Most of us generally don’t like to see a “vacation” end, but luckily for us, the vacation doesn’t have to come to a close – all thanks to the Oakville, Ontario four-piece in Seaway, who has brought an even bigger and better vibe to look forward to.

The band announced earlier in the year that they would be giving fans some extra “fresh” jams to get them through the rest of 2020 (because let’s face it, we definitely needed the pick – me – up!) And that’s just what they did.

Released on October 16, 2020, via Pure Noise Records, the group dropped their latest endeavour called Big Vibe, their 11-track fourth studio album. Which, according to the band’s vocalist, Ryan Locke, is their most dynamic record to date.

According to Locke, this latest release gave them the freedom to try some things on Big Vibe that they were too wary about trying with prior releases. Whether that’s trying something new to experimenting on sounds that they would typically dial back on with their other releases – this album has it all.

“[When making this record, it was a mix of] getting older and not giving as much of a fuck what other people think or what we think might be expected of us. For this one, we definitely just tried to make our favorite Seaway record and not a record that would be the best in the eyes of the fans or the rest of the world,” Locke said. “[We thought] ‘let’s do this one for us…Let’s make the best Seaway record possible in our eyes’ and from there, let’s hope that people like it.”

And so far, it seems that people are really liking it.

Comments on their social media pages from fans show just how much of a vibe this new record actually is. Heart eyes and fire emojis are littered across their posts and it’s truly the 2020 signs of a great release. But luckily for Seaway, a good majority of those commenters are the same people that’s been around for quite some time.

Being in a band for almost a decade, while simultaneously creating a large number of loyal fans that have stayed along for the ride, has helped them get to where they are today. It’s interesting when a band and their fans can grow up together, and Locke explains that’s something he thinks has helped Seaway (especially when trying something a little different than what fans expect.)

“I think that is something that’s worked really well for us…I don’t think we’ve departed too hard [from those past releases, but] I think it’s just been a natural progression in sound. From 2013 to now 2020, it makes it easier when some of these fans are sticking with us through all these years and are still interested,” Locke said. “You know, we’re obviously not making the same music we were back then, but neither us nor the fans are the same people we were then either. So it’s like a natural thing, but it also helps a lot.”

Of course, there are other factors aside from growing up and their fanbase that Locke attributes to gearing them up to creating this new record: one of them being 2019’s Fresh Produce.

Fresh Produce was the band’s way of taking some of their older songs (mostly from Vacation) and seeing what they could do to make it different to the original tracks. According to Locke, that album opened their eyes to the idea that they could make songs that didn’t fit the mold of what they’ve done in the past and still allow it to be in their catalogue.

“I think that album opened our eyes up, to be honest…it helped us a lot. We were like, ‘let’s just reimagine, let’s throw some things here and let’s like, you know, make a poppier version of this or whatever.’ And then I think it worked so well that it opened our eyes and made us realize we can pull this off on a regular record,” Lock said. “Like we could throw in synthesizers on a song and it doesn’t have to be a re-imagined song, you know? I think that’s kind of where the direction for ‘Wild Things’ came from. We were just like, ‘let’s go for it on one song and let’s make it but in the indie-bedroom pop kind of sound for a song,’ you know? Like, it doesn’t have to be a re-imagined crazy b-side thing…it can still be Seaway, and still sound like Seaway. So I think that helped us a lot in realizing what we could do writing the new stuff.”

After the epiphany that the group could create an album of songs that sort of strayed away from the pop-punk sounds that the group was known for, the band soon got to work on writing the songs that would later become Big Vibe.

Going into the record, which ended up being a pre-COVID and a little bit during COVID release, Locke explained that the prep and demoing process started well in advance to even stepping foot into a studio. But even so, that didn’t mean the band had every detail meticulously planned.

“Going into the studio, we were purposely a bit less prepared than we were for Vacation and that’s just because we were working with Anton DeLost, the producer on this record, who is an old friend of ours. He knows what we’re trying to achieve so we left some holes in a couple of songs just to mess around while in the studio versus having everything dialled in going in,” Locke said. “So for this one, we wanted to keep it a bit looser and explore in the studio some sounds and vibes and [some of those] influences we were talking about. So we were kinda purposely a little bit less prepped…we had a lot of demos, but we didn’t have fully fleshed out songs yet and I think that helped us a lot. We were able to experiment with sound a lot more in the studio this time around.”

