WORDS: BECTON SIMPSON | PHOTOS: SAM WONG
They may have been a band for an entire decade now but Australia’s Ocean Grove still have that “collective urge and fire in the belly” which has ultimately lead them to what the band believe is their “proudest collection of music yet” – second full length album ‘Flip Phone Fantasy’ – out 13th March via UNFD. Since debut ‘The Rhapsody Tapes’ dropped in 2017 the band have had a reshuffle of lineups which brought in new member Twiggy and saw Dale Tanner step up to the role of frontman, as Dale explained: “Becoming frontman and getting Twiggy in on bass definitely had a huge influence on this new direction.” It also brought in “a slew of new PMA energy and great ideas” and broadened the band’s musical horizons.
“WE WANT ‘FLIP PHONE FANTASY’ TO BE THE ANTITHESIS TO ‘GENRE’…”
‘Flip Phone Fantasy’ is a consistent blend of genres, whether it’s the poppy choruses of ‘Sunny’ or the dance floor anthem of ‘Ask For The Anthem’, Ocean Grove truly represent the notion that genre is dead. “We wanted ‘Flip Phone Fantasy’ to be the antithesis to ‘genre’, to be the complete opposite to what people expect from an album and a particular consistency of sound,” Dale explained. “We like to defy the idea of being pidgeon-holed into any one genre.”
While the band’s driven passion, focus and love for their music shines through when speaking about their songs, they’re also a down to earth bunch of guys who don’t take themselves too seriously and like to have fun. “It’s become a good compass to help keep us in check,” said Dale. “If things ever get too serious it’s probably time someone pushes another into a bin or something.” Thankfully the band are all comfortable with being themselves both on and off the stage and “letting that side of us loose instead of prescribing to a certain norm or expected behaviour.”
“THIS WAS US LETTING THAT SIDE OF US LOOSE INSTEAD OF PRESCRIBING TO A CERTAIN NORM OR EXPECTED BEHAVIOUR.”
On stage, things have certainly been going very well for Ocean Grove too, recently touring with Crossfaith, which they described as “fucking crazy” and despite many of the Japanese audiences not understanding what Ocean Grove were singing about, they discovered the unifying power of rock music brought everyone together anyway. “They still jumped, bounced, screamed, crowdsurfed and moshed,” Dale told us. “We take it for granted that most places that we go in the world the crowd there will understand us, so we were humbled on this particular tour watching Crossfaith crack jokes in Japanese to their fanatic audience each night and engaging with them in a way we never could.” And at a political climate like this when governments are cracking down and attempting to close up borders, making it harder for bands and fans to travel, that kind of unity is more important and crucial than ever. “Music has the power to bring people together for a collective cause like nothing else quite can, so to be facilitators of that is a real honour.”
Ten years down the line then, Ocean Grove have had quite the journey. As Dale put it: “it’s been a wild ride and I wouldn’t take back any of it.”
Flip Phone Fantasy Is Out Now Via UNFD.