Interview: Mitch Galbraith from Ocean Alley on “Touch Back Down”, their Fender collab and upcoming tours

Northern Beaches psych-rock outfit Ocean Alley have soared exponentially in their decade on the forefront of local indie music. The band has become one of the country’s most prominent touring acts and their highly anticipated live shows have captured audiences all over the world. Their instant hit “Confidence” scored #1 on triple j’s Hottest 100 of 2018, with the acclaimed sophomore record Chiaroscuro peaking at #11 on the ARIA charts.

We had a chat with guitarist Mitch Galbraith about the band’s collaboration with Fender, upcoming tours and latest single “Touch Back Down”.

It has been a while and it feels really good. “Touch Back Down” has had some positive feedback so we couldn’t be more pleased with it,” Mitch says of the band’s return.

The latest single – released 16 November – is Ocean Alley’s first new music since the live studio version of their third album Lonely Diamond in October 2020. It features some really cool sounds and rather fitting lyrics after the year that was, with summery vibes and infectious grooves that are like honey in your earholes.

We’ve been working on new music for the last year or two, and ‘Touch Back Down’ was one of the songs that stood out,” Mitch explains. “It stands out because it’s upbeat with a nice bop to it, and we thought this was the perfect style to kick it back off again. It’s a bit more playful and I think everyone needs that.

Ocean Alley recently performed the song by a pool against the serene Byron Bay hinterlands in a collaboration with Fender for their Artist Check-In video series. The video showcases the new Player Plus series, including the Nashville Telecaster, Stratocaster and Active Precision Bass, in vibrant green, sunburst and polished black.

We were kind of blown away by how vibrant those colours were, and put up against that blue sky with those green hills, it was magical,” Mitch recalls. “It was a hell of a driveway to get up there but it was really special and we’re so thankful for Fender for supporting us.

After a year of postponements and cancellations, Ocean Alley have had plenty of time to make music and are eager to get out on the road again. 2022 is already shaping up to be a huge year for the band, with a rescheduled and expanded national tour in February (which has almost completely sold out), a 23-date European tour in March and April then a New Zealand tour in May.

I don’t know if you could tell we’re excited,” Mitch laughs. “We’re just trying to fill up every day possible – it’s been so long. Everything’s opening back up and everyone’s doing it in a safe way now, so we’re keen to get back overseas,” he adds.

New Zealand is so close to us so we’re stinging to get back over there,” he continues. “Then we’ll get to see everyone in Europe and we’ll be on a tour bus heading around, playing almost a show every night. We can’t wait to get back to doing that because it’s what we’re really in love with and we love meeting new people and playing for fresh faces in new places.

It seems like the band’s got a whole lot on their plate already. But if there’s one thing that we’ve learned from Ocean Alley these past few years, it’s that nothing can stop them and they’re always working toward greater things.

Next year we’ll be looking to release more new music, for sure,” Mitch teases. “We’re flat out in the background organising stuff as the end of the year fast approaches, but we’ll be on tour and we’ve got some surprises in store for next year. A combination of all the work we’ve been doing in this down period.

We asked Mitch which artists he’s been bumping lately and who we can keep an eye on for potential future supports – but it’s clear that he loves his Crumpets.

We’ve been waiting to play our tour with Dulcie and Psychedelic Porn Crumpets,” he explains. “They’ve been able to play some shows over in WA while the rest of us have been relatively locked down, so I’m excited to see how their shows have progressed. We haven’t seen them play for two years.

Psychedelic Porn Crumpets and Dulcie will be supporting Ocean Alley on their national tour in February.

I’ve still got the Cornies’ last record on repeat, and keen to see what the Dulcie girls can do.

Justin Stewart Cotta

Upcoming Australian Tour – tickets via their website

JAN 21 FRI | Fremantle Arts Centre @ 6:00pm
JAN 28 FRI | Waves Wollongong @ 7:30pm
FEB 9 WED | Riverstage, Brisbane @ 6:30pm
FEB 10 THU | Riverstage @ 6:30pm
FEB 11 FRI | NightQuarter, Sunshine Coast @ 5:00pm
FEB 12 SAT | HOTA, Gold Coast @ 4:00pm
FEB 18 FRI | Hordern Pavilion, Sydney @ 6:00pm
FEB 19 SAT | Hordern Pavilion, Sydney @ 6:00pm
FEB 20 SUN | Hordern Pavilion, Sydney @ 6:30pm
FEB 23 WED | John Cain Arena, Melbourne @ 6:00pm
FEB 23 WED | John Cain Arena, Melbourne @ 6:00pm
FEB 25 FRI | Thebarton Theatre @ 6:00pm
FEB 26 SAT | Thebarton Theatre @ 6:00pm

You can keep up to date with all things Ocean Alley on their website, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter

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