Possible Oceans is a Los Angeles-based indie rock band led by singer/guitarist Trevor O’Neill. With one EP Phase Change already under their belt, the band are gearing up for the release of their first full-length album later this year. O’Neill tapped producer Jules de Gasperis (Low Hum, James Supercave) to work on these fresh new singles, and they’re now ready to be shared with the world. In this artist spotlight, O’Neill shared some details with us on where he’s at with the upcoming release, how Covid-19 has affected the band’s production and his songwriting process.
mxdwn: Talk to us about some of your newly-released singles and about your upcoming release!
Possible Oceans: “Right now I’m at about the halfway point in the recording process for the first Possible Oceans full length, which I plan to release in late 2021. I’ve already released two singles from the record this year. The first one, ‘Blood in the Water,’ is super in your face and raw and I think we managed to capture that energy in the recording which is always a great feeling. The live studio performance video for ‘Blood in the Water’ is out this week which I’m so happy to share. It was so amazing to get to play that song live after such a long time away from performing. I can not wait to play it in front of an actual audience.”
(Watch the rocking new video for “Blood in the Water,” recorded live at Palmquist Studios):
“I followed up ‘Blood in the Water’ with a song called ‘Nothing’s Shocking,’ which shows a totally different, more contemplative and groove based side of the project. I wrote ‘Nothing’s Shocking’ at the height of the pandemic as a way of reminding myself to stay focused on what really matters to me, no matter what happens. Things like making music, sharing it with people, and sharing life with my family and friends. That’s where I find joy, but it’s easy to get distracted from those things, especially when it feels like the world is ending.
(Check out the catchy, ’80s-inspired “Nothing’s Shocking” that’ll have you up and dancing along):
mxdwn: How has Covid-19 and quarantine affected the band over all? (in terms of shows cancelled, music production, etc)
Possible Oceans: “Covid caused a huge shift from the way I’ve worked in the past. I usually bring a whole band to the studio all at once because I’ve always reveled in the spontaneous collaboration that happens in that setting. The first single, “Blood in the Water,” was really the last song I was able to make that way, with a bunch of musicians in the same room trying things and recording together. But because of quarantine, most of the sessions after that have just been me and my producer, Jules de Gasperis, who also plays drums and a lot of the synths on the record. I think this more isolated approach really helped me settle into being a solo artist after years of playing in bands, and enabled me to craft a more focused vision for the record. It also allowed Jules and I to develop a deep creative connection that has been really rewarding.
The original plan was to make an EP and then get back to playing live, but with touring off the table, I decided to keep going and record a full length. As much as I miss shows, I’m also grateful for this time to really focus on making the best record I can make. It’s also been interesting to figure out how to share the music with people in the absence of shows. I just shot a full band in-studio performance and I’ll be releasing those videos one song at a time over the next few months as I continue to work on the record. It felt so good to finally play these songs with a band and I’m really happy with how it all turned out. I think it will give people a window into what the live show will be like when I can tour again and hopefully get them as excited as I am about future shows.”
mxdwn: What does your creative process for writing new material look like?
Possible Oceans: “In the past, I’ve always written with bandmates, often with everyone playing together and working it out as we went. As a solo artist, especially during the pandemic, writing has become much more of an individual effort. I have a writing room set up in my apartment where I spend a lot of time these days. The biggest lesson I’ve learned as a writer is that making good music often takes a long time. Some songs will come out fully formed in minutes, but others will take months, sometimes even years to finally take shape. In light of that, I try to spend as much time as I can engaged in the process of making music. Sometimes that means sitting for hours with a guitar or synth and recording snippets of ideas as I go. Other times it means putting on some instrumental music I love (Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross scores are a favorite) and just free writing whatever words come out. Eventually, the best ideas naturally start to develop into fully formed songs.
I usually record a full demo of a song in my space before taking it to the studio. When I’m actually recording the final version of the song, nothing is sacred. No matter how complete the demo feels, I always try to leave room to tear it down and rebuild it. I’ve found that gives me the freedom to follow inspiration in the moment and usually gets the best results.”
Their next single “Birds of Paradise” is set for a May release, so be on the lookout for that because it’s another dark-wave inspired, catchy hit. Check out Possible Ocean’s website to follow their SoundCloud and social media and stay in-the-know about future releases!
Photo credit: James Juarez