Coupling cruisy, crystalline melodies with a wallop of raw, shreddy grit, the latest cut from the Melbourne-based shoegazers in Oceans is quite the musical experience. It’s called ‘Break My Fall’, and it landed back in April as the sextet’s second release, following the title track to the rich and riveting Come So Far EP (which fans were served in full on May 26th). On its own, ‘Break My Fall’ is all kinds of captivating – it runs just shy of four minutes long, but it feels like a full-fat journey through the peaks and valleys of frontman/songwriter Thomas Lee’s mind.
Now, Lee and co. have teamed up with award-winning filmmaker Liam Fitzgibbon to mint an equally enthralling film clip for the cut. It shows the band in their element, delivering a striking performance drenched in piercing blue light, as grainy snippets of memories long passed flicker by. Oceans have given BLUNT a special first look at the video, so if you’re wondering why none of us at HQ are answering our emails today, it’s because we’ve been totally hypnotised and can’t stop watching.
“I wanted to create something a little more lo-fi with this clip,” Lee says. “I had the pleasure of working with Liam again who did our first video. For this one I drew inspiration from My Bloody Valentine and other lo-fi aesthetics. A big part of the inspiration came from our guitarist’s band, Kigo who utilises a lot of filtered effects. I wanted to produce something with the full band image. I’ve been collaborating with a band for a while now – since finishing the EP, and I was keen to shake off the idea of being a solo artist.”
Melbourne fans can see Oceans play ‘Break My Fall’ in the flesh (alongside a stack of other soon-to-be classics) at The Tote on October 28th. Tickets for the show, supported by Shock Friendly and Charlie Cause, are on sale now – but get in quick, because if their last show at The Tote should give us any indication, it’s bound to sell out sooner than later. Click here to get amongst it!
Take a look at the video for ‘Break My Fall’ below, then read on for our one-on-one chat with frontman Thomas Lee!
So you noted that My Bloody Valentine were a big inspiration for this video. What was it in particular that you wanted to draw from their artistry?
A lot of their music instills a sense of nostalgia and longing for the past. We tied those themes into the video by overlaying footage of our past shows, which were very happy, nostalgic memories for us, from when we weren’t in lockdown. I think the grainy textures on the video represent our memories, and like a VHS that gets played too many times, they start to wear. It’s kind of what we try to do in our music with reverb and lo-fi audio techniques. Plus, it was also a great opportunity to introduce the band and break free of my “solo artist” moniker.
As your second release, what made ‘Break My Fall’ the right track to build on the aesthetic you’d established with ‘Come So Far’?
I really struggled to form an identity as an artist during the creation of what would become Oceans. Growing up listening to a lot of ambient electronic music, and after having discovered shoegaze more recently, I wanted to cohesively capture those unique sounds on a recording of my own – and I think these two songs encapsulate my influences as an artist. With ‘Come So Far’ being one of the first songs I’ve written, and ‘Break My Fall’ only finishing during the recording phase of the EP, they both show my development as an artist, and how my sound has changed from what it was to where it is heading now.
You mentioned that you’ve been working more closely with the band since you finished the Come So Far EP. How has that taken shape? What can you tell us about the creative dynamic that exists between the six of you?
I’ve been extremely fortunate to play with a group of talented musicians, each of whom have done amazing work as solo artists and in other bands. It’s amazing to see how their musical influences can change the way they perceive and play music, either through an emphasis on the drum patterns, different guitar tones or vocal styles – the songs have really taken on a new life with everyone’s musical input. After initially getting familiar with the songs for live shows, we’re now starting to collaborate more with songwriting as a band. In particular, our guitarist Dwayne has made some beautiful ambient guitar demos that we’re working on right now, and our singer Mayzie created some touching lyrics for our upcoming EP release.
“With a bit of luck, we’ll be back to “normal”, playing shows and seeing our mates, and we’re super grateful for that.”
So you have another EP on the horizon, this time in collaboration with UK band Wilt. How did you guys link up?
In late August last year, Alex, who’s one of the songwriters for what would become Wilt, posted some demos on the subreddit r/shoegaze, and he was looking to collaborate with some vocalists for some of them during lockdown. Since I’d just finished recording my EP, I was eager to jump into a new project to try some new ideas, and I was really attracted to his demos. They explored a heavier side to shoegaze music that I hadn’t explored before. Although I don’t really consider myself a vocalist primarily, I was still keen to try out some ideas for the tracks, and they worked out really well. We decided to get started on an EP together, and now, nearly a year later, we’re getting ready to put the final touches on our recordings. We’re super excited to share it with the world.
If all goes well (fingers crossed), you’ll be treating fans to some of that new material at a hometown show on October 28th. After selling out your last show there, what made you want to head back to The Tote?
A big part of it was that due to the previous lockdown restrictions at our last show, we didn’t really get to have the show we wanted. We had capacity limits and seating arrangements, but the organisers were kind enough to invite us back and play to a bigger crowd, which we’re hoping will be an amazing experience. With a bit of luck, we’ll be back to “normal”, playing shows and seeing our mates, and we’re super grateful for that.
What made Shock Friendly and Charlie Cause the perfect bands to join you guys for this (soon-to-be) legendary show?
Ella from Shock Friendly is currently engineering our forthcoming album along with Lindsay Gravina. She’s got such a great ear for music, so we’re really excited to see her with her band and her sick keytar playing. Somehow I came across Charlie’s music page through the instagram algorithm, and was struck by her dreamy EP Vertigo. We connected via Messenger [and started talking] about shoegaze music and audio production. I think they’ll make for a beautiful, dreamy and reverb-drenched evening!