Crowding into around 5-square feet of space in the basement of Reflex Records, George gets a chance to hang out with We Are The Ocean for some crucial interview time on their signing “tour”, which has stopped today, in Newcastle. They talk about new record Cutting Our Teeth, their dial-a-support controversies, and why you must listen to their album at least four times before passing judgement.
George: Can you say your names, and what you do in the band?
Tom: I’m Tom, I play drums.
Dan: I’m Dan, I sing.
Liam: I’m Liam, I play guitar and sing.
Alfie: Alfie, play guitar.
Jack: I’m Jack, I play bass.
George: It’s the day of your release! How do you feel to finally have a full length out there?
Dan: It’s awesome! It’s finally out, we recorded it almost a year ago now…
Jack: It’s a good feeling.
Dan: It’s an awesome feeling!
Jack: An accomplishment.
Liam: Long-time coming.
Dan: We were going to be releasing last November, then last Monday, now it’s this Monday, and it’s actually out.
Alfie: It’s in a shop.
Dan: We’ve been looking for an HMV in Newcastle just so we could see it…
George: It’s on Northumberland Street!
Dan: We couldn’t see it! Couldn’t find HMV.
George: There’s one copy left, last I checked.
Dan: I might go buy it! [laughs]
Alfie: Just so it’s sold out there.
Liam: I’ll take a picture of you buying it, if you like.
Dan: Yeah, go on then! Film it.
Dan: Film it, that’d be good.
Liam: Maybe film it, all of us fighting over the last copy. That’d be funny.
Dan: I’m not leaving ’til I get it! [laughs]
George: For those who might not of heard it yet, can you describe Cutting Our Teeth?
Dan: People probably haven’t heard it because it’s only just come out…
Alfie: I don’t want to use the mature word…
Dan: It’s a pretty cliché thing to say, but it is a massive progression from the EP, if people have heard the EP. It’s a similar kind of vibe, it’s just a bit broader.
Liam: We’re just trying to find our own sound.
Dan: It’s noisier. Some songs are a bit more melodic, it’s just branched out a bit more.
Alfie: The EP, we recorded pretty much all the songs in Tom’s basement, just as really young people first starting out in music.
Dan: They were like the first seven songs we wrote, whereas with this, we’ve had more time to do it, we’ve scrapped songs, we’ve changed songs, and we’ve had a lot longer to do it, and we recorded it all at once, which definitely made a difference, with the EP, we recorded a song…
Alfie: Basically within a year.
Dan: One song, then two months later we’d record another song.
Alfie: We had no idea what we were doing, or what to expect.
Dan: Basically, by the end we had seven songs so we said let’s put them together! Sweet.
Jack: It sounded totally different.
George: What influenced Cutting Our Teeth?
Dan: What influenced…
Alfie: Sole influence?
Liam: The album, the name?
Dan: Brian McTurner influenced us. He recorded it, he was awesome.
George: What was the recording process like?
Alfie: Amazing, it was great. It was awesome, it was a punch in the face in the right direction, if that makes any sense. Someone grabbed me by the mouth and punched me in the right direction.
Dan: Yeah, like someone came up to you in the street, smacked you in the face, and you think, “Hang on… That was a good thing! I’m glad you did that!” That’s basically what Brian did for us.
Liam: It’s basically a learning curve.
George: Is it the thing you’re most proud of?
Dan: It’s definitely up there.
Dan: Releasing a debut album, it’s always an accomplishment. For you Tom, it’s probably playing Download wasn’t it?
Tom: Yeah! [laughs] That was unreal.
Dan: It was good!
George: What’s with the wolf on the album cover? It’s on everything!
Liam: Do you not like wolves?
Dan: We like wolves.
Alfie: We like wolves…
Jack: We all like wolves!
Dan: It was kinda a part of the artwork, and that’s generally why it went into our merch, to keep in with the theme of the artwork, really.
George: Is there any story behind it or is it just…?
Liam: From the album name, wasn’t it?
