ARTIST NAME: Oceans Over Airplanes
SONG TITLE: Traditions
ALBUM TITLE: Traditions EP
GENRE: Alternative Post Emo
Interview with Anthony Pagorek – Frontman of Oceans Over Airplanes (Vocals, Bass).
Discuss your existence.
The band formed as a need that I had to create different music from what I was previously playing.
Eight years ago I was in another band and that for me creatively was not where I wanted to be.
I needed another outlet for the ideas in my head and found myself writing music that would no longer work for the band I was in.
I didn’t want to shelf any of it, I wanted to perform it. So initially, Oceans Over Airplanes (OOA) was only supposed to be an acoustic project.
However the more I played the music for people, the more I wanted it to be something more elaborate.
So I started recruiting other musicians and it turned out to be a full band.
State your favorite genre of music and your reason.
I would say alternative, but I am talking 90’s alternative when the title was new and fresh and was way more specific than it is today.
For me it was the music that inspired me to pick up a guitar, to want to be in a band, to listen to music in general.
I love the raw feelings and emotions during this time period. The songs didn’t have to be perfect, they worried more about the emotion in the performances and that emotion is what I connected with and still love today.
State your experience as a musician.
I have been playing music since I was young. I played saxophone throughout grade school – Actually Alto, Tenor, and baritone sax. Then I made a huge mistake and quit High School – A terrible Idea.
I would be a much more advanced musician I think if I would have had those additional years of formal music theory.
In High School and College I was a “seasonal” musician, I dabbled in guitar, drums, and bass, basically playing when there was some kind of competition or event. It was way more of a hobby. It wasn’t till after college that I started to focus on playing guitar and songwriting.
I was primarily a guitar player in my first bands after college and when OOA began I was a guitar player.
However, due to the needs of the band, I switched about four years ago to bass full time.
As a singer, I didn’t start singing until after college. I sang out of necessity.
I wanted to start writing my own songs; I wanted to start playing open mic nights. So I was all I had, so I had to figure it out. I have been a lead singer in a band ever since.
Tell us the theme of your song.
‘Traditions’ is about the ending of a friendship that was very important to me. Unfortunately, you see the signs sometimes and it’s not a matter of ‘if’, it’s a matter of ‘when.’
And when any relationship ends we go through phases right? Usually, we start confused, maybe shocked, then we get angry and resentful.
But I think as we mature we tend to try to be more level-headed. In this case, it caused me to move to a phase of concern/ sympathy for this person in the end.
I was less worried about a friendship ending and more worried about what was happening to this person.
Name the people behind your success and thank them on this platform.
My wife is a huge supporter of this band and our music. She has been my barometer for years. She is completely honest with every song I create, every lyric, etc. It’s great having someone that honest in your corner.
I also want to thank our lawyer, Brian Rosenblatt. He has been a believer in this project for a long time now and has offered us many opportunities along the way. He finds ways to motivate and set goals.
Obviously, our friends and family that support us – These are the people that seem to always find time to support us at shows, buy a shirt, or tell a friend.
We have been lucky to have parents that still don’t think we are nuts trying to be full-time musicians.
State your future goals.
The goal now is fan-focused. We want to focus more than ever to connect and bring regular content to our fan base. More music, more behind the scenes, more pictures, just more. They deserve it and we want to find ways that we can continue to grow this band and bring them along for the ride.
In general, we just want to play for as many people as possible. I feel that we have something that is worth saying, something that is worth sharing, and something most importantly that people can connect with on some level. I feel that we bring an energy that can help people escape from life for a bit. We want to share that experience with as many people as we can.
But we want to be able to get more and more into the festival season/scene. I want to play Riot Fest, Official SXSW, Lollapalooza, Hangout!, etc. We want to play overseas especially in the UK and European markets.
Finally, we want to be able to support ourselves fully with our music. Not looking for millions, just enough to support our families. To wake up every morning and just know that I have to play to crowds or create music with my friends would be the goal.
We are currently looking to build out our team. Seeking Management, etc. to help us achieve these goals.
Share your press release and reviews with us.
“OOA’s brand of emo/alternative rock in a way that begs you to listen to more….”
– Underground Music Collective
TPIG Podcast Interview
“Featured as a band performing that are about to blow up”
– Infectious Magazine
New Noise Magazine
“I’m Music” Magazine
Elaborate on how you think your music is inspiring your fans.
