Hey Ocean! Wants You To Think

Vancouver pop band Hey Ocean! knows what they want.

And frankly, while they will likely be more than happy to bring some people out on the dance floor when they perform at Moncton’s Tide & Boar Gastropub next Thursday night, they also want to get you thinking about something many of us take for granted — the word “is.”

“Is” is the name of Hey Ocean’s new album. It is chalk full of infectious pop melodies that will be stuck in your head in no time. And though some bands seem to put little thought into what they are naming their records — Cracked.com bestowed the worst album title of all time to Limp Bizkit’s Chocolate Starfish and the Hotdog Flavored Water — there is indeed a method to Hey Ocean’s madness.

“Calling the album Is is definitely a little confusing to people, especially when they say the album title aloud, it seems incomplete,” Hey Ocean’s Dave Vertesi begins over the phone from a roadside stop in rural Ontario. “This record had a lot to do with us understanding who we are as a band as well as who each of us are individually. What inspired us to call the record Is was the fact that it is a word that people use all the time without necessarily giving it a second thought. There was something that we really liked about that as well. We have been a band for eight years now and somehow, we had never stopped to just think what we have been doing and why we have been doing it.

“Things change so quickly; people change as individuals and when you’re in a group of several people, the best thing you can do is try to communicate with one another and get a feeling for where the others are coming from or where they are headed.”

Listening to Hey Ocean’s music, one of the first characteristics that the listener will hear is the authenticity that goes into making their music. In a time where many “musicians” are opting for the quick road to fame and potentially sacrificing their artistic integrity in the process, Hey Ocean have never been afraid of a little hard work.

Vertesi and his band mates David Beckingham and Ashleigh Ball have actually lost count of the amount of times they have toured Canada, but Vertesi says the group has toured Atlantic Canada four times in the past, passing Moncton by each time.

In efforts to make themselves stand out from the glut of acts permeating new and traditional media outlets, many acts are resorting to gimmicks and other nonsense.

While this is certainly nothing new, Vertesi says that the public isn’t often given enough credit for their intelligence and ability to see through those not staying true to themselves.

“To an extent, music has sometimes taken a backseat. It isn’t necessarily something specific to the era of music that we are in now,” he says. “Some people attract attention to themselves by saying or doing shocking things while other bands become obsessed with intricate details of music production. It is too easy to get lost in those details, especially with pop music. I believe that pop music is about creating moments. When those moments happen and are genuine, people can’t help but pay attention.

“Just look at Justin Bieber. He’s young but he has made it because when he is on stage, he exudes this energy that he is truly excited to be living and leading this really amazing life. He is 100 per cent about that and people pick up on that positive energy.

“That is why touring has been such an important thing to us as a band. We have a great fan base that not only supports us when we play live but are willing to grow with us. We are firm believers that you can’t look or opt for the shortcuts. With any career, whether you’re a musician, lawyer or doctor, there are going to be ups and downs. As long as you are willing to put the time, effort and heart into what you do, you will be a success.”

Article published in the September 28, 2012 edition of the Times & Transcript

SHOW FACTS

What: Hey Ocean! with The Zolas

When: Thursday Oct. 4, 9 p.m.

Where: Tide & Boar Gastropub, 700 Main St., Moncton