We Are The Ocean are familiar faces at 2000 Trees Festival. Following their main stage appearance in 2013, this is the second time that they have played the festival and they are glad to be back. Catching up with the band’s bassist, Jack and their drummer, Tom; Jack tells me that they are perfectly content with playing small festivals like Trees, despite having performed at events on a much larger scale. “The line up is always good and the atmosphere’s really nice; it’s very comfortable. With Trees in particular, it seems to attract a lot of people of our age that are of a similar mind set; which is great because at some festivals, people simply just don’t gel and that causes trouble. Everyone here is really friendly, so you have a good time.”
Speaking of good times; Jack jokes that fans can expect fire and explosions during their set today, but soon admits that he only means this in the figurative sense. “We always try to pour all of our energy into our set and make it as lively as possible, but we’re not really one for gimmicks.” Tom adds “We just tend to have a lot of fun on stage. For festival sets, we generally go for the more upbeat, heavier songs to keep audiences awake.” I ask if there are any rituals that they do to get ready for their energetic shows, but apparently music is the key to getting ready for a performance “We sometimes put on some loud, upbeat music; like Liam might put on Foo Fighters or James Brown, which will get us moving and psych us up. We’re not really a ‘huddle’ or team talk sort of band” says Jack.
After several years in the making, We Are The Ocean released their latest album Ark in May, but are still a little surprised at how positive the feedback has been so far. Jack admits that it is still early days, but he thought that the release would be more divisive than it has been. “I thought it would be more of a love/hate album than it is. Most people have been extremely positive about the album. We try and read a lot of the online reviews and comments, and one thing that I like about it is that there is quite a split in which songs people are saying are their favourite. Personally I think that’s quite a good thing. It makes the unit seem stronger, rather than there being just one song of the album that everybody loves.” Throughout the recording process the band opted for experimentation throughout, which left them with a rather eclectic mix of tracks, drawing upon the band’s rock roots and pulling at the strings of other genres; but the final result was more mature, harder hitting album that simply works. Tom tells me that the main reason for this change in musical direction was time. “We had a lot more time between the last album and this one than we’ve had before. It gave us the opportunity to find our feet, and then we just went with playing what we wanted to and being inspired by what else we were listening to.”
Tom and Jack tell me that the whole band had fun recently when they filmed the post-apocalyptic inspired video to Holy Fire, as they got to don gas masks while running about in woodland. Apparently this is an idea that they put forward themselves, as they had the thought while writing the song. Jack explains “Lyrically, it doesn’t lend itself directly to the post-apocalyptic thing; but the song in part is all about going out and finding yourself; a coming of age, so to speak. From this we just had this idea of a person going into the wilderness and exploring. I think we just thought that it would be cool to darken it up a little and there are a few films like The Road that are in a similar vein, so we went for it.” After talking about The Road, I ask if they would ever consider doing music for a film, as Ark is packed full of epic sounding tracks; this is something that they love the idea of. “A lot of people have been saying that one of our new songs sounds like it should be the theme song to James Bond, which is cool. I was hoping that might get someone involved” laughs Tom. Jack, however; hopes to soundtrack something a little more geeky. “I’d love to do a song for the the next Lord of The Rings or something like that! Something with an epic story.”
This weekend is a busy one, with several appearances for the band. Jack is a little disappointed that he will not be able to stick around for the rest of 2000 Trees to catch headliners Deaf Havana and Alkaline Trio. However, Tom is happy that there are so many good artists just on tonight’s lineup, including Turbowolf, Arcane Roots and an old favourite of his, The Subways. “I’m looking forward to seeing The Subways tonight; they are headlining the stage. They were one of the first bands that I ever saw live, so it’ll be nice to see them again!” Tom also tells me that the band are moving on tomorrow to another festival in the UK, NASS, then have several more shows lined up for the rest of the year to keep them busy. “We’ve got more festivals throughout the summer, including Reading and Leeds and a bunch in Germany and Austria. Then we’ve got the headline tour in November, so there’s lots of chances for people to see us live.” Jack adds “The main focus has been on the UK and mainland Europe this year, but at the turn of next year we’ll look a bit further afield. Hopefully we’ll be able to tick some places off the bucket list; a South America tour or something along those lines would be nice. We love touring Europe and we’ve done it now, so lets try somewhere new!”