I recently had the opportunity to interview local metal band, Oceans Will Rise, and though I couldn’t meet them in person, I was able to get in touch with lead vocalist, Adam Marchand, and co-founder/guitarist, Matt McGrath, to ask them a few questions about their lives, band, writing process and new album: Angels and Arsonists.
By Anthony Leclair
GUFF: How did the band, Oceans Will Rise, come to be? Were there earlier manifestations of the band before the current OWR line-up?
Marchand:The earliest version of the band consisted of Matt and I, a couple of songs and a specific direction we wanted to take the band in. We had a full line-up early on that played the first couple of shows; including me, Matt and Justin. But it became quickly apparent to the three of us that if we wanted to progress further in the scene we had to go through some line-up changes… Things didn’t really start to progress for the band until Kris and Sean signed on.
GUFF: What’s the creative process like? Do you guys have a solid dynamic when writing and practicing?
Marchand: In the beginning, the songwriting was exclusively done by Matt and I. Since the band took shape however, the songwriting has become more encompassing. Most of the song ideas are still initially presented by Matt or I, but the songs don’t begin to really take shape until everyone has their input.
GUFF: What are your musical influences?
Marchand: I would have to say that my biggest personal influences would be front-men like Mike Patton (Faith No More), Keith Buckley (Everytime I Die), Maynard James Keenan (Tool, A Perfect Circle) and Greg Puciato (The Dillinger Escape Plan). Each has their own style but one thing they share is their ability to command a crowd.
McGrath: I’m mostly influenced by bands like Pantera, Slayer, Carcass, In Flames and more extreme death metal bands, but somewhere along the way I ended up loving Motley Crue and other cheesy hair metal bands. I also love really well produced music with tasteful layers and textures.
GUFF: What’s the story behind your song, “Requiem”?
Marchand: Lyrically, the song takes a look at the intrinsic belief that you have to be wealthy or famous to be happy. Many people spend their whole lives trying to achieve that level of wealth that they think they deserve, some do terrible things to get there and few ever really step back and enjoy what is given to them for free. It’s about taking a stand against those values.
GUFF: What’s been the driving force during the creation of Angels and Arsonists?
Marchand: The album was literally years in the making. The weeks leading up to its release, after all the recording was done, were really just one big sigh of relief for me personally. Knowing that it wasn’t all for nothing and that these songs were going to be accessible to our fans, friends and family made the whole process worth it.
McGrath: I’ve listened to the album closer than anyone could imagine! Mixing and producing the album is such a delicate process. I would gauge reactions from the boys to know when we felt we were communicating the best representation of ourselves to our audiences.
GUFF: How do you feel about the album now that it’s out?
Marchand: Overall, I think we’re all happy with the album and the attention it’s received. But I think it’s common for a band or a musician to look back on something they’ve created and wonder what they could have done differently. That’s the thing about any form of art, it’s created during a time period in your lives and our lives are always changing, so to look back and question yourself on anything you created in the past is an exercise in futility.
McGrath: I couldn’t agree more with Adam, but it does feel very finite so we made sure that the album was “finished” before it was released and I am extremely happy with it!
GUFF: How’s the success of the album been over the past two months?
Marchand: It’s been really great so far. It’s exciting to watch the album climb the iTunes metal charts and to hear the feedback from new and old fans alike. But I think the thing we’ve enjoyed the most is seeing the fan base grow because of the album. There was a time where our album would’ve only been heard by a local group of fans and their mothers, but the internet and online music stores have really opened the flood gates for all local bands around the world.
McGrath: We’re taking these moments of success and enjoying every minute of them, all the while, striving for the next milestone in our journey.
GUFF: What’s the future of the band look like?
Marchand: We have been playing more and more shows recently to help promote the album, so we haven’t had a lot of time (to look at the distant future), but we’re in the early writing stages for our next album. Not sure yet whether it will be another full-length or not. We’ll have to see once the writing really gets going. We’re also planning an east-coast tour for next year; hopefully with a few local bands coming with us.
GUFF: You guys have certainly found a fan in me, but for those who have been with you guys since the beginning, do you have anything you’d like to shout out to them through this interview?
McGrath: The Halifax music (and metal) scene is one of love and support. Paying your dues and going to shows is all part of it. Every show we work to earn new fans and make new friends with the bands. You get what you put in, so thanking everyone we can is the least we can do. Otherwise, people could just pirate your album or stay at home instead of buying it and coming to a show.
Marchand: We always let our fans know how important they are to us, through social media or in person at shows…We appreciate all the support we’ve received and look forward to creating more music for you all in the future.
You can get their album, Angels and Arsonists, on their website. Get it while it’s hot, and check them out at Monte’s Showbar & Grill, September 28th, at 10:00 p.m.