At the start of every year there is always a crop of bands and singers put forward as 'ones to watch' in the year ahead. One band that actually seem worthy of being included on such a list are Cardiff band Ocean Red. Although they have only been together for a short time they have already begun to make an impact. This has included airplay on Radio Wales, positive reviews from the likes of Miniature Music Press and Beth Elfyn has described them as "very, very promising". The band released an excellent debut EP 'Codes & Lines' in 2011 and have a sound that makes you sit up and pay attention. We asked the band about how they came together and about their plans for the future.
Where does the name Ocean Red come from?
The name came about as we were starting out, and fell into place when we really found our sound, which is quite often referred to as being 'big' or 'epic', and we decided the band name needed to conjure up imagery that followed suit. We experimented with Post-Rock influences in the early days, something that has remained in some of the EP tracks, Union Square for example, and the name seemed to click into place.
You have only been together for a relatively short time but have come a long way. How did you find each other and what was the process like of getting a sound you were all happy with?
It's only been just over a year that we've been together as a whole band, but things started a couple of years back when Rob (Drums) and Guto (guitar) met working a temp job in Cardiff. Roy (guitar) came on board as he knew Guto and we initially struggled for band members so we advertised online, and met both Rich (bass) and Nate (Vocals) through various local musician forums. They're living proof that sort of thing works!
Your influences cited are the likes of Snow Patrol and Temper Trap. In what way have these bands impacted on your music and what other artists have figured in your influences?
Temper Trap and Snow Patrol are two of the bands we cite regularly, but we always find it incredibly difficult to pin point our influences. We've all come from different musical backgrounds in previous bands, (everything from metal to garage rock) and there's a little bit of everyone's influences in the mix. So much so that other people draw comparisons with us to all sorts of other bands, regularly to Editors and Interpol for example, and even to bands like Placebo and Mars Volta.
There seems to be a lot of emotion, energy and passion in your music. What overall sound are you trying to achieve?
When we started this band we knew we wanted write music with a 'big' sound, that straddled a line between sounding commercial and radio-friendly on one side, but with an element of the musicianship and complexity that quite often comes from bands that we all listen to and take influence from, but who perhaps sadly remain fairly underground on the other.
Your EP Codes & Lines came out last year. The sound is impressive and sounds as if you had quite a budget for the studio. Where was it recorded and who was involved getting such a full sound?
Glad that you like the EP firstly, and also equally chuffed that it sounds 'big budget' to you! We actually recorded it on a very small one as a couple of us are still students and the rest of us don't have particularly well-paid jobs. The amount of high quality bands out there all trying to make it meant that we knew we had to get the best sound we could but as cheaply as the budget allowed and we recorded the five tracks with Todd Campbell of the band 'Straight Lines' at SKWAD HQ Studios in several recording instalments last year. Todd is an awesome producer and really knows his stuff and the sound he's achieved on a relatively shoe-string budget for us is outstanding. The production is perhaps key to us having received airplay on BBC Radio Wales and Nation Radio several times already, and has really helped us with getting noticed so far.
Has the band been signed or are you actively looking for a deal?
The band hasn't been signed yet but has had interest from a couple of labels recently. We are actively looking for a label for our next release.
You have a great video for your new track 'Measures'. Tell us about how the video was put together and the experience of filming it.
We filmed the music video for 'Measures' with Daniel Peters, a director based in Bristol. We filmed at two locations for the video, one studio and the outside one was on a freezing cold stretch of the Severn Estuary, with us quite literally chasing papers which we had thrown into the wind as part of the video narrative about writer's block. It was the first video any of us had ever been a part of filming so it was a completely new and strange experience but we're very happy with how it's turned out and had a blast filming it. The studio location actually features sacks and sacks of flour on the floor to create a snowy ground look, so by the time we had finished the video the flour was literally everywhere!
What are the future recording plans of Ocean Red and can we expect an album this year?
There is definitely going to be at least another EP release later this year and hopefully an album if we secure a label deal.
You sound like you would go down well festivals. Have you any coming up this year and what other live dates are due?
We've applied to a few festivals so hopefully we do manage to get on to some, but no word back as yet. After gigging quite hard the past few months we are currently hard at work writing our new material so gigs are not so heavy on the agenda while we busy ourselves, but we're looking to put on a mini tour in a few months time in the Summer, hopefully around North Wales and perhaps into England to try and reach new people and also for some of the boys to play on home turf rather than just around the Cardiff area! Hopefully that tour will feature some of the new tracks that we come up with at the moment.
By the end of 2012 Ocean Red would like to......
By the end of 2012 Ocean Red will hopefully have toured, been signed, and played a festival or two! Well we can all dream eh??
Codes & Lines EP (2011)