the first time we’ve taken a step back and taken a bit more time with writing music.
Alfie: This is our fourth album and we’ve experienced a lot about being in a band.

After the album comes out, what have you got coming up?

Liam: We’ve got a headline tour coming up in a few weeks. Then festival season starts: Slam Dunk, Y Not, 2000 Trees, Reading and Leeds and everything inbetween. So yeah, a busy summer for us. Looking forward to playing these festivals and being out in the sun and seeing some good bands.

Will you be playing lots of new stuff?

Liam: Yeah, we’re gonna play some new stuff I think. We’ll try and get a nice balance between old and new.
Alfie: We don’t want to give too much away. There’ll be a mix of old and new at the shows.

Are you looking forward to the headline tour?

Liam: Yeah, it’s gonna be really good. I think because the new album’s coming out, we’ll get to play some new stuff.

I guess at festivals you have to go for the older hits that everyone knows, whereas at your headline shows you can play some more new stuff.

Liam: Yeah, with festivals it’s 40 minutes, show them what you’ve got, hit them – in the face, with a chair. It’s exciting!

Which festival are you most looking forward to?

Liam: Reading and Leeds.

Do you prefer playing headline shows, festivals or a mixture of both?

Alfie: There are pros and cons. You’ve got a bit more control with your own shows. You know you’re gonna get a soundcheck and certain technical things won’t go wrong, but with festivals you just turn up and plug in and play and go, which is really good as well. I guess with a festival, there’s so much more music you can go and watch. We can’t wait to get out and play some shows. We’ve just done a European tour and we just got off a support tour and now we’ve had four or five days chilling at home and doing some press and then the album’s out so it’s a big old lead up. It’s an interesting time for us. The new songs we have been playing live have been going down well, so there’s a lot of nervous excitement for us. We can’t wait for people to hear it.

It’s good that you still have the nerves.

Liam: It means we’ve still got the passion, we’ve still got the fire.


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