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Ocean Grove Interview; Luke Holmes on Slam Dunk, Festivals and Touring the UK

Ahead of their UK debut next week, we spoke to Aussie party-boys Ocean Grove about Slam Dunk and what fans can expect from the show…



Aussie party boys Ocean Grove are making their long-awaited UK debut next week when, along with their own headline show in London on June 4, the band will be performing at Slam Dunk 2017. Ahead of the dates, we caught up with Luke from the band to get the lowdown on what fans can expect…

You’re making your UK debut next week, what can fans expect?
Luke: The real beauty of visiting a new place, especially in terms of touring as musicians, is the total lack of expectations. I’m not sure that fans know what to expect from us and we sure don’t know what to expect of the UK. I think that’s what makes this trip so exciting for everyone. No two collectives of people are the same, so we will just bring our own unique energy to the stage as well as new music we are rearing to crunch through in a live setting.

Have you been getting many messages from UK fans?
Luke: Yeah I must say we have been hearing from UK fans as much as any contingent outside of Australia. It’s great to see that our music has resonated with fans across the other side of the globe and we really owe a lot to the media outlets over there for having our back. In fairness, the majority of the messages have been folks wondering when we’re coming over to perform. I hope to see those very people front and centre ready to climb on heads when we perform at Slam Dunk.

Given you live in Australia the hottest country on earth, you must have played a few outdoor shows. Any good stories?
Luke: Plenty of yarns mate. In truth, the hottest shows are the ones indoors, poor ventilation and body heat compounded by the fact the sun is about 2kms down the road makes for a sweat fest. I always think of the fact that when an intruder enters a beehive the bee’s collectively buzzing around it until the friction cooks the intruder like a microwave. Seems an apt representation of a show in summer. Of all the stories I think I’d have to go with the first Unify festival we played… it was so hot that a King Brown snake or something just as nasty thought that under the stage ramp was the ideal location for an afternoon kip. Typical. Second would have to be playing at an old Gaol in this small country town in South Australia, it was an absolute scorcher. So much so that our guitarist was side of the stage puking his guts up while playing the last song.

What is your favourite gig story?
Luke: Gosh, hard to say. Most of the skulduggery goes down after the shows right? A pretty classic moment was when we were touring with In Hearts Wake. It was a regional tour so we had been all over the country! The last show was at this taco bar on the Sunshine Coast… there were so many people crammed in this place I’m sure it would’ve bought a tear to the eye of even the most lackadaisical OH&S inspector. Understandably, Dale (bassist) and myself were pretty tonked by the time IHW played. We ended up getting our best grandpa outfits on and jumped into the crowd. I reckon Dale read 5 pages of the local newspaper while getting chucked around the joint.

UK festival weather is always fairly unpredictable, what are you expecting?
Luke: Melbourne, of which we are from, is renowned for being characteristically unpredictable. The kind of place where you get 4 seasons in one day! So I feel we are pretty prepped in that regard. As I said before we don’t know what to expect. We know it’s going to be warming up for summer which could mean nice mid 20’s, however when a friend of mine visited a year or two ago they experienced some unprecedented heatwave. If the mercury rises we might have to bust out the boogie boards and get fuckin barrelled. You get decent waves on the Thames right?

What five things would you advise a fan going to a festival this Summer take with them?
Luke: No worries mate, I got ya sorted.
01. Carrots. A woody, sustainable snack on the go. Low maintenance.

02. iPod. Shuffle preferably, for the mysticism. Whether to get the pump up tunes going in the car en route to the festival site or to drown out the blokes in the next tent who went too hard on the turps and are keeping you up.

03. Gaff tape. What can’t this bloody stuff do? This magic tape should be on deck no matter what you’re doing. You’ll be needing this as soon as the wind picks up to 25 knots and your Kmart tent and/or Gazebo snaps in two.

04. Banner/flag. Seriously I’d lose it if we rocked up to play a show and people had gone to the effort of a DIY banner. Also, a useful tool to find friends in the crowd or to mark out your campsite to make the voyage into bed stress-free at the end of the day.

05. Bum bag/pouch. You could even use a zip-lock bag to waterproof your belongings. Important so you can crowd surf and run amok all day without the fear of losing your proverbial testicles, spectacles, wallet and watch out of your pockets.

What advice would you give a punter going to a festival looking to hook up with a member of the opposite sex?
Luke: Not exactly Hitch here guys, but I think the most important thing at a festival is to respect those around you. Nobody wants his or her space, peace or boundaries sullied. If you’re doing that you’ve already lost out. Other than that, be yourself. There’s only one you. Take those things that make you different or unique and make them your biggest strengths. I can tell you that choosing not to operate within the status quo can be quick admirable and attractive.

You’re playing Slam Dunk this May, what do you know about the festival? Are there any bands you’ll be checking out?
Luke: Not a clue. Utterly bereft of any idea about Slam Dunk and how it operates. We are just attacking this festival with a heap of enthusiasm and an open mind! Yeah totally, would be remiss of us to not go and watch Enter Shikari every night as a band. They totally inspired us from day one and I know from what I saw from them playing here in Melbourne we have a lot to learn from this band in a performance context. Also totally rate Casey, Sylar, Stray From The Path, Beartooth, The Bronx, Goldfinger, Trophy Eyes, With Confidence, Puppy, Turnover… they all kick ass.

Out of all the bands on during the day, why should fans come and check out Ocean Grove?
Luke: If not for the sheer rarity of it being our first time over, try come wrap your head around our Aussie jargon. Honestly, now that I think about it, I can’t say any of us ever thought we’d have this kind of opportunity. We grew up just as mates bumming around in our school music prac room and now we are gearing up to play festivals in the UK. We never brought up the fact this could be a reality one day or dared to dream. What an opportunity! I think you just have to come down and check out how we handle this absolute situation we have found ourselves in.

Any advice for a fan coming to a festival for the first time this Summer?
Luke: Stay safe. Stay hydrated. People come to music for a lot of reasons, whether it’s an outlet, an escape or just for leisure. Respect those around you and make the most of the time you have. One day you will be stuck at work or in an exam room wishing you were out having a blast at a music festival. Let’s just give this Slam Dunk a red-hot crack shall we?

I have an unhealthy obsession with bad horror movies, the song Wanted Dead Or Alive and crap British game shows. I do this not because of the sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll lifestyle it affords me but more because it gives me an excuse to listen to bands that sound like hippos mating.