Metalcore upcomers Ocean Sleeper dropped one of the best records of the last year in Don’t Leave Me This Way (our review here) and since then, embarked on their own national tour as well as supporting metalcore legends Atreyu. The boys have since been in iso due to COVID-19 and found themselves with way too much time on their hands, which saw them reconnecting to their older tunes in a much deeper, meaningful way than ever before.
The band have reimagined their classic track ‘Six Feet Down’, swapping those malicious riffs and breakdowns for a much slower pace and almost pop ambience. We hope you can appreciate this new side of Ocean Sleeper as much as we do, because it kinda rules.
We caught up with vocalist Karl Spiessl and guitarist/vocalist Ionei Heckenberg on how they’ve been during this world pandemic, how they reconnected with ‘Six Feet Down’ in iso and if there’s any new music on the horizon…
Hey guys! First up, how are you doing during this COVID-19 life?
Karl: Hey dude! Since I live In Regional Victoria the lockdowns never really came into effect for long, I’m not sure if we ever had any positive cases around here either. The lockdowns have only just come back again this week so I guess things will slow right down again for a while.
But with music it’s been very sad watching days go by where we were supposed to be on tour, flying over seas and all kinds of other things. Most of us aren’t used to being home this much. Since we’re all spread out around Victoria and Stan lives in Brisbane now, It’s been increasingly tough not being able to get together.
Ionei: I’m pretty fortunate in the fact that I’ve always worked from home producing, so not much has changed for me, I’m pretty used to staying inside all day everyday. I actually moved to Melbourne when all this chaos started which made the move more scary & stressful than it needed to be. Right now I’m just missing the band & touring, luckily we have a wealth of live footage to watch back & reminisce over.
One of your last shows before the world went into lockdown was supporting early 2000’s metalcore legends Atreyu. What was that touring experience like for you guys?
Karl: That was a surreal tour to be on and we had an incredible time with them! Back in early high school I listened to those old golden songs to death. Just being able to see all those songs live every night was really special for me. None of us could have imagined that was the last shows we would play and the last song I’d see live was The Crimson by Atreyu.
Ionei: From learning Bleeding Mascara as a teenager to watching it live night after night was absolutely wild. I never thought I’d have the chance to tour with such a legendary band.
Like it has done so for many bands, I’m sure your touring plans to promote your latest album Don’t Leave Me This Way this year were heavily disrupted. What’s your plan of attack now to keep your music in the minds of the fans?
Karl: Well yeah it sucks, not many other ways around it or much we can do about it. Every band is in the same boat here too, so my thoughts have really been going out to my friends in bands. At the very least we got to do 2 Australian tours out of it including our album tour. There has been a lot of stuff we were very excited about this year which obviously has been cancelled or postponed. We are just trying to harness video chats and use that to write the next cycle of songs. We don’t want to sit and wait for this to all clear up and go back to where we left off.
Ionei: I think it would be very easy to become complacent & just be like ‘this is how it is now’ & pause until the normality returns. We’re trying to avoid that as best we can & create a plan around the new situation we’ve all been thrown into, so that when shows come back we can hit the ground running.
Your reimagined working of ‘Six Feet Down’ is worlds away from the original track. A lot less heaviness and breakdowns that’s for sure! What brought you to the idea of recreating ‘Six Feet Down’ and breathing new life in this way?
Karl: Probably 3 years ago Ionei and I played around with the idea of it and demoed some stuff which we knew was pretty cool straight away. Unfortunately, it just got shelved as we had so much other stuff going on.
While all this was happening we thought it would be the perfect time to get it out! So before everything got crazy again recently Ionei and I were able to come together and finish it as well as do a video. Shortly after regional Victoria closed down to metro Melbourne which would have left us needing to reevaluate our options again.
Ionei: This track hits closer to my own personal tastes & influences in songwriting and production. It was good to be able to explore another avenue stylistically & broaden what fans know as Ocean Sleeper. Producing & mixing this was a blast, with something so stripped back it’s interesting creating excitement in subtle ways to keep the listener captivated. We also got Kris Crummett on board to master the song, it was great working with him again.
I gotta say, Don’t Leave Me This Way was one of my fave records last year, and I for one am keen for more new stuff from you. Do you have any more surprises (ie. new songs) up your sleeve this year?
Karl: Thank you so much! It was definitely really great to finally get that out to the world after so much waiting. Very proud of what it achieved in the time it had as well as even getting a nomination for the AIR Best Heavy Album. Still so proud when I listen to it today.
Ionei: Well, we are always grinding away on new song ideas and what not. I think more so will be next year if this year holds any more surprises for us that might hault those any further.
Either way, I am excited for new Ocean Sleeper already. Thanks for catching up with us guys!
Interview By Tamara May (@citylightstam)
‘Six Feet Down (Reimagined)’ is out now. Stream it here