About Me

Interview with Oceanhoarse

Finnish metallers Oceanhoarse stirred things up with their debut studio album "Dead Reckoning" in August 2021. Now, the band is about to release their sophomore full-length "Heads Will Roll", on February 17th via German label Noble Demon. The album is packed with crushing riffs, vocal harmonies and high voltage arrangements and will appeal to all fans of heavier sounds. Oskari Niemi, the band’s drummer, was kind enough to share a few details about the new album and Oceanhoarse’s plans for 2023 with Metal Imperium. 

M.I. - The band’s goal for 2022 was to record the hardest, rawest, and purest follow-up possible to your debut album “Dead reckoning”. Would you say that goal was achieved?

It’s definitely rawer due to the fact that the sound has way more room mic to it. What I mean is that we all played in the same room and all the drums, bass and rhythm guitar tracks were recorded there on the spot together. There were room mics that captured the true band sound. Also Joonas was there singing with us although his vocals were re-recorded later. Some of the guitar solos were captured in the room too but they were mainly recorded afterwards. 

M.I. - How excited are you with the release of your sophomore album “Heads will roll”?

I just got the first physical copy in my hands today, 9th of February. The cover and booklet looks sweet in the red colour and I’m blasting it in my car full volume almost. It’s a nice feeling to finally get it home.

M.I. - Some say the second album either makes or breaks a band... hence the title “Heads will roll” or are you confident enough about it?

There is firm confidence in our little team because we achieved what we wanted. We continue to wave the flag of live heavy metal and managed to capture that feeling. This album also has some of our best songs, e.g. Brick and Carved in Stone. 

M.I. - The band’s been extremely active live. Have you been performing any of the new tracks live? How’s the reaction so far?

We dropped so many singles from the album already so we needed to play them live also. 
“Heads will Roll” and “Nails” have been the new live favourites. The first one brings a big chorus and the latter one does the emotional trick. “Nails” is a good piece of music because it chills in the verse but rips in the bridge. 

M.I. - There will be a “Heads Will Roll” album listening party at Bodom Bar on 17th February and a record release show at Kuudes Linja on 4th March. Who came up with these ideas? Any special surprises for the fans on the listening session?

I don’t know if it was Ben or Jyri behind this idea. We did a record release listening party for “Dead Reckoning” also. I can’t reveal the suprises but I hope we get to blast the album in the sauna!

M.I. - Ben Varon was the one responsible for the layout for the vinyl and CD packaging. Was it a complicated task? How satisfied are you with the final result?

He admited it was a long and bumpy road but the end result looks stunning! We picked our favourite photos together and planned a bit. But it’s still Ben’s work and we are proud of it all. 

M.I. - Of all the 11 tracks included in the new album, which belong in your top 3. Why?

1. Brick. I think we found ourselves with this song. 
2. Carved in Stone. Overall good song and the section starting at 3.39 after the middle lull is our finest work. Not saying I’m a genius but I love the bass drum pattern (RLRLSRL) in the chorus,
3. Dead Zone. Melodic and calming instrumental. I feel like diving in dark blue water when listening to it. 

M.I. - What topics are addressed in the lyrics? Who writes them?

Some of the themes are corruption and overall unfairness in the world. Ben writes most of them but Joonas has contributed to some songs as well. 

M.I. - Oceanhoarse had a month-long European tour with SOEN in September. How did it go? How important is touring for a band like Oceanhoarse?

It was a fantastic tour artistically. The shows were great: a lot of audience that liked our thing although most of them hadn’t heard of us. In the bus we had close to 11 nationalities speaking 9 different languages. All bands got along very nicely and we had a fun time. Everybody stayed healthy, every show and every song got played. It was our biggest tour so far and helped us spread our name in 23 different cities. 

M.I. - It seems you played some Alice In Chains in (at least one of) your live shows. Which track(s) did you play? Why have you chosen Alice in Chains?

We played “Them Bones” every night. We tend to include a cover in our set every show to give the audience at least one song they know. When we do opening shows for other bands the people there might not be familiar with our music so by playing one classic cover we definitely melt a heart or two. 

