Oceans will launch his debut at The Tote on Thursday, May 27.
Delivering a majestic dreamy stroll through the love, loss and letting go of the past, Melbourne artist Oceans is transporting listeners to the Atlantic with his alluring debut EP, Come So Far, set for release Thursday, May 27.
The apt moniker of multi-instrumentalist and producer Thomas Lee, Oceans immerses you deep into a pool of captivating storytelling with his unique fusion of shoegaze and dreamy electronic soundscapes, providing an escape to a lush, cinematic world.
Crafting a stunning collection of four tracks, the EP is an engaging blend of ambient atmospheres and guitars and drums, blurring the line between man and machine. Bolstered with experimental flare, each song is open to interpretation as Lee explores themes of humanity, relationships, love and acceptance.
“The EP is a collection of life stories and experiences,” Lee explains. “I like the idea of creating these ambient ideas and even if you can’t hear necessarily what the vocals are saying, it’s more about putting your own meanings and interpretations over the song.
“I wanted to make it so when you listen to it you can just wander free and not really be bound down by anyone idea.”
From the dreamy title track about overcoming hardship, to the emotional, reverb-drenched ‘Break My Fall’, the thoughtful and melancholic EP is the result of countless nights spent layering sonic textures, to days filled with creating nostalgic soundscapes with a modern twist over the past seven years.
Coming from a multi-instrumentalist background, Lee explored the various timbres of guitar, piano and programmed drum machines in his formative years. Disassociated with music in this form, it wasn’t until digital audio workstation and audio sequencers came along that Lee realised how expressive he could be, combining his learned understanding of music with the ethereal rush of experimentation.
“Honestly, it took me a long time to realize that this was something that I could actually do. I had such a rigid understanding of music from that sort of formal education but I’m so glad that I had that awakening.”
With an original intention to be purely electronic, Lee’s interest in sampling and 90s shoegaze transformed the project completely over the years, resulting in the unique and immersive instrumentation present across the four tracks.
Brimming with life, the dazzlingly euphoric release is permeated with swirling synths, roaring guitars, whispery vocals, distinguishable fuzz, foot-thudding percussion, psychedelic seduction and delicate chilling harmonies.
“The ‘Come So Far’ single best represents what I was trying to achieve on my EP, which is combining sounds from ambient electronic albums with shoegaze/dream pop sonic aesthetics.
“I was focused on layering many different sounds together to try and create something unique, such as analogue and software synthesizers, numerous kick and snare samples along with many-layered vocal harmonies. I was fortunate enough to work with a great producer, Aden from Love Shack, and he was able to find a great balance between all the instruments and effects to give them enough space but still maintain a dreamy feel to it.”
With sweeping, ambient soundscapes and ethereal singing, Lee is celebrating the release with a show at The Tote, diving further into the project as he translates the high production values into a live performance with a six-piece band.
“There’s a complexity to it; the live shows sound totally different because there are so many layers going on and I can pick and choose what we do live and what instruments to focus on, so there’s a lot of scope to experiment with the project even further,” Lee reveals.
“We’ve played the EP songs live a few times before and we’ve played it quite different each time, so we’re always going to be coming up with more ways to play it.”
Oceans will launch ‘Come So Far’ at The Tote, Melbourne on Thursday, May 27. Tickets on sale now via The Tote.
Come So Far EP is out the same day via Ditto.