Bringin’ It Backwards: Interview with The Only Ocean

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Together with American Songwriter, we had the pleasure of interviewing The Only Ocean over Zoom video! 

With a steady stream of buzz-worthy singles, EP’s that have received rave reviews, and a new, re-energized line-up, the L.A alternative-rock band The Only Ocean is making waves in L.A’s music scene.

Formed in Lompoc, CA, during bandleader Wesley Hill’s high school days, the band has evolved from an auspicious bedroom solo-project to a flourishing four-piece that’s carved out its own unique place within the sea of playlists and festival stages in San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara, eventually settling further south in Los Angeles, where all four members are from originally and their sound has continued to evolve and deepen with the addition of new members guitarist Tamara Simons, drummer Jonathan Palmquist, and bassist Jordan Kaufman.

Bandleader Wesley Hill’s love of the loud, wall-of-sound guitars of shoegaze favorites My Bloody Valentine and Ride, as well as the infectious pop rhythms of the Spice Girls has found a kindred spirit in Jonathan DeBaun (The Mars Volta, Omar Rodríguez-López, Antemasque, Mastodon, and Rituals Of Mine, Le Butcherettes) who has engineered, produced, and mixed all of their music to date.

From 2015’s self-titled debut, it’s vulnerable, mature follow-up, TOO, singles such as 2017’s “Good Morning” 2018’s “Replaceable”, which found a stronger emphasis on rhythm and experiments with the production, opting for a style uncommon to alternative rock music, to last year’s “Fake Sunflowers”, their larger-than-life “Still You Won’t” EP and their newest single “Watch It Fall”, this fruitful creative partnership between The Only Ocean and DeBaun as a band and producer has shown no signs of slowing down.

All the while The Only Ocean has went from Hill’s brainchild as a four-piece hometown favorite, as a trio, and a solo-venture has led them to return back to a tight energetic touring quartet with releases that are consistent not only in quality, but in praise, earning features in Grimy Goods, Impose Magazine, Northern Transmissions, Alternative Press for 2018’s “Replaceable”, a song whose lyrics were inspired by Hill’s own struggles with body dysmorphia and anorexia and was featured as part of their “10 New Songs You Need to Hear this Week”, to last year’s single “Still You Won’t” being heard in regular rotation on KROQ’s “Locals Only with Kat Corbett”, where it was voted #1 for three weeks and remained within the top 5 for seven weeks straight.

The band has continued to record and tour at its own steady pace, supporting acts such as Cherry Glazerr, Dante Elephante, and Sure Sure and recently performed as a featured artist as part of Buzzbands.LA’s “Artists to Watch 2020” showcase earlier in January 2020, in what has shaped up to be another promising start to another year together as a band.

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