The majority of our songs are rooted in relationships. Who you choose to surround yourself with will ultimately shape who you are at the moment. I think our music helps to celebrate, navigate, and/or cope with whatever state your relationships are in.
The longer I have been doing this project, the luckier I feel. The lifestyle and demands of making music aren’t for everyone…
In general, our band celebrates the idea of dreams and pursuing them. To have passions and believing in them. I know that’s the example that I am setting for my daughters as I continue to work at this. I hope that our passion for this rubs off on others to fuel their passions.
Analyze the transformations you have discovered so far in the music industry.
It has changed so much in the past decade. I have seen the old model and I have been trying to navigate this new model that still evolving every day.
I am disappointed that many bands are not given the grooming and ability to grow that they use to have.
Labels use to sign bands with the knowledge that they would need to grow, mature, evolve, etc. But they helped align bands with producers and helped define their image and every other aspect of who they are for better or for worse.
Now there is no artist development as we know it. Labels want ready-made products. They don’t have the time to invest in bands like they once did due to budget restrictions – Which leads me to the next major discovery – That because the value of music has decreased with the influx of content, listeners don’t seem to linger very long on new music. Instead, they are drawn to the next thing, which could be the next day.
Bands have to have constant content to stay relevant. You can’t disappear for two years to create an album anymore.
It is a shame that the creation of all your content, album art, liner notes, packaging, is all a thing of the past. It used to really mean something to the artist, to share this visual component to accompany the music – Which further served as a way of creating music videos that were cohesive, tours, merch, etc.
People just don’t consume music like they use to and it’s been a tough transition for sure. Especially because it takes months to do everything mentioned above and most people will listen to the album and by the end of the day/week already move onto all the other music coming out daily.
State the artists you cherish most and your reason.
Gin Blossoms – They were this perfect mix of different styles. They were these guys that wanted to be grunge but had these pop/country sensibilities that they couldn’t hide. It made for a really accessible sound.
Lyrically they just always seem to connect with me. I would say if you were to ask me for my top 10 songs of all time, I would have at least 2 Gin Blossoms songs in my top 10.
Phil Collins/Genesis – Growing up this was most of the music playing in my household. It really showed me that great pop music can really be masked in different ways. Phil has a way with melody that is so unique. And it was one of those bands that made me realize how much a band needs to think out everything they can do to help evolve their music. From album art to amazing live productions. They wanted their music to affect more than just your sense of hearing.
Jimmy Eat World – They made me fall in love with Emo music. I constantly draw musical inspiration from this group. They are a band I can always listen to no matter what the mood, the season, etc. They have this honest, raw quality and they own every inch of it. Nothing about this music is fake; it’s as personal as it gets. It has allowed me to be brave with my lyrics over the years.
Elaborate on how you develop your lyrics.
Lyrics always come last for me. The song needs to be created. I need to hear the textures, the dynamics, and the overall feel. I want to write lyrics that match the landscape that has been created.
Most times I get a theme in my head that I want to write about.
From there I go through a process of trying to write catchy phrases, one-liners…This is completely random and just more like a stream of conscious writing.
From there I find a line or two that I am really drawn to and see if I can write a song based on those clusters of words.
If I think it is strong enough, it’s a constant search for the right words and phrases that help evolve the theme or tell the story.
I sift through old notebooks and journals to maybe find lines that can work or I go and look up lyrics from other bands to find collections of words that I can get inspired by.
Tell us if you enjoy collaborating with other artists or just singing as a solo artist.
OOA would not exist if it wasn’t for collaboration. Everyone in the band is a contributor. I couldn’t sleep at night knowing that the band is just my voice. These songs evolve and come alive in different ways because of every member’s influences and talents.
I couldn’t record these songs to sound the way they do without every member of this band. There is something amazing that happens when the right creative people enter into space together to create. It’s the energy that I love the feeling and that I am constantly drawn back to time and time again.
Brief us your opinion on making music that makes people dance or making the music with a genuine message that inspires them.
Music that makes you dance is such an easy sell I feel -Especially in a live setting. It’s just an easy way to bridge the gap with the listener.
I love music with a genuine message; however, you run the risk of sounding pretentious and unrelatable.
