They’re currently touring Australia for the first time. Having just released a new studio album – ‘Incisions’ – Oceano employ a hard-working ethic to their music. Killyourstereo.com sat down with the band before their show at Melbourne’s BANG nightclub to discuss first impressions of our country, the new full-length and star-struck moments on tour.
How are the first impressions of Australia so far?
Michael Kasper [Guitar]: So awesome. Everybody is far beyond my expectations – everyone is polite and accommodating. I was in the hotel the first day and I just wanted to get a cup of coffee and the guy I was talking with he was like, “You’re obviously not from Australia.” [And] I [responded], “how can you tell?”
He asked what we were doing here and I said I was in a band. To make a long story short, he gives me a latte and seven sandwiches for $5 and he was like, “Welcome to Australia.”
Being your first time down here, did you have any thoughts on what you envisaged Australia to be like?
MK: I knew the water flushed a different way.
Jason Jones [Bass]: I’m just trying to hang out with Karnivool…
Perth boys…you’re probably a month or so too late. They just did a big Australian tour for their new album.
JJ: [Luckily] I got to see them about three/four years ago.
On the topic of Australian music, what are some of your favourite bands?
JJ: Karnivool, The Red Shore, Make Them Suffer.
Chase [Drums]: Ne Obliviscaris.
I actually live 10 minutes away from their violinist, Tim. Great band and great guys too.
MK: Bring ‘em by. Get them down here.
Have you spoken to many of your peers and friends bands that have toured Australia before to get an insight into audiences and being on the road down here?
JJ: My buddy, you know the band Putrid Pile? He told me I need to get a kangaroo nut sack coin purse while I’m here (laughs). Everyone else of course tells us we need to get a picture with a kangaroo or koala…I’d really like to get that nut sack coin purse [though] (laughs).
MK: We are all really close with the guys in Veil Of Maya. I used to live with Marc [Okubo, guitar] and I saw the picture of them holding koalas and I was like, “I want to do that so bad!” (laughs).
You would’ve been in transit flying here when ‘Incisions’ came out. How much have you taken the time to sit down and catch up on its reception?
JJ: We haven’t had too much of a chance yet. We haven’t been able to get on the Internet too much.
MK: Before we left it seemed to be getting a good response. We put a lot of hard work into it. It’s still Oceano but it’s progressive as far as with a lot of different styles and a lot different genres. It’s more of a vent for all of us. It’s venting but in a positive way as opposed to skinning someone you hate.
How much attention do you pay to the reception? Do you actively seek out the press and overall opinion?
JJ: Not me personally just because if you’re trying to do that then you’re going to sit there and spend all your time on the Internet. There are a million different routes like that. The Internet and things like that now is to say something real nasty.
MK: Trolls…Opinions are like assholes – everyone’s got one. Everyone’s entitled to it whether or not it’s positive or negative. I’m willing to take whatever you throw at me. You may not agree but it is what it is.
JJ: At the end of the day, we get to do what we’re doing.
You get a thick skin to it all.
JJ: You’ll see a post about a band wrecking their van and people will comment, “I hope they die.” It’s generally people who have never gone through an experience in their life.
MK: People always talk shit about what they don’t know.
[Adam Warren (vocals) enters the room].
AW: I think for me, being the third album, I knew pretty much, for the most part, what I wanted to do. I discovered a lot of things that are new, but at the same time I re-discovered myself to further push the sound. It helped evolve the sound of the band a little bit. I came into it really focused and helped people see a new kind of vision for the band beyond what people are just expecting from us.
Talk us through the balancing act. As a band you always want to grow and add new elements like you were alluding to there, but at the same time you have to almost retain some of the qualities fans have embraced in the past so it’s not a massive departure.
MK: For me, especially being a newer guy, I’m not trying not to necessarily push the boundaries. This band will always be this band no matter who is playing guitar. It’s always going to be that sound. My style, I like old school death metal like Cannibal Corpse. My breakdowns sound like Aborted breakdowns. We’ve added more solos and clean vocals a little bit. We try not to rock the boat too much, but still write for yourself. If you’re not happy, how can you expect to make someone else happy? [You try to] write music, own it and hope someone else likes it too.
People see a band tour and record music, but there’s the other side – the other commitments. Adam, I know you’re a father. How is it balancing things like family and work commitments?
AW: You’ve got to grow into it basically. With age comes knowledge and also it’s the experience that comes from trial and error. You do it long enough to deal with the struggles and stress of it not working. That’s why we had a little break just between ourselves.
Mike you mentioned Veil of Maya before. What have been some of the lessons you’ve learnt from some of your peers that may have been around for a few more years?
MK: That’s one of the things those guys [Veil of Maya] told me was when you go to Australia it’s going to be great, but just try to sleep as much of you can. Get your rest because if you don’t get rest after being on a plane for 30 hours and then get sick, it’s over. You’ve got to eat right [too]. Just take care of yourself…and have fun.
Has the jetlagged kicked in yet?
MK: Oh yeah, we’re still a little jetlagged. We were like, “What day is it? Is it Saturday, Friday?”
JJ: I’ve gotten about seven hours of sleep since we left Chicago…
AW: …I’ve probably had a little bit more.
MK: 16 hours to China then a three-hour lay over then to Adelaide.
Tell us about the touring. It’s not all the Rolling Stones-type lifestyle – flying in private jets and staying in five star penthouse suites. You have to sleep on the go, eat on the go. How is it?
JJ: It’s definitely something you have to get accustomed to. That’s when people learn if it’s a lifestyle for them. It’s just something you’ve got to beat into yourself. I think at this point we are all pretty much good on that aspect. I think the only thing is the thing in the back of your mind, for us personally, because we don’t have phone service or anything like that, is just having that line gone. We’re are in this world, but we don’t have that little connection.
