2010.09.09 – OCEANSIZE – Gambler (interview)


Oceansize – one of the most important and creative alternative bands of the last decade. Here is the interview with Gambler – the guitar player. I suppose, he must be the fan of Monty Python… Well, the answers point that…

First of all, congratulations for the brand new stuff. „Self Preserved While The Bodies Float Up” really impressed me. This album contains rather shorter and less sophisticated tunes than in the past. What caused this change?

I would agree that the songs are shorter but they are in no way less sophisticated. There was no plan to write shorter songs this time around, they just turned out that way. The songs seemed to make their point and there was no need to drag them on any longer.

Were these new songs born from „fruitful jam sessions” as it happened during former recordings?

In my opinion, „Fruitful Jam Sessions”, along with the fucking mushroom story are things that should be consigned to Room 101. We don’t really 'jam’ anymore, not in the stoner-hippy-lets-all-improvise-for-six-hours-and-see-what-happens-vibe-man. Most of the songs for this album were not born from fruitful jam sessions and are all the better for it.

Which track was finished as the first one? Which one was the most difficult for You to put in its final shape?

I think Build Us A Rocket Then… was finished first, It’s been around for a while that one. A Penny’s Weight was a bit of a strange one, it started out as a pretty straight forward 7-minute rock tune but after weeks and weeks of trying to bend it into shape we realised it just wasn’t working. So we took the end section and worked that into a completely different song. Stick some extraordinarily high vocals on there and viola, instant ace.

Your music is very difficult to classify. Journalists usually like to put the bands in certain drawers, but it’s impossible in Your case… Do You mark any borders or frames during recording sessions, during the act of composing? How would You describe Your genre in own words?

I guess our music is kind of progressive, even if there are certain connotations that go along with that word. A lot of people think that our music is self-indulgent and I guess it is to a degree. We’re not writing music for anyone else but ourselves. If people think that odd time-signatures and long (or shorter) songs and tempo/dynamic changes are self-indulgent then fair enough. To us all those things are simply interesting musical devices that we like to play with in order to keep ourselves amused.

Do You have any unreleased tunes from this session, that You’ll include in EP or singles?

There are plenty of spare ideas floating around on our hard-drives but nothing that’s in any kind of finished state.

In the past, Your music was eagerly taken by the film directors. Did You have any serious offers of using new songs in some series or movies?

Not yet but hopefully we will. I’m hoping that Sylvester Stallone will get Rocky 7 into production then we can do the soundtrack.

Do you have Your favourite Oscar Acceptance Speech of all times? Was that title chosen because of Your movies fascinations?

I think the song is about fame and everything that comes with it, I’m not sure though you’d have to ask Mike. We do all have a love of movies though and I’m sure you will agree that Rocky 3 is the greatest movie of all time. Along with The Goonies.

Whose idea was this beautiful, melancholic coda in this tune?

That was actually Stevens (our bass player). A few of us have arranged string parts for this album and Steven did this tune. A very talented chap he is, he also likes to play bass wearing just a mask and dirty Y-fronts (though not in Oceansize sadly).

What was so impressive for You in the „Nothing’s Shocking” album, that You decided to take the title of one of the tracks as the name of Your band? Do You still like this album?

It was actually Jon (our first bass player) that came up with the band name. He and Mike were big Janes Addiction fans and the name seemed to capture what we were trying to achieve. I was never a big JA fan to be honest but that track (Oceansize) is pretty good.

Have You ever had opportunity to meet Perry Farrell?

No but I once had dinner in the same restaurant as Nicholas Cage in L.A. My sister’s met Norman Wisdom too.

What is the secret of the chemistry between You? The line up of Oceansize has changed only once since 1998 and You knew each other since college period…

– It’s not all been plain sailing believe me. I think as we’ve gotten older we’ve learnt to tolerate each other a lot more. We are good friends don’t get me wrong but when you spend so much time with the same people things can obviously start to wear away at your friendship. We’ve had a bit of a break from each other over this summer so we’re all looking forward to this tour. I suppose it’s the same as any relationship really, absence makes you not want to kick each others face off.

Do You conceive your band as the successors of Madchester movement?

Good fucking christ no. If you even suggested that to any self-respecting Mancunian we’d all be instantly killed. Personally I can’t stand any of the so-called 'Madchester’ era bands. The Stone Roses, Happy Mondays, The Charlatans, even The Smiths and Joy Division. It means fuck all to me. If the Pinnacle of any genre of music is a fat heroin addict and a maraca playing twat you can count me out.

One more question connected with Manchester, but this time completely off the musical topic: City or Utd?;)

Soccer is a game for closet-homosexual-tory-wifebeaters and I will have no part of it. Golf on the other hand…..

Last words for RockArea readers belongs to You…

Sorry if some of my answers seem a little short and rushed but I am kind of in a rush, My amp is broke and I have to get it to Dave by five thirty. I believe I have answered the questions to the best of my ability and there was no cheating or foul play involved.

Robert Dłucik

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