Dan: Yeah, Cutting Our Teeth, it’s like meant to represent a wolf leading it’s pack and like, branching off on it’s own. That was kinda the idea behind the artwork.
Liam: No-one’s got it.
Dan: That’s the point! [laughs] It can mean whatever you want it to mean!
George: Will all the new songs on the album be making outings live at one point?
Dan: I think we’ll end up playing all of them, yeah. We’ve played a good few of them already.
Liam: There’s some more than others, maybe.
Dan: There’s still some that we haven’t played at all. The ones that we wrote first, we were playing last year, and we’ve since stopped playing them, but they are on the album so we’ll probably start playing them again.
George: How does it feel to be in a position to be able to tour with bands as big as Thrice, and The Used and to be able to headline a successful tour of your own as well?
Alfie: It’s fucking great!
Liam: It makes you feel like you’re actually going somewhere, and that’s definitely not my phone ringing! [laughs]
Dan: Supporting Thrice… Let’s wait for this ringtone to finish.
Liam: There we go. Cancel it so we don’t have to listen to it.
Dan: Supporting Thrice was a highlight for me, and I think for all of us, it was only five shows but it was such a great experience, it was so much fun, and they were really nice guys as well, which was good.
Liam: All of us have at least one of their CD’s.
Dan: We were scared, you know? Meeting a band that you’ve loved for years and they turned out to be idiots. It hasn’t happened to us but we’ve heard about it. They were awesome.
George: What’s your view on Thrice? ‘Cause a lot of people don’t like the new direction…
Dan: Love ’em!
[the band murmur in agreement]
Dan: Still, The Illusion Of Safety will never be beaten.
Alfie: Artist In The Ambulance!
Dan: It’s awesome, but the newer direction is different, but I’ll always love the older stuff just ’cause I was young, it was fresh, that’s where I first heard them, but what they’re doing now, is still great. What’s your view, are you a fan?
George: I liked TAITA and Vheissu, not a fan of the newer stuff as much.
Liam: Beggars is awesome.
Jack: I thought Beggars was a grower the first time I listened to it. The first few listens I didn’t really like it, but four listens in…
Dan: Not three! [laughs] Three is the cutting off point for a grower, Jack. We discussed this, three listens, that’s it. If you don’t like it, it’s not a good album.
Liam: What if someone now listens to our album, gives it three listens, don’t like it, but if they had of listened a fourth time, it would of been a grower for them?
Dan: Well, that’s our mistake, isn’t it?
Dan: Maybe with the second album we can make an album that after three listens is listenable.
Liam: …Hopefully, after one!
[everyone laughs once again]
Dan: Okay, so we’ll make an exception, with our album, please listen to it four times before you judge it! [laughs]
George: How do you feel about people calling you out as a dial-a-support?
Liam: Yeah! We don’t get it.
Dan: We get it on Punktastic.
Alfie: Everyone does, really.
Dan: I just think you get that after your second support tour. Supported them, now they’re supporting them, fucking DIAL-A-SUPPORT! [laughs] We haven’t supported that many bands, and to be honest, it’s all for a reason. It hasn’t really been touring for the sake of it, it’s been touring to promote stuff, and to promote the album. So I dunno.
Liam: It’s funny, the first time we saw that, we’d only ever done like three support tours and we were like, “Really…?”
Dan: To be honest, for a lot of them, it was because we knew the crowd we were going to be playing to were going to be a lot different, like particularly the Thrice tour, when we got offered that, we were like “Okay, this is going to be a tough crowd.” and a much different audience than what we’re used to playing. It’s a lot older audience and a different kind of music. So, for that, we thought it’s not over-touring, it’s just a lot different audience that we’re gonna be playing to, so that’s why we did that, and same with The Used tour, I think as well, they’ve been around a lot longer, so they’ve got an older fanbase, as well.
George: I didn’t really think a lot of people received you that well on the Newcastle date of that tour at the University.
Dan: The show here was weird, yeah! The whole tour sold really really well but the Newcastle show did like four hundred tickets, which was really weird. But the rest of the tour was really, really good.
