It’s hard to find true veterans of the music scene. Many musicians eventually move on from music and bands rarely stick together. Oceans of Insects is the closest thing our city has to a super band. Each member has been part of the music scene for years, bringing a wide range of influences to the bands overall sound. We met up with them after one of their shows to talk about recording their last album, band dynamics, and the changes they have witnesses in our music scene.
How did Oceans of Insects get started?
Dan: We have been playing together since 2010. I have known Ben and Chris forever; we have all been in bands since we were kids. I wanted to start this project, Oceans of Insects, for a while. I met Ron on a local music message board; when my old band broke up, I messaged him about starting a project. Ben joining was a total fluke. He is one of the busiest drummers in Rochester. He is in three bands; I heard one of his bands broke up so I messaged him and he agreed to join.
Ron: We were jamming for a year before we played our first show. We still haven’t played that many shows. Over the last two years we only have played about ten shows. Our record took months as well.
What was recording Heathen Mythology like?
Dan: My friend has recorded ever band I have ever been in. It was nice because we did pretty much everything ourselves, we didn’t have to pay for studio time or anything. We did all the recording at our practice space or at my friend’s home. It was all real laid back.
Ben: We took our time with it and it came out really well. One track we didn’t even play live until we recorded it for the album.
Dan: We have been playing some great shows. Between all of us playing in Rochester so long we know pretty much every local band of our era. Playing out more we have had the chance to play with some of the younger bands, Velvet Elvis, Love Tunnels, etc… We will play with anyone we don’t stick to one style, mainly because we don’t know what style we fall under.
Ron: We just do what we want to do. I find it hard to pigeon hole ourselves into a style. When people ask me what type of music it is and I have a hard time explaining it to them. We just play what we want to hear.
Dan: We have all been in so many bands. We have played in pop puck bands, to death metal, to industrial, to Alt Folk, to country. In this band all of our influences come out in our music.
Chris: We are a mixture of violent rock and ambient noise.
Ron: We don’t care if we make money off of the record. We put it up on our Bandcamp for free. We just want people to hear us.
Dan: We had one person donate to us. We did put out a physical copy for the people who prefer physical to digital. I mostly just wanted to see if I could make a physical copy by hand. These days you can make whatever you want the only thing you need a label for is distribution. Next we want to do vinyl; I personally have never done anything in vinyl.
Do you have any plans for a follow up album?
Ron: We have already started recording our next album. We found a place that will press vinyl. 13 minutes a side. We are planning on recording two 13 minute songs for each side.
I think in a lot of ways the album isn’t for fans, each album one of us has done in our music career is a chapter of our lives. Even if we move on from this band we will still have the memory in the album we produced.
Our new album is different from what we have already done. You can hear the band going to the next level, and putting parts together in a different way. It’s a bit prog but still heavy.
Ben: I think the way it is written and the way it comes out is prog, but the way it comes together is still real heavy.
Chris: Heavy Stoner Metal Prog.
Dan: We went into this not knowing what kind of band that we wanted to be. I want to get into more post rock stuff, where it is a little more thrill jockey. I have been working with some sci-fi movie sound track stuff.
We record all of our practices. Every time we jam I record it and send it out to everyone to listen to.
Ben: It gives us a better idea of what we want to do. We have written real well with it, it is a great tool. We have our own Facebook group where we can message each other ideas and feedback. We are all on the same page which helps us try out a bunch of ideas at once.
Chris: The cool thing about this band is that there is a lot of depth to it. There is never a shortage of material or things to work on. We have all played together in different bands before. When Ron and Chris formed the band the rest of us came out of the wood work almost out of instinct. We just all got together because we work so well together.
What do you think of the Rochester music scene?
Dan: It’s odd, we have been in the scene so long that we are almost out of it, but are roots are still in this scene. The whole scene has changed a bit. Before, we were in all of these bands that all knew each other. Every band played together and became real close. The younger crowd is a completely different scene. It seems split off.
Ron: Before a local band could play the big side of Water Street and it would be a pack show. You can’t do that anymore, for a few different reasons. Smoking laws have changed and DWI’s, plus there is just so much going on.
Dan: Don’t get me wrong there are a ton of younger bands that are playing some great music. But you go to these shows and you don’t see the crowd that you used to.