Hey music lovers, I recently had a chance to post some questions to Scott Mosher, the mind behind Oceans of Night, let’s see what he had to say…
First off, tell us some about how the band came to fruition from the Scott Mosher era? What was behind the move to form the Oceans of Night name, and did this have any reflection on the direction of the music?
Basically, Oceans of Night is everything you’ve heard before and will continue to hear, whether you wanted to or not, haha. The ‘Scott Mosher’ releases REALLY should have been released under the Oceans of Night name, but I fell under the fell influence of the dark powers of the underworld and operated under my name. Mistake, but it’s since been corrected – hence Oceans of Night! 🙂 To answer the second part of your question, yes, I have had this sense of musical direction/style since as far back as I could remember. My first CD, Ambient Earth, reveals this a bit. Even though that CD is basically a rock-inspired new age CD full of soundtrack like electronic music, I think you can definitely hear, perhaps, where my future musical ambitions would go. I just didn’t develop my ‘style’ as quickly and succinctly as I should have. But that has since been corrected.
So, what would you consider your main influences growing up and today?
I listen to a wide variety of music from country to rap to jazz and new age. But, my heart lies within the rock sphere, specifically, modern, progressive and power metal. The new age/techno-trance/electronic influence, and the inspiration from movie soundtracks, is a pretty potent and obvious element of Oceans of Night, and will always continue to be.
You describe your musical style as ‘ambient prog metal’, care to elaborate on that?
Why, yes I would, thank you for asking. This basically continues the question from above. I’ve always had the desire to create a ‘hybrid’ style of music, combining elements of new age music (lots of keyboards and atmosphere), pop music (song structures and melody) and wrap that around a definitive progressive metal core – the heavy, modern guitar sound, the pounding drums, the pulsating bass and soaring, melodic yet powerful vocals. There’s also a certain cinematic quality of the music of Oceans of Night that I ‘borrow’ from movie scores and soundtracks, that provide a nice dynamic to the musical interludes. What we have, at the end of the day, is really just basically self-described as ‘ambient metal’ and I think it’s a pretty basic, yet apt term to describe what Oceans of Night is.
The majority of the music is of your doing, what are the benefits and limitations of this type of production?
Well, the most obvious drawback is the lack of musical collaboration in the songwriting department, so I have to be quite cognizant of not repeating myself or writing music that isn’t to derivative of what has come before. On the flip side, I get to steer the ship, from the map I created with the destination I have in mind. It’s quite an personal and artistic achievement to forge an artistic endeavor from concept through completion. That all said, one of the most important things, and I can’t understate this enough, is having Scott Oliva at the helm of this musical ship, providing his awe-inspiring voice and vocal melodies to truly bring the music alive. As much as I love instrumental music, I think the voice is still the most heartfelt, emotional instrument of all, and I can only emphasize too much that vocals are an incredibly powerful force in this style of music. It’s often the focal point, and a distinguishing characteristic of any band. A good song can only be made greater with a great vocal. Conversely, a good song can be ruined by a bad vocal. I just hope we can continue to provide the listeners with more of the former.
Aside from the incredible vocals, how else does Scott Oliva influence the music?
All of the music is entirely complete by the time Mr. Oliva puts his magic ‘on tape’, so to speak. So, to a large degree, it’s actually the other way around. The music inspires Scott to try different approaches to music that is often quite a bit different from what he has done in the past. Scott is a versatile enough singer with enough experience and interest in a wide variety of music, where has natural instincts on where to go with a song. Vocally, Oceans of Night allows him to challenge himself and apply different dynamics in his vocal range that he might not have employed in some of his more traditional power and progressive metal background.
For this release, you had the help of Joey Vera with the mixing and engineering. How did this effect the final product?
I hope and think the sound quality of the CD speaks for itself, haha. Joey just has all those years of professional musical experience with his bands and his engineering, that he brings a breadth of skills and abilities, and a great ear, to the table. He’s definitely a part of the Oceans of Night team, and I hope to use his mad skills again soon.
Are there things you wanted to accomplish with Domain that you didn’t with The Shadowheart Mirror, and do you feel you did this?
A few things, actually. I felt the production on TSM was a little underwelming in spots, and perhaps, by a song or two, a bit too short. Other than that, I’m fairly satisfied with TSM. While the amount of progress we make between CD is decreasing – as we become more accustomed to ourselves, our abilities and the music we write – I think we’re also becoming more coherent and focused in the style we are working with. So basically, we’ve established ‘a style’ and now it’s more a matter of challenging ourselves with creating interesting songs, and providing the listeners with memorable music, more so than anything else.
Was there a specific thematic element you were trying to portray in Domain?
Domain is obviously not a concept CD, though it IS a thematic CD. There’s certain elements that wind their way through the music and lyrics, a certain darkness pertaining mostly to introspection and self-doubt, maybe a bit of frustration and reflection of life and relationships. Often, music is most dramatically influenced by more traumatic and somber facets of life, which in the case of Oceans of Night, lends itself to dynamic, powerful and emotional music, be it in the vocal the guitar solos, the music, or the lyrics. So the theme we are really just bringing across is one of self-reflection, and really, perspective on ourselves as human beings, and our experiences.
One of the things on the album that stood out to me was the blend of the heavy and the ethereal sounds. Was this a desired effect, and how does it play into the themes of the album?
This is probably the ‘definitive’ music staple of our sound. That pretty much defines the Oceans of Night sound, the Oceans of Night name, and what we are about. That seeming dichotomy between the the heavy and the atmospheric, works out to our advantage, really. The amount of musical dynamics we have access to and conjure up, is what Oceans of Night is all about. That is definitely our calling card. If you want to hear atmospheric metal, dial OON. We’ll be there, in your CD player, for as long as you want us. 🙂
Now opening up an album with a 17 minute epic is against the norm, any reasoning behind this?
Haha! Did Scott Oliva put you up to that question? From the beginning, I had this distinct feeling the title track, whatever it was, was going to be the opening song. When it turned out to be a 22-minute epic (then edited down to a more conservative 17), I still KNEW it had to be the opening track. There’s a certain gothic texture that builds from the intro until the song kicks in. A certain musical tension and slow moving crescendo that really defines the rest of the CD, in those opening minutes. If I had to re-do it, I’d still open with the same song. When you realize that the song is REALLY 5 songs in one, it doesn’t seem so strange, but why not challenge the listener, and scare the vocalist, with an epic opening track?
Looking back on Domain, is there anything you wished you had done, or are you pleased with the final product?
The only thing I wished I would’ve done is tied my shoes during the photo shoot. Other than that, I’m pretty pleased with the final result. I think it’s a great musical snapshot of where we were at. The music for the next CD is complete, we’re just working on the vocal melodies. Some of it was written around the same time as DOMAIN, so there will be some common musical themes and exposition, which is only natural. As I mentioned above, we’ve arrived at our ‘style’ so now it’s just a matter of refining it, and, when possible, experimenting beyond, while staying consistent to the aspects of the Oceans of Night sound. I’m only saying this because you never hear it, but Domain is definitely the best thing we’ve done to date. Well, until the next one, of course.
Thanks for your time Scott, and we will be looking forward to what comes next out of Oceans of Night!!!