Music Spotlight: The Ocean Blue
Dream-pop band The Ocean Blue returns with their new album Kings and Queens / Knaves and Thieves after six years. The band, composed of David Schelzel, Oed Ronne, Bobby Mittan, + Peter Anderson, embraces their growth over the years with the 11-track record, featuring a refreshingly chill + transcendent take on their nostalgic, shoegaze sound—perfect for zoning out during these summer days. We’re particularly obsessing over the tracks It Takes so Long + The Limit. TOB is currently on the road touring the album, and they’ll be taking the stage in LA at Echoplex this fall. We caught up with lead vocalist David all about the album.
Asymmetric Magazine: Congrats on your recent release! Can you tell us about Kings and Queens / Knaves and Thieves and what it means to you?
David Schelzel: Thanks! It’s a record I am very happy with. As an album, I think it captures well where I’m at in 2019, through a band I’ve been making records with since 1989.
AM: How does it compare to your previous records?
DS: Our first record was written basically when I was still in high school and this one as I’m in middle age. Our earlier records are pretty youthful and optimistic in large part. There is a weight and maturity in this record, in the songs, my voice, and the lyrics that I don’t think there is in our other records. I think it just reflects where I am at in life.
AM: What was your favorite part of working on this record?
DS: As with every record, it’s taking a song from something I hear in my head to something I hear on a record. How the song unfolds in the recording process and working on it with the guys—it’s a mysterious and beautiful thing. And I feel privileged to be able to do that.
AM: We love the album art! How do you think it complements your sound?
DS: Thanks, me too! I was completely taken when I first saw the painting and the more I took it in, the more intriguing it became. I love her strength and beauty, engagement and detachment, mystery and timelessness. And she is holding a sword. I think it fits the themes of the record perfectly.
AM: Are there any consistent themes you typically pursue through your music?
DS: I don’t pursue or think much about it as I am writing. It’s really just what is hitting me at the time. But I notice things after the fact and as we’re putting a record together. Certain records, like this one, Cerulean and See The Ocean Blue, we were very mindful of the way we wanted the record to sound overall. So, sonic themes and a general cohesive atmosphere and vibe.
AM: For first time listeners, how do you like to describe your sound?
DS: Well, our musical DNA is the music we loved as teenagers. New wave, post-punk, college rock of the 1980s. Bands like the Smiths, REM, U2, the Cure, New Order, Cocteau Twins.
AM: What other musicians are you currently listening to?
DS: Lots. Recently, Low, Beach House, Robyn, Typsy Panthre, Cigarettes After Sex, The xx.
AM: Where is one place that you feel completely in touch with your creative self and your music?
DS: I’m an introvert, so that’s basically at home in the studio by myself or maybe out in nature. That said, sharing music and working with like-minded, kindred spirits—or contrasting creatives—is great, too.
AM: What can we expect to hear from you next?
DS: Once we are beyond the year’s shows and the other things I have in process now with other projects, I hope it is another TOB album. I love making music with the band and putting a record together. Fingers crossed it won’t take another six years!
// listen to Kings and Queens / Knaves and Thieves:
// Listen to more The Ocean Blue on Spotify.