20 Minutes with…. THE OCEAN PARTY

Written by LDS, Jan 2015

The Ocean Party is a six-piece guitar pop band from Melbourne currently on the brink of something big. With the release of 4th Album ‘Soft Focus’, and back from their first US Tour, The-Vintage needed to have a chat. Recovering from his busy schedule we were lucky enough to get 20 minutes with guitarist Lachlan Denton on a long-distance phone-call between Adelaide and Melbourne to talk on the new album and matters of surviving a zombie apocalypse.

The Ocean Party:

Lachlan Denton – guitar/vocals Curtis Wakeling – guitar/vocals Liam Halliwell – guitar/vocals Mark Rogers bass guitar Zac Denton – drums/vocals Jordan Thompson – Keys/vocals

[Spunk Records]

Ocean Party Soft Focus Cover

We’re perhaps late followers of the band catching you for the first time at a very intimate gig at the Metro in Adelaide back in November where you were showcasing new album ‘Soft Focus’. What are your thoughts on the tour?

Yeah the tour was good, it was just after getting back from the States so everyone was pretty haggard but up until that date it was the best in terms of crowds we’ve had though I guess with The Ocean Party it really seems to be building slowly which is all we can really ask for I think.

So how did the tour compare to the US, a bit of a different market over there?

Yeah so we’ve put out 4 albums and done a few tours around Australia but being over there was like doing it all over again for the first time. Some shows were good; LA was a really good show for us, we had a pretty average show in Portland and New York was hit and miss but I guess you’ve gotta do it for the first time and keep going back. The reason we went over was for the CMJ Music Conference in New York where they set up showcase slots for you and the Industry people are supposed to come along, check you out and tell you you’re the next big thing though to be honest I’m not overly sure what its for but it seemed like a pretty good reason to over.

Yeah you never need an excuse to go to New York at the end of the day. So how was Portland? Are you and the boys fans of Portlandia at all?

Yeah I’ve seen a bit perhaps a season or so, I’m not a huge fan but thought it was OK. But look Portland seemed cool, we didn’t see too much more than the venue as the tour was quite busy so you’d typically drive in in the afternoon, set up and play then perhaps grab some food and leave again early the next morning to get back on the road but the food and beer was actually really good!

Ocean Party Live Adelaide
The Ocean Party – Live at the Metropolitan, Adelaide (Nov, 2014)

OK so what are your immediate plans and plans for the future?

We’re about to put out a new music video for a track called ‘Deluded’ off of Soft Focus and we’re a fair way into writing material for the next record with a plan to get recording again in April.

Cool so do you see another tour on the horizon?

Yeah, we’re actually doing a bit of one around places we didn’t make on the last album tour so looking to head up to Brisbane but other than that we’ll be doing another full Australian tour following the launch of the next album, would love to do more but really it comes down to whether we have the energy.

Yeah absolutely, that’s half of the battle, so back to ‘Soft Focus’ quickly, how long do you think you guys spent writing and recording that one?

I’m not sure really, when we did it we were all living together with a little studio set up in our lounge area [quite Beatles-esque..] Yeah it does sound a bit like a sit-com, many people seem to think that it would be quite a hard thing to do but it was very good, I do kinda miss living with the band as with the set-up we kinda just over-dubbing and doing stuff as we had time to do it so it probably took a little longer than the other records we’ve done where we would write the material, go away and record it in a couple of days. ‘Soft Focus’ I guess took around 4 or 5 months with mixing but it was very gruelling as it was put together whenever you could be bothered and some people were more driven than others [so it’s really quite a natural album then? One that came together in its own way and own time?] Yeah totally, I guess because we’ve always recorded ourselves with the first three albums coming together quite quickly over a short period of time (and being recorded live), this time we wanted to do more overdubs and get a more luscious, studio sound with lots of layering which I think we did alright with. The plan for the next record is to kind of build on that and do a lot more of it in the studio to hopefully create something even more grand. [So are you telling me that ‘Soft Focus’ was recorded at home?] Yeah [Some good sound quality there] Yeah I guess we’ve done all four in that way now so you gradually get better and better. We did record some of the drums at a studio where they had better mics etc, but if you’ve got an SM-58 you can usually get alot down.

