Entertainment

Vancouver genre benders know how to get noticed

Hey Ocean! raises a nationwide ruckus with hard work and good music

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The latest album from Hey Ocean! is good enough to make you rethink what makes musicians good. These three guys and one gal have got it figured out with a refreshing diversity in their music and are not afraid to break the rules that are so blindly followed by bands in the music industry today.

They are a band that is willing to experiment and branch out into many different genres. While too many bands get stuck within the confines of their own sound, Hey Ocean! chooses not to. Their sound is constantly evolving and being redefined by new and more original songs.

"We're not going to pigeon-hole," explains guitarist Dave Beckingham. "We don't want to not write something because it doesn't sound like us. We just want to write songs that we feel like writing and those change stylistically from song to song as we keep writing new songs."

They are even willing to move from one genre to another from song to song. Their new album contains a hip-hop track called "Vagabond." Some of their even newer, unreleased material takes a very surprising turn after that.

"We just wrote one that sounds sort of like a country song," says Beckingham.

Hey Ocean! expresses their ability to think outside the box in not only their song-writing, but also in their record production. In addition to more mature lyricism, their new album, It's Easier To Be Somebody Else, features some experimentation in the recording process. Instead of recording their album in the traditional manner-- recording drums, then bass, then guitar et cetera-- the group chose to record much of the album live off the floor.

"We recorded everything as far as the base tracks, meaning like guitar, bass, drums, sort of the bed tracks, we did that all live off the floor," Beckingham explains. "We were trying to go for like a live sound so we could get like a live aesthetic."

It's Easier To Be Somebody Else was released by the record label Pop Machine which Hey Ocean! created with the band Said the Whale. The label was created because the band desired to work independently.

"The label for us just shows that it's official that we're sort of doing this on our own," Beckingham says. "We've been working independently now for three years and touring independently for about two years in Canada. [The label is] just a name for what we've already been doing the whole time, which is working for ourselves and managing ourselves."

They've been in the business long enough to gain valuable experience and know what it takes to get a band noticed. Though they come from Vancouver, the group can always manage to fill clubs on the other side of the country. Beckingham says that touring is the key to making a name for yourself.

"You've got to work really hard," he says. "People take notice of bands that are working hard. A lot of people try and make a record and they haven't had any experience being a band they've just gone into the studio with some songs . . . but the band's not really willing to go out and tour because they're not getting signed. Don't wait around to be signed. You should go out and tour. Just go and get your name out there and people will start taking notice."

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