“INSURMOUNTABLE JOY” -INTERVIEW WITH OCEAN FLAWS

I chatted with an indie rock band Ocean Flaws from Essex, UK, about new EP, “making it”, Internet oceans, creating songs and few more things. Read whole interview below:

Peter Balkus: Your new EP “Dancing To The Fear” is out now. So let’s talk first about the fear… What kind of fear it is?

Alex Pattle (percussion): “I feel like there’s more of a notion of being driven by fear on this EP, as opposed to succumbing to it; ‘Mojo’ and ‘Silver Screen’ are about seeing people you know going in a certain direction and wanting to break away from that, perhaps out of fear of being lost in the vast field of bands out there, or getting sucked in to the modern, fame-hungry attitude that we see a lot of people around us enveloped by. The title track (“Dancing To The Fear”) sort of concerns fear in a relationship – not knowing where you’re headed or what’s right in that situation, but trying to confront it head on, as opposed to letting it consume you and best you. ‘Like a Fool’ is less directly linked, but it’s about being messed around by people – whether it’s a friend, a partner or even your boss at work, and so although thematically it’s slightly separate from the other songs, tonally there’s still a similar focus on disappointment, which also crops up in the others tracks to some degree.”

PB: You mentioned fear of “being lost in the vast field of bands out there”. That’s very true there is a LOADS of new bands available online. Competition is tight. Is a passion to make music bigger than the fear of being lost in the ocean of new bands?

Alex Pattle: “The passion definitely outweighs the fear, and anything else really – doubt and other difficulties that may arise. At the end of the day, we all harbour dreams of making it ‘big’, some of us since we were kids, but the more you play music (in our experience) the more you discover that there’s an insurmountable joy that comes from writing a song that you yourself actually like, and would buy and listen to as if it were any other artist. That, coupled with the unique feeling of playing with other musicians and particularly getting up on stage and playing in front of people – there’s nothing in the world like it – makes you realise, that’s why we do it; because we love music, and enjoy playing together. Of course we also have the drive to take this as far as it can go, wherever that may be, and we have belief that we can ‘make it’, but the passion for music will always be primary.”

PB: What do you understand by “making it”? Get signed by a major label?

Sean Heaney (guitars): “Everyone has their own idea or assumptions towards ‘making it’ in the music industry. Whether that be getting signed by a major label, going on constant world tours, playing arena / stadium shows or just simply having the luxury of recording and releasing music as and when they please. My idea of ‘making it’, and I’m just speaking on behalf of myself not the other 3, is to have this as a permanent career choice. Where we can wake up and not have the worries of having to make it in on time at an office. We’ll have the freedom to write, record and tour whenever we want without any problems or worries. Not everyone who’s signed to a record label can have this as a permanent career, there’s loads of cases where band members need second, even third jobs to get by. The band will seem like a hobby to them. I’d like this to stop being a hobby and start becoming a career.”

PB:  Your music is interesting and songs are catchy, so sooner or later it should pay off. My favourite song of your at the moment is “Silver Screen”. That song especially, but also other from “Dancing To The Fear”, sounds so Brit-pop and at the same time it sounds so 2016. Is that your plan to combine tradition and freshness in your music? Or it’s not planned and when you create song you don’t know what’s gonna come out?

Callum Quirk (vocals/bass): “Thank you very much, that’s really nice of you to say! Whenever people mention their favourite song off the EP, ‘Silver Screen’ always pops up time and time again. It’s interesting you mention Brit-pop being an influence though, we never set out to sound like or be a Brit-pop band. We all grew up listening to the likes of Oasis, Blur and Pulp and we’ve always appreciated their ability to write huge, sing-a-long choruses, so that aspect of Brit-pop definitely comes into our music. We always try and write the biggest chorus we can for the song. Our main influence in ‘Silver Screen’ we feel came from Foals. When it comes to writing the actual song, we never really plan it out beforehand, typically never works out the way you want it to. We like to get an A section (chorus or intro), jam around on that for a while, then try and see how we can get a B section and so on. It’s always a lot more fun not knowing where you’re going to go in a song beforehand, makes you think more creatively.”

