For two years they have been working in the shadows… Just looking at the line-up of this band illustrates why their first public appearance in January this year immediately raised our attention, and we have captured them on stage several times already … (HERE and HERE).
High time to introduce this all-star band feat. Tommy Tuovinen, vocals (former MyGrain), Jyri Helko, bass (former For The Imperium), Oskari Niemi, drums, and Ben Varon – guitar (former Amoral) a bit further. Ben kindly answers all our questions…
The band bio HERE tells the story how you came together – but had you met before forming this band, and if yes, when, where and how?
Me, Jyri and Tommy have known each other for years. Our old bands have played gigs together. I got to know Tommy properly when we were both part of the Dimebag Beyond Forever tours. Ever since then I’ve nown him to be one of the best singers around. Jyri and I were actually neighbors for a few years. We were hanging out alot, and actually wrote some music together as well, for no actual purpose, just for fun. So I guess that’s when the original seed for Oceanhoarse was planted in the back of my mind.
So as Oskari is the only ”new“ one – how is it for the veterans working with “newbies”? Is there a different attitude to band work when there’s the combination of veterans & newbies in a band?
Well Oskari isn’t exactly a ”newbie”, as he has years of experience playing in bands and hundreds of shows under his belt as well. But the difference was that – unlike the three of us – we didn’t know Oskari from before. So there’s the period of adjustment, getting to know each other, and seeing if the chemistry is there. Luckily for us, we noticed very early on for this to be the case.
Which one of you is the “oldest veteran” in the bunch, I mean with most years of experience in the circus?
I guess me and Tommy have been doing this the longest, with both my old band Amoral and Tommy’s MyGrain releasing their debut albums in the early 2000’s on Spinefarm Records.
Is there any disadvantage when you have a „veteran history“ in the Metal circus, and in case yes, which one?
The one big thing we have going for us, with Oceanhoarse not being our first band, is that we do have all that experience from our previous bands, and we are very conscious about not doing the same mistakes we might’ve done in the past. We’ve done record deals, albums, tours, festivals and so forth, so we know what to expect, what things are like, how this works, and what to avoid.
Another big advantage that I see us having has to do with songwriting. We have literally hundreds of songs written between us from our past. That’s a lot of know-how, trial and error, experimenting and honing the craft of songwriting. We’re much more aware of what works, what doesn’t, and what we actually want to sound like than your average new group. I believe this can be heard in our music.
How did you come up with the band name and the band mascot?
One thing we all agreed on from the get-go was that we were fucking bored with all this ”adult metal” as we call it, the ”smart” names and images, the pretty logos and album covers… Where’s the fun in that?! Let’s face it: we all got into metal because loud guitars are awesome, Iron Maiden album covers are fucking cool, and band names like ”Megadeth” or ”Mastodon” are ridiculously epic.
I started to think of a logo for us, a creature that we could have on our album covers and t-shirts. My obsession with the ocean floor and marine life is no secret (as the Amoral album ”Beneath”, my tattoos or guitar paint jobs will tell you!), so naturally I started messing with the octopus first. What about an octopus mixed with a horse’s skull… hmm, that’s pretty cool actually! I handed my rough sketches to my friend and artist Dean Clayton, who fine-tuned the creature into what it is today. We all loved it. We were thinking of all kinds of band names, when the most obvious one was thrown out there: why don’t we just call the band what the creature is? Oceanhorse! And we messed around with the spelling a bit to make sure the band name was unique and that we’ll never run into nothing with the same name! It’s simple, it’s catchy, it’s dumb and it’s fucking metal. In other words, it’s the perfect name for a band!
Awesome show effects (lights etc) – who came up with this idea?
This goes back to what I was saying about bringing the fun back. Same goes for the show. Ask anyone what the best show they ever saw was, and 9 times out of ten they’ll name a big production rock n’ roll circus by one of the classic arena bands. People love to see a proper show. I know we sure do! So that’s another thing we decided on right away: Oceanhoarse shows should be bigger than your average metal gig. We spend stupid amounts of money and effort trying to make our shows as entertaining as possible. We’re always thinking, ”what would WE want to see at a show?”, and then think of ways to make them happen within the scale that we’re at. Naturally, things will only get bigger and bigger as the band grows from here!
First releases out and first gigs performed – how was the audience reaction for you, was it “as expected” or were there some surprises (positive, negative)?
The reactions have been really, really good! I can’t say that we were surprised that people liked it (we knew we had a good band and decent songs here), but the overwhelmingly raving reviews of the shows sure felt good. We have new people hearing about us every single day, and folks coming to us after shows and telling us how blown away they were, so we’re definitely on the right course.
You will play at several festivals (please list which ones) – and what else is going to happen this year?
Yeah, we’re definitely surprised of the festival shows we’ve gotten for this summer, as we were certain it’d take at least until next summer for the band to land any of those! But once the buzz of the first two shows started to get around, we started to get some calls, which is awesome. At the moment we have a few festivals and a bunch of festival afterparties lined up, with hopefully more to come. Here’s the confirmed ones:
23.06 Nummirock, Kauhajoki
30.06 Virgin Oil, Helsinki (Tuska afterparty)
26.07 Henry’s Pub, Kuopio (Rock Cock afterarty)
04.08 Saarihelvetti Festival, Tampere
10.08 Dark River Festival, Kotka
What is the major goal of this band? If no record deal is happening soon, do you have a plan B?
Total world domination! Oceanhoarse is not a small cult band, we belong on big stages. And we won’t slow down until we get there! We are talking with some labels, but we are in no hurry to release our debut album. It needs to be the right label who’s willing to help us push this thing to the next level. Right now we’re happy to put out singles and videos out once every few months, to keep the momentum going. There’s something very liberating about committing only to one song at a time!
And finally – if you could be super heroes (like avengers etc), which superpowers would you like to have, and why?
I don’t need to be able to blow shit up or turn into a giant… But I’d love to be able to both breathe underwater and fly! I’ve jumped off planes and gone scuba diving before, but to actually fly, or be able to spend proper time underwater with no equipment.. that’d be amazing!
Bandphoto: Uzi Varon, live photos: K. Weber