Aussie bunch Ocean Grove are back with their second album, ‘Flip Phone Fantasy’. An ambitious full-length that sees them take on mixtape culture via sprawling genres and influences, “this record is the first of its kind,” frontman Dale Tanner asserts.
Your new album’s really fun and interesting, what was your starting point for it?
Twiggy: We got together in the studio, wrote down the collective goals of what we wanted to get across in the songs and then put our heads together. We knew for certain, beyond anything else, that it needed to be colourful, feel-good and packed with PMA energy. We challenged ourselves to create the most sonically diverse compilation of music we’ve ever created. We wanted the album to have a mixtape feel and to really push the boundaries of what listeners have come to expect, not only of us, but of rock albums in general. We also hoped to show the entire rainbow of human emotion – the dark, the light and everything in between.
You guys have been talking about this record for a while now, is it coming out later than you expected it would?
Twiggy: Nope, everything is going down just as planned and we couldn’t be more excited!
How are you finding the line-up switch around, has it impacted the way you create your music, or the way the band runs day to day?
Dale: Ultimately, no. We’re all energy right now and still hold the core values of OG at the centre with everything we do and write. PMA! No holdbacks. We’re all primed and ready to take on the world. It’s never felt better!
Was there anything you wanted to try out for this album that you hadn’t had a bash at before?
Dale: Stylistically, we hadn’t really explored the Brit-rock sounds a lot of us love so much and grew up on. So with the big inclusion of Twiggy and his writing capabilities, we were able to inject a whole lot of that into the album. The main attitude we embraced while in the studio was that of taking risks and going with the flow and not hesitating when it came to any idea – and that included shutting down said ideas. Songs on this album came about a lot more organically this way, because a song idea could start from literally a lyric, sample or bass line rather than usually starting with a guitar riff.
Did you draw on any surprising influences?
Dale: We actually drew upon quite a few blockbuster hits from the early 2000s and past millennium that we all grew up watching. This really helped direct the types of soundscapes we wanted to create and imagery we hoped to reference and elicit.
Are any of the lyrical themes especially personal for you?
Dale: Almost every song and lyrical theme on this album is of real personal importance to at least one of us. There wasn’t just one lyric writer on this album, so there are special moments, highs and lows for all of us. I, for one, am closely attached to the album closer ‘FREAKS’ and its topic of embracing one’s individuality and oddities, and in doing so, casting aside judgement and self-consciousness.
It feels like a lot of bands are up for talking about mental health these days, is that something you’ve felt a shift in during your time with the band?
Twiggy: Talking about mental health has been a healthy stress-relieving method I’ve actively partaken in well before the band. Since coming into the band, I realised we all deal with our separate demons, but they all have a commonality in the way of being crippling without warning. Knowing your mates are going through some shit can be the best thing to happen to you and a solid reminder that you’re not alone and plenty of our problems are a deeply rooted universal mess that needs some untangling. Don’t be afraid to talk to your friends, family or anyone in-between.
How do you cope with the stresses of band life? Do you have any tips or tricks that are especially helpful?
Twiggy: I think I can speak for all of us in saying that one of our go-to forms of de-stressing is a good old ‘blocky’ (walk around the block) to remind ourselves that we are constantly moving in a forward motion. It definitely helps kill cabin fever when we’ve been locked in the studio for hours on end or just need some time off from the weight of the world on our shoulders.
What are the band’s plans for after the album? Are you on the road much this year?
Dale: We plan to take this album worldwide. We will start with an Australian headline run and then look to take ‘Flip Phone Fantasy’ abroad. We can’t bloody wait!
Taken from the April issue of Upset. Ocean Grove’s album ‘Flip Phone Fantasy’ is out now.