Dale Tanner – Ocean Grove ‘Perfecting the Art of Retrofuturism’

From a back-to-back stint with The Amity Affliction here in Australia to a tour in Europe with Crossfaith, the nu-metal outfit from Melbourne have been quite busy. Almost too busy to release their sophomore follow-up to The Rhapsody Tapes. Nevertheless, the boys returned from Europe (almost beating the COVID-19 pandemic) and finally released their bangin’ new record Flip Phone Fantasy last Friday (our review here). We had the chance to call up lead vocalist Dale Tanner to make the long-awaited catch up on the band and gained an awe inspiring insight into the new album…

Dale! How do you feel that Flip Phone Fantasy is FINALLY unleashed to the world? I mean, considering ‘Ask For the Anthem’ was released over a year ago now. Was it always the intention to drag it out this long?

Super relieved and excited. It felt like it might not ever come, but I think we’ve created something really special and really proud of, and we’re super thankful of everyone that’s supported us to this point. I think we’d like to have had the album out sooner, however we’ve really done the best that we could given our circumstances.

We had a few songs written before the lineup change happened, and once that went down, we had to go back to the drawing board. Having Twiggy onboard gave us a new sense of direction with where we wanted to take this next album. Once we had sense of the new band dynamic, we sat down and hit the ground running. We spent the better part of the last year writing and recording, and I wouldn’t have wanted it to take any less time because we’re perfectionists through every aspect of the recording process. Had we not gone through the process of refining and rewriting constantly, the end result might have been different. While we would have loved to get new music out sooner, and we do apologise that fans have had to wait so long, it was well worth the wait.

Of course, and you guys have done a tremendous job on the record. You guys definitely covered a lot of ground musically for this record, that we haven’t seen from you before, in particular ‘Shimmer’ and ‘Baby Cobra’. Is this a sound we’re going to see you experiment with more down the track?

I think anything’s possible. With this album we just really wanted to open those doors and see. Our first experiment with that was releasing ‘Sunny’ and seeing that response not only online but live at shows has been mind blowing. For the first time we saw our music connect to a whole wide array of audience that we hadn’t connected to before. That was really inspiring for us, and to know that we had a few more songs up our sleeves that we had experimented with, knowing that if all goes well, hopefully it does translate with a more diverse audience once again. 

With our past music before, we’ve always considered ourselves experimental and tried to push boundaries of our music. Flip Phone Fantasy was our first opportunity to do that, and given the combination of myself and Twiggy on vocals, we sat down and thought “wouldn’t it be cool to have a mix of Oasis meets Blink-182 meets Alice in Chains in a dual-vocal situation happening?” We thought that would be a cool spin on the OG sound and we embraced that. 

I particularly enjoyed the overall vibe of ‘Guys From the Gord’ because I feel like it encapsulates that whole music festival atmosphere perfectly. What was the inspiration behind that track? 

That song is an ode to the 2000’s rave culture. I had an older brother, and when I was a little tucker I was indirectly involved in this culture because I watched my brother hanging out with his mates. It’s definitely a nod to that era, and sound that surrounded it. It’s a super fun sound, both lyrically and instrumentally. As a different aspect, people may see the nu-metal influences from that time as well as the grunge and alt rock influences, but they may not necessarily pick up on the EDM and rave culture influences in our music as well. We’d love to take that into our live shows and festivals worldwide and see what happens when fans may think they’re getting a rock show, then we throw ‘Guys From the Gord’ at them.

You’ve just come back off a back-to-back tour with The Amity Affliction here at home, then off to the UK/Europe with Crossfaith? How’s that jetlag holding up?

With all things considered, I’m feeling good. The Amity tour was just so good for us. We were able to visit a lot of places and perform to audiences we wouldn’t have had the opportunity to if it weren’t for that tour. Had it not happened we wouldn’t have been able to play in places like Dunsborough (WA), and Bokarina (QLD). Walking away from that tour, it was exciting to know that our audience in Australia had really expanded and that just helped kept the momentum going into Europe with Crossfaith. 

And how did the idea for the album name “Flip Phone Fantasy” come about?

*laughs* We definitely sparked some intrigue from a lot of people about what it all means. I think it’s fun to leave it to interpretation. For the longest time I had the intention to harness the idea of retrofuturism, which is a concept that I’ve been fascinated with since I was a little boy. Retrofuturism is all about looking at the art and pop culture of eras gone past and looking at how they predict the future and what they believe would be a dystopian future. Some of the artwork is quite fascinating.

Flip Phone Fantasy is perfect in that sense. It’s a title that’s fun, cheeky and rolls off the tongue. We wanted that to represent us as a band, but at the same time show that our music and our art take a lot of influences from many eras of the past (60s, 70s, 80s, 90s) and of course the early 2000s where flip phones were so prevalent. There’s definitely a lot of different facets to it, but at the end of the day, it was a fun little title that felt right for us.

Interview by Tamara May (@citylightstam)

Flip Phone Fantasy is out now through UNFD. Check it out here

ocean grove flip phone fantasy

Ocean Grove – Flip Phone Fantasy tracklisting

1. Superstar
2. Neo
3. Sense Again
4. Sunny
5. Thousand Golden People
6. Guys From The Gord
7. Shimmer
8. Baby Cobra
9. Ask For The Anthem
10. Sway
11. Junkie$
12. Freaks

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About Tamara May (1055 Articles)
Wall of Sound's Head of Album Reviews. Weekend Content. Pop Punk Enthusiast.