A Chat with Ocean Alley

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words by: tara wesson photography by: the sauce

Fresh off their triple j Hottest 100 win, Ocean Alley are riding the wave with a brand new single, Stained Glass, and an Australia-wide tour with Tash Sultana. COVERED. caught up with guitarist Mitch Galbraith to find out more.

COVERED.: You’ve gone from #48 in the 2017 Hottest 100 to #100, #16, #10 and obviously #1 in 2018! Congrats on the big win, how did that feel? How’d you celebrate?

MITCH: We were really stoked. To get those spots was a good sense of achievement with how far we’ve come. And we just celebrated at home with a whole bunch of friends, so it was good to be surrounded by all those people who’d supported us from the start.

C: How’s the reception for Stained Glass been so far?

M: It’s been relatively positive. There’s a lot of love out there. We were a bit nervous before we put it out, but now that it’s out, it’s out of our hands, so we’ve got to just let it do what it’s got to do, and hopefully people get on board with the other stuff we’ve got planned.

C: How did Stained Glass start? How is the single an evolution in your sound from Chiaroscuro?

M: We tried to carry over the things we learnt from Chiaroscuro about creating space and arranging our parts so that it sounded nice. So we carried that over to this new song that we’ve done, and just owned that in the studio.

C: The band headlined at the Don’t Kill Live Music event in Sydney last month: why is live music so important in Australia? How was the event?

M: It was a good turn out, and I think it was just everyone rallying together. We feel like [the regulations were] a bit rushed and there wasn’t proper consultation. The government needs to work with the industry because it’s very important for everyone.

C: Your sound is a melting pot of influences that has morphed into an unmistakable genre of its own. How did you arrive at that sound?

M: It was definitely not a conscious thing. It was just a product of the music that we liked at the time, and that’s what our music still is today, it’s the product of each of our individual characters. It’s easy to create something different when you’ve got a bit of a melting pot like that.

C: And who are your biggest musical influences?

M: Anything with guitar. The classics, Jimi Hendrix, and we obviously have a passion for reggae music as well. And those big epic rock songs like Pink Floyd’s. It’s totally mixed and we like a lot of different music. I think that’s very important.

C: It’s really cool seeing your change from that early reggae sound, to now where it’s a lot more psychedelic.

M: It’s definitely been an unconscious change. And we work hard to keep it like that, ironically.

C: Having toured Europe, the States and Canada, and now touring Australia again, how does it feel bringing your music around the world and coming back?

M: I guess we’re a little bit more experienced when it comes to playing our music live. The audiences are slightly different, you can definitely tell when playing to a home crowd, it’s very exciting.

C: Best tour story?

M: We’ve left a few of the guys in Melbourne before. I suppose they kind of left themselves. We were playing at The Hills Are Alive festival, and we had a long drive to the airport and someone didn’t wake up in time so they had to stay down there. And they had to stay down there for a week, and we met them the next week when we went down for our other show.

C: Favourite road trip jam?

M: Maybe The Boys are Back in Town. Normally we’re sleeping on the road.

C: And finally, can we expect another album soon?

M: Not exactly. We’ve got a big year of touring and all of that, so in between touring we’re always trying to write new music. •