Ohioan instrumental post-rockers The End Of The Ocean have returned with a their first full length album in seven years. So, as you can already tell, the anticipation for -aire amongst the band’s very patient fanbase has been pretty high to say the least. Though their 2011 debut Pacific· Atlantic was an empathetic journey that hit the heart without saying a word, there was still room to explore their sonic landscape.
Faced with personal issues and with members scattered all over the US, the road to -aire was never really going to be an easy ride. But here we are, after several long years, the results are in and we’re happy to say their sophomore continues to push this band’s boundaries with gusto. We caught up with TEOTO keyboardist Tara Mayer briefly, who paints a clearer picture of a band who’ve gone through more than their fair share of change.
RAM: The road to -aire has been a long one for you guys and a lot can change in seven years, which you know all too well. After being apart for so long between full length albums, did it feel like a different band when you were writing this album?
TARA: Our line-up had changed since we wrote In Excelsis, so in some ways things felt a little different. For whatever inexplicable reason, though, our band still manages to communicate dichotomous elements of melancholy, hope, and the strangest feeling of nostalgia no matter the line-up.
RAM: Therapeutically, how important was the writing process for this album?
TARA: Writing this album was cathartic for processing our individual wounds and the complexities of our humanity. I think this process is always ongoing. Every time we listen to or perform one of these songs, the catharsis continues over and over again.
RAM: In your opinion, how would you describe The End Of The Ocean now than the band you were when you were writing Pacific-Atlantic?
TARA: We’ve matured a lot since Pacific-Atlantic. I’d say we aren’t as haphazard collectively. And we’re a whole lot more vegan and vegetarian.
RAM: Working with Mike Watts makes perfect sense for what you guys wanted to achieve on -aire. Was it important to work with a producer who understood where you guys were at and where you wanted to take your music on this album?
TARA: Absolutely! We wanted our heavy parts monstrous and our melodies carefully showcased. Mike got our vibe immediately and understood how to make this all happen for us. He had great insight on dynamics and song progression.
RAM: At any point did this album seem like a more vulnerable experience than anything else the band have done in the past?
TARA: For sure. We were all going through our own struggles and life was pretty tough there for a while. Also, most of us in the band are in our thirties, and while we live in an age of oversharing and orchestrating strange conceptions and identities over the internet, most of us are pretty private. Any vulnerability or act of sharing by way of writing this album was very intentional on the emotional side of things.
RAM: What were some of the biggest challenges you had to face making this album?
TARA: Trish [Chisholm, guitar] lives in Detroit, so getting together to jam and write had that preliminary obstacle. Luckily, Trish was very committed to making it happen.
RAM: Do you think you’ve achieved everything you’ve wanted to on this album?
TARA: You can nit-pick till you’re dead, and artists tend to be perfectionists in that way. Understanding this, we’re really pumped on how this record turned out and that it’s finally released to the world.
RAM: The album has been out for a few weeks now. Has it been received in the way you would’ve wanted it to have been?
TARA: The reception has been very positive so far. We also prepared ourselves prior to the release for some fans feeling disappointed this album is a bit of a departure from our older material. Ultimately, we wrote this album for ourselves and don’t concern ourselves too much with outside opinions. Luckily, it seems people dig the new tunes.
RAM: You obviously have your own messages that you write into your music. Being instrumental, these messages can be interpreted in an infinite amount of ways by your listeners. What’s more important: that the listener picks up what you’re throwing down, or to let your fan’s make up their own mind about what you’re trying to say?
TARA: Our music is very much up to the listener to decide its meaning. Go wild with it, friends. Feel deeply.
RAM: When you set out on tour, what’s the first album you play to get everyone stoked?
TARA: We all have very diverse taste in music. There are some inside jokes and histories we have with certain artists/songs. ‘Carbomb‘ by Acacia Strain usually gets a spin or two as a wake up call when we’re on the road. And we definitely listen to a few Third Eye Blind songs randomly too.
RAM: You guys have said in the past that playing dunk!fest in Belgium was one of the best memories you’ve ever had as a band. What makes that particular show stand out compared to all the other festivals you’ve done?
TARA: Besides all of the volunteers working the festival being the most hospitable and kindest people we’ve had the pleasure to meet, that was the biggest crowd we had ever played in front of at that point. The enthusiasm and vibe at that festival was just unreal. We can’t wait to go back.
RAM: The UK isn’t shy about its love for post-rock, any plans for coming to British shores in 2019?
TARA: We’d love to! We’ve never played UK, so that is definitely on our band bucket list.
RAM: Finally, what are you most stoked for in 2019?
TARA: Touring and exploring cities we’re only faintly acquainted with in the US. Touring Europe. Eating Pringles. Working on new music. Not dying.
-aire is out now via Equal Vision.