I think in today’s music climate you have to find ways to combine the two or just understand how elements can co-exist. When you can combine the two effortlessly you really have something undeniable.
It’s just a way of protecting your music and your brand as much as possible. You work so hard on your music and your image so that it separates you from everyone else. You want to make sure that you are protected from others trying to steal your vision/creations.
Discuss the impact of a Performance Rights Organization.
They are in place to help musicians earn the money that is owed to them. Whether through performing the music live or when their music is used in various mediums (movies, commercials, sporting events, TV shows, and radio).
They are also there for offering advice to help you grow as a professional and provide health care options, musical insurance options, etc., for musicians.
Elaborate on how you develop your melody and instrumentation.
It’s evolving all the time. For this song it was four guys in a room – Once we start having sections figured out, i.e. verses and chorus, I will usually just start playing around with melodies as we are playing the songs.
Melodies are constantly changing until I think they are a solid hook. You have to be able to self-edit and have the honest feeling of whether or not your hook is strong enough.
If the song doesn’t have a melodic hook, it doesn’t matter how good the lyrics or music are going to be in my opinion.
As we play the song over and over and get a solid structure, we then record the song and enter the pre-production phase, which allows us to hear everything we are doing clearly. It’s here where we start talking about are we using the right instrumentation, do we need more instrument layers here? Do we need less here to provide more dynamics? What style of music are we chasing at the moment? All of those questions can get answered now.
Go into detail on the recording of this song.
We recorded these songs with Seth Henderson of ABG studios (Real Friends, Sleep On It, Knuckle puck).
It was our first time working properly with a producer. Until this point, we recorded and produced everything on our own. So leaving the comfort of our home studio we knew could be challenging.
Also, we only had six days to complete the four-song EP. So having that time crunch was something we never had to compete against.
And if all of that wasn’t enough, for me personally it was also beginning a new chapter without one of my longtime music collaborators.
So there was extra challenge and moments of insecurity going into this process. Half of the band was relatively brand new.
For ‘Traditions’ we actually wrote the ending of this song the night before we entered the studio to record it. We felt like the song needed something and we couldn’t figure it out for the longest time. It was something that happened very organically.
This song was huge for us because it finally gave us an identity with developing a sound that we feel is unique to us. A lot of that “sound” is rooted in the guitars – Which is a fine mix of chorus, reverb, and delay, in many cases constantly stacked on top of each other.
That initial swell of guitars was created with a pedal that has somewhat inspired many of our tones today. It is called the Procession, by Old Blood Noise Endeavors.
Drum-wise, I remember this being a huge song creatively for Joe. He really transformed this song’s vibe and feel with his syncopated rhythms.
Melodically, this song was still in flux going into the studio. I wasn’t happy with the chorus. The final chorus you hear on the record I actually wrote in the studio in my head. The first time I sang it, was in the vocal booth. I never practiced it, didn’t know if it was going to be able to hit the notes or if it would have the power it needed to have during that part of the song. So I was super relieved after singing it at full volume for the first time that it worked. And the guys agreed right away after I have sung it.
Also, that was the most time I have spent in a vocal booth, just the amount of layering that was needed to make the song sound as massive as it does.
Discuss your music performance.
Many bands live for the studio, while others live for the stage. I would like to think that the stage is the one place we feel consistently comfortable.
We put hours of practice into our set, crafting the order, practicing every transition, to even places where I talk.
Currently, we are re-working our set to fill it in with more transitions/intros between songs to make our performance more of an experience.
We don’t want to just get up there and play the record exactly like you hear it recorded.
We want to give you a reason to come and see us live – Which is why other elements like lighting, banners, and even stage presence are huge concerns for us.
But I can guarantee you one thing about this band. Whether we play to 1 person or 1,000 people, you are going to get the same show.
State your artist’s name and elaborate on it.
Oceans Over Airplanes – Originally the name didn’t have any meaning attached to it. However, overtime for me, the words represent a different way of thinking. That it is perfectly acceptable to live a life that isn’t the “normal”. Don’t settle.
State the title of the album and the reason for choosing the title.
Traditions EP – As a band, we had many changes going into the recording process.
We left the comfort of our home studio, we worked with a producer for the first time, and we also were without one of the original members of the band for the first time.
So this was more about breaking traditions and starting a new chapter for OOA.