“Two hours is a long time when you’re picking words out of a sieve,” concludes Cold Ocean Lies‘ softly spoken front man, Luke Brickett Haycock. It’s a Sunday night, we’re sat huddled around a small table in Cherry Reds and we’re trying to devise a ‘deep back story’ as to how the band came up with their name. Eventually, the truth is conceded, “I printed off a load of words, cut them up, and then we spent two hours sat there arranging them.” This modern age.
Cold Ocean Lies are a four-piece formed in Lichfield (“though if you say you’re from Lichfield people say ‘well where’s that?’ and you end up saying ‘near Birmingham’ anyway”). Having formed just over a year ago through a labyrinth of emails and Facebook messages, the band played their first show at their school’s battle of the bands (“We’d never actually heard Luke sing, we’d had three practices and on the night we turned up and winged it” says drummer Luke Marvin), and ended up headlining their first ever show in Birmingham last September. Since then they’ve been on the ascent, attracting attention from London’s Turn First Artists and cutting their teeth at venues across their adopted city.
Ahead of their forthcoming headline show at The Sunflower Lounge, they tell us what to expect.
Hello Cold Ocean Lies, Brum Notes has never spoken to you before. Can you give us an introduction to the band and tell us how you met each other and came to be in a band together?
Luke: My old band had split up and I wanted to form a new one . I knew Luke M vaguely and that he was a bassist so I messaged him and asked if he wanted to do it. We’d meet up once every two weeks to practice then in January last year we started thinking about recruiting other people.
Arran Bick: You messaged me…
Luke: Did I message you as well?? I didn’t really know Arran, he was kind of aloof…Luke M swapped to drums and then we needed a guitarist so we settled for Luke’s mate..that wasn’t Harry [Lehmann] – he replaced our old guitarist about two months ago. Our first gig was a battle of the bands at our old school and we’d had three practices…
Luke M: We’d never actually heard Luke sing…
Luke: We had the songs though and on the night we turned up and winged it. Harry was playing with another band when he joined us early this year. We were both born next to each other in hospital, grew up together and did a gig at scouts together.
Harry: I can’t remember what the hell we played, we just threw something together…I’ve now left the other band, they said they knew it was coming.
Tell me about how the songwriting process works – do you all sit and write together, do you write your own parts, do you pay Guy Chambers to write Robbie Williams-style hits for you??
Luke M: Luke brings a lot of ideas into practice, we jam them out and it develops from there. We just go with the flow.
Luke: I most of the time write lyrics when I’m walking on my own…this sounds weird, I sound like such a weirdo but I sing bits of songs to myself while I walk…only quietly in my head. But if I think of a nice line I’ll base the song around that. That’s what I did with The Game, I based it around the opening line ‘I crumble when I hear your name’. The lyrics that I go for, I try to put more of a positive influence on them but they’re pretty negative…every single song. For me, lyrics are a way of venting those emotions.
Do you draw from particular musical influences?
Luke M: We all have pretty different influences. if you went through Arran’s music…
Luke: You’d be disappointed.
Luke M: He’s just a confused man.
Aran: I don’t have a set genre that I stick to, that’s the most positive way to look at it. There’s thrash metal and lighter music in there. I’m quite a big RHCP fan and take inspiration from there.
Luke M: In terms of drumming styles, my favourite are grunge drummers and I guess particuarly Dave Grohl’s style of playing.
Harry: I will eventually start writing with them but I’m still getting used to their style. I listen to Foo Fighters and Biffy Clyro.
Tell me about some shows to date which you’ve particularly enjoyed.
Luke M: The Sunflower Lounge last September was definitely a highlight. We ended up headlining last minute [after original headliners MMX rescheduled] and that was quite a lot of pressure…we found out a week before so needed to extend the set with not much time left.
Luke: The great aspect was that it established us in Birmingham – that was our first show in the city.
You have just one song on SoundCloud – I know you’ve been recording, tell me about that and what your plans are for the results.
Luke: We’ve been recording with Ryan Pinson. Wide Eyed pointed us in his direction and that was the best decision we’ve made – he understands what we want. So we went back to him for Breathe and we also recorded Fade with him which we’ve just put out on SoundCloud.
What are your views on the increasing digitalisation and the increasing role of the internet in music?
Luke M: It helps a lot with exposure and advertising the band. Rob [their management at Turn First] would never be working with us had he not heard our music online.
Luke: I like the novelty of when you get physical releases and I would never not release physically because of costs because even as a promotion tool at gigs it’s good. That said, I wouldn’t care if someone illegally downloaded my music…
You’re playing a headline show at The Sunflower Lounge in April – do you have any tricks up your sleeve, what can people expect?
Luke: Acrobats, pyrotechnics…Okay we’ll just bring the one eagle. We have new songs which we haven’t played anywhere before. Rob is helping us out and giving us some constructive criticism…more songs like The Game. Hope that’s not our one hit. But all it is is catchy choruses isn’t it. It’ll be 45 minutes of catchy choruses.
Cold Ocean Lies play The Sunflower Lounge in Birmingham on April 12 with support from Juice and Oceania. Tickets are priced at £5 on the door – for more information, head over to the Birmingham Promoters website.
Fade is out now.