PB: Callum said: “When it comes to writing the actual song, we never really plan it out beforehand”. Does it mean next EP from Ocean Flaws might sound much different than “Dancing To The Fear”?

Hamish (guitars): Well I’d say the fact that we don’t plan it means that we don’t have a concrete idea of how it’ll sound. But, once we get there we’ll try to keep it similar to this EP, because after a few years together, we’ve finally found our sound, and maintaining consistency with that sound is one of the most important things now, in order to be taken seriously.

PB: You are from Essex, UK. Does your music sounds Essex in any way?

Alex Pattle: “I’d say that there’s a culture in Essex that is hard to describe if you don’t know the area, but we don’t really identify with that culture. Even lyrically, we sort of reject that culture to some degree. Maybe best not go in to it (laughs).”

PB: Are you planning to do more live shows or rather focus on working on a new music in studio?

Alex Pattle: “We’d like to balance it I suppose; summer will provide a number of gigs hopefully, we’ve already got one lined up that we can’t talk about yet, but we’re looking to start writing and recording the next song, or EP, whatever it may be, as soon as possible.”

Sean Heaney: “Writing a whole EP drains you creatively, so we’ve only just gotten to the point where we feel we can start writing again!”

Watch their new video to “Silver Screen”:

 

More on their Facebook: Facebook

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NEW BAND ALERT: TOMMYANDMARY – PHOTOS

TommyAndMary is a London based duo playing art rock, indie rock, garage rock in 60’s 70’s style. I heard them busking in Picadilly Circus and they were great. Reminded me of The Strokes. Check them out. More:
https://www.facebook.com/pages/TommyandMary/1503227686565199

“SOMETHING NEW” – INTERVIEW WITH DAVID J CARON

I always found it very difficult to categorize my own music, which you are constantly asked to do when uploading to sites, submitting to radio or magazines etc., since it doesn’t really fit or belong into any particular genre, apart from being “Rock” music. So I came up with the slightly tongue-in-cheek description of Melodic Metamorphic Metaphoric Modern Progressive Catchy Memorable Popular Rock, just to confuse everyone even more – says David J Caron, musician, composer and writer…

NEW MUSIC FEVER: – You are an Irish/Italian. Do you find any Irish/Italian influences/traces in your music?
I am generally influenced by every piece of music or song I hear, whether good or bad, whether I like it or love it. I think it all influences my subconsciousness when writing my own songs, whether it’s in a way that adds to my own compositions in a way I like, or in a way that I would not want to include in my music, which I feel is just as important. I don’t have any particular Irish or Italian influences in my music, at least not consciously, although I do like certain Irish and Italian musicians even though they may not be typical examples of Irish or Italian traditional music.

– You describe your music as Melodic Metamorphic Metaphoric Modern Progressive Catchy Memorable Popular Rock. Do you think genres in music are still important?
I don’t place much importance or relevance on genre’s to be honest. I either like music or I don’t. It’s as simple as that to me. It doesn’t really interest me what “label” it is supposed to have, or what different people choose to call my music or anyone elses. I find it generally pointless and annoying to have to categorize music into thousands of sub-genres. I understand there may be a need to categorize in very broad terms, purely for the purpose of giving a general idea to someone or so as to not submit a Rock track to radio stations that only play Hip hop, for example, but other than that I don’t care what pigeon hole, someone’s opinion wants to put music into purely for their own obsessions. I don’t even understand what most genre descriptions even mean to be honest. I always found it very difficult to categorize my own music, which you are constantly asked to do when uploading to sites, submitting to radio or magazines etc., since it doesn’t really fit or belong into any particular genre, apart from being “Rock” music. So I came up with the slightly tongue-in-cheek description of Melodic Metamorphic Metaphoric Modern Progressive Catchy Memorable Popular Rock, just to confuse everyone even more.

