At 17 years of age, Northwich quintet Oceans On Mars are definitely the youngest band we’ve interviewed on the site, and they may well be among the most talented and promising.
The band first began when Joe Sant (vocals) and Angus Scott (lead guitar) created a two-piece covers band in year nine and won their school’s Battle of the Band’s ‘best newcomers.’ This gave the pair the inspiration to push on and find other musicians to form a band, and gradually added Alex Fairhurst (bass), James Oldham (rhythm guitar) and Greg Wilkes (drums) to the mix.
They’ve gone about honing a sound that’s largely inspired by 90s alternative rock, as Angus explains: “We are all inspired by the 90s grunge and rock scene and have turned that into the new era, we enjoy indie music but avoid following the trend.”
The transition from a covers band to one that writes its own music was a positive move, but one that was born out of a sad moment. As Angus tells us: “I originally started writing the tunes as my great grandad sadly passed away. So I wrote Seal, which is about him, introduced that to the band and they loved it. I’m influenced by a variety of things, I like to take inspiration from my idols like Josh Homme, Dave Grohl, Kurt Cobain and Chris Cornell. However, I’m influenced by subjects which many people my age wouldn’t target, especially with the grungey approach that I am for.”
We reviewed latest single Natural in our New Music Friday a couple of weeks ago, which gives us a great flavour for the band’s mature sound and has an intriguingly random inspiration.
On the track, Angus told us: “Natural has a much more grungey approach and is heavily influenced by Soundgarden, one of my favourite bands. As I’m the songwriter at the moment, I wanted everyone to expect a change from People In My Head, Seal and Cold Blooded. The song is about a conversation I had with Tim Burgess and asked him any tips for writing tunes in the future, and he replied ‘by keeping everything natural.'”
Natural opens up with light guitars that drop into a cool high-pitched guitar lick over pounding drums. A laid-back verse follows with meandering vocals supported by a cool little guitar lick, then building towards a return of the previous guitar line. It continues to build in intensity with a guitar solo that feeds back into the awesome guitar lick alongside heavier drum rolls and supporting vocal wails.
The band’s previous two singles have had pretty phenomenal success, racking up more than 80,000 streams on Spotify and being played on the BBC’s Match of the Day. As Angus says: “You can probably guess that it’s every young band’s dream to be on MOTD so we were over the moon with this and really increased our social presence.”
Cold Blooded opens up with light guitar that gradually builds under cool laid-back vocals, then bursts into life as huge smashes of drums lead us into a chorus of big cries of “Cold blooded” over big guitar chords and pounding drums. A second chorus feeds into a cool effect-ridden guitar solo then blasts back into a heavier smash of the chorus that gives way to another guitar solo. Check it out below:
While debut single People In My Head gives us another taste for the band’s knack of creating highly engaging, catchy tracks. It also starts off slow with a cool little looping guitar lick, then a little bass twizzle leads into a laid-back verse, the opening lick returns briefly and feeds into a more energetic chorus of “There are people in my head, Do not listen to what they said” then ends on big cries of “woh-oh” and heavy guitars that I defy you to not sing along with. Another cool little guitar lick comes in and gives way to an awesome solo suported by driving drums and guitars, then drops into a more rocky rendition of the opening lick. It’s a fantastic track.
And on what’s inspired them to get into music, Angus explains: “I grew up listening to a variety of music such as AC/DC and was specifically inspired by Angus Young, whom I’m named after. This really pushed me to want to learn guitar. I also went to a lot of gigs with my Dad and my sister (who I still go to many with now), bands such as Kiss, Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Queens of the Stone Age, Coldplay, Rival Sons, Mark Lanagan, Foo Fighters and many more. All these performances really pushed me to want to start a band with my mates. (As for) the rest of the band… Joe grew up (on) Eric Clapton, who is a massive inspiration to him still. The best thing about us is that we still do listen to music with such variety and that’s what creates the music in my eyes.”
The band plans to record their next single in December and release it early next year. You can see them playing at The Salty Dog in Northwich, then more gigs upcoming in Manchester. So stay tuned for more from this exciting new band soon.