M.I. - Which bands have been an influence for you as musicians and individuals?

We listen to mainly metal music. As a band, our influences are the big names: Metallica, Children of Bodom and Mastodon to name a few. As individuals some of us listen to softer music as well but it’s mainly rock and metal that we consume. 

M.I. - Your first album was released by Noble Demon and this one will be by Noble Demon as well. How did the deal with them come up?

Someone at Noble Demon used to work at Nuclearblast. I think our manager got us the connection and we just went on from there. 

M.I. - Hoarsefest is a festival organised by Oceanhoarse. How did the idea of doing something like this come up?

It was a crazy and stupid idea but we found ourselves organizing the fest for the first time in 2019. This year when we finally were able to organize it again we just stood there at the venue looking around us. A lot of people had come to Hoarsefest! This stupid idea of our own fest just came together by hard work and contacting so many people. It felt amazing to feel the joy around the place! 

M.I. - The Hoarsefest took place on the 30th December 2022. Was it the perfect ending for last year? Any idea if the festival will happen again this year?

Yeah, it went so good! So much joy and happiness but so much work. Especially Jyri did the hardest job contacting all the bands and techs. He was the producer of it all. We all helped as much as we could and we worked the whole time during the actual fest. So many little things take place behind the scenes that need to be taken care of. About this year we don’t know yet because it’s so much work that we really need to consider how often we want to organize it. 

M.I. - Oceanhoarse play Heavy Metal. In your opinion, how’s the current HM scene? Do you think it will ever be as great as it once was?

Rock and metal have been lifting their heads lately. We have a nice metal scene here in Helsinki and many new bands are coming from all of Finland. Many bands lean towards pop music in their choruses while doing some kind of screaming thing in the verses. This is classic metal core with smoother electronic and pop elements. Our own thing on the other hand is more traditional metal with different grooves. We haven’t taken the step towards electronic stuff and there are also many other bands here that keep synths away from their music. Nothing against synths though, I love them! We just haven’t used them in our music. 

M.I. - The band’s been active for 7 years now... how different is your life now when compared to what it was before Oceanhoarse? Are you happier? Richer? More stressed? More fulfilled?
I started jamming with the band in the autumn of 2016. We officially released music in 2018. So there was like 1,5 years of working on the songs and grooves before revealing anything. In the beginning I had a lot of energy. Now I have energy and power because the way we play is very physical. With just one guitar on stage and no backing tracks, the mass of sound must be created with our 4 piece band. That’s why I needed to find ways to sound bigger and that takes some power I have noticed. 
I’m happy I got to play with all I’ve got and we are pretty relaxed nowadays. Before, some shows made us a bit nervous but now everything is much more natural and we find it easier to deliver the musical vibes into the audience. Music is something you need to trust and it often does its own thing without the need to push hit. 
I’m never fulfilled. I’m always wanting to be better and I’m never entirely happy with the music I release haha... I can’t really hear what our music might sound like to other people. When you work on it so hard, it takes years before you can listen to it objectively. As I’m saying this, there’s no other way I would want it to be either. 

M.I. - Is there a plan to tour in order to promote the new album? Have you got any news for us regarding that? Do you think we might be able to see Oceanhoarse playing in Portuguese soil someday soon?

We don’t have any touring news yet. There are plans to get a tour this year and Portugal might be on the list. We played Porto and Lisbon in 2021 and loved every second in your beautiful country! I can still smell the Atlantic Ocean when I think about that trip. 

M.I. - All the best for Oceanhoarse! Care to share a final message with our readers? Thanks for your time and music! 

Thank you Sónia for your questions! 
I would like to see those who are interested in hand made heavy metal to dive into our music! We are pretty good live so come and see us play if you can. If you happen to be in Finland, contact me and I will invite you to our studio when we reherase. After that we will drive to a smoke sauna and dip in the freezing lake water! 
Take care!

Listen to Oceanhoarse, on Spotify

For Portuguese version, click here

Questions by Sónia Fonseca