Ocean Alley, they Byron Bay-based band described as one of Australia’s most exciting musical exports, are set to arrive in the UK next week for their first dates since the release of their new album “Low Altitude Living”. Ahead of the tour, TotalNtertainment spoke to Ocean Alley vocalist Baden about the imminent shows, why they relocated from Sydney and the GTA-inspired video for “West Coast”.

1. Thanks for your time Baden. Ocean Alley are coming over to the UK in a few weeks. What are you most looking forward to about the trip?

To be honest, the last time we went, we always really connect with you guys. We really enjoyed going to Cornwall and doing the Boardmasters Festival. We don’t have that on this run but some of the venues are bigger like The Troxy in London, I can’t wait to play that place. I’m also looking forward to going to some of those English pubs over there as well and having a couple of ales.

2. For a band who love touring, how difficult was it not to be able to tour?

We used that time as downtime because, just before that, we’d been flat out touring so we were looking to have a bit of a break anyway. It worked out for us that, financially, as an independent act we could afford to take the time off and use it to write, four of us relocated from Sydney to further North in New South Wales to Byron Bay which is a very relaxed spot. We just coasted up there and took advantage of the downtime to write the majority of what became ‘Low Altitude Living’.

3. One the band recently talked about reconnecting with people who you spend a lot of time away from because of touring? Did that inspire ‘Low Altitude Living’?

I think it did. Everyone felt that I think during their own time. Being away so much, we’ve all got partners, I’ve got a daughter now who is five years old so I’ll definitely be feeling that when we head off on this run. We’ve got Europe/UK, then the States, Australia as well. We always have that thing of missing family and stuff when you’re out on the road but touring is always an exciting time. It’s a bit of a double-edged sword.

4. Considering how important touring is for you, how do you deal with that double-edged sword?

Yeah, it’s tough but FaceTime is a great thing and we have our breaks during touring where we don’t see each other too much because we’re spending time with our families and embracing as much of that downtime as possible. We do spend most of the year together so, after those breaks, we don’t have any problems reconnecting when we’re back on the tour bus. The touring thing, we love it, as much as I dread being away, after I’ve had my thing about being away from home, it’s about being onstage and performing shows… wherever we are in the world.

5. As a band you’ve said this new record sees you pushing yourselves as a band. In terms of ‘Low Altitude Living’, do you think it would have been a different record if you’d been in your usual record/tour cycle?

Absolutely. It would have definitely affected the writing process. For this album we spent a lot of time demoing and going to Air BnB’s around Australia, isolating ourselves, re-writing stuff, recording it, listening to it for months on end and finding stuff we didn’t like then going back, experimenting a lot. Before, because we’ve been touring so often, we didn’t get the chance to do that so we’d end up just squeezing little blocks of studio time between touring. There was no pre-thought out ideas, it was more a case of going in the studio to try and bang out a couple of songs then, by the end, you may have fifteen songs for a twelve song album but we weren’t really working with a lot of material. This album we had a whole lot of time and a whole lot of fun with this one which I think shows in the music, it’s a lot more relaxed. The first half of the album is very relaxed and that was when we kicked off the writing process at the beginning of the pandemic.

6. What was it like reconnecting with each other?

3 of us already lived together in a house so we saw each other every day. The rest of the band were down in Sydney so, as the restrictions eased we ended up all moving to Byron Bay so, by the time the end of the album was written, we were seeing each other nearly every day. It was always really nice when we did get together to do some writing. We could write together so we would head to an isolated space and just write. When you don’t see your best mates for a few months it’s always nice. Everything is overloaded. I feel like we just belly-laughed for the first few days about things that had happened. Normally, it’s a few laughs here and there throughout the day.

7. What prompted the relocation to Byron Bay?

We spent a lot of time as teenagers driving up from Sydney in our vans stopping at almost every beach on the way up surfing just living that relaxed surf/holiday thing which was our go-to on our downtime in school holidays or breaks. We’d always head in that direction. We were at that point where we had outgrown the area that we were in. We were living all together in one flat and our house was always that party house, that doss house where the door was always open. We had almost all our community coming through there at weekends. We just needed fresh environment, some fresh space and inspiration and snagged the property the week before they closed it all down. We jumped in a car and got out of there and it was such a good decision for us to make as it opened up some new ideas and a new landscape. It was a good time for us to get out of there. If we’d have been trapped in there, I think it would have taken a turn for the worse writing an album in a flat we’d been in for eight years or so.

8. On a more light-hearted note, let’s talk about the GTA-themed video for “West Coast”? How did the concept come about and are you big video gamers?

Actually no, we’re not. A friend of ours came up with the concept and the idea to recreate the Grand Theft Auto thing. For me, I never played many video games so recreating that for me was quite a challenge. I had played GTA before but I never owned any consoles or anything like that, it was usually just at a friends house. It was a great match for the song because that idea had come up before from people. It worked really well. We were over in New Zealand playing some shows and Jamieson came over and we actually shot that video and the “Lapwing” video which has just been released all in one week. That was a pretty intense week but it was a good time.

9. Given your acting talents now, has there been an iconic movie scene you’ve seen where you thought I wish I’d done that? Like something as iconic as flying the Millennium Falcon?

Ha. You know I was more of an outdoors person growing up but as we spend more time away from home I’ve gotten into watching movies more. Growing up thought I was definitely into my sports. I played Rugby Union but I loved everything about sports in general.

10. We could probably talk about which is better Union/League for hours but we’re running out of time so just to wrap up, thanks for your time firstly and, secondly, what do you see in the future for Ocean Alley?

I see the future being very bright. I think for us, we’re just going to keep doing what we’re doing and keep tackling it one tour at a time. Thanks for having us and we’ll see you guys on tour.

Ocean Alley Tour Dates:

Mon Jun 12 – 02 Academy, Liverpool, UK
Tue Jun 13 – 02 Academy, Bournemouth, UK
Thu Jun 15 – The Lost Gardens, Port Elliot, UK
Fri Jun 16 – St Agnes Summer Sessions, St Agnes UK
Tue Jun 20 – 02 Academy, Bristol, UK
Thu Jun 22 – De La Warr Pavillion, Bexhill, UK
Tue Jun 27 – Albert Hall, Manchester, UK
Wed Jun 28 – SWG3 TV Studio, Glasgow, UK
Fri Jun 30 – The Troxy, London, UK

For tickets and more info visit the Official Ocean Alley Website.

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