– Your songs are very catchy but at the same time not cheesy. Progressive pop-rock – that’s how I would describe it. Do you find your songs progressive in any way?
Thank you. I like catchy music, so I design my music and songs to be as catchy as possible, so I like what I listen to when it’s finished. It’s a process of coming up with catchy ideas to fill all parts of the songwriting and arranging of the music. Then I listen and edit, removing any parts that are not catchy or memorably melodic enough until the whole track is of the same standard, at least to me, anyway. If any part is not as good as any other, then it is replaced with a part that is, until I feel the track is perfect – to me. I am not a fan of anything cheesy, predictable, overused or cliched, so I avoid it quite naturally without having to decide to. Again, I am not really sure what “Progressive” means. I know many bands who have been thought of or labelled as Progressive, but I am not sure how exactly you would define what makes a song progressive, or not. If it means experimental, or with more interesting time signatures, lyrics and ideas, than your average pop or rock song, then I’d say a lot of my music originates in that way, especially my older tracks, many of which have had to be modified a little, in order to make them more radio friendly, but without compromising my overall style.

– When you record a song and give it a listen, what are usually your first thoughts?
I have many thoughts and many decisions to make when writing and recording. I am the type of person who often has to think of all decisions humanly possible before attempting to narrow them all down to one or two. It’s the way my brain works in all aspects of life and it does make things harder for myself than they need to be, but I believe that if you consider as many possibilities and choices as possible, you will eventually end up with the best combination of choices, even if it takes you longer and drives you insane to reach it, which is why not everyone chooses to think this way. So my first thoughts are always, how can I improve this track until I can improve it no more. When I can listen to a finished track and not have any part of it annoy me by wishing I had done something slightly differently, then I am happy. When I am happy listening, then I enjoy my music more than any other music simply because I have decided exactly what I want to listen to.

– I hear in your songs early Marillion’s vibe, and early U2 too. Are these bands your main influences?
To be honest I have never been much of a fan of Marillion. Not because I didn’t think they were good, but because I don’t know much of their material, due to not being overly “caught” by the few tracks of theirs I heard, although I realize they were great musicians. I do like some classic U2 of old, but I would not say they were a huge influence in my music either. Perhaps The Edge’s guitar style has been a little, again in a subconscious way, as well as some aspects of their underlying driving bass lines, but not in any way that I would say sound familiar to any of my particular tracks.

– What’s the main reason you create music?
The main reason I create music is to satisfy my urge and passion to create something new, work on it, improve it, finish it, enjoy it, be proud of it and hope others like and respect it too. It gives me a great sense of achievement and accomplishment as well always learning new things and being great fun along the way.

– Are you a one man band or you’ve got the band? Your songs sound like a music created by band, not one person…
I compose, write, arrange and perform all my own music and lyrics myself. In the studio my good friend and engineer/producer Rob Mancini takes care of getting all the engineering side technically correct, so I can concentrate on the artistic side and we both input on the production, although all final decisions are my own. It is interesting that you thought my music sounds like it is created by a band, but so far anyway, it was all myself. I do plan to get a band together at some point to play either these songs or perhaps some new ones, for a different project. We shall see.

– What are your music plans for the second half of year 2015?
My plans for 2015 are to keep writing and recording new music. I have a new track just released called “Invisible”. I also am working on a new track called “Magic” which should be ready soon. I tend to write and release one track at a time at the moment. The digital revolution and social media have given rise to so many distractions to compete with for fans who want to consume new music constantly, that it seems that the new model is to release tracks regularly instead of making fans wait months or years for a new album, although, I hope to release a second album soon too. Perhaps I will also get around to finding musicians who’d like to get together and play my crazy music in a live environment. I have been told that my music would suit an arena type show, to which many cool and original elements to do with my song themes and lyrics could be added, as a spectacular show. Some day I hope to get there.

More at www.davidjcaron.com

Three Days From Retirement – new EP (review)

I’m not a big fan of instrumental music, don’t know why. But few bands are exceptions. One of them is Maybeshewill, another is Edinburgh based post-rock band Three Days From Retirement. Their new self-titled EP contains three 8-9 minutes long tracks. It all kicks off with ‘Operation Overload’, an anthemic tune with a smooth ear-warming guitar riff, enriched by drums and sound effects. The track reminds me of Dream Theater and Pink Floyd. It slowly progresses into a fantasmagoric emo-esque passage, bursting with howling guitars. Track number 2, my favorite on the EP is called ‘Happy Side Of Suicide’, and the title itself says Wow! I need to check it out! And the song itself is even better than the title. Gently weeping lead guitars sound happy and sad. It’s no longer pinkfloydelirium, it is pure emo rock, instrumental storytelling. The track sounds a bit like a romantic tragedy movie soundtrack, but through the sadness and despair in the sound shines some kind of happiness. Composition number 3, ‘It Got Legs’, is a long Anathema-esque outro, with guitars and keyboard tones falling softly into listeners hearts like snowflakes, then reaching climax with David-Gilmour-like riff and shoegazing down to the end of EP. Three Days From Retirement recorded a beautiful piece of music, which takes no prisoners. Only followers. 

Check them out on Bandcamp http://www.3daysfromretirement.bandcamp.com

See feature on NEW MUSIC TALENTS blog
http://www.balkuspromo.wordpress.com/2015/02/10/three-days-from-retirement

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BAND YOUR ILLUMINATIONS STRIKES WITH THEIR NEW CATCHY SONG “HEY SCARLET” @officialyi

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“Brand new Anthemic pop-rockers ‘Your Illuminations’ have been on a non-stop rise since their small beginnings in the North Yorkshire heartland, and in 2015 they are set to explode onto the national scene with their stadium-sized choruses and crowd energising stage presence. Combining punchy pop punk with hard-hittting rock and roll, mixed with euphoric synths and unforgettable lyrics, YI are looking to continue their unstoppable march to the forefront of British rock. Having already taken part in two well-received UK tours the lads are already well known for their electric, unpredictable live show; a reputation they are excited to exceed to new crowds with new music and a revamped live show over the next year. With a debut EP on the horizon and their eyes set firmly on the echelons of rock history, it seems the sky’s the limit for YOUR ILLUMINATIONS” (Source: Facebook https://www.facebook.com/YourIlluminations)

“Never swamp people with preaching” – Interview with Ben Wiles from punk band The 4130’s

The 4130s are a punk rock band from Ipswich UK, playing socially aware music they work with the ethic of DIY and having fun. In the short time since their inception they have played with the likes of UK Subs and Anti Vigilante. With an energetic live show and an album free to download/stream, they show no signs of slowing down! I spoke to Ben Wiles from the band, about punk music in XXI century, being “against” and their new album “Over The Bars”…

Piotr Balkus: Some people say that punk is dead. But listening to your music it looks like it’s not true…

Ben Wiles: Punk is never going to be dead! The same thing happens to punk rock as happens to every other genre, it becomes ‘mainstream popular’ for however long the kids decide it’s ‘cool’. For example, no punk band struggled to get shows when Green Day came out with Dookie then American Idiot, or in 1977, but after all the hype of those records has gone punk rock just goes back into its comfort of the underground and continues to form great bands with fans from the most loyal music buyers in the world. 2013 has seen a revival of sorts with Pennywise, Bad Religion and NOFX all releasing great records!

On the cover of your album there is a picture of people protesting and screaming your band’s name. What’s the meaning of the picture?

The picture is tongue in cheek, one sign says ‘the 4130s stole my bike’ and the other says ‘the 4130s hurt my feelings’. We wanted the cover to represent what we do as a band, all though we talk about some heavy issues at times, we also know how to kick back and have a laugh! Our goal is to never swamp people with a record full of preaching. It’s just basically saying here’s what we think. If you agree – great. If not, that’s fine too!

