Oceans Ate Alaska is an exciting progressive metalcore collective from Birmingham in the UK, ready to take on the world with their sweeping tunes. Now signed with an American label (Density Records), Oceans Ate Alaska is set to unleash a dynamic new CD entitled Into The Deep. A compilation of all their top material to date, Into The Deep definitely whets the appetite of even greater glories to come.
Here is a recent interview we conducted with front man James Harrison to find out more about the inner depths of Oceans Ate Alaska. Read on..
Introduce yourself, tell me what you do in Oceans Ate Alaska, and how long the band has been together.
James Harrison – Vocalist, Oceans Ate Alaska formed in the summer of 2011, so just over a year ago.
Where is the band based out of and what is your local music scene like there? Are there any local bands you could recommend?
We’re from Birmingham, UK. The local scene is quite saturated with Metal bands, being the home town of the prince of darkness (Ozzy Osbourne) and all. The crowds are wild and we’ve picked up a lot of dedicated fans that turn up to shows as often as they can. If I could mention one band it would be ‘Odessa‘. They’ve been doing what they do for years and deserve everything they achieve. Hopefully we can share a stage with them soon!
Where did you get the name Oceans Ate Alaska and have you ever been to Alaska or met Sarah Palin?
The name originates from a local news headline about the Lituya Bay mega tsunami that hit the coast of Alaska in the 50’s, although it also has a more relevant analogy to global warming and the melting of the ice sheets and glaciers around the world. Personally I’d love to visit the State and drop in on Sarah for a chat and brew.
Is there any story or concept behind the CD title Into The Deep?
The thought of travelling into the unknown; the music industry is a vast eco system just like the oceans that surround our continents. Trends can die as quickly as they were born and it is forever unpredictable like the currents and tides. As a band we’ve only explored the very fringes of the music industry, like wise with mankind and the deep blue, we hope to take a larger grasp into this environment. The phrase ‘Into The Deep‘ was also taken from our track ‘Blue Lungs‘.
What are the inspirations for the lyrics of Taming Lions?
A un-rhetorical ‘fuck you’ to the big fish in the scene that think they can control and dictate, while looking down on us. We’re young, we’re fresh, we’re now. One step ahead and ready to knock them of their high horse.
Since you have an acoustic version for Taming Lions, have you ever wanted to do an all acoustic album or tour?
Yes I practice all our songs with completely clean vocals (no screams) to warm up and down, at practices and shows. I’ve always been a big fan of acoustic renditions, releasing an album like that would be cool and refreshing and something not many; if any, progressive metalcore bands have done before.
Select two other songs from Oceans Ate Alaska and what inspired the lyrics?
I use my imagination and imagery to curate topics for my lyrics, so very rarely am I writing from past experience. ‘Clocks‘ is about growing old and realizing that life really wasn’t all it was made out to be and if given the chance there is so much you would do differently. Time is precious and it disappears so fast when having fun or falling in love, but the question is, are you really fulfilling your potential or just letting it waste away? Before you know it you’re old and grey and on your death bed. ‘No Strings‘ our newest song on the EP is about being over protected by your elders, and how they influence your childhood. Yet there comes a time when you need to break free and experience the world for yourself with no input form others. The funny thing is that, it runs in human nature to protect our young and the very thing teenagers hate, they will most likely do to their own children in the future.
Who did the cover art for Into The Deep and how much input did you have on it?
I created and made the art work and our logo along with all other designs associated with the band to date (Oct 2012). From the outset I wanted the imagery to follow our song ‘Blue Lungs‘, how the waves are engulfing the people submerged in the ocean after leaving home to travel into the unknown. As I explained prior about the meaning behind the EP and our name I wanted it to be relatable yet also inquisitive. I quite like how the image is weirdly serene yet our music dramatically contrasts that.
What could one expect from a live Oceans Ate Alaska show?
We pride ourself on a technically tight and natural performance, keeping songs as mimicked to the CDs as possible. I don’t get it when bands sound so different live to there CD, it just throws up questions that they are most likely majorly edit in the studio. Expect us to get into the crowd and throw it down on stage, an energetic stage presence is also a big thing for us. Make sure you take the time to listen to our drummer Chris live, he’ll blow you away.
Has Oceans Ate Alaska ever played here in the States or plan to do so in future days?
We have never played in the States yet, but we realize we have a major fan base over there that’s ever growing. We hope we can get touring over there very soon and spread the word about the band to as many people as we can.
The Queen Of England invites Oceans Ate Alaska to play one song at a Royal Command Performance. What song would you perform for the Queen and her guests and why?
‘I, The Creator’. It has a lot of things that I find wrong with this world or disagree with contained within its substance. I’d like the world to hear it and hope for change.
Any final words of wisdom?
“Breathe deep, make sure you feel the grass beneath your feet at least once in your life…“
Oceans Ate Alaska is:
Chris Turner- Drums
James Kennedy- Guitar
George Arvanitis- Bass
Adam Zytkiewicz- Guitar
James Harrison- Vocals
(Interview by Kenneth Morton)
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