WORDS: ADAM HOPKIN
Defining success is arguably as hard as achieving it, with the personal appetite for fulfilment always leaving a feeling like more has been bitten off than can be chewed. Being surrounded by a culture that passively encourages constant self-appraisal, it may be out of sight but this inadequacy is always on the mind. Regardless of these fleeting moments of insecurity, their influence is always diminished by the cornerstone of any creative, relentless ambition.
“I think what’s gotten us here is just being true to what we love”, responds vocalist Joel Quartuccio after being asked about the pressures that come with becoming synonymous with the genre Being As An Ocean set out to redefine. “We were 18 years old. No one knew our names outside of our local scene. I mean they didn’t even know our band name!”
“We were talking about changing the scene, like affecting not just people in our city but in the world at 18 without a band name and without music written,” the frontman nostalgically recalls, explaining that the huge success the band has enjoyed since formation could all be due to the retention of a shared youthful aspiration, authenticity and keeping their motivations for their creative outlet untainted.
“Whether we knew it completely or not back then, I’m sure we were just, you know, living in the moment and dreaming, being 18 year olds. But, I think that that’s a huge part of what we’ve seen our success to be…If you’re not setting out to do something that isn’t you, then there’s no pressure about where it’s going to go. You will always be in line with what you love and what you want to hear out in the world.”
“all we want to do is be able to just express ourselves without there being a set of rules.”
This authenticity is exactly what distinguishes many calibre of artist, separating those with an agenda from those with purpose. “Honestly, I think it starts with intention”, Joel continues, “I never wanted to exclude anyone. It was always something that was very dear to me, that everything that we presented was something that anyone could relate to and understand.”
“That’s all we want to do is be able to just express ourselves without there being a set of rules. Because, you know, creativity, it’s the one thing that makes up a human; the best thing that makes up a human is where their mind can go”, comments guitarist Michael Mcgough.
“I think that it’s very admirable”, Michael continues in an earnest ode to the genre that has informed so much of the band’s career. “It not only makes you feel something with the music and the chord changes and the progressions, but you can hear the honest feeling from the lyrics and the way the lyrics are said or screamed or sang.”
“When we were writing the stuff for Dear God I was just coming out of heavily being involved in fairly mainline Christianity”, Quartuccio clarifies, “ as I’ve grown older, I have gone through my own journey and found that there is so much beauty to be tapped into in, every discipline and practice . It’s not an altar call. When you’re coming to our show, we are family because we’ve all found each other in the same room.”
““Instead of being that band that kind of changes your style to kind of match what’s current. Why don’t you like try and be the band that starts something.”
With each release since their unanimously praised 2012 debut “Dear G-d”, Being As An Ocean have continued to defy convention, reinterpreting and innovating upon what is expected in the genre, with their recently released album, Proxy: An A.N.I.M.O Story, being an anthemic, climatic effort from the band, and whilst it would be unrecognisable to earlier albums, the release still retains the deeply philosophical and personally insightful thematic the band used to carve out their niche.
“Instead of being that band that kind of changes your style to kind of match what’s current. Why don’t you like try and be the band that starts something”, shares McGough. “We have this drive, we have this motivation to just do what we want to do and not be afraid to push boundaries to get out of any kind of category that we’ve been put into.”
“I felt like if it was making you feel a certain way you should go with it”, he continues, giving an insight into what has motivated the bands deviation for the melodic hardcore genre tropes they have arguably helped establish. “I was feeling very similar feelings from listening to like pop music or even R and B music, acoustic folk music, even like jazz, all that stuff.”
“We kind of just like relish in that”, comments Joel in response to those dismissing the bands newer material as it doesn’t sound like ‘old Being As An Ocean’. “We know that we’re growing and we know that we’re adding more and more of what we have always loved to the mix, and being able to kind of like marry all of our influences into one sound and it honestly makes me feel super accomplished.”
“We’re reaping all of the rewards of that self-trust and finally getting the feedback from you guys that we are all always going to be Being As An Ocean without us”, the pride in the frontman’s tone only increases with the pace at which he guides us through the entity the band has become. “We see the fucking vision, so we’re here for it, and I think that was so, so, so empowering… Now there’s this overwhelming feeling of confidence and power coming into Proxy. You know, I wouldn’t trade for anything.”