The last couple of years have been huge for Australian band Ocean Grove. Their debut album, The Rhapsody Tapes, received both critical and chart success. Meanwhile behind the scenes the band lost two members and gained another while Dale Tanner had to step up and become the main front-man.
Now the boys eagerly await the release of their brand new album Flip Phone Fantasy and when we chat to both Tanner and newcomer Twiggy Hunter they are standing outside a venue in Wolverhampton where they are due to a gig that night. The fact that they are touring overseas has calmed the nerves a little before the release of the new album on the 13th March.
“We have loved this tour,” says Tanner and it is easy to tell from his voice that he is happy. “We are here with Crossfaith and they have been pretty wild but they are awesome bunch of dudes and they always put on a good show. We are playing to a heap of people that have never heard of us before so that is great because we are getting some really good exposure at a really important time. Having an album coming out soon and being on the radar of more people in Europe is a really positive thing.”
Being so well received in Europe is the perfect tonic for any second album blues and the boys are more than aware of that. “I wouldn’t say there are too many nerves,” says Tanner again laughing. “I think we disregarded them quite some time ago, actually I think when we were writing the album. Of course we knew that we had a challenge on our hands given the success of The Rhapsody Tapes and having gone through the line-up change and things like that, but once we had come to terms with the fact that these changes were somewhat inevitable and that the evolution was going to happen whether we liked it or not we kind of just embraced it and took it in our stride and we just thought let’s see what kind of magic we can create from this creation.”
“I think we were able to do that with this album,” he continues. “I think right now we are kind of sitting here in disbelief because this moment is finally here. It felt for so long that it may never come and that was probably the part that hurt the most – the time that it was taking when we knew we had some really cool stuff on our hands. We wanted to release it out into the world but we knew that we had to play the waiting game and so it is not so much nerves but more relief and some definite excitement. We are pumped because we are really proud of this album and we know that it is the best collection of our work. We have nothing but confidence in it and we know that it is going to blow people’s minds. March 13th can’t come fast enough for us because we finished it off so long ago that we have just been sitting around bored as fuck ever since.”
While there is a bit of a party vibe to Flip Phone Fantasy the album does explore deep topics such as mental health and both the boys are very honest about how intense the writing process was. “I think we were going solid at it for eight months,” says Tanner looking to Twiggy for reassurance. “I think in the moment we knew that something pretty special was happening. The first time when something clicks everyone would just look around the room and have that realisation that something special is going on and happening.”
“I think with this album what made it so special was the combination of me having to step up as front-man and having to take on more of that responsibility when it came to writing the lyrics and shaping the tone and message that came with the songs,” he says continuing. “That combined with Twiggy coming into the band meant that we had a brand new member coming in with ideas, lyrical content and musical content that we had never really touched on before or even experienced before as a band and in our creative process. I think they were the main factors but I think there were a lot of factors to why this whole album and in its writing and recording process was unique and felt like a first time even though the band has been together for quite some time now.”
“This album felt like a fresh start and I think we approached the songs and the lyrics in a way of wanting to demonstrate a lot of diversity – especially emotional diversity,” he says. “I think that allowed us to show the real rainbow of human emotion and we were able to delve into some topics that we haven’t been able to touch on in the past because I guess the sounds of the songs didn’t really allow it. Some of our stuff from the past has been kind of teenage angsty and hasn’t allowed for some of the sombre things to come through. But now we have this diversity it really opened our eyes up.”
Flip Phone Fantasy is released through UNFD on March 13th.