The Gauntlet caught up with Chris and Marcos of Defy The Ocean. The band recently released their new EP, 'Mypoic' which is a four song concept around humans' role in declining species biodiversity. All album proceeds will be donated to the Sea Shepherds. You can pickup the album here.
How did the band form?
[Chris] We essentially grew up together and went to the same school, albeit 5 years apart. About 3-4 years ago Marcos was in a band and had some left over material he was working on that wasn't suitable for the direction the band were taking. He sent it to me and I put some vocals on top of it and we ended up with a couple of interesting songs despite being in a completely different genre to Defy The Ocean. It was more ambient and electronic.
[Marcos] Yeah, it was totally different to what we're doing now. When my old band broke up I was looking for a new creative outlet. I had a bunch of ideas that were more rock and metal oriented, both genres that I love, but writing lyrics and vocal melodies weren't my strength. So the idea of working with Chris who'd been doing solo stuff for a while seemed like an
opportunity to pool our strengths.
[Chris] The stuff I was working on before tended to be heavier and more progressive but we were keen to package those elements more effectively. We wanted to write well-structured, musically and tonally coherent songs, and there was certainly a fair degree of overlap in our influences. That coupled with a mutual respect for each other's abilities meant us writing together was bound to happen eventually.
[Marcos] We also wanted to be there to encourage and push each other, it's harder to slack off when you're answerable to someone else. You can't write a mediocre guitar or drum line and expect to get away with it. We pick each other apart and while that can be frustrating
we both know that being so tough on each other is what makes the end result special.
[Chris] Special to us at least! And we hope special to others.
How long was the recording of 'Myopic'
[Chris] The songs themselves were written over the course of a couple of years but not consecutively. We worked on other tracks in between. However, the order in which they were written is the actual order in which they appear on the EP, so you may see a progression in the songwriting over the course of the four tracks. "The Tide", the final track in the EP, was completed around July this year.
Would you consider the album a concept album due to it's lyrical theme of bio diversity?
[Marcos] Absolutely. After writing Neolithic, which began as a standalone track, we realized we had a lot more to say about species biodiversity and the holocene extinction. With each track tackling a human cause for this extinction there is no doubt an overarching theme and an intent to try to fully represent all human behaviours and actions that are responsible for these issues.
With that intent in mind, we outlined the first 3 tracks - Neolithic, Invaders and The Hunter – as a 3 part concept. The Tide came later but is still fundamental to 'Myopic' and the concept as a whole.
How did the decision come about to donate the albums proceeds to the Sea Shepherds?
[Chris] We had previously given our music away for free and we were happy to do the same with the EP, but at some point at the beginning of this year we discussed the possibility of doing something with it in terms of charity. The themes were there, the intention was there, and it would probably have appeared hypocritical of us if we didn't sell it for charity. You know, "here's this band being all pious and talking shit about human behaviour without contributing towards the solution" etcetera. We had a message that we thought was strong enough and packaged well enough to mean something to at least 1 person other than us and so alignment with a charity was a no brainer. We wanted people to hear the message and do something with it. Donate of course, but hopefully also see things in a different or clearer way.
As for how we came to donate to Sea Shepherd, it wasn't an immediate decision. We looked at a lot of conservation charities but in the end chose the one that was most supportive and most interested in what we wanted to do and what we had to say. Darren at Sea Shepherd UK deserves a shout out, he's an absolute asset to the organization.
Have you been involved with them before?
People seem to either love or hate the Sea Shepherds. Are you afraid of being aligned with an activist group of this sorts?
[Marcos] Not at all. We agree with the intentions of the SSCS and ultimately you have to respect people who are willing to give so much of themselves to a cause that lies squarely in the middle of the most troubling human activity of the last ten thousand years - the destruction of our biosphere. So are we afraid? No, not at all. Most critics attack the methods but you can't argue with the results. Sea Shepherd is succeeding, and attempts to discredit them tend to come from people with the underlying belief that as the world's most intelligent species we have the right to do what we like regardless of any consequences. In fact, it's the opposite. As the planet's most intelligent species we have the greatest responsibility to act properly with regards to our environment and fellow organisms. We need to start thinking like a species, not a country, group, organization or individual.
Will the band be touring in support of the album?
[Chris] We're just two guys with the normal amount of limbs so while we won't be getting up alone and thrashing these songs out we are just starting to look at new members to make this a full line up. So, not yet, but in the future.
What is next for the band?
[Marcos] Beyond continuing to promote Myopic, expect another release from us within a year as well as some gigs. We're not the fastest writers in the world but we want to get new music out as soon as possible and we've already got a few songs in the bag that we can't wait for people to hear.