What inspired you to first start making music? And how did you come to be in your current incarnation? Or if you prefer, a brief bio about you.
My family wasn’t particularly musical but music was always around growing up. Certain popular songs and sounds and artists would grab my attention, like Simon and Garfunkel, the Monkees, ABBA, ELO. But it wasn’t until middle school when I first heard New Wave and Post-punk that I really started getting into music. And as I did that and started learning guitar and working with my friends on a band, I began to make my own pieces of music and songs for the band. We weren’t particular good musicians at the time, so doing our own stuff was easier than trying to cover other people’s music.
The progression of the band was 4 high school friends that worked together from 1988-1994 on the first 3 records with Sire/Warner Bros. Then our keyboard/sax player left and our friend/second guitar player on tour, Oed, joined the band for the next record with Mercury/Polygram in 1996 and has been with us ever since. When I moved to Minneapolis in 2000, our current drummer Peter joined the band.
Provide us with some info about your latest release…
Which ones would you consider your main influences both music-wise & non-music-wise?
The band’s musical DNA really is the music I listened to in high school and still love. New Order/Joy Division, the Smiths, U2, REM, the Cure, Echo & the Bunnymen are at the top of the list. I also really like Jazz from the late fifties and sixties, ambient and classical music too, and listen to that more than stuff that sounds like The Ocean Blue. Non-musical stuff certainly influences my writing, particularly what I read, what I am going through, what I find interesting, beautiful, moving, depressing, etc.
In what way does your sound differ from the rest genre-related artists/bands and why should we listen to your music? In other words, how would you describe your sound?
I think every band has its own particular sound and take on a genre. It’s often most heard in the singers but can be the instrumentation and sound treatments. I can spot the voice of Bernie from New Order or Robert from the Cure a mile away, and the guitars of the Edge and Peter Buck, and the atmosphere and productions of Brian Eno.
Sonically, The Ocean Blue has been described as: Jangly guitars, lush keyboards, tight bass, peppy and jazzy beats, chorus and reverb, atmospheric and otherworldly sounds, space and simplicity over density and complexity.
Please name your 3 desert islands albums, movies & books…
Victorialand / Cocteau Twins
Requiem / Gabriel Faure
Live at the Village Vanguard / Bill Evans
The Seventh Seal
A Room With A View
Crimes & Misdemeanors
War & Peace
Do you prefer studio or performing live and why?
I prefer the studio because that is all about the music, and making something that lasts beyond a moment in time. That really is what it is all about for me, making musical recordings. That said, I like performing live when the situation is good— good sound and interesting venue and atmosphere for people that really want to hear.
Is there any funny-unique story you would like to share with us, always in relation to your music ‘career’?
There are many… an early surreal moment for me was chatting with one of my huge musical influences, Michael Stipe of REM, after our first show in Athens, GA by our tour bus. Just him and me until a bunch of fans came up and wanted my autograph and didn’t pay any attention to Michael. I was completely embarrassed and Michael was completely cool. He had a great sense of humor and gave me a lot of good advice…
Which track of your own would you point out as the most unique and why?
I think our most unique track may be the song “Denmark”. The recording is based on another song of ours run backwards, and the lyrical / vocal approach is much different. It marks a dividing line in the life of the band and my life.
Our most unique album is “Waterworks”, because that started as an EP and evolved into an LP of songs that were half written and sung by me, and half by Oed, along with a few instrumentals, one of which grew into a song on the next record…
Would you like to share with our readers your future plans?
We are excited to be releasing a new record this month and play a bunch of shows for the coming year!
Free question!!! (Ask yourself a question) you wish to answer and haven’t been given the opportunity…
What is your favorite color?
Photo credits: Darin Back
Curated by: Christos Doukakis
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