Buckinghamshire pop-rock trio Ocasan are all set to release the third instalment of their second album, ‘Elixir’ later this month. I caught up with them in the calm before the launch-storm to get answers to some burning questions …
– Firstly, I have to ask, how did you come by your band name?
Ocasan is my family’s old Celtic name – ‘Okasan’ (with a K) is Japanese for Mother. Feels good to say, right?
– You’re about to release the third EP, ‘Confessions’, the last of the trilogy that make up your second album ‘Elixir’. That was a bold step, what made you decide to do that rather than release a complete album?
We think that the EP model is more suited to our listeners. It’s a great way for fans to digest your music over a period of time, rather than overwhelm them with a barrage of songs at once.
– What’s the reaction been to the first two instalments?
We’ve had no end of incredible feedback from these records, we’re very proud. You know the EP’s are doing their job when you see new faces constantly appearing at live shows.
– Who are your biggest influences when you’re writing?
We’ve gone back to our grunge and rock roots. Reuben have been a big influence on our latest writing. If you we’re to listen to ‘Elixir’ as a whole album, I’m sure you’d hear Foo Fighters, The Police and Incubus in their as well.
– Which two songs would you pick to introduce a new fan to your music?
We’re pretty eclectic as a band when it comes to genres. I would say a good intro would be something like ‘No One’s Safe in Soho’ from our first record and “The Whitey Two Step’ from our latest.
– You’ve been together as a band for quite some time now – what would you say is the key to a harmonious relationship between you, especially on tour?
You learn an incredible tolerance for each other. I’ve always thought we’d be an amazing study for a psychologist. I think being in a band is like having two girlfriends at once (without the sexy benefits).
Having been with the guys for almost 10 years now we know all our idiosyncrasies back to front and this helps prepare you for certain behaviour. You learn the best ways of dealing with people in all circumstances. In fear of sounding a little cheesy, no matter how hard it gets we’re bound by the incredible times we have and the music we make. No petty argument will outweigh it.
– Talking of touring, you’ve toured pretty extensively in the past. How does Europe compare to places such as Russia and Canada? Do you have a favourite country to play in?
Every new country has something different to offer. In terms of audience interaction, there is nothing quite like eastern Europe. Those guys are nuts for live music!
Russia nearly killed us, they seriously know how to party with little-to-no sleep, we had a lot of fun there. As for Canada we got to hang out with some of the nicest people, it’s a lot more laid back than other places we’ve played and that accent is just priceless. We love the Canadians!
Italy is beautiful and we’re always so well looked after. The food and wine is out of this world! In terms of a solid favourite it really depends on your mood, I could never pick one.
Can someone send us to Japan? That’s next on the list.
– Any tour dates coming up?
Our agent has us up for a few tours at the moment so we’re just waiting to hear back. In the mean time we have our EP launch show at The Craufurd Arms in Milton Keynes on 20th September. This should be a blinder!
– Any funny/notable tour moments?
I could keep you up all night, but if I was to be ruthless, the one the springs to mind immediately is one the lads love winding me up with. They love recollecting the time Nathan (our bass player) tried inserting his fingers inside me mid-sleep. Our relationship has never been the same. I think he thought I was someone else. I hope he thought I was someone else …
– What are you listening to at present? Anything to recommend?
I’m still digging Skindred’s ‘Kill The Power’ and Jamie Lenman’s ‘Muscle Memory’ is a beaut!
– What’s been the biggest highlight so far for Ocasan?
Not being fingered! I’m not sure … skinny dipping in the black sea at 3am with our sound man, roadie, several Russian girls and Mr JD was a giggle.
– Finally, what’s next for the band in the next 2-3 years?
There are a few music videos on the go at the moment to help promote the release of the EP on 21st – expect these imminently.
We’re already working on our next record so we’ll look to release that about this time next year. We’ll carry on touring extensively and exploring this vast and wonderful third rock from the sun.
So, you can catch Ocasan at their ‘Confessions’ EP launch party, at the Craufurd Arms in Milton Keynes on 21st September. In the meantime, have a taster … here’s the vid for ‘Whitey Two Step’ – http://youtu.be/NLDNRoc76uo