Alfie: Usually, Newcastle’s really good for us, as well.
Dan: We did 450 tickets in Academy 2, and then we supported The Used, and they did four hundred tickets. It was a weird response, maybe The Used haven’t taken off up here.
Liam: Definitely weird, though.
Dan: Dunno what it was, but you let yourselves down, Newcastle, on that tour, I’m afraid.
George: Will the older material still be played?
Dan: Oh yeah, gotta be, yeah.
Liam: It will be not as much.
Dan: Yeah, a couple of the songs. We really only play like three or four of them anyway.
Liam: For the die-hard.
Dan: For the originals.
Liam: We already don’t play two of them, and we’re slowly saying goodbye to two others.
Dan: On the Thrice tour, there was a couple we didn’t play, but we did play them on the headline tour, but we didn’t play them on The Used tour, we just kinda swap them round. Except for Nothing Good Has Happened Yet, we always play that.
Liam: Maybe we should take that out, see what happens.
Dan: I reckon we should just open with it one day, just like “What’s up?” just open with it. Then people will be like “Oh fuck, let’s go home now.” [laughs]
George: You’re playing some shows supporting Lostprophets this month…
Dan: We are!
George: …Right here, Cambridge, and Leeds. How did that come about, and why are you only playing three dates?
Dan: We wanted to do the whole tour, but we tried through our agent to get the whole tour and it didn’t really work out, and then the band that is doing the tour, I believe is Sharks and Hexes doing half of the tour each, and I believe it’s Sharks playing the half we’re doing, and they couldn’t play those three shows, so we’re stepping in. It’s us, Kids In Glass Houses, and Lostprophets, just the three. So yeah, it was basically through them not being able to do it, so they approached us and said do you want these three?
Alfie: We’re good friends with that band.
George: What are your favourite new albums, except your own?
Liam: What, this year?
Dan: No. Only like our own! It’s all I listen to, is ours.
Liam: Beggars was awesome.
Jack: It was said before, but the new Thrice album.
Dan: So many!
George: I noticed you all put up a blog…
Jack: I’m just thinking of the ones I said on there.
Dan: So many albums on Hassle records! On our label, released last year. There was a load on Hassle last year that were awesome, Blakfish’s album is good, Trash Talk’s album is really good.
Liam: That the one we listened to on the way up?
Alfie: Axe To Fall.
Dan: Yeah, Converge, that was awesome.
George: What’s in store for We Are The Ocean in the near future? Apparently, you’re supporting Madina Lake?
Dan: Yeah, we are. We’re announcing that tonight.
Jack: That’s an exclusive there, if you can get it up soon! [laughs]
Dan: Punktastic got there before us though, so it’s not really exclusive! [laughs]
Dan: We’re doing that tour, March through to April, and then we’re looking at doing Europe in April, May, which we’re still sorting out, and then festival circuit in summer.
George: Speaking of festivals, are you guys going to be playing Slam Dunk for a third year in a row?
Dan: Are we?
Liam: It’d be nice. I think we’ll all go, if we’re playing or not.
Alfie: We’ve had sweet receptions, both times we’ve played there.
George: Change the record, who should we be listening to?
Liam: Giants, yeah.
Alfie: Bands that are new? Or…
George: Everyone usually either says themselves or Deftones.
Alfie: Deftones, definitely!
Dan: Twin Atlantic, Deaf Havana…
Jack: All Forgotten.
Dan: Young Guns, Save Your Breath, All Forgotten, Out Of Sight, Sharks. [laughs]
Tom: Just every band on the upcoming kind of…
Alfie: Support your local music scene!
George: I’m off to see them on Sunday.
Liam: Giants are playing that show as well!
Dan: They’re good friends of ours.
George: Is there anything you’d like to add?
Alfie: Fuck yeah, and fuck you.
Dan: Bitches and ho’s, bitches and ho’s.
– George Cannings.
Many thanks to We Are The Ocean, their debut album Cutting Our Teeth is out now through Hassle Recods, and for more information on the band, visit: www.myspace.com/wearetheoceanuk