Being As An Ocean: Spiritual Healing
Ahead of their upcoming headline tour with Saviour and Void Of Vision, BLUNT delves into “what it all means” with Being As An Ocean main man Joel Quartuccio.
“I just want to remain as open and sincere with myself when I write as I possibly can and I feel like nothing I say and do in my words would be detrimental to myself. It’s my catharsis, it’s the way I get over things. I know that as long as it’s honest and kind of scary to me to be so vulnerable I can trust that someone else will probably get it and can take the good from it.”
Joel Quartuccio, the wordsmith and singer/yeller/talker at the front of California’s Being As An Ocean muses about the increased responsibility that comes with the band’s faithful and ever-growing following, clinging like gospel to every word he spits unforgivingly into his microphone. This month, he is set to do just that in Australia, as Being As An Ocean return for a headline tour of this country alongside Saviour and Void Of Vision.
“Every single time we’ve gone it’s been amazing,” the singer beams. “We’re the kind of band that will play the same set, whether it’s to 5 people or to 500, y’know what I mean? So there are no expectations. We’re just ready to get back and see what’s up! We’ve headlined there before but it was only our first time over so it just flew under the radar, kinda just seeing who would come out [laughs] and giving it the college try. But yeah man, we’re really excited and just kind of looking forward to everything, instead of worrying about the particulars.”
A 20-minute conversation with Quartuccio is enough to come to realise that he is a man of conviction and honesty, which only adds to the sincerity of the emotions and ideas conveyed in his songs. But when confronted with the idea that the bigger his band gets, the more he is placed on show through his words, it appears that the frontman is unswayed by writing for a far less candid, and more observant audience than the collective had prior to their 2012 debut, Dear G_D. “There’ll always be the human part of me that worries the tiniest bit about what people might think or say, but I choose to try and focus on how it’s going to speak to me, and whether or not it’s as honest as I could be with myself or as poignant a line as I could write.”
“If there is any set belief, it’s that love is restorative and if we choose to act out of love or selflessness the world can be better.”
Being As An Ocean are a band as interesting as they are complex. Performing under a moniker derived from a quote by historical Hindi figure Mahatma Gandhi, Quartuccio’s unique vocal delivery, atop a beautifully dynamic musical backdrop courtesy of Jessey Shelley (drums), Ralph Sica (bass), Tyler Ross (guitar) and Michael McGough (guitar/those huge clean sung choruses prominent in the band’s latter works) make them all too difficult to pin down stylistically as merely just another melodic hardcore outfit, adding a new layer of complexity to a niche of heavy music that for a long time has been played relatively by the book, arguably by wearing an array of outside influences on their sleeves. Quartuccio’s lyricism, which as the man himself suggests, would fall somewhere between a verse on a mewithoutYou record and a one-liner found in a Stephen King novel, romantically laced in themes of love, longing, despair, religious contemplation and worldly ideology is thought-provoking enough to be relished by some, and seemingly misinterpreted by others, raising constant questions about the band’s spiritual agenda. He is relieved to finally be given an opportunity to set the record straight.
“Rules or dogma or religion play little to no part in our music except for the questioning of them. If I am to believe in an all loving, all knowing, all powerful God, I cannot believe in a place where he would send people to suffer eternal damnation. It doesn’t amplify my life to concern myself with something like that and I would much rather concern myself with the here and now, and how I can make this life not hell [laughs]! How I can focus on pruning the good things in this life, so that this experience that we’re all brought into isn’t hell on earth. I think that’s the only kind of hell that exists. I choose not to delve too deeply into thoughts of afterlife because, again, like a rational person I choose to believe in something after that none of us know,” Quartuccio explains. “I think that’s something to really push instead of focusing on any one specific dogma or any specific label, because in the end that’s all they are. They’re just words to describe people who may or may not be living up to what that word entails. I think that spirituality is kind of hard to miss about this band, but I guess what I want to try and convey is that we’re not subscribing to a religion as a band, but every single person in the band is a human being. Whether you believe in a higher power or not, all humans have a spirit.”
Painstakingly sombre in its softer moments, and crushing in its heavy buildups and hardcore-punk intensity, Being As An Ocean’s catalogue to date, culminating at this point with their latest single “Dissolve”, may seem like a somewhat heartbreaking soundtrack to listen to, but Quartuccio insists that the picture itself is a “universalist” look at a positive human existence, and that above all else, one should walk away from a Being As An Ocean record or show with a sense of optimism and life affirmation.
“As people it is best for us to prosper through acceptance, love, compassion, understanding, grace and all these different things because that’s the way humanity works. Otherwise we’re just killing ourselves. I guess thats the biggest piece about this band. If there is any set belief, it’s that love is restorative and if we choose to act out of love or selflessness the world can be better.”
Being As An Ocean / Saviour / Void Of Vision
Thu May 26th – The Brightside, Brisbane (18+)
Fri May 27th – The Lab, Brisbane (AA)
Sat May 28th – Factory Theatre, Sydney (AA)
Sun May 29th – Cambridge Hotel, Newcastle (AA)
Thu Jun 2nd – Max Watt’s, Melbourne (18+)
Fri Jun 3rd – Arrow on Swanston, Melbourne (AA)
Sat Jun 4th – Amplifier Bar, Perth (18+)*
Sun Jun 5th – YMCA HQ, Perth (AA)*
* Void Of Vision not appearing