Posted On 21 Oct 2016
Meet the Lompoc, California born four-piece, The Only Ocean! They render a fresh approach to Indie Rock, marrying a wide range of sub-genres from Psych-Pop and Post-Punk to Acid Rock. Comprised of childhood friends, Wesley Hill, Dustin Whalen, Shae Kakos, and Alex Burdess, The Only Ocean, has quickly become one of Southern California’s beloved.
The second single off of their latest EP, ‘So Shy So High’, has a distinct and deliberate sound. The unexpected, yet exciting build in the breakdown alludes to the anthemic nature of the bands’ writing style, while the body of the song offers a dreamlike ease through sound. Contributing producers and engineers on their forthcoming EP, ‘TOO’, are Graham Ginsburg and Rick Mabery of The Barn Music Studio, and Jonathan DeBaun (The Mars Volta, Le Butcherettes, Antemasque). On the release of the five-track ‘TOO’, Whalen relays ‘We are very excited to release this new music because it’ll give our fans a taste of the kind ofdirection we want to take. I feel like the new CD sounds a bit more aggressive.’
Learn more about The Only Ocean in the following All Access interview:
Thanks for your time! Now that we are entering the fall of 2016, what are some words you would use to describe this year? What have been some of the highlights for the band?
Convivial, only because we’ve meet a lot of great people who have really backed our band and have been super sweet to us. As for some highlights, seeing how people have responded to Cul-De-Sac and So Shy So High has been amazing. We’re very grateful for the love we’ve received recently.
Growing up, did you all always want to be musicians? Can you recall your earliest musical memories?
Growing up I actually wanted to be in the NBA. Basketball was a huge part of my life until I found music. Once I did, I never turned back. And my earliest memory with music would be watching my uncle’s band play at Farmers Markets when I was kid.
How did The Only Ocean first come together? You were all childhood friends, correct? How did you come up with your band name?
We’ve all known each other since 6th grade so we all just kinda found a love for music at the same time. Shae and I were in a band when we were 14. We practiced at the same garage as Dustin’s band so we were always around each either. This is actually Alex’s first band but he was always hanging out with us. The name The Only Ocean came from an Arctic Monkeys song called Potion Approaching.
Let’s talk about your forthcoming EP, “TOO.” How different and/or similar is it to anything else you’ve put out? Where did the inspiration for this collection come from?
We wanted it to be more aggressive than our last release and feel we achieved that. Minus So Shy So High it’s a pretty loud EP although So Shy has its moments. It was meant to sound like that for a reason. I think the inspiration just came from us pushing ourselves as a band. The opening track on TOO has a chorus that is just noise. It sounds fucked but it works. We’re just always wanting to grow.
Who are some of your favorite artists and what bands continue to inspire you and your music? Who would you still love to work with in the future?
We all pretty much love the same bands. The Strokes, Nirvana and Radiohead were all bands we loved growing up and those artist still continue to inspire us. Some other artist that have inspired me lately would be Juana Molina and Elliott Smith. There is just something about their song-writing that leaves me speechless. I think Nigel Godrich would be fun to work with. Quincy Jones also, if I could go a session without being paralyzed with fear he thinks we’re the worst band in the world.
When you aren’t performing, working in the studio, what do you like to do for fun? How do you unwind from it all?
We just hang out together and laugh. If we ever stop laughing at one another then I think our friendship would be over. We’ve just always understood one another.
At the end of the day, what do you hope is the message of your music? What do you hope listeners take away from your songs?
I want the listeners to take away whatever they want from our music. Just because I wrote it doesn’t mean I get to tell how to feel. Take your own journey with the song.
All photography provided by Alexandra Wallace.