MK: The best term I could use is it [touring] hurts so good.
Have you guys noticed the cost of living in Australia? A lot of bands make the remark how expensive it can be touring Australia.
MK: Two words: Duty-Free Cigarettes. That’s three words actually (laughs). At home I’m a big salad guy. Over the last couple of years I’ve lost almost 100 pounds. So eating healthy here, it’s like eight bucks for a little cup of salad. I just eat it and then I’m like what’s next? (laughs)
MK: How much time do you have? (laughs)
Chase: The Black Dahlia Murder – ‘Unhallowed’ is one of my biggest ever [influences].
AW: The Slipknot self-titled album.
JJ: ‘Toxicity’ by System of A Down.
MK: For me, it would be Pantera’s ‘Great Southern Trendkill’ or Metallica’s ‘Ride the Lightning’ or ‘Kill ‘Em All’. A lot of Deftones too.
JJ: Also Korn’s ‘Freak On A Leash’…oh wait that was that ‘Follow the Leader’. My fault, don’t hate me Korn (laughs).
MK: Whatever, go listen to nu-metal somewhere else (laughs).
JJ: You don’t know about nu-metal.
MK: I don’t, I’m old.
JJ: Neither do I (laughs).
MK: Let’s pop in that Cannibal Corpse cassette tape (laughs).
Tell us some of your moments where you’ve met your musical idols. You mentioned Slipknot there. I was fortunate to interview Joey the other week and I remember having their posters all over my wall when I was in high school. What have been your moments?
MK: I had one particular moment it was in Montreal. I met At the Gates and I also met Vinnie Paul from Pantera. That was the moment where I was like, “Vinnie, can I have a picture?” It was over so fast.
Chase: For me it was a band I looked up to for a long time called Wintersun. There were three stages where we were playing [at the time] and they were headlining our stage. I actually drank too much whiskey to see them (laughs). It was still amazing to know that they were playing a few bands after us.
MK: They were good but it was all backing tracks – I was so surprised.
Chase: What do you mean?
MK: Like six part vocal harmonies between three guys. They were amazing though. Their guitar player was so triumphant.
JJ: The last time I was star struck was the time I saw Karnivool. We had been a touring for three-and-a-half years by then and you get used to that type of thing and you generally try to not let that [star struck element] out in that world. I was sitting in my car with my girlfriend and my buddy, and I saw them walking down the street by the venue. I was like, “oh shit!” I was going to be like, “hey, what’s up?” And I just froze.
JJ: I was at the bar and the singer [Ian Kenny] came up to me and was like, “ hey, what do you do?” I just froze (laughs). It was fun though.
Have you listened to Ian’s other band, Birds of Tokyo?
JJ: I like some songs, but that’s about the most that I’ve been exposed to Birds of Tokyo.
If Karnivool and alternative sounds are your flavour, Melbourne is really good for that music. They have a festival in Melbourne each year – actually run by one of the guys from Ne Obliviscaris – called Prog Fest. 30 bands at a club, three stages…
JJ: Where’s Dead Letter Circus from?
Those guys are from Brisbane.
What’s one thing you’d like to see improved in the heavy music scene at the moment?
JJ: The mentality.
AW: I hate to say to it, but a lot fans that are into heavy music make out like it’s a competition – which band is better, which band is more technical and stuff like that. It should really just be about supporting every band and making the scene grow. You guys have your club events like this [BANG, Melbourne], so one day for the US scene, once we have that unity we can diversify. It’s not a sport, it’s art.
Do you guys have club events like this over in the States?
MK: I’ve never been to a place where there’s a metal show then immediately afterwards it turns into a dance party. I fucking love that!
AW: It’s very seldom you find it [over in the States]. If you do, it’s not a good turnout.
You almost take it for granted here. You can watch a band play then stick around and have a few beers – go to one room and head bang to Slayer then go upstairs and hang out to dance sounds.
MK: It’s cool.
JJ: It’s how it should be. It should be less closed off. If you won’t let yourself experience stuff then you’re not going to be able to go forward in life.
MK: Whether you like it or not, just give it a shot. I thought I was going to hate dubstep. I like old school drum ‘n’ bass and it’s actually very similar.
MK: I just had one. I literally just walked out this [backstage] door and was like, “which way is the stage?”
JJ: I’d like an amp that goes to 11.
MK: That movie is fucking awesome! You guys just want to go back to the hotel and blow the show off and just watch Spinal Tap?
Just to go back to the new album, what would you like listeners to take away from ‘Incisions’?
AW: For me, I would like people to take away that we are ok with being called a genre such as deathcore, but with that, we are going to do it the way we want to do it. We are not going sit and just write a deathcore album that is expected or supposedly the blueprint for that set genre. Art is art and we are doing our take on it. We are drawing from all our influences to create what we feel is the best representation of that.
MK: For me, deathcore will always be deathcore and it we’ll always have elements of that, but I just want people to not be taken back, but just be like, “wow! I didn’t expect them to do that.” Like with the single we released there are some clean vocals and some pretty leads over the top of it, it’s not like your typical beat down song. When I first heard the vocals, it took me back. Adam is praised for his lows and highs but little did you know he has such a beautiful video.
…Well, I’ve seen that YouTube acoustic video you did Adam.
MK: Adam sings Bad Rabbits every morning.
Next acoustic night here at BANG we can get you back.
MK: Open mic. Maybe him and Jonny Craig can go on tour?
Well that puts an entertaining full stop on things. Appreciate you taking the time to chat with us tonight. It has been fun.
MK: No worries, thanks for knocking down a couple of beers with us mate.
‘Incisions’ is out now via Earache/Shock.
Photos courtesy of Destroy All Lines.