MEB: Would you say that your break up and reformation was the changing point for Oceana?
Alex Schultz: Absolutely. At the time of the “break up” we were all listening to different types of music and experimenting with different styles of writing songs. If we had not split for a while, the music would have still taken a turn but definitely not as drastic, and probably not as indicative of our sound now.
As the first release since your reunion, what mindset or outlook was Cleanhead written with?
Honestly, the only reason we got back together was to write an album like Cleanhead. Most of us were tired of playing the type of music we did and being pigeonholed into this tiny sub-genre of music. We were ready for something fresh and new – a rebirth of what Oceana was thought to be. Not to prove a point or to alienate our old fans, but to express ourselves the way we wanted and not the way we were expected to.
How would you say the state of “new Oceana” differs from “earlier Oceana?” What would you say was the biggest factor in the change of sound?
Although we were expressing ourselves the way we wanted to, I can safely speak for all of us when I say that Cleanhead was still thought of (consciously or subconsciously) as a bridge or a transitional album between “earlier Oceana” and what we plan to release in December. This time around we have honestly given no thought to a smooth transition or appeasing any old fans. We just wrote what felt right at the time, and I think that’s what music is at its purest form.
And with that, how does your experience as an unsigned band differ from being supported and managed by a label? What are some advantages and disadvantages?
The biggest advantage is, of course, creative freedom. Not that we’ve ever been on a label or management team that has told us how to write or look, but we do have this newfound sense of freedom to do things at our own pace and do them solely in our vision. This freedom has helped shape One Big Particular Loop in so many ways.
One of the disadvantages is promotion; it’s really surprising how much a simple ad in a music magazine is. But we do have a plan up our sleeves that we hope will work out to promote this next release. Being reached out to by publications like Mind Equals Blown helps us out a lot as well, so thank you. The biggest disadvantage though is financial – hence the Kickstarter campaign. If anyone who donated is reading this, thank you so much from the deepest depths of our hearts. I can’t describe to you the feeling I got when we got our mixes back a couple days ago and we were able to hear the nearly finished product of a song that we’ve been working on for almost three years. It is truly a blessing.
No problem! And of course that’s a big step for the band. What was it like seeing your Kickstarter goal reached?
Again, indescribable. I remember getting the call from Kolby [Crider, bassist] the moment we broke our goal, and trying to decide whether to fall over or run down the street screaming.
How has working with Matt Goldman helped achieve your desired final product for both Cleanhead and now One Big Particular Loop?
The first time at Glow in the Dark [Studios] was just a taste. We were very rushed and unprepared but still managed (with Matt’s help of course) to create something with a beautifully raw sound. That was something we didn’t even know we were trying to do. It just spawned itself and we went with it. This time around we couldn’t have been more prepared. We had about 20 songs to choose from and spent the past two years in a constant state of pre-production: create, discard, revise, and repeat. When we got to Atlanta, we had more than enough time to experiment with different tones, instruments, and hardware. Matt once again brought that organic, honest sound to an album that may not have been present otherwise.
On the subject of One Big Particular Loop, could you describe what we can expect to hear?
Expect to hear layers and textures of instruments and tones that we have never incorporated into our music before. Expect to hear influences from music like jazz and blues, to funk, folk, electro and hip-hop. Not one song on the album sounds like the next, but the overall vibe is somehow cohesive. It was difficult to blend three years of writing and growing as musicians and people, but I’ve honestly never been so proud of something.
In many live videos, you’re joined by friends on stage who take up other instrumental duties to play new songs. How would describe such experiences and how do you feel they affect your live performance and the music you play?
Playing live with our close friends and even new musicians is such a blessing. They always seem to bring something fresh and exciting to the table. Our goal right now is to re-create and to also reinvent this album live, as creatively as we can. We could put all the extra instrumentation on back tracks, and play just the four of us, but that just doesn’t seem like it would fit the vibe of One Big Particular Loop and wouldn’t be nearly as rewarding or entertaining as playing with some of our closest friends.
On this note, we would actually like to announce that we’ve added an additional member to the group. Alec Prorock has added such a great element to this album that I’m sure you’ll recognize when you hear it. He’ll be playing the trumpet, as well as some guitar and keyboards, live.
That’s fantastic! I’ve heard that you have some more exciting news to share, as well?
We do. Because of the change in sound, emotion, and band members since the dawning of Oceana, we’ve decided to change our name and start fresh as a new band. We hope that Oceana, and especially Cleanhead fans will remain by our side in this endeavor, and new fans will find something special in our first album as Polyensō.
Going forward, what would you like people to think when they hear your name or your music?
I would like people to discover or remember that beauty lies in imperfection, transience, and creativity. Not just referring to our music, but with every aspect of life. Music helps us get through the hardest and celebrate the happiest moments. If our music aids anyone in that discovery, then we are content dudes.
Have you had any experience, at shows or otherwise, where you truly felt that this is where you all should be in life?
I’m sure that we all have that feeling almost every time we play or every time talk to an appreciative fan. We’re all still very young, but I’m positive that we’ll all make music for the rest of our lives.
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
I’d like to extend another huge thank you to all of our Kickstarter supporters.
We will have info posted soon on where and when to get the new album and hopefully a follow-up interview from Mind Equals Blown! Thanks!