The Ocean Blue have been around since the late 80’s. You may or may not of heard of them. Forming in Hershey, Pennsylvania in 1986, The Ocean Blue mix guitar melodies with synth. I would define them as very light rock but more so leaning towards indie and pop. Over the years their music has altered slightly as The Ocean Blue get older. It is a common misconception that The Ocean Blue disbanded from the late nineties into the new millenium. This was not the case. Losing their label, the band members stayed together but kept it low key. No live shows were performed and no new releases occurred.
The Ocean Blue jump started their career in music by signing a three-album deal with Sire Records in 1988. David Schelzel, Steve Lau, Bobby Mittan and Rob Minnig were only teenagers at the time. They were also still in school. 1989 witnessed the debut release of The Ocean Blue’s self titled album. Cerulean in 1991 was followed by Beneath The Rhythm and Sound in 1993. The band began a tour around America in support of their third full length album. This ended in 1994. During the tour they had Oed Ronne accompany them as a second guitarist. Ronne would later replace Steve Lau as a full time member.
In the early 2000’s Rob Minnig decided to leave after fourteen years of commitment to The Ocean Blue. Peter Anderson stepped in as a result. Waterworks the EP showcased all the blood, sweat and tears The Ocean Blue had put in through the past twenty years. With six original songs on Waterworks, the EP brought us classics like “Ticket To Wyoming”. All songs possess a capable lyrical ability with clear and smooth vocals mixed with bass and drums that give off a grunge rock/pop feel. The next nine years would be quiet for The Ocean Blue until they eventually got back into the rhythm by releasing Ultramarine in 2013. This would be there revival.
Mark September 9th, 2014 on your calendar because that is the date set for Waterworks (the deluxe version) to come out via Korda Records. The album includes three extra tracks making it a full length LP. Updates for vinyl, CD and digital format are also added. Lush chords and heartfelt songs mesh into one to produce an air of dreaminess. I can’t help but hear a hint of Joy Division and New Order upon listening to The Ocean Blue. Their sound is something like the new romantic 80’s and 90’s music you catch from the artists previously mentioned. You can now listen to one of the three bonus tracks to Waterworks premiered on Brooklyn Vegan titled “Can’t Let Go”. The Ocean Blue is David Schelzel on lead vocals and guitar, Oed Ronne on vocals, keyboards and guitar, Bobby Mittan on bass and Peter Anderson on drums.
Where and when did the band form?
“We formed in Hershey, PA USA in the late 1980’s. Here is a link to the bio on our site which talks about our background. http://www.theoceanblue.com/bio.html”
Can you tell me a bit about who your influences are?
“The original influences that are built into our DNA are new wave, post punk, British and American underground music of the 1980’s. Most influential were U2, REM, The Smiths, Cocteau Twins and New Order. That said, basically all of the music we like influences us in some way. There is a lot of great music happening right now that surely influences what we do now.”
Can you state who’s who in The Ocean Blue?
“David is the singer, songwriter and guitar player; Bobby is the bass player; Oed is the guitarist and vocalist; Peter is the drummer.”
What venues have you performed in?
“The band has performed all over the world since 1989. It would be a very long list. Some of our favourite venues as of late have been Bowery Ballroom and Mercury Lounge in NYC, The Troubadour in LA, Union Transfer in Philadelphia, Swedish American Hall in San Fran, Lincoln Hall in Chicago, Jammin Java in DC.”
Describe to us the gig you’ve got the most enjoyment out of performing.
“Hard to say, there have been so many. The festival and TV performances are the most surreal. The one’s that bring the most enjoyment though are the unexpected ones. I loved playing in Denmark and in Paraguay. And I always love playing LA because of the fans. Peru is also very enjoyable because of the enthusiasm of the fans.”
May I ask why the band broke up if it’s not too personal a question?
“Not at all, we never really broke up. We just didn’t release or play shows for some long periods in the late 90’s and 2000’s. The biggest reason was leaving a major label, which required a constant schedule of releases and touring, and becoming basically an indie band with no fixed deadlines.”
What inspired the comeback?
“We finally finished a full length album in 2013 called Ultramarine and so it was time to release that and play some shows.”
Are there any bands in particular you’d love to perform with?
“Yes, many (inc. the influences I listed above) but only if it was a great situation. I’d hate to ruin my impression and enjoyment of a band whose music I love with a bad show/ tour experience . We love playing with bands we know, like those on our label cooperative, Korda Records, and old friends like Luxembourg Signal (LA) , Riverside (PHL), Don Peris/ The Innocence Mission.”
What can we expect from the reissue of “Waterworks” set to be released on September 9th 2014?
“Here is an official blurb on that, but the big thing is a few new songs, vinyl for the first time, and some shows. http://www.shelflife.com/catalogue/LIFE115.html.”
What advice would you give to all the up coming bands starting off or anyone who is attempting to start a band?
“Be yourself. Make the music that interests you. Focus on quality. Get a smart team of others to help you.”
“Music doesn’t lie. If there is something to be changed in this world, then it can only happen through music”-Jimi Hendrix