With the album most of the way finished and the group feeling good about what they were able to create while in the studio, news soon broke that COVID-19 was here and a lockdown would need to happen.

As with anything that was scheduled to happen in 2020, Seaway’s album got scrambled in the mix of things that would have to be delayed. And while the news sucked, the band decided to take some time during lockdown to see what else they could do with the record. What they eventually came up with would be the song that they’re the proudest of.

“When everything’s shut down, we kept working and Andrew kept writing as we were stuck at home. He hit us up one day saying, ‘I think I really got something here.’ So, me and Andrew broke the lockdown and went to Anton’s home studio on the other side of the city and we flushed out the song from there,” Locke said. “It turned out to be ‘Mrs. David,’ which I think, is the best Seaway song we’ve ever written. So it was kinda funny that the record was finished, but because of the shutdown, we were able to work on another song and the four of us agree that the record wouldn’t be what it is without ‘Mrs. David.’ So, you know, it’s one of those weird things where if nothing else the COVID shutdown gave us another song, which is one of our most proud.”

With ‘Mrs. David’ under their belt and the official release date for the record finally set, the band was ready to announce Big Vibe. Of course, with a record named like that, the band decided to take to socials in a more eye-catching way than they’ve done with past releases.

Deleting all of their Instagram posts, the group then made a snippet of what would be the music video to “Big Vibe” as the first post on their freshly edited page.

When asked why they decided to start over with their Instagram profile, Locke explained that they wanted to go for a rebrand and what better way of doing so than getting out with the old and in with the new?

“We figured we’d just clear [our Instagram] out and start fresh with Big Vibe. It’s been almost two or three years since we’ve put out real new music,” Locke said. “So yeah it’s something we just wanted to do to start fresh and keep it fresh.”

With Big Vibe allowing the band to take chances and take on a fresh approach to literally every little thing about them, it’s nice to know that this record isn’t going to take many fans by surprise. But, with that being said, Locke does explain that this record is one that can stand alone in the mix of all Seaway’s albums.

“I can’t say there are too many surprises, but I also wouldn’t say that it’s the same tried and true either. Big Vibe is its own thing and I think it’s going to stand alone in the Seaway catalogue so I don’t think it’s going to bleed into the other releases. We’re definitely the proudest of these. It’s weird, we kind of wrote it for a different time and you know, the world definitely looks a lot different right now than it did when we were writing the songs,” Locke said. “It’s super fun but there’s a lot of different feelings and there’s a lot of different things to relate to on the record. So I think that people will definitely latch onto that.”

As for what people will be latching onto, Locke hinted that this record will be touching on a lot of different topics – but not in a direct way. Wanting to keep the stories behind the lyrics closer to their hearts, the band decided to write the songs in a more discrete way.

“We tried to keep it a bit more ambiguous so that it means one thing to us, but it might mean something else to the listener. We’ve had a lot of specific and obvious songs about this or that in the past,” Locke said. “I think that maybe that’s something that could be a bit of a surprise is we probably won’t share track by track what everything is about but I think that’s kind of the beauty of this record too, is that you can listen to a song and it might mean something to you, but it might mean something different to the next person. And I think that, to me, a mark of a great record is when it can mean so many things to so many different people.”

As for the future, Seaway (like many of us) are still getting their thoughts collected on what to do next.

According to Locke, the future could mean anything for the four-piece, but right now they’re playing around with the idea of doing some live streams.

“We’ve seen some people do some really cool ones…We’ve seen some other bands the usual studio thing, which is cool but I don’t think we’re going to be doing tons and tons of them. So to do one super special one I think would be pretty cool…it’s so up in the air,” Locke said. “We’re definitely going to do some live stream stuff and some acoustic videos but in terms of touring, we’re kind of waiting to see when the world opens up because I’ve seen so many friends that have had to cancel tours, re-book and then cancel those, so we’re waiting to see [but in the meantime, we’re putting] out our music and hopefully people dig it.”

Seaway’s fourth studio album, Big Vibe is officially out on Pure Noise Records. You can purchase your copy of it here!


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