1. "Medication" is your latest single and has been receiving attention, including airplay on BBC Introducing Manchester. Can you tell us more about the song's inspiration and the direction you've taken with its sound?
The demo of the track has existed for well over a year now, often referred to, amongst the band, as “the U2 one.” Medication is the pop single of our releases so far. We are huge fans of the “quiet-loud” pivoting, present in most grunge songs, and was first popularised by the pixies – another of our core influences.
As independents, we brute force our way into opportunities. Radio is a great way to build listenership. Listeners – as we know – are not everything. Converting listeners into fans is our priority, and we want our message, our sound, and our identity resonate with young music lovers across the UK.
2. The lyrics of "Medication" seem to touch on themes of desire and escapism in urban environments. Could you share the deeper meaning behind the song and what message you hope listeners take away from it?
The lyrics of the song lend themselves to an undying desire to have what we cannot - in a ‘the grass is greener’ sort of way. We love Manchester, the vast landscape of old factories, canals, with tower blocks in the smoggy skyline. It’s a city oozing with creative endeavours. Though, the endless rain can tend to be pretty mentally draining,
Will describes the intentions of the words as ‘a vehicle for escapism, to extract you from the mundanities of day-to-day living, in an urban, and pseudo-natural city-environment.
3. Oceanless is known for its independent and DIY approach to music. How has this approach shaped your journey as a band, and what challenges and rewards have you encountered along the way?
It’s made the journey so far interesting... Doing everything yourself means you have to learn everything, as you go along, and trust your instincts. Trial and error fast tracks us, in terms of our collective knowledge of the industry.
We have faced plenty of challenges, in the first year as a band, from hauling gear around using Uber, to putting out a release we’re happy with, every six weeks. It is tough, but the challenge is what keeps it exciting. The buzz of a packed room of fans is, for us, the most rewarding aspect.
4. You've mentioned your commitment to grassroots music venues and supporting smaller artists. How do you envision Oceanless contributing to the growth of the local music scene in Manchester and beyond?
Our dream as Oceanless is to be able to use our music as the driving force behind keeping vulnerable venues open, bringing forgotten venues to the forefront of the scene again, and perhaps one day, open a venue of our own to house the amazing artists we love to work with. We have really started to build a scene around Manchester within, and outside of, university. The gigs have become socials, more and more people mingle at each event, and it’s always lovely to see familiar faces.
5. In the current music industry climate, many artists are exploring innovative ways to connect with their audience. Can you share some of the unique strategies or practices you've adopted, such as hand-designing merchandise and creating music videos on a tight budget?
Having our own merchandise was one of the biggest hurdles for us to tackle, on such a thin budget.
We decided to make our own, ordering plain white T-shirts seemed like the way forward until you’re having to scrub ink out of the bath for 30 mins after tie-dying thirty tees. We are thrilled with how they turned out. Plus, the fact they’re handmade, and all unique, helps us connect to fans on deeper level.
Our DIY videos have been a big part of our plan, some people say that music videos are dead, but if you have a vision for them, why not go for it? The plan is to follow every release with its own music video and so far, we have done so.
6. Oceanless has been recognized for its grunge-inspired sound. What drew you to this genre, and how do you incorporate elements of grunge into your music while also adding your own unique twist?
The grunge side of things seemed to come naturally with our childhood musical influences; Alice in Chains, Soundgarden, Nirvana. As a band, we also want to evolve Manchester’s music scene, thirty years on from Madchester, The Hacienda, and Oasis. Ideally however, Manchester lives the next ten years as Seattle did thirty years ago. Our sound can change from single to single, and there are songs that aren’t released that you may not expect, having heard only the first four singles.
7. As you expand your influence within Manchester and the North-West of England, can you provide insights into your upcoming shows and what fans can expect from an Oceanless live performance?
As of October 2023, our next gig is at home in Manchester. It’s a Halloween show which has taken a good bit of planning, but we’re really excited to put on this show, at Night & Day, on the 31st. As we always do, we’ll perform a 45 minute set, largely of unreleased material, with the addition of the four released singles. Fans can expect to see T-shirts, hoodies, and totes (available to buy at the end of the set).
8. Your music has received positive reviews from various sources. What has been one of the most memorable or meaningful compliments or feedback you've received about your music so far, and how does it fuel your creative process?
We recently received a review at our most recent gig, Rough Trade in Nottingham (James’ hometown).
Lucy Linton, a journalism student at Nottingham Trent University, attended the gig and wrote some profoundly positive stuff.
“As I scanned the audience, it was clear that each person in the venue, fan or otherwise, was entranced by the performance.”
“The gig served as an affirmation of my respect and love for Oceanless.” As well as this, we’ve received some really heartwarming DMs from fans like “I listen to In My Head every time that I’m on the train, because it reminds me of home.”