A Q&A with The Ocean Beneath

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Eighties-inspired mix of sweeping melodics and grooving percussion – from Leeds, here’s Matt Burnside…

How did you get the title of your latest release, and what does it mean to you?
‘Skin’ is a collaboration, so the lyrical ideas and name all came from Fran Minney ­­­– she is an amazing lyricist and musician. Fran described the track as “encapsulating the almost drunken touch-starved feeling a lot of us have experienced during lockdown these past few months, with a beat to help you dance out that desperation.” I think that says it all.

What was the hardest part about putting this release together, and why?
This release was all put together over the lockdown period, so time was a big issue. Being a collaboration, I made sure I was speaking with Fran about the track all the way and bouncing ideas back and forth. This meant sending over hundreds of versions of the track on my 0.4Mb broadband.

What do enjoy most about producing your own material?
Like most of our material, we produced this track ourselves, but Fran played a huge part in shaping the sound as well. Self-producing is a double-edged sword, really, but I’ll usually send the track over to a couple of other producers whose opinions I trust with no context. At that point, everyone has an opinion, but it’s not always right. With ‘Skin’, I think I stuck to my guns and it turned out just the way I imagined it should.

What do you want the listener to take away from listening to your music?
We want to really empower the listeners and give them something to dance to. We want people to have a good time and, if they can get out the message we put in, that would be perfect.

How does a track normally come together? Can you tell us something about the process?
Usually tracks start as little pallets of information – a sound from one of the analogue synths or a rhythmical idea jotted down in midi. I must have 1000 of these on my hard drive; the ones that stand out get turned in to full tracks. Most of them have a feeling attached for me, something I just have to get out in music form. I think hope, moving on and growth are the three things we always try to convey through music. Positive energy and vibes!

What band/artists have influenced you the most since you started this project, and why?
A couple of big influences for us have been Gunship and Lydmor. Gunship really gave us the confidence that our music was approachable, and that people would enjoy it. Lydmor, on the other hand, gave us so many production ideas and a sense of what could be achieved with a very small time and limited budget. If you’ve not heard Lydmor, go check out the album ‘I Told You I’d Tell Them Our Story’; that album is, from start to finish, an absolute masterpiece.

the ocean beneath interview skinWhen the world is back to normal where would like to tour, and why?
I would love to get out playing local to be honest, supporting the local venues and helping them get back on their feet. This has been a nightmare of a year for the venues and it’s not over yet.

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?
I would have to send them to our latest single, ‘Skin’. This thing packs a punch but has loads of emotion, and the analogue synthesizers make it feel warm and cosy – not like sterile EDM people may be used to.

What ambitions do you have for the band/your career?
I think right now our ambition is just our next release and then it will be the one after that. The music we’re working on will always be the most important thing to us. I think that will always be the way.

Finally, as you leave the stage, what are your parting words?
Thank you, goodnight and we can get through this!

For more info visit: facebook.com/theoceanbeneath

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