Face to face with The Sea | The Sea
Oxford-based The Sea|The Sea have a special spark in their music, it’s a fact. Try listening to them and you’ll see what I mean: this band will simply enchant you with the magnetism of their music which is as endless and beautiful as the sea, of course. The end of the summer was busy for The Sea|The Sea with the recordings for their new EP ‘Sub Rosa’ (out 7th October) and let me assure you, you’d better start waiting for its release now. Read on to what Dave (guitars/synths) has to say about the EP, challenges for the band and his ideal radio playlist.
- At the end of July – the beginning of August you went to the studio to work at your EP. How did the recording sessions go?
- Really well. We were working with our friend Jamie Morris, a great freelance producer, and he’s mixing the recordings as we speak. We spent a lot of time and effort getting the sounds just right so hopefully this work will have paid off. We all take an active interest in the recording process, there are a lot of ideas flying around.
- What were the highlights of the recording process?
- Spending some time together as a band was obviously great, everyone going slightly mad and Patrick practicing his high kicks. Stupid in-jokes.
– Did you plan the EP to sound in a particular way and work towards this sound, or did it just shape more naturally into its final self?
- The songs from our first set of recordings were written around a laptop by two or three people. Our new songs are more cohesive in that they were written during rehearsals, so that everyone in the band has been able to contribute. We wanted to be more adventurous in our sound whilst having even bigger hooks, and with Matthew using more of his vocal range too our new recordings sound like the same band that put out the ‘Four Demos’ EP, but one evolved to be more at ease with itself and the music that it wants to make.
– What is the mood, the atmosphere of the record?
- There are plenty of ambient and textural elements which we explored on tracks like the ‘Winter Parade’ and ‘Waterfall’ previously, but we’ve also experimented with different time signatures on one track and also by bringing in some new instruments. There are more synths on these tracks as well as a Rhodes electric piano that I played, and also drum machines programmed by Stu. There are bits I think that sound like Godspeed You! Black Emperor and bits that I think sound like Prince although I’m not sure the others will agree. The EP has quite an intense atmosphere, it’s full of feeling and soul and although it might sound pessimistic in places it’s a reluctant pessimism: The EP is permeated with a sense of hope.
- A live show by The Sea | The Sea: what’s it like to experience it?
- Being on stage all seems a bit of a blur. I think we’re pretty energetic, Matthew’s really coming into his own as a frontman.
– The Sea | The Sea have been a band since 2012. What are the biggest challenges you’ve faced as a band since your inception and what are the highlights of your career so far?
- The biggest challenge so far has been losing two of our founding members, Simon and Matteo in 2013. One highlight has been the great reception the first four tracks received, another being getting on the bill of a BBC Introducing in Oxford event at the 02 Academy in January – it was only our second gig!
- What inspired you to set up the band in the first place?
- A need to be creative and a love of writing songs.
– What’s your most special music memory?
- Probably seeing a band called Komakino in a tiny pub in Oxford, it really inspired me to be in a band myself.
– If you could share the stage with any musician, who would it be?
- Stars of the Lid, I’d do a really pretentious ambient set with them and everyone else would hate it.
– What bands have you been listening to most of all recently?
- The most recent Foals record is pretty great, also a lot of Prince and the new Kanye record Yeezus is amazing, it sounds so much more interesting sonically than all the bland homogenised stuff that seems to be on the radio at the moment.
- If you could host your own radio show, which bands would 100 % make it to your playlist and which bands would never be played by you?
- 100% make the cut – Wild Beasts, Foals, The Maccabees, Trail of Dead, Eno, MBV, Stars of the Lid, Talk Talk, Fleetwood Mac, Jay-Z, Kanye, Prince, The National, Joy Division, New Order, The Antlers. I would never play Jessie J, Will.I.Am, One Direction, The Wanted…I could go on, there’s a lot of shit about.
– What’s your biggest dream concerning The Sea | The Sea?
- I never set my heights too high, write increasingly better songs, play some more show, not fall out.