Tell me please about your album Over The Bars.

We chose to release a full LP as our first outing because we didn’t think a demo or EP would really cut what we wanted to do as a whole. We needed something to put out because all though a few of us in the band are, and have been, in other bands before this, and are known on the local scene we couldn’t just rely on that alone to get us gigs. We put out a few internet songs on download or whatever, but as for our first release we wanted “Over The Bars” to be the first thing people hear from us!

Punk music is generally “against”. What is your band against?

We as people and a band feel strongly about the message we try to convey in our music. OK it’s not as prominent as some bands but our stance on world and personal issues comes through somewhere or somehow in all our songs. It’s just not enough anymore to say “fuck the ______”, or ‘this is wrong or that is wrong’, so as a band we try to delve as deep into an issue as we can, to patronise a listener with just shouting some anti-current government chat doesn’t sit well with us. For example a young guy with an alcoholic father or a young mother working the streets to feed her child is way more ‘political’ than any song about the government in our eyes!

THE 4130's album
More about the album: http://www.uk4130s.bandcamp.com

The stand out song from the album is “Give Em War”, can you tell us more about the song?

It’s probably my favorite song on the album to be honest, the roots of that song are from a 16 year old girl from where we are from in Ipswich, who gave up her time to put on an anti-racism gig and the venue was shut down and the gig was postponed due to some members of the E.D.L. (English Defence League) protesting outside. Give Em War is not a song to poke at them or to create any sort of platform to speak out against them, it’s merely just a way to say we are Englishmen and the stuff they stand for is so far removed from the way we think. Most of this country are proud to embrace other cultures and live hand in hand in every city in the UK. That’s what we believe and stand for!

Your lyrics are “socially aware”. Do people need someone who show them the real meaning of some things? Do you think your band can change people’s mind?

In short, no. We just tell a story the best way we can. If someone relates to something we say in a song and it helps him or her feel better about the views they have, then that’s great. I guess to think a group of punk guys from a tiny town with no impact can change minds, would be naive at best!

Do you believe that punk music in XXI century can change the world? Do you believe your music can do that?

I believe all music has the potential for change. Listening to songwriters growing up isn’t what shaped the way I live my life, but it certainly helped mould some of my beliefs and I can bet I’m not the only one, so yes I believe it can. In answer to your question can The 4130s change the world – no, probably never. And I’m not sure any of us are responsible enough or would feel comfortable enough with that much power. We’ll leave that to Bono (laughter). But if one person buys the album and decides punk rock is the music he or she finds a place in, and where their ideals fit with a community of people that feel the same way they do then that would be the best compliment we could ever hope for!

Like THE4130’s on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/The4130s and buy their album http://www.uk4130s.bandcamp.com

New Music Fever Feature: The Henry Menrath Funk Band

The Henry Menrath Funk Band is the Barcelona based band led by bassist and Spanish-Argentinian composer Henry Menrath. Style is defined as jazz funk, with hints of smooth jazz, soul, rock and electronica, influenced by Marcus Miller, Incognito, etc. The compositions and arrangements are by Henry Menrath, with the contributions of the great musicians, great improvisers, with long experience in Europe and America, such as Argentina and U.S. The band has performed in Bel.luna, Jazzman, Continental (Barcelona). They’ve also played in Italy, London UK and at Mostra de Jazz de Tortosa, Spain. Their songs are the mixture of blues and jazz, funk, and modern music. Compositions like “Enjoying The Sun With You”, and “Horizontes” will make you happy and add some sunshine to your life. “Finegroove”, one of my favourite songs of the band, is a nice uptempo track, amazingly blending togehter jazz and disco. Their shows are full of live instruments jazz funk energy and sometimes also includes visual attractions, as seen on video below.

Check out their music at http://www.reverbnation.com/henrymenrath