A Q&A With Ocean Districts

A Q&A With Ocean Districts

Martin Lepalaan and his five-piece Estonian quintet…

What’s the title of your latest release, and what does it mean to you?
Our latest album is called Phantom Islands and it is a very special record for us because it took a lot out of us. A lot of time (4 years) and energy went into making this album, but we could not be happier with the result. It is about islands which were marked on old maps, but turned out they did not exist in reality. Whether they were made up, mirages or even drowned. The songs are named after the islands and every one of them have an interesting backstory you can look up.

What was the hardest part about putting this release together, and why?
Because we pay a lot of attention to details while writing and producing/recording the songs then I guess just the grueling effort and time it takes to write a full album. We are not a full-time band. So, like most, have to balance our personal lives and work with the activities of the band. We experimented with a lot of new things, like vocals for the first time (in 3 songs) so that new dimension while super interesting for us, was new to us and presented a real challenge.

Who produced the release – what did they bring to it?
Our recording engineer Alan Urva helped co-produce the album and offered a lot of ideas on how to improve the songs and how some parts should sound. Its good to have someone “outside” the band to share his point of view during recording and producing.

What do you want the listener to take away from listening to your music?
We want the listener to fully immerse in our music. It’s not easy background music or something you would play at a party. It’s quite personal, a bit melancholic, but also uplifting. If our music creates emotions and makes the listener feel something special, then our mission is accomplished.

How does a track normally come together? Can you tell us something about the process?
Myself and the other guitar player Taavi usually have some semi-finished songs that we have written at home that we bring to rehearsals. Then we start working on it together. Its a really time consuming process and takes months and months sometimes to complete the song. Thats why our current pace is one release (album or EP) in four years.

What band/artists have influenced you the most since you started this project, and why?
One of the most important influences when I started the band was God Is An Astronaut. We have been lucky to also play with them on a couple occasions. I also promoted their show in Tallinn years ago. I never heard post-rock before I discovered that band so it was my gateway into the genre. Since then however my interest in traditional post-rock has faded. And we have incorporated more and more different influences into our music from a variety of genres.

What countries would you like to tour? Are there any standout venues you’d like to play in?
We would be happy to tour anywhere. The further away from Estonia, the better.

A Q&A With Ocean Districts

If you could pick one track for our readers to listen to in order to get a taste of your music, what would you pick, and why?
In Phantom Islands, there are no “fillers” or songs that we regret putting on the record. Each track deserves to be listened to and they are quite different from each other. But, if I could only select one track that would encompass our style the best, maybe check out ‘Discovery’ from our debut album Expeditions. That is also the song we end most of our live shows. We enjoy playing it live a lot.

What ambitions do you have for the band/your career?
The biggest dream is for our band to be self-sustaining and for us to be able to create our music with as few outside disturbances as possible. We would like to play many concerts outside of our home turf and present our music to as many people as we possibly can. A lot of people don’t know that they like post-music yet because the music does not reach them and we would like to be the band that introduces that kind of music to them. But mainstream success, as an instrumental band, is not something we are thinking about or working towards.

Finally, as you leave the stage, what are your parting words?
In a time of history where never before has so much new music been recorded and released, its impossible to listen to everything and its tough for smaller bands to “break through”. We just ask for you to take a little time from your busy  day to put on a song from our album from Spotify, Bandcamp or whatever playform you use. You dont have to buy anything. Just check it out and if you like it, then that is the reason we make music. For you to enjoy!

For more information about Ocean Districts, visit oceandistricts.com or follow them on Instagram.


Leave a reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.