One thing it was nice to see is that the album was put out on vinyl which is obviously a medium which still hasn’t died out and probably has some legs in the future…

Yeah it’s certainly a format that is selling stronger than it was around 5 or 6 six years ago… [Yeah, hold on to your MiniDiscs!] Haha, yeah I’m not quite sure they’ll make a comeback but I won’t speak too soon. To be honest I missed the whole MiniDisc era [yeah so did I, I must have been hung-over for those 6 months because it was all over pretty quickly] Haha, yeah I probably had one friend who owned one and spent way too much time and money on it.

Ocean Party Live Adelaide
The Ocean Party – Live at the Metropolitan, Adelaide (Nov, 2014)

Well look back to the beginning, how long have you boys been together for?

The Ocean Party’s been together for 5 or so years now but we all played together in different bands before, and I won’t name any of the names of the bands here as I don’t want anyone to look them up! Haha. Yeah we all went to high school together except for my brother whose about 5 years younger than me but we’re all from the same town as each other, so it runs deep [and that’s Wagga Wagga right?] Yeah though we moved over to Melbourne about 5/6 years ago but do still try to get home when we can.

So one thing I picked up on at the gig was the depth of vocals, is there anyone in the band that doesn’t sing?

So for this album everyone who wrote for it sings but we in-fact just recently got a new member; Mark who moving forward will play bass, he was probably the only one who didn’t sing on that tour but will definitely get involved come the next album. It’s all a very trivial thing, we like to ditch the ego and everyone adds their style, no-one is really interested in being the front man particularly. Usually whoever wrote the basis for the song sings on it.

So I’ve gotta ask, your brother Zac, what was the job that he was doing that ruined his social life so heavily and was referred to in the song ‘Split’?

Ahh, he was actually a plasterer though he’s a sook as well, he loves having a whinge so it probably wasn’t as dramatic as it sounds, but yeah he was a plasterer and he sure didn’t like it. At the time he was plastering I think a lot of us were either on the dole or hanging out and drinking heavily while he had to go to work. It probably didn’t seem fair to an 18 year old to have that lifestyle whilst the older guys were partying up. [So it’s fair to say that while your brother was plastering the rest of you were getting plastered?] hahaha exactly.

What do you find yourself listening to late at night?

I don’t really know it’s pretty much always different, at the moment I’ve got the radio in my car tuned into ABC Radio National and I don’t think I’ve really listened to music much in the past couple of months. The last thing I was really listening to was the War On Drugs records though I always really tend to go back to Paul Kelly, Echo & The Bunnymen, New Order etc.

OK well here’s a toughie for you, Desert Island Discs… what are the 5 albums that you would have to have with you in the event that you were permanently stranded on a desert island?

It would have to be:

  1. The Go-Betweens – Liberty Bell and the Black Diamond Express
  2. The Triffids – Calenture
  3. Paul Kelly – Post
  4. Dick Diver – Calendar Days
  5. Totally Mild (Forthcoming album to be released in 2015)

 If the band had a spirit animal what would it be?

Hahaha… I reckon it would be a bear, like a grizzly bear, I don’t know I’m going to go with bear as it’s the first thing that came to mind!

So picture a zombie Apocalypse… it’s the end of days….

If you could have a superpower what would it be and why?

This is to help me in the zombie apocalypse? [Absolutely, any super power you want] Well I guess invisibility… I’m going to take a hunch and say they can’t see you if you had invisibility.

If you could summon anyone, what one person would you want to be with you? Fictional or non-fictional…

Well It would probably be my grandfather though I’d really like to hang-out with Noam Chomsky he’s a pretty interesting character

Haha sure, so if you had a base where would you hide out?

I’d probably hang out at my parents’ house in Wagga, I know it inside out and I may as well get some free meals out of it.

Ocean PArty Tour poster


To check the boys out on the road they will be playing the following dates:

Fri, Jan 23 – The Eastern, Ballarat, VIC [w/Crepes]
Thurs, Jan 29 – The Phoenix, Canberra, ACT [w/Black Springs + Eadie and the Doodles]
Fri, Jan 30 – The Lansdowne, Sydney, NSW [w/Black Springs + King Single]
Sun, Feb 1 – Black Bear Lodge , Brisbane, QLD [w/Workshop + Curlew]
Sun, Feb 8 – Ceres, Melbourne, VIC [day show]
Tues, Feb 24 – Howler, Melbourne, VIC [w/Real Estate]

To see the new and official video release of ‘Deluded’ (‘Soft Focus’) click play below:

For more info on the band check out the following sites: