Interview with Pete Devine of Pete’s Rock News and Views (http://petesrocknewsandviews.com)
PD: How would you describe yourself or your band as an artist?
OD: We are instrumental band creating music that is free in its form and genre but what takes inspiration from different “post-” music like post-rock, post-metal, post-hardcore and even post-punk in our latest material.On our latest album “Phantom Islands” we have also collaborated with different vocalist in some of the songs .So you could say we are experimenting with whatever seems right in the moment.
PD: Can you tell us briefly about your background – i.e. where you’re from, how you came to make music, etc.
OD: We are all hailing from Tallinn, Estonia and we got to know each other through our previous bands gigging together and hanging in the same social circles. Some dozen years ago ,our guitarist Martin thought about starting a new post-metal project and asked us to join .He had some songs written ,but it took a couple of years to get to a point where we would feel that we are ready to gig. We started as a quartet ,but since 2019 we have been performing as a five piece.
PD: Who and what inspires you to make music, both in terms of musical and other influences? What do you like to write about in your songs?
OD: Like everyone we are not immune to things happening around us , be it global or local or long and dark Estonian winters. But more often we find inspiration from mysteries and phenomena or even historical events. All of our albums have had clear concept in mind when we were writing them, for example our first album was about Arctic exploration, second one about nuclear testing and hysteria during the cold war .Our latest is called “Phantom Islands” and it is about islands which were marked on old maps ,but turned out that did not exist in reality. Whether they were made up, mirages or even drowned. The songs are named after the islands and every one of them have an interesting backstory you can look up.
PD: What are your aspirations as an artist?
OD: The biggest dream is for our band to be self-sustaining and for us to be able to create our music with as few outside disturbances as possible. We would like to play many concerts outside of our home turf and present our music to as many people as we possibly can.Lot of people don’t know that they like post-music yet because the music does not reach them and we would like to be the band that introduces that kind of music to them.But mainstream success, as an instrumental band, is not something we are thinking about or working towards.
PD: What is the proudest moment in your music career so far?
OD: We would say that performing in some of the Baltics biggest heavy-music festivals like Devilstone in Lithuania and Hard Rock Laager is Estonia .We will be performing on both of these festivals this year as well. Also, opening for Sólstafir in our hometown Tallinn. We have also got airtime in Estonian national broadcasting radio stations,which is rare for an instrumental band .
PD: Promoting one’s music is such a challenge these days, especially with so many new artists emerging from bedrooms in the day of the home studio. How is that going?
OD: We are not under a label and we are doing everything ourselves ,which means countless emails ,promotions ,posts and so on. So our way is hard and consistent work.Since we only just released our new album it’s early to say how we are doing, but hopefully we will reach the audience.
PD: And how do you book and promote your live shows and tours? Any performances coming up?
OD: We have upcoming album release gigs in Tartu on 19.05 and in Tallinn 03.06, also previously mentioned Hard Rock Laager festival on 01.07 and Devilstone festival on 15.07. Also,we are planning to visit our Baltic neighbours in September. Same time we are making plans for next year.Promotions are mostly done through social media platforms . We are constantly chatting to our local promoters and if something interesting comes up,we are there.
PD: What do you think about downloading music online? What about streaming sites like Spotify?
OD: Pirating music does not have a point anymore,because most bands give out their music basically for free themselves (uploading full albums on Youtube etc). And even though it is not free,it is not a lot of money to buy a digital album or subscription of a streaming service. So there are no excuses. If we do not count the financial side ,I think streaming services are useful tools to get your music out there and make it as easy as possible for a potential new fan to find your music.I would say that those platforms are better for the consumer than the artist. Financially,it tends to be more beneficial for those artists who already have plenty.
PD: What song do you wish you’d written and why?
OD: Talk Talk-After the Flood.it just has the perfect balance of chaos and order, desperation and hope, anxiety and calmness.
PD: Is there anything you don’t like about the music industry, which you would change if you could?
OD: I don’t like that the industry is pumping out songs, albums, artists etc like bullets. Songs have a lifespan of a week and then another one takes over . I don’t think there will be a lot of future classics. Also, you have to pay for a lot of things as an artist when you want to get out there : spot on a Spotify playlist, review from a critic, opening slot for a bigger band etc.
I’m sure if we were a bigger part of the industry there would be more things we wouldn’t like.
PD: So, what are you working on at the moment?
OD: We are working on promoting our new album “Phantom Islands” and performing it live as much as we can and as long as we can. Then we will take a break and start again.
PD: Where can we learn more about you and buy your music/merch online?
OD: You can buy our merch and music from oceandistricts.com .Our music is available on streaming platforms (Spotify ,apple music ,YouTube and so on) and you can look us up on all the social platforms.
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