Joel Quartuccio of Being As An Ocean (California) talks third LP, songwriting and education

  • Jana Angeles
  • June 23, 2015
  • Comments Off on Joel Quartuccio of Being As An Ocean (California) talks third LP, songwriting and education

Melodic hardcore quintet, Being As An Ocean represent a band that releases music that stings the heart. The emotions that overcome you as soon as you press play on some of their songs, leaves you with a gutted feeling of intense emotion, looking at tracks like “This Loneliness Won’t Be The Death of Me” and “The Sea Always Seems To Put Me At Ease”. All of their songs have been beautifully structured through its poetic storytelling in their lyrics, unique instrumentation and empowering screaming vocals/spoken words. With their upcoming self-titled record coming out next week, we chat to lead vocalist, Joel Quartuccio about the third LP, his songwriting approach and his way of continually learning as a musician and individual.

It’s pretty exciting that the self-titled record is being released soon. How was the overall process of making it?

It was a blast. We absolutely love the studio and the producer that we work with. Going into the recording studio is always a treat.

With the album, how does it stand apart from the other releases?

I think the pace of the album is what sets it apart. It is all very fast and driving which is new for us; to have a whole CD that doesn’t really change pace or tempo. I’m looking forward to what people will think of our more aggressive stuff.

What I found from your back catalogue of songs is that most of them are really emotionally intense and have refined storytelling in the lyrics. How do you approach lyrics? Do you write it from a personal perspective or is it more ‘in the moment’?

It all sort of depends. Sometimes I can really struggle with a story or a concept that I’m trying to write about and it takes me a few days or so to work through any issues with it or my issues with writer’s block. Like you said, all the lyrics are extremely personal. Sometimes I’ll just have an epiphany moment to myself and realise something that I need to work on and try to hash out. Those are the times where I feel like it flows a little bit more where I’m almost trying to talk to myself.

I find that musicians tend to use music as a release when it comes to certain emotions that you’ve been feeling for a long time and haven’t really dealt with. Do you feel like you’re letting go of something as soon as you write something that’s bothering you?

Absolutely. 110%. By all means, I’m not extremely educated. I have a high school diploma and that’s it; college dropout. I have found a complete catharsis in writing down the things that I’m struggling. I like knowing that I’m gonna be screaming these and singing it so passionately to a live audience; to be able to feel with those emotions. I’ve told countless people if it wasn’t for this music and playing live shows, I don’t know if I’d be walking around.

Especially when you’re involved in a band. It’s sort of like an addictive career because when you’re on stage, you have this adrenalin rush; the audience is pumped, you’re pumped. Would you say that you’re energised while on stage, singing these songs that you strongly relate to?

I think the energy from the room definitely helps. But I’ve always tried to purposely, for myself, whether it’s five or five-thousand people to treat my music the way it was written and you know, have that time for myself to work through things that I’m dealing with. The kind of state that you’re talking about; being in a sort of high-energy but having a serene moment where I can shut out the world if I want to and just close my eyes and yell into a mic. It definitely helps us to feel really comfortable when people are getting in-tune with us.

Following up on that, you know how your songs are emotionally intense. Is it difficult for you to play those songs live especially when they mean so much to you? Is it scary that you’re sharing something that’s really personal to you?

I honestly wouldn’t feel 100% with myself if I didn’t sing things like that. I wouldn’t feel such intimacy with the show goers; the people who care about our music. As much as it is hard sometimes to sit down, especially when we’re writing, I just say to myself, “Okay. Just be vulnerable”. That is 100% worth every single bit of output that we give from that input.

Of course you learn different things when you’re releasing new material. What was your biggest learning curve when you were making this album?

For myself, probably bending your vision a bit to the people that you’ve surrounded yourself; the people you have chosen to make music with and trust. The writing process I feel is always extremely smooth for us. It’s a huge factor that we’re all extremely good friends and we have a good sense of humour and know how to handle and talk to each other. I would be lying if I said that I didn’t feel a little stretch at times. In being comfortable with having something not be exactly on your mind but then listening to it again and being like, “Oh, that’s better.” [laughs]

It takes a lot of compromise especially when you’re in a band. How would you say you’ve approached disagreements when it comes to making music with all the other members of the band?

We’re all very democratic and if it’s really an issue then you know, we’d take a vote and whatever happens, happens. But I think that in knowing how to deal with each other so well – it hardly ever comes to that when making music. We’re pretty good about knowing that something is better than the original idea we had which I’m embedded to them for.

Yeah, especially when you’re making all this incredible music. The lyrics itself are very poetic. Do you find inspiration when it comes to reading certain novels that resonate that sort of emotion or poetry that you look for as inspiration?

Absolutely. I’m a huge reader. The goal for myself when I left college was that I would continue to teach myself and reading has been a huge part of that process. I draw most of my inspirations from novels and poems I’ve read, especially on the second album, How We Both Wondrously Perish. The album title itself and a couple of other song titles in that are taken from poems. It’s a profound influence on the way I see it all.

Obviously you’re learning all this stuff from other material that you read. People think school is really important and education is really important but you can find yourself learning in different ways. Do you feel like you’re learning way more now as a musician as opposed to being a student in college?

Infinitely. I say it with a great absolve because I am me and not everyone is like me. Not everyone can sit down and have purpose to learn so they need that extra push. Even though we live in the age of technology, a lot of people are just happy not knowing things, instead of doing some research on the freaking computer that’s in their pocket and to learn about something. And hell, if you’re doing something with your hands, there’s a YouTube video for everything nowadays. There’s a lot of opportunities to learn in new and exciting ways. To be completely honest, especially here in the United States, our standardised form of education – it has to change. People are all so different and we learn in so many different ways. We’re all capable of learning and I think standardised education or college just might not be cut out for everyone. It might not be the way to learn.

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Being As An Ocean’s self-titled record will be available on July 3rd via Double Cross Records for its Australian Release.

To keep updated on the band, follow their Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/BeingAsAnOcean

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