The Ocean Beneath are a Leeds-based 80’s inspired mixture of powerful analogue synthesis, melodic sweeping vocals, and huge grooving percussion. Co-founding member Matt Burnside talks us through the origins of the band, and what to expect when checking them out.
What are the origins of the project, how long have you been playing together?
The Ocean Beneath started life as a shared ideal between Rich Blacker and myself, Matt Burnside. We both wanted to create new music moving away from our previous ventures with an 80’s influence and a modern push on the production. We also wanted to bring in as many other people as possible along the way for collaborations so we did just that. We released our debut EP in 2019 and have worked with loads of great artists including Nath Jackson, Fran Minney, Mik Crone, and more. In Feb of 2020 Rich wanted to take some time away from the project so now I’m just pushing things forward and doubling down on the collaborations.
How did you feel performing your first gig? And how was it?
With the pandemic stuff stopping all live shows for now we’ve kind of put that idea on ice. We do have live shows planned, we even have the setup and how it’s all going to work mapped out but as things are our energy is best spent elsewhere.
What should people expect when they check the band out? How would you describe yourself?
I’d say a blend of older sounds with newer production techniques really sets us apart. We bring an 80’s inspired mixture of powerful analogue synthesis, melodic sweeping vocals, and huge grooving percussion!
The new music scene is bursting at the seams with fresh talent, in what ways do you feel that a band has to stand out from the others trying to build a name?
I’d say one thing that really stands out with similar music to ours is the production, there are so many weak sounding records in the whole 80’s synth kind of scene. We use as much analog gear as we can, I think it has a very human sound to it even being electronic music.
What are you working on at the minute that people can check out?
We just launched a brand new single called Skin that features amazing vocals by Fran Minney. It’s lyrically very appropriate for this lockdown and has a groove to dance to. You can stream it in all the usual places and there’s a video over on YouTube as well.
What band out there at the minute do you feel that you would be best suited to open for?
It would be awesome to open for an act like LCD Soundsystem.
Who do you feel is the next band to break out?
I think the games kind of changed and we don’t see huge break out acts so much these days, just acts with super loyal fan bases, in a way I think that’s better. To name a couple of acts I’d be watching though I’d say Night Giants and Purple Thread from Leeds.
What are your first musical memories? And what was the light bulb moment that made you go “I want to do that”?
I think I first really got into music listening to Pink Floyd records that my dad played. Once I realised how much I enjoyed music I bought an electric guitar and played along with the solos on the guitar. From then I just picked up as many instruments as I could and never stopped creating sounds.
What was the last gig that you attended as a fan?
I think the last show I got to go to before all this pandemic stuff was probably to go see The Decemberists, they’re an amazing live band, and thinking about it now really makes me miss going to see live music.
The album that you have in your album collection/Spotify playlist that would surprise most people?
I think a good 80% of my music selection would surprise people, The Ocean Beneath make electronic 80’s synth stuff but I’m into folk music, metal, dance, just about everything to be honest. For this purpose I’ll say 1000 Forms Of Fear by SIA, that album and production is absolutely mind-blowing.
What are your plans for the remainder of 2020?
We’re working on a full-length album at the moment, a collaboration EP, and hopefully a lot more into next year. 2020 has been a weird one but with modern technology we’ve still managed to release music which is great.
How active are you on social media and where can people connect with you?
Drop us a message or just say hi, social media is the new going out right? You’ll find us in all the usual places here’s a few links.