We Are The Ocean
British act We Are The Ocean are distinguishable from the post-hardcore pile thanks to the vocal finesse of clean singer and guitarist Liam Cromby. His sailing, soaring and technical voice is unique; however, Cromby is only one of two vocalists in the five-piece. After trading in hoarse screams for a gravely, melodic rock sound, frontman Dan Brown also shines on the band's forthcoming release Go Now & Live .
The band's sophomore album showcases a unity between Cromby and Brown like never before, with tracks like The Waiting Room demonstrating the benefit having multiple vocalists can provide. "We've never really taken advantage of the fact that there are two vocalists in the band," muses Brown. "[We realised] there's a lot more that we can do with it to make it really cool and interesting, so we just spent a lot more time trying to work out different ways of feeding off of each other and using each other's voices as ammunition, if you like, for the other person."
Brown attributes his personal development as a vocalist to a change in musical influences and an openness to experimentation, "I'd never really realised that I had that voice in me," he admits. "I'd started listening to a lot more punk bands at the time when we were writing, when before I was listening to a lot more metal and hardcore, so I kind of took on this more melodic - but still gruff - singing voice. I tried it out, and we started writing with it a little bit, and it just went from there."
This shift in the band's musical taste was equally influential on the new album as a whole. At times aggressive, at others upbeat, and much more melodic overall, Go Now & Live is a rockier release in comparison to the band's heavier, more melancholy debut. "We're so proud of it. We're really, really proud of this album," Brown beams, "we wanted to step it up a bit and take it to the next level - and prove to people that we can do something that's a bit different and that we're not just gonna write the same songs again," he enthuses. "Hopefully we've done that," he adds modestly, "we feel like we've achieved that and the reviews so far have been really positive. "
On the process of writing the album, Brown says it came naturally to the young band. "We're constantly writing," he shrugs, "we love writing together and once the first album came out we just started writing new material and getting a load of demos that we then played for the label, and it went from there.
"Liam, our guitarist, comes to the table with the blueprint for a song. He'll write the guitar and work out the chords and melodies and stuff and we'll sit in our rehearsal station, the five of us, and jam ideas out together," Brown elaborates. "We'll get the basic song structure down and write lyrics and write vocal melodies separately... [We made] no conscious decision to make the album sound any particular way, it was just how we were feeling at the time," he relates casually.
A deliberate decision the band did make, however, was to produce a concise, ten track release. "There were two songs that we recorded that didn't make the album, one of them is actually a bonus track on iTunes, the other one didn't end up making it at all; that was just because we knew that we wanted a ten song album. We really liked the idea of keeping it quite short, almost to kind of leave people wanting more. There's nothing worse than having a really great album but then getting halfway through it and feeling that you've dragged on," he nods. "We wanted to make sure that each song was strong, and the whole album was strong throughout. The song that didn't make it on there we also think is quite strong, and that's only a bonus song, which is quite funny."
When asked which song he personally perceives as an outstanding track on the record, Brown remains ambivalent, "It kind of keeps changing," he laughs, "I'm still listening to the album a lot and every time I listen to it I get really excited about certain songs - which is great because that just shows me that I'm in love with the whole album and proud of every song. But, right now the song Overtime Is A Crime I would say is my favourite," he concludes, "just because we've started playing it live... It's a really fast, energetic song and its quite fun to play live and already the fans have taken to it really well."
Overtime Is A Crime is the only new song that has been previewed to the band's live audience thus far. Trouble Is Temporary, Time Is Tonic makes an impression as the album's opening track, and Brown says the band decided to allow the song to make an impact when the album was released before adding it to their live set. "That first vocal line [of Trouble Is Temporary, Time Is Tonic] is such a strong line, and it's almost a kind of shock and surprise when you hear that first song. We kind of pushed the boundaries on that song and made it totally different to what we're used to writing, so we want people to hear it on CD before they hear it live... I remember when we were writing it we all knew straight away it would be the opening song on the album."
The band's debut Cutting Teeth was recorded in America with renowned producer Brian McTernan (Thrice, The Bled, Converge), and Brown credits McTernan for the confidence the band brought into the studio to work on their sophomore, recorded with Pete Miles (The King Blues, Canterbury). "[Brian] taught us a lot about songwriting and a lot about song structures and stuff like that. We listened to a lot of what he said, even now on the second album... Working with Pete it was a lot more of a relaxed and chilled out session and he just made it really comfortable in the studio straight away, not that it was uncomfortable with Brian, but it was all very new to us then," Brown explains.
As far as where the band plan on touring in support of the new release, Brown reveals that they will begin in the UK and Europe before landing in Australia in September to play the debut festival Soundwave Revolution. "We're really excited about touring Australia again... we've been itching to get back," Brown says emphatically, genuinely excited. The band's last visit was back in 2009, an experience Brown hasn't forgotten. "It was amazing. We absolutely loved it... it was just nuts for us so far away from home when we'd only been a band for like two years.
"We kind of limited our expectations - we didn't have a clue if anyone was going to know who we were; we didn't really have a clue what shows were like in Australia. We just went over there with a really open mind, and went over there to enjoy ourselves and to play to a whole bunch of new people. When we got there all these kids knew the words and were buying our merch and stuff; it was like, wow, when did this happen? There are people in Australia who have heard of our band!"
And will We Are The Ocean be scheduling any additional shows to accompany their festival appearances? "I really don't know yet," laughs Brown politely. "All we've confirmed is the festival, so we'll see what happens I guess. We'll probably come back again in 2012 or something and do something else then."
WE ARE THE OCEAN's brand new album Go Now & Live out now through Shock Records. They'll appear alongside Van Halen, Alice Cooper, Bad Religion, Danzig, Sisters Of Mercy, Panic! At The Disco, Kvelertak, Story Of The Year, Sum 41, Thursday, Yellowcard, Times Of Grace, Unearth, Funeral For A Friend, Zebrahead, Hellogoodbye, Whitechapel, Every Time I Die, The Acacia Strain, Madina Lake and many more at SOUNDWAVE REVOLUTION on Friday September 30, 2011. Tickets for SOUNDWAVE REVOLUTION go on sale for Soundwave members on Thursday May 26 from soundwaverevolution.com - and for non-members on Thursday June 2 from soundwaverevolution.com, oztix.com.au and oztix retail outlets.