Being As An Ocean 🤝 Bloom – ‘Riding In Vans with Bands’

As we gear up for yet another massive return to form for Australia’s live music scene, one band that we’ve been counting down the days to seeing back down under in 2023 is Being As An Ocean, who are hitting the road with Stepson and Bloom throughout February.

Turns out, Jono Hawkey from Bloom is a huge fan of Being As An Ocean, recounting the time he went to their first Australian show when he was 15… so we hooked him up with Joel Quartuccio from the band for an interview/introduction session before their bands take to the road together and the end result, is whole AF!

Jono: It’s lovely to meet you. I play in a band called Bloom and we’re touring together in February! We get to break the ice before the tour. Before we sort of get into the nitty gritty it is very cool to be interviewing and chatting with you, and then even touring with you. Admittedly, when I was 15 or 16, Being As An Ocean was one of those bands that were so formative and so influential for me, there’s a photo of me and you when I’m like 15 years old together outside like the venue. So it’s a crazy, full circle moment to kind of sit down and chat with you. I wanted to chat about the Dear G-d… album and about how good melodic hardcore in that era was, like that 2011/2012/2013 era – the glory days. So, 10 years since Dear G-d… which kicked off the man’s career, that is a decent chunk of time. I remember seeing you guys at your first Australian show with Sierra. Coming back to this album after so long, are there any songs that you felt kind of slipped under the radar or songs that you felt were underappreciated?

Joel: After playing them live for the first time, songs like ‘This Room Is Alive’, songs like ‘Humble Servant’ were just huge to me and Michael playing them live and learning a couple of them, like we had never played ‘This Room Is Alive’ in a live setting before and learning those songs and seeing the reaction that they got on this last US ‘Dear G-d…’ 10 year tour was just incredible. And I definitely think people now will dive more into those songs.

Jono: Absolutely. I remember it wasn’t off Dear G-d…, but it was the B-side, ‘The People Who Share My Name’, you guys had just released that before coming to Australia and doing that show. And that was like such an all time favourite BAAO song. I really liked that one. It’s really sick that you get to play some of these older songs and like you said, relearning and learning for the first time, I bet that must be strange listening to your own voice and listening to your own songs and having to go back and relearn all of it.

Dear G-d… was an extremely influential album for that entire genre of melodic hardcore. And there were some really incredible albums from that era.

Joel: Yes!

Jono: Wildlife by La Dispute!

Joel: Yes!

Jono: And you guys were fortunate to tour with some of those bands as well from that golden era of melodic hardcore. Now that you look back on that with the wisdom of 10 years, are there any memories or moments or highlights that stick out to you as the best of the best?

Joel: Oh, definitely doing a lot of tours with Hundredth and Counterparts. There were a handful of them in particular, that really kind of solidified in my mind, the kind of friendships that you could build with like minded bands on tour. Because we were so fresh. We were still so fresh to the touring world. And I think by the first time we met Hundredth and Counterparts, it was maybe our late second year touring.

Being as an Ocean started out as a touring band, and that was one of the reasons why we rolled out our stuff the way we did; because we didn’t want to go through the climb in our local scene. We kind of just didn’t care if we had five people at a show. We just wanted our first show to be out of state. Like our first show ever as the band was in Las Vegas.

So it’s interesting diving headfirst into that world, having no experience, other than our friends who had been in small touring bands going “it’ll be awesome, you’ll have the best time!”, you know, and then piling into a conversion van and being like, “let’s go!”

It was definitely something super new, and just so real and interesting in meeting the people that we did, and creating those friendships was just, it set the tone for standard operations on the road. And it really, at least for me, it fits with who I feel I am. I get a lot of energy from people and friendships. So to have that, and have those people that I still call friends, you know, was huge.

Jono: Yeah, that’s, I mean, Bloom (my band) has started to grow a bit. And in 2020, we did our first sort of big tour, which was a 19-date tour. And it was kind of in like a weird period of, there’s no COVID anymore, but it was just in one of the weird grace periods, I suppose, that we had in Australia. So it was a 19 date tour, and we’d always been like, we’ll do the capital city shows here and there but never as an extensive tour. The main takeaway I had from that tour is being in a van or being in a venue with like minded people, where everyone sort of just gets along and gels is better than the shows. The shows are great and I love playing them, but shooting the shit in the green room, or like sharing a bottle of fireball in the car park while everyone’s packing into their adjacent vans. Like that’s the good shit. And everyone I speak to that’s had touring experience, and it’s always about the people that you meet along the way. So we’re very excited to do the same with you guys.

Joel: Yes, likewise!

Jono: Let’s get it. Do you have any particular albums from that era that I mentioned before that really stand out to you as some of your favorites?

Joel: Oh, Wildlife by La Dispute was, I won’t say influential, but I will say inspirational. Because I can tell just by the music they write and their vocalist’s delivery, I know we share the same influences. So to hear another band at the same time doing things that we were doing in that same world, we were like, “okay, there are other people across the country who find what we’re influenced by valuable and are trying to reimagine it in the same way as we are.” And that was inspiring, for sure. And Defeater was super inspiring. And Counterparts. Those boys are a fucking blast to hang out with.

Jono: Yeah, they are a bucket list band for us. They just look like so much fun.

Joel: It’ll happen.

