Ocean Alley: “We did something that we haven’t done before”

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Ocean Alley: “We did something that we haven’t done before”

ocean alley new album
Words by Benjamin Lamb

There’s something special about Ocean Alley and their unique blend of psychedelic and alternative rock

This blend has seen them gain fans in all corners of the globe, and their music getting high up the charts here in Australia.

Since their breakout 2018 single and Triple J Hottest 100 winning track ‘Confidence’, Ocean Alley keep getting better and better, now celebrating the release of their fourth album, Low Altitude Living. On the heels of the album drop this week, we caught up with guitarist Mitch Galbraith for the low down on it all.

Read up on all the latest interviews, features, and columns here.

Low Altitude Living is very much a pandemic record, slowly coming to life over the last few years of self-sequestration, allowing for some fine tuning that mightn’t have happened otherwise.

“It’s been sitting with us for a while,” Mitch says. “We’ve probably spent the most time we have on this record than any other record, so it’s a bit nerve-wracking getting it out in the world to everyone else. But we’ve had a good response from everything so far, which is exciting.”

During the times of lockdowns and cancellations, bands were stuck working on Zoom, but Ocean Alley made the most of it, and started living together for periods of time.

“We just had to spend some time whenever we could, in between all the lockdowns and stuff like that, going away to country properties and just locking ourselves away and trying to get work done. We must have done at least half a dozen of those writing trips.

“We actually remixed pretty much the whole record, which was also a bit nerve-wracking, because that was when the deadline was pretty close.”

The sparse time with limited deadlines also meant some new areas could be traversed, some fresh sounds that are new to the group. Mitch details some production choices that gave the record a bit of a different feeling to previous releases.

“The songs grow up into teenagers first, then that’s when you can put your influence on it sonically. There’s a couple of songs, like ‘Deepest Darkness’ which Lach (Galbraith, keyboards) wrote, and it was quite chilled, and wasn’t very punchy, we took that in a specific direction to try and make it a little bit heavier.

“The second song would probably be ‘Lapwing’, at the end, we did something that we haven’t done before, which was to construct a drum loop, and that was to give it a bit more of an interesting rhythm behind it, and keep it trucking along, we thought of the song as a bit of an epic, it ebbs and flows, and the drum loop was good for that.”

Mitch and Ocean Alley are currently in the US where they are debuting some of the new tracks to international crowds.

“They’re really coming across with ‘Deepest Darkness’, which is good, because it’s a higher energy one, and it’s a bit of a stretch from what our sound normally is, it’s great people want to get down to that.”

Mitch also notes what was on the playlist while the record was coming to life, noting that a great deal of inspiration came from the Arctic Monkeys.

“It’s always pretty broad for us, we’ve always listened to quite different music, but there are a few songs on there, where Baden (Donegal, vocals) was first coming up with them, we wanted to have the kind of delivery similar to the Arctic Monkeys.

“So, he got involved with that vocally and we tried to do that musically, he tried to emulate those sounds in songs he was writing and use that as a bit of inspiration.”

If you’ve seen the group live, Mitch usually plays with a Fender, giving the music that crisp tone that makes Ocean Alley special. Low Altitude Living also featuring the use of some instruments that haven’t been heard on an Ocean Alley record before.

“I usually play Fender Guitars, but I’ve also got this sweet Gretsch hollow body, I pretty much use those same instruments.

“I know there’s a track on the new album where Baden used a 12 string guitar on, which is really cool. We’ve haven’t had that in our music before and it’s pretty bright.”

It isn’t too long before the boys are back down under, hitting the stage for a bunch of festivals across the country. They’re all excited to head back home and play Low Altitude Living for us all.

“We’ve spent this whole year internationally, so we’re pretty pumped to get back to Australia. We get a couple of months off before those festivals too, so we’ve got time to rehearse the new material, we’ll be playing quite a bit of that.”


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Low Altitude Living drops October 14, more information can be found here.