Hey Ocean! write really lush pop songs that also kind of kick ass… in the quirkiest way possible. They’re quite sunny, but they also make your most sassypants friend want to dance quite a bit. The Vancouver-based trio is comprised of David Beckingham, Ashleigh Ball, and David Vertesi, who all share vocal duties. Earlier this year they released their third LP (and first to be released on a label), IS. They’ve spent the first half of the year on their first lengthy US tour and they’re about to get right back out there, later this week. I recently got a chance to chat with guitarist/vocalist David Beckingham about their latest release and what they’ve most enjoyed of 2013, thus far. “We had a really successful first tour across the states, but it’s kind of all been a highlight,” he tells me.
Despite the fact that IS was release on Nettwerk, the band recorded the album without the input of any outsiders. “We recorded it while we were independent. None of our music will ever be influenced by a company we worked for,” Beckingham is quick to clarify. However, the process behind writing and recording their third effort varied a bit from their previous work: “It’s more focused songwriting and much more polished. It’s really a studio album and we wanted to not hold back with utilizing those tools in the studio.” This would seem to make sense, considering what Beckingham tells me were the album’s biggest inspirations: “We always write from our life experiences, but we were going for a classic pop feel, not like a current pop trend. We were going for more Michael Jackson, Paul Simon, Fleetwood Mac… We got really into harmonies.”
Hey Ocean! was recently asked to join the Warped Tour for a handful of dates (7/16 – 8/4), which would have the indie poppers playing alongside the likes of Reel Big Fish, Black Veil Brides, The Wonder Years, and Big D and the Kids Table. Although they are psyched to play the dates, Beckingham admits that he was a bit surprised to be asked: “We were surprised when we got the offer because, I mean, we’re not a punk band and we don’t usually play things like that, but we’re excited to step out of what we thought was our realm. We’re excited for a new cultural experience. We’ve never done a travelling festival.” And he says that, despite being a bit “lighter” than most of the bands on the bill, he thinks it’ll be worth fans’ time to give them a shot: “Beside Ashleigh being a babe, you should come check out our music.” When I asked him what can be expected of the live experience, he tells me, “It’s always positive, and it’s really versatile. There are three lead singers. It’s just a high energy, fun show.” He also admits to being excited to win over fans of other genres: “This Warped Tour thing is gonna be amazing. We hear it’s a grind… I mean, we’ve heard some horror stories, but we’re really excited for it.”