Interview With Oceans Of Slumber

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Just after Oceans Of Slumber’s excellent performance at The Arts Club in Liverpool (our review of the night can be read here), we had the pleasure of catching up with drummer Dobber for an interview and a chat. Check it all out below!

So you’re currently on tour with Ne Obliviscaris – what can fans expect from an Oceans Of Slumber show?
Lots of energy and lots of variation. A very emotional and connective performance. We’re very into what we’re doing and we’re really into everybody who is into us, so we definitely feel connected to the people who connect with us.

I felt it was quite an emotive performance – it was my first time seeing you and I really enjoyed it.
I’m glad to hear you say that! That is precisely what we like to achieve from a show.

I’d heard the new album and had really enjoyed it, but seeing you guys live and seeing how the songs translated into a live environment was excellent.
I feel we’re better live. We don’t come out and play the record – it’s not as if you were just listening to it at home as we add variations to the songs every night. Sometimes…let’s say you have something going on in your life, we can just come out and play, and it’s like our outlet. Some nights you get a little more of us, some nights a little less.

How did you feel it went tonight?
Really good! Everyone’s got enough shit going on at home, so it’s nice just to be able to get up onstage and play!

What about any interesting tour stories – any to report, or is it perhaps too early days?
Well, I’ve had the most interesting evening so far…! Ice Dale and Grutle, the bass player and the guitar player from Enslaved, and I drank a bottle of Jim Beam at Euroblast. I blacked out, and Ice Dale and me argued about who was the better frontman – Freddy Mercury, or a whole other bunch of people! So we did that, and then I went crazy and threw a bunch of drums around, threw my bandmates around, and then sprayed beer on some interview person that was being really rude. Y’know, I was just having a good time, but I definitely consumed way too much alcohol and did some stuff I perhaps shouldn’t have done! But I was being egged on by some elders in the scene, so I was just like “hey, fuck it!” (laughs)

Moving swiftly on…! Earlier in the year, you released your album Winter – what’s the response been like to it so far?
It has been really positive. The record has won a lot of awards, which has been cool so far, and I’m really hoping that we might top some end-of-year lists. As a whole, it’s been received extremely well. I think it’s a bit of a throwback to stuff that people used to like a bit more, and we maybe bring something that is familiar to some, and new to others. I guess it’s like our live show in that respect, as we don’t play to backing tracks.

So what you see is what you get!
Exactly! Any keyboard or synthesiser work that features on the album, we play with bass or guitars instead. We’re a live band and are professional musicians – and we love what we do! So the record reflects that, and it’s just like a glimpse or a moment in time, and that’s why we don’t rigidly stick to the record live. At the time, that was what was perfect for us, and it’s constantly evolving now. But going back to the question, reception has been well for it but live has been even better!

Compared with your last album, did you take any different approaches, or was it all quite similar?
It was completely different. Our first record was us getting together and getting a feel for one another, and this was more of us focusing on a glimpse of what that was. We basically honed an idea versus us having a very broad spectrum of things.

So the writing and recording process was quite different this time round then?
Well the record itself was actually finished two years ago! So we’d written the record – we write rapidly – so I think we must have put it together in about six to nine months. We basically incubated the ideas for a little bit, changed singers and in the course of about three months, when Cammie had come in, she tracked all those vocals and also tracked all the vocals live for our Blue EP. Which wasn’t really any mean feat, and was definitely testament to the work ethic she has. She’s not just some pretty face up onstage, she’s an amazing musician.

I completely agree! And she’s such a great performer too, very atmospheric.
The thing with her was that finding her was the last piece of the puzzle. We’d been working on this band and figuring things out for what we were trying to do, and when the time came to swap singers, for me it was a no-brainer. I asked her if she was interested and she said absolutely.

So the transition between singers was seamless then?
Oh, amazingly seamless. She’s just fallen in like family or an old love. She just fits right in and it’s amazing!

Moving onto some more random questions, if you could choose an animal to represent the band, what would it be?
An owl, probably. I like owls…they’re not incredibly violent but they kill when they have to. They’re also incredibly wise and are a symbol of foresight.

If there was going to be a movie released about Oceans Of Slumber, what actor would you want to play yourself?
Well, that depends on a bunch of stuff! If it was a rough and tumble thing, it would be Clint Eastwood because I relate to that quite a bit – especially his 70’s and 60’s work. But if it was going to be a serious thing, I’d choose Michael Fassbender or Hugh Jackman. Or maybe a combination of all three actors!

If Oceans Of Slumber could put their name to a product, what would it be?
Could an invention be considered a product for this answer?

I suppose so!
Okay, YouTube! (laughs) YouTube is simultaneously wrecked and amazing. The amount of information and the amount of rarities you can find on the site are spectacular, so to me it would be the pinnacle of creation. Kind of!

When you become a world famous band and can have anything on your rider, what would you demand?
To be honest, it would be exactly the same! Water, beer and wine, but the food would change and be more specific – always barbecue or fajitas! So we’d travel all over the world, but just eat Tex-Mex no matter where we are. Until you’ve had true Tex-Mex, you’d never quite understand.

And to finish – what’s instore for the band in 2017?
We’ve got an American tour with Pain Of Salvation, and we’ve had some word from Graspop and Hellfest, so I think we might be coming back to Europe next summer for a few weeks. And then we’ve got a large national tour in the US that hasn’t been confirmed yet, but the band has put out a really really good record this year and they really match what we do. Once it’s announced, everyone will be like “yeah, that works perfectly!” So that’s what we’re doing and then at the end of the year, around Fall, I’m hoping that we record a new record. If we come back from Europe and don’t have any pending plans, then we will be in the studio. We’ve got some songs in pieces and ready to go!

So you’ve got plenty of ideas?
Oh yeah, we’ve written most of it. Like I said, we work extremely fast so we have to do things to keep ourselves busy – like go on tour, and wreck and ruin our lives in the pursuit of musical happiness! (laughs)

About Natalie Humphries 1780 Articles
Soundscape's editor, who is particularly fond of doom, black metal and folk (but will give anything a chance). Likes to travel to see bands abroad when she can. Contact: nathumphries@soundscapemagazine.com or @acidnat on twitter.

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