Jono: I’m crossing my fingers. Wildlife, the storytelling on that album and like ‘Edward Benz, 27 Times’, ‘King Park’, one of the best of the best in the genre. Like, I get chills.

Joel: Yeah, yeah, absolutely. Just thinking about those words.

Jono: Last time you were here in Australia was 2018 as a part of UNIFY, and then you did a tour with Stick To Your Guns. We just got to do UNIFY for the first time last year. How was your UNIFY experience? Were you camping? Were you in an airbnb?

Joel: Oh, a blast! I think it was, it was very fast because I think we were mid-tour, we had kind of worked UNIFY into a full Australian tour. And so I think we got there literally hours before we were meant to play. And then we played the show, were amazed by it all, and then we got to see some other good friends bands play. And I believe Young Lions was one of those bands and we love those boys. And so it was just a blast. If memory serves, we were on tour with Dream On, Dreamer. And the whole tour was just so much fun. And then to have UNIFY being, like, a pinnacle moment where we hadn’t done anything like that in Australia before. Yeah, it was just so much fun.

Jono: Yeah, UNIFY for us, that’s the Australian festival that every band starts and are like “We want to do UNIFY” and we’ve been a band for four years, coming up on five years and getting to do it and being able to stand on that stage in front of the most amount of people we’d ever played to, it was a really really special [one]. Like the juice was worth the squeeze it made all of the work, the hustling and all the shit times worth it. So yeah, you did miss out though on the best part of UNIFY, which is the the slogging in the cold nights and being wasted with your mates at 11pm listening to bands that you grew up with. UNIFY was everything I could have hoped it was and more.

Joel: That’s beautiful

Jono: But, coming back to Australia. What are you looking forward to most on this next tour? Are there cities? Are there shows? Are there places that you cant wait see again?

Joel: Honestly, I think whenever you’ve been gone from somewhere for so long. You just miss it. And I miss Australian people, food, coffee. Being from America, it’s all so similar and yet so different. I grew up in San Diego, California. So a lot of Australia reminds me of home. We’re by the beach, there are similar plants around and similar feelings. There’s a bit of nostalgia there for me, even when we were over there for the first time there was that moment where I was like, “Oh man, this feels so familiar. But it’s so new”.

Jono: That’s so awesome.

Joel: Yeah, that’s really beautiful to me. And I’m also a big fan of wildlife, so seeing all the animals that I wouldn’t normally see… like driving on the freeway and seeing a kangaroo is wild

Jono: You gotta go and get the the typical koala holding picture as well. It’s a staple on tour. 

Joel: Yeah! I’ve got the Lone Pine picture in my bureau right now. I joke that right underneath my wedding day, that was like the happiest moment of my life, holding that koala [laughs] 

Jono: The last question I have for you is to do with the van, the best part of touring. We’ve been spending a lot of time in the van recently with the tours we’ve done, and I’m sure 10 years of touring as hard as you guys have been, has made you grow pretty weary of cramming into a van. What are your best ways to pass the time between shows on the highways for the long haul?

Joel: Well, in the States I was usually the one driving, and mainly because I love it. And I mean that helps pass the time in huge ways. I just love watching everything roll by and listening to music is huge. A good person in shotgun always helps too.

Jono: Oh yeah. Cant have the sleeper in shotgun

Joel: Exactly, you get booted. Yeah, one of my favorite things is just throwing on a new album that neither of us have heard yet or throwing on an album that I think the person in shotgun would really like that they haven’t heard. Just talking about life, talking about the tour, the bands on the tour, the music we like, things coming up. Like if we were about to write an album, we’ll have spitball sessions, like what do we want the vibe to be? What do we want to express? What do we want to make? And that was always really important. And yeah, drinking a lot of coffee. I’m a huge, huge coffee drinker.

Jono: That’s unfortunate you’re in America then, coffee’s shit over there [laughs] Wait til you come back to beautiful Australia [laughs]

Joel: I know! You know what, we’re actually really blessed here in California, especially in San Diego. There’s like, a new little boom for small roasts and better coffee

Jono: It’s better than what you’d get in other parts of America where it’s the diner pot? Thank you so much for the chat. Lovely to meet you. I can’t wait to tour together

Interview by Jono Hawkey @bloomsyd

Being As On Ocean are on tour through February with Stepson and Bloom.

Being As An Ocean – Australian Tour 2023
with Stepson and Bloom

Thursday 9 February: Amplifier Bar, Perth
w/ Idle Eyes

Friday 10 February: Jive Bar, Adelaide
w/ Colourblind

Saturday 11 February: Stay Gold, MelbourneSOLD OUT
w/ Tapestry

Sunday 12 February: Sooki Lounge, Belgrave
w/ Weighbridge

Monday 13 February: Workers Club, Melbourne – NEW SHOW
w/ Tapestry + Evergreener

Tuesday 14 February: LaLaLas, Wollongong
w/ Keepsake

Thursday 16 February: Newcastle Hotel, Newcastle
w/ Closure

Friday 17 February: Oxford Art Factory, Sydney
w/ Headstrong

Saturday 18 February: The Brightside, BrisbaneSOLD OUT
w/ The Comfort

Sunday 19 February: The Brightside, Brisbane – NEW SHOW
w/ Sunbleached

Tickets Here

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