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The Creative Issue – News for Creatives | October 26, 2021

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Keeping it real (and weird) with Melbourne's Ocean Grove

Keeping it real (and weird) with Melbourne’s Ocean Grove

| On 18, Apr 2016

The greatest thing about music is that there are no boundaries, and Melbourne experimental hardcore band Ocean Grove are completely revelling in that fact.You may be wondering what “experimental hardcore” really means; in regards to Ocean Grove, vocalist Luke Holmes simply puts it as each of the members contributing their different musical backgrounds, but coming together as one.

“The one thing we can agree on is that feeling you get from music– it’s not a tangible thing, it’s a feeling you get and it can bring emotions out of you that I don’t think anything else quite can… We all have different tastes in music, and different interests in the world and our past-times, [but music is] the one thing that draws us together… I think that our closest moments are listening to music or playing it.”

Luke says that Ocean Grove is constantly trying to challenge genre expectations by fine-tuning the minor details but also contrasting major elements.

“We’re all perfectionists… [and] I think we all just contribute in layers; you get the skeleton of a song [then] I’ll come and do vocals and then our bassist will come and do singing, his voice [has] a Pearl Jam/Nirvana vibe, so he pulls it back another way. Then our guitarist comes in and he’ll put samples on it then it’ll start sounding like a trap project.”

“You listen to [our] stuff, and sometimes in the same song, there’s hardcore, some sort of rap, or nu-metal, and some parts that are straight up hardcore… we have these big lovely choruses that have a lot of layers of singing and a really bouncy nu-metal bit, and the next part will be a hardcore riff – we love it.”

Ocean Grove1The band emanates a confidently careless vibe, that they want their audience to channel and enjoy.

“We don’t want to do “alright” – we don’t want to fit into anyone’s category,” Luke says. “We’re definitely just going to write what we want to write, do what we want to do, and be really weird and confrontational and take risks… [we] don’t want to be mediocre. Whatever we do, we want to do it to the best of our ability otherwise we wouldn’t do it at all.”

“We want to entertain… we want to really entertain. People come out to a show and come early to see us, we want to give people something to remember. We played Unify Festival… we did a lot of weird stuff that day and that’s what people were talking about… we gave our bassist a haircut on stage – we had a guy come up and give him a bowl cut…. I’d rather be the weird band that no one comes to see.”

Luke says that Ocean Grove try to keep it raw and as real as possible, which often results in them writing about unusual themes.

“Black Label – Ocean Grove’s latest record – definitely has some strong themes…we write about some weird stuff, some of it is fictional… we talk about robots and whatnot. We kind of like the storytelling side of rap… [but] we try to keep the songs ambiguous. We don’t want to be like ‘this is what we’re writing about’, we want people to be able to paint their own picture.”

Ocean Grove crowdLuke recalls a few favourites off their latest record that he finds to stand out the most for their fans, but also for themselves.

“We have a song on the record called “Backbone” and I think that resonates with people a lot – it’s on the album as the first song, it’s [got] a really jarring opening, it’s the song we play no matter where we are, it’s the song everyone goes nuts for.

There’s another song called “Cold Skin”, which I think is our best composed song. I think that’s a world class song… So, “Backbone” for crowd response, “Cold Skin” for composition and our song “Strange Talk” for performance quality.”

Luke says that opportunities to play live shows is more than a chance to promote the band and their music, but a commitment to the audience and a responsibility to put on a great and entertaining show.

“There’s a lot of room to capture people and get a foothold in the demographic and make a name for ourselves – we’ve really got that mentality that’s like ‘it’s sick that we’re playing these venues but we really need to step it up’. We’re given these great opportunities and we’re like ‘we can’t let people down, we can’t let ourselves down, and the people who have put us on these tours…we want to get out there and put on a show.'”

Ocean Grove - LukeLuke says, for the band, the ultimate goals would be to write music that they’re proud of, through taking risks and “leaving no stone unturned”.

He says, “[We want to] put on a performance and make the whole journey of playing as a teenager to a young man an experience we look back on in fondness.”

For the remainder of the year, Ocean Grove will be working on their debut album and a few more exciting projects.

Luke says, “We’ve got a couple of things out soon… really soon, [it’s] something we’ve been working really, really hard on – there’s all these exciting things to talk about but we can’t quite yet till the last piece of the puzzle falls into place.”

Image credit: Ocean Grove Facebook and Andrew Bromley.