Interview with Robin Stapps (guitar, vocals)
Berlin’s THE OCEAN is back for their 5th studio album to date. This time around however, it will be a bit different than the last pair of studio releases. The new album has been written in a much different manner than the past ones, and there is far less people involved. It is very much the mind child of guitarist/vocalist Robin Stapps. Based on reasons stated below, Stapps believes that 2013 will be The Ocean’s year.
Is everything written already, or are you guys in the studio still building and writing the album?
The album is fully recorded, we’re just mixing it now and we have completed the first week of mixing and we only have about 5 or 6 days left until were done with the entire album. So we’re very close to the finish line, and I’m very exited because I’ve been investing too much time into this album, [laughs] which was also due to some schedule fuck ups. We were originally supposed to do the triple DVD that we put together and collected material for over the past 2 and a half years, but then our label wanted us to do the album first and that kind of put us under significant pressure to finish recording the vocals. But we got it done and it sounds very good. I’m very very happy with the sound of this album. I think it’s the first of our albums that I’m fully satisfied with and represents the sound of this band. So I’m exited, and it’s going to come out at the end of April.
So what’s the concept?
It’s going to be a very oceanic album, I can tell you that much. It’s not so much of a brainy concept like the last two albums, like a critique of religion from different angles. This is much more of a personal album, so it’s not political and it’s not continuing the critique of religion; it’s something completely different, and nonetheless, it’s still a consistent piece of music that was written from beginning to end and it’s meant to be digested as one basically. We will set track marks, but more or less arbitrarily, it’s really one 52-minute long piece of music and it was written like that. It’s a journey – a progression from one point towards another, where everything in between is meant to happen.
Did you intentionally change things up musically since Heliocentric and Anthropocentric?
Not necessarily intentionally, but a couple of things happened in the mean time; we’ve toured a lot, and this album I have written completely on my own again, whereas Anthropocentric was much more co-written by members of the band. They didn’t really contribute to the writing process of this one so much; largely because of their other band Coilguns (which we’re also releasing on Pelagic), where they have invested a lot of time. I think the concept and the whole approach to this album had to be one where there was one person in charge of writing everything, otherwise it would be very difficult to manage to create progression over the course of 52 minutes; it’s very composed. So yeah, that’s one of the things that have changed since Anthropocentric. I think musically its probably going to be somewhere between Anthropocentric and Precambrian. We did it with Louic, who was the vocalist featured on the Centrics. He’s featured on this album so the voice is the same as on the last two albums, but I think the music is more coherent from the beginning to the end. With Anthropocentric, it was kind of an array of songs written by different members of the band, and we organized the songs so that it created a very diverse album. But this new one I think is much more coherent.
And I recall you saying, “This is going to be The Ocean’s year.”
Yeah! We’re releasing the new album, and we’ll take it from there. We’re really confident about this album. I think we not only made ourselves happy with it, which is the most important thing, but I think we will also make the people that like this band happy with it, and hopefully good things will follow that. We have a tour planned with Cult Of Luna in Europe in April/May, playing some festivals too. Touring Europe with Cult Of Luna will be awesome; I think they are one of my favorite bands these days that are playing heavy music. I can really relate to them in many ways, and I love all of their albums. So I’m really glad to be able to be on tour with those guys. There’s also a good possibility of us returning to the US over the summer, but it’s not confirmed yet so I cant talk any details, but if it happens, it’s going to be a pretty cool, big tour with quite an amazing package of bands