Oceansize is a five-piece rock group formed in Manchester, England, in 1998. The band consists of Mike Vennart (vocals, guitar), Steve Durose (guitar, backing vocals), Richard "Gambler" Ingram (guitar, keyboards), Mark Heron (drums) and Steve Hodson (bass). To date, the band have released three studio albums in addition to a number of minor EPs and singles. The band can be categorized variously as progressive rock, indie rock, heavy metal and space rock, among other genres.
The band are named after the Jane's Addiction song "Ocean Size". According to guitarist Gambler, the band's "old bass player [Jon Ellis] came up with the name. I think, at the time, he was thinking what we would sound like. Jane’s Nothing's Shocking album, which has the track "Ocean Size" on it, was definitely a big influence."
Oceansize's debut LP Effloresce was released on 29th of September 2003