Interview – We Are The Ocean – Reading & Leeds 2015 Preview



We Are The Ocean have been a pretty busy band so far this year, touring around the UK and Europe, hitting up a few summer festivals, and releasing their fourth full length album ‘Ark‘ which has had a great response since its release in May. We caught up with Jack Spence (Bass) to talk all things Reading & Leeds and see what else is to come this year!

How has 2015 been so far for We Are The Ocean?
2015 has been a whirlwind compared to 2014. Not to say we weren’t keeping busy last year, but it was a lot of behind the scenes activity, whereas 2015 has been jam-packed with shows and tours surrounding our album release.

Your latest studio album ‘Ark’ has had a great reception since it’s release in May; has it been good to finally get new music out to everyone?
There are few things quite as painful to a musician as sitting on new music that you’re chomping at the bit to get out into the world. We recorded Ark in summer 2014 so it had a good eleven months before it was fully released. It’s a strange feeling when things seem all quiet on the WATO front, and though we know we’ve been busy it’s important to try and stay in the light, so releasing new material this year was imperative.

We have caught you guys live a couple of times this year already, and the new tracks seem to have gone down really well in your live sets. Which do you feel to be new crowd favourites, and which do you enjoy playing live the most?
It’s always been pivotal to us that our music sounds as close live as it possible can to its recording. We recorded ‘Ark’ live, so whenever we play a live show it comes across exactly as it does on the record, which I think has been beneficial to getting crowds into the newer stuff. ‘Good For You’ in particular has been both a crowd favourite and one we all enjoy playing, it’s a lot groovier than some of the other songs in the set, and can be a nice change of pace.

You guys were also involved in a pretty rad tour with Lower Than Atlantis and PVRIS earlier this year; how was touring with them?
The tour was great fun. Every show sold out in advance, and it’s always nice to have that little bit of worry about crowd turn-up lifted, so we could all focus on enjoying our sets and enjoying the tour.

It’s finally festival season. You guys are on a few of the bills this summer, and Slam Dunk Festival was one of them; how did that compared to previous years?
Slam Dunk is, to us, the beginning of festival season. It’s in late May when the sun is starting to peek its head out, and before the influx of weekend festivals begin. We love playing there, and it’s getting bigger every year which is great to see.

We are the ocean wato
Jack Spence of WATO live at Slam Dunk Festival North 2015

Reading and Leeds Festival is around the corner, are you excited to be back there this year?
We can’t wait. We strive in our music to dip our toes into every genre we can, and Reading festival often does the same with its eclectic line-ups, so it’s a perfect place for us to showcase our music.

What does it mean to you being a part of such an iconic festival in the UK?
For most of us, Reading Festival was the first festival we went to as young nippers, so it’s a great experience to return on the other side of it, and play on stages we have fond memories of watching.

You’re playing pretty high up the Festival Republic stage this year; what can we expect from your set? Any surprises?
It will be really interesting to compare this year’s shows in a tent to when we played the main stage a few years ago, but we think the atmosphere in the tents around sunset will be electric. I’ll have to keep tight-lipped about the set, you’ll have to come and watch for yourself!

Who are you guys looking forward to seeing over the Reading & Leeds weekend?
Not that we’re at all biased, but the Festival Republic stage is looking great this year – which is a big part of the reason we’re so excited to play it. Manchester Orchestra, Joywave and Gengahr will all be a good watch. Honourable mention also goes to Metallica, Kendrick Lamar, Marmozets, Alt-J and Catfish and the Bottleman. AND on top of that, we have old friends like Twin Atlantic and Lonely the Brave playing massive stages, so we can’t wait for that too.

If you could pick three headliners for the ultimate Reading & Leeds Festival line up [excluding yourselves!] who would they be and why?

Friday headliner –
Foo Fighters: Perhaps not the most original choice, but I think Foo Fighters are THE festival headliner of our generation, and I don’t think I’ll ever tire of seeing them play.

Saturday headliner –
Michael Jackson: A big regret of mine is never seeing Michael Jackson live. His set would just be hit after hit after hit, and quite a spectacle to behold.

Sunday headliner –
Jeff Buckley: I love a bit of Jeff on a hungover Sunday morning, and I’m presuming I’ll be feeling pretty rough come Sunday evening, so Jeff is the perfect act to close the weekend off with a bang.

What are your ultimate camping tips for people attending this year?
I know those August nights get chilly, but resist the urge to sleep in a jumper or coat; you WILL drown in your sweat when morning comes. Also, pack peanut butter.

Finally, what are your plans for the end of 2015?
After a busy festival season we’ll be heading out on a November UK tour [dates below] and will hopefully whip up some European dates too. In a nutshell, we plan to play as many shows as we can.


You can catch We Are The Ocean live on the Festival Republic stage at Leeds Festival on Fri 28th August and at Reading Festival on Sunday 30th August.


We Are The Ocean are also touring across the UK in November on the following dates!


Mon 09    –   BIRMINGHAM Asylum
Tue 10      –   CARDIFF Globe
Wed 11     –   BRISTOL Fleece
Thu 12      –   NORWICH Waterfront
Fri 13        –   LEEDS Mine
Sun 15      –   GLASGOW King Tuts
Mon 16    –   NEWCASTLE Academy 2
Tue 17      –   MANCHESTER Sound Control
Wed 18    –   NOTTINGHAM Rescue Rooms
Fri 20      –    LONDON Islington Academy


Danny Peart
Editor / Live Music Photographer / Journalist at Soundcheck-Live

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