It might be most music writers’ worst nightmare when a band comes along that makes it impossible for them to pinpoint to one genre, but Brighton’s Oceans are set to become that nightmare. The five-piece have honed their own unique, refreshing sound that keeps the listener on their toes and pushes the boundaries of multiple genres.
Oceans was initially formed by guitarist Conor Hyde and bassist Jack Squire at music institute ACM, but after numerous members dropped out they changed direction for a completely new sound. This was brought about by bringing on board vocalist Zach Silver, guitarist Tom Hollands and drummer James Gillingham, who also met at a music institute BIMM Brighton, in late 2015.
Since then the band has gone from strength to strength, making a big impact on the underground scene in Brighton and, increasingly, in London. Now it’s time for everyone to know about them, with the upcoming release of new single What You Did To Me next Monday (17 April).
We spoke to Conor this week to find out more and first up asked him about the contrasts in Oceans’ music. Conor said: “In general we love to use dynamics in all of our songs, as we personally feel that bringing things down and letting them build makes the louder sections sound bigger, and it gives the song that contrast. I would say that the dynamics are a huge part of what we do, but we also blend vast range of genres together to form something quite unique and hopefully exciting to the listener.”
Their style certainly is exciting, with the changes in style, dynamics and pace keeping you second guessing what’s coming next. There’s more than a little reminiscence of Incubus at their finest – indeed, the band has covered the epic Drive at gigs, see it for yourself here – but Oceans have really crafted a unique, fun and engaging sound that’s ridiculously catchy. Case in point is new single What You Did To Me, which is out on 17 April and Conor says is “our best work and none of our music has portrayed who we are better than this track.”
The track kicks off in an upbeat manner, with a cool little guitar riff followed by a burst of drums and heavier rendition of the riff before the intensity drops down and some superb high-pitched vocals are supported by light guitar licks and drums. The song kicks back into life for the chorus with heavier guitar chords supporting Silver’s engaging vocals, which are in fine form once again in the second verse. It soon increases in heaviness, with big bass and guitar and mini-drum rolls building into a big smash of guitar chords in support of a really cool high-pitched guitar riff. This is a delicious rock track which really showcases Oceans’ incredible musical talents, especially Silver’s incredible vocal range.
On & On, the first single released by the band last year, which begins with aforementioned light guitar and vocals, followed by a burst of guitar, bigger vocals and rapid repeats of the words “on and on” as the song kicks into life. Heavy, low-tuned guitar enters the scene, followed by all manner of varying riffs, while the “on and on” lyrics are really fun. The song ends with a big hit of guitar chords and a smash of drums. Check out the video below:
On the same single release, Take Me Home begins in the same manner with slow, meandering guitar and vocals. The guitar continues alone and you sense something big is coming, and it arrives in the form of a powerful blast of guitar chords and driving drums with Silver’s delicious vocals over the top. This is another great example of the band being able to switch things up with ease, including a superb guitar solo towards the end of the track.
We asked Conor to describe the influences behind their music, and he said: “Generally our musical influences come from a wide range of genres from rock, metal, grunge and even R&B and hip-hop. I think like most musicians though writing music is a big escape for us from anything that’s happening in our lives, and the same goes with the lyric writing. We cover topics like personal relationships, anxiety and sexuality amongst other things. Anything that’s important to us really!”
There’s plenty more to come from Oceans this year, with the release of What You Did to Me on 17 April and subsequent launch party at The Prince Albert in Brighton on 19 April. Then in June they’ll be heading into the studio with producer Chris Edkins to record a new EP and plenty more live shows in the offing. More info on their upcoming shows is available here.