For Buckinghamshire pop rock trio Ocasan they decided to take a different route with their latest album. Entitled ‘Elixir’, they decided to release in over a series of three EP’s and they’ve just released the final instalment – ‘Confessions’.
Whilst ‘London Town’ and ‘Whitey Two Step’ came off as upbeat and, to an extent, light hearted, ‘Confessions’ takes a more direct alt rock approach with the title track, along with songs such as ‘Invincible’ and ‘Dark Cloud’ coming across as more edgy than previous releases.
Despite completing the ‘Elixir’ series, Ocasan have already begun work on their next record. We hope it picks up where ‘Confessions’ left off; big choruses and strong riffs endlessly on repeat.
To find out more about ‘Confessions’ and ‘Elixir’, Already Heard spoke to drummer Luke McDonnell. He discussed the advantage of releasing new music regularly, how the concept came together and more.
Already Heard: Hi. Can you introduce yourself and your role in Ocasan?
Luke: My name’s Luke, I’m the drummer in Ocasan. Like many other bands out there I also do the artwork, music videos, tour managing, songwriting, merchandise etc etc. There aren’t enough hours in the day but I wouldn’t change it for the world.
AH: The band has been together since 2007. Can you give us a brief history about Ocasan?
Luke: We met in Bath in a rehearsal studio and began writing immediately. We’ve probably written enough material to release about 8 albums now. We’ve officially released 2 solid records that we’re very proud of. We’ve toured around the world and had some of the most insane experiences together.
Having lived all over the country we’re now based above the Craufurd Arms in Milton Keynes. We live in the hotel above the bar and help out with the recording studio and music venue that are all part of the mighty Craufurd empire! This place is the nuts, there’s never a dull moment – I strongly recommend a visit.
AH: ‘Confessions’ is the final part of a three EP series called ‘Elixir’. Can you tell us how the concept came together?
Luke: We decided to release it this way in order for fans to slowly digest the whole album over a year. This way every song has its chance to shine.
The model has worked really well and not only has our exposure rocketed but we’ve sold 10 times as many units compared with releasing it as one solid record.
AH: How do the three EP’s connect? Is there a constant theme running through them?
Luke: Once the album was complete we grouped the most similar tracks into fours and released: a brighter more commercial EP, a quirky light hearted EP and finally a darker, less commercial EP.
AH: What can readers expect from ‘Confessions’?
Luke: We’ve focused less on the reggae style chops that Ocasan have adopted and substituted them for some bigger riffs and somber lyrics. ‘Parasite’ is a true story about our old tour manager that found he had a brain tumour. Lines such as “These white coats, do they know the ropes?” tell the tale of the issues he suffered when doctors tried diagnosing him and failed. Luckily, still alive today, he is able to see the song’s release. We now like to think of this as a tribute to him.
You write about what you know and when you’re on the road you meet all sorts of characters. The “rock” circuit tends to attract a lot of drug taking so this is what the first two songs discuss; dealers and the inevitable mess of addiction.
AH: For an independent band, is releasing new music more regularly a better option rather than every 18 months or so?
Luke: I would say its always a good idea to hold the interest of your fanbase. There is certainly a fine line between releasing good material at a steady pace and bombarding them with too much. The EP model we’ve been using this past year has worked very well for us. It allows us the opportunity in between releases to tour, release new videos and generally keep interactive with your fans.
AH: How have fans responded to you releasing new music every five months?
Luke: I think for those that know us well and are more dedicated Ocasan followers, so a new EP every 5 months was too long for them. However, new fans found that it kept them interested permanently without overwhelming them with material.
AH: Now ‘Elixir’ series is complete, what’s next for Ocasan?
Luke: There are a few new music videos on the go at the moment to help promote the EP. Expect these imminently.
We’re already working on our next album so we’ll look to release that about this time next year. We’ll carry on touring extensively, we just love meeting new people, getting into trouble and exploring this vast and wonderful third rock from the sun.
‘Confessions’ EP by Ocasan is out now.
Words by Sean Reid (@SeanReid86)