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Interviews : “We’re fortunate to have got as far as we have…” – An Interview with Luke Holmes (Ocean Grove)

By on February 6, 2017

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Ocean Grove – Luke Holmes

Some bands get a little toey in that sometimes awkward phase between the completion of the recording, mixing and mastering process of their new album and its actual release. The band members have nothing more to focus on, and all there is to do is wait with baited breath for what the reaction to their efforts is going to be. Not Melbourne’s Ocean Grove though. According to the band’s frontman Luke Holmes, speaking from his home in Melbourne, the band are so confident in what they have created that they are not concerned about whether people will like it or not at all. And why not, The Rhapsody Tapes has the potential to go down as one of the great Aussie rock debuts of all time.

“Yeah, we’re just excited. A lot of people have asked us along the way whether we’re nervous, we’re not nervous at all,” he states with conviction, “this has been a long time coming. We’ve been touring since 2013 and we’re yet to put out a full length record. We’re just like ‘bring it on’. We’re fortunate to have got as far as we have without putting out a full length album, but now’s the time.”

As is often the case, from the outside viewer’s perspective the band appears to have exploded overnight, but when you’ve been in it, and going through all the hard work, trials and tribulations that being in an original rock band entails, the reality is pretty close to being the complete opposite.

“Yeah that’s exactly right,” Holmes agrees whole-heartedly, “we’ve been a band pretty much since High School, I think we recorded our first music in 2010. People are probably hearing us for the first time now and thinking we popped up overnight, but we’ve had years and years of playing to empty bars, and being underage and our parents having to come, and having to drive us around and drop us off at gigs because we were underage. We’ve definitely done those hard yards.”

He feels that, looking back on those tougher times in the band really makes he and the band members appreciate the success they are now experiencing all the more. “People see us playing in front of a couple of thousand people, and playing festivals and stuff, and they go ‘it must be really good’, and I think ‘yeah it is, and if you’ve sat there and played in an empty bar as many times as what you have, you definitely make the most of the ones where there’s a couple of thousand people watching it.’ We’ve definitely been grinding it for a while.”

The band have just completed a highly successful tour of the nation with The Amity Affliction, and with the recent release of the debut album you would think they would be off on a tour of their own very shortly. However, they have decided to do things just a little differently this time. And the reasoning behind this is quite sound.

“We’re definitely touring the album, but it will be a bit later in the year,” he reveals, “I know that’s a bit later than we would have planned, just because some other stuff coming on, but I actually prefer it, just as a fan of music myself, when a band tours an album a couple of months after it’s released so really get a chance to learn the words and get into it, really fall in love with the record.

“Sometimes you go and see a band, when they’ve released their album two days before they’ve come out and you haven’t really had a chance to listen to it yet. It might be the working week and you haven’t had a chance to get into it. You’re at the gig and you’re saying ‘I really want to get into this, but I just don’t know these songs yet,’ and you can’t blame them for wanting to play new stuff. People start saying ‘play the old songs’, and the band is like ‘well we’ve just put out a new album!”

Their plan is also definitely to take things further than they have before, to plant seeds in new markets beyond Australia’s restricting and remote shores. “Yeah, that’s really our goal for this year,” he says, “we’ve already ticked off one goal this year, to get the Triple J feature album, and we’ve got a couple of goals to tick off and one of them is to get overseas. We’ve toured New Zealand, but getting to somewhere like Europe is really the goal. Our fanbase over there has really been picking up there, and in some places across America.

“We’ve had a few offers, but we’re really just waiting for the right one.”

Ultimately, the band are very satisfied with their progress so far, and have set some pretty lofty, if somewhat indefinable and unquantifiable goals for themselves to chase and achieve, as far as the longer term future is concerned. “We’ve sat down and written out some goals,” he says, “I think everything from here on out is a bonus because we’ve definitely achieved a fair bit and we’ve been lucky to have done what we’ve done. But just being able to take our music to the next level, a lot of the things that we want to achieve aren’t really measurable, but we definitely want to be a band that can transcend itself and put itself on a map. Just being passionate and pushing this band as far as it can go.”

Head to the band’s official Facebook page to find out more.

About

Rod Whitfield is a Melbourne-based writer and retired musician who has been writing about music since 1995. He has worked for Team Rock, Beat Magazine, themusic.com.au, Heavy Mag, Mixdown, The Metal Forge, Metal Obsession and many others. He has written and published his memoirs of his life and times in the music biz, and also writes books, screenplays, short stories, blogs and more.