Interview with We Are The Ocean: what it takes to make Ark
In light of Lower Than Atlantis (LTA) stopping by Newcastle’s Riverside on their headline tour, LTA were joined by rockers We Are The Ocean and American female-fronted band Pvris.
Northern Lights’ Daniella Keating got the chance to talk to bassist Jack Spence about touring, their new album Ark and how it felt when vocalist Dan left the band.
Jack greeted me with a warm smile as we headed to their tour bus – or should I say, people carrier – where we crammed in the middle seats and chatted all things We Are The Ocean.
Scattered around the van were water bottles, hats, scarfs and a whole host of random things – for a “tour bus”, it was pretty tidy.
First up, we chatted about the first night of the tour, as Newcastle’s Riverside was the second stop on the UK tour after playing at Oxford O2 Academy.
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“The crowds were very good. I hadn’t quite adjusted to tour scheduling, so I was kind of tired after the show.
“But no, it was great. The whole tour was sold out, so you can’t really ask for much more. It takes a little pressure off just knowing that it’s going to be a good crowd,” said Jack.
He joked about how being a support band you never know if the crowd is going to like you or how they are going to react.
He said: “We are a support band so you never know if the crowd – we have had this before – will be like “get off”.
“But no, they have been great to us and to Pvris.
“It has been a really nice package and everyone has had a good time and the crowd have been great. So far so good.”
Vocalist Dan Brown left the band in 2012 to pursue a career in band management.
We Are The Ocean announced the departure of Dan via their Facebook page.
Jack explained that Dan leaving the band is not a black and white situation in relation to their musical change.
He said: “There is a bit of a correlation between them but it isn’t as black and white as that. When the whole Dan thing happened we were beginning to change anyway.”
Jack personally feels that the biggest jump musically was between the first album We Are The Ocean and their second album Cutting Our Teeth.
He added: “If Dan was still in the band not much musically would have changed just the vocals would be different and we might have written a few heavier songs to try and cater to some harsher vocals.”
The new album Ark sounds a lot different to their previous albums, as it has taken on a Queens Of The Stone Age vibe.
— MTV UK (@MTVUK) May 20, 2015
Jack mentioned that the band were steering away from a “heavier” sound anyway, and it was getting to the point where they were having to force dual-vocals into songs.
“Don’t get me wrong, some songs with dual-vocals are fantastic, like for us and other bands.
“We found with some songs that they really catered to one voice, especially if the lyrics were quite personal. It’s kind of weird having two voices singing them as well, it kind of doesn’t work,” he said.
Ark has a lot of inspirations musically and the songs sound quite raw.
We Are The Ocean wanted to have more fun when writing Ark so they were more laid back when producing the album.
Recording and writing the album took them over a year because there are so many inspirations within the album.
Jack added” “It’s quite a diverse album. I think because it was spread over a year writing and recording everything, so at different times we were inspired by different things.
“Musically there is a lot of Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Led Zeppelin, Queens Of The Stone Age going on.
“Quite a raw, not very polished. It is what it is, they haven’t put much polish on it. Which is something that we wanted to emulate.”
Originally the album wasn’t going to be called Ark but the single became a cornerstone for the album.
“We weren’t even going to do it, we just thought let’s do it and see how it sounds. Then it kind of came on leaps and bounds,” Jack said.
The title Ark sums up the whole album.
Jack added: “We thought Ark, as a word it was kind of grand and bold, which we thought it summed up the album well.
“It’s a vessel, like Noah’s Ark is a vessel for animals. We just thought it was a nice way for a collection of songs.”
After doing the rounds at festivals including Reading & Leeds, 2000 Trees, NAS, Slam Dunk, you can expect a full UK headline tour from WATO in October.
“We are doing a few dates in places we haven’t been to in a while. In terms of a full UK tour, I think, October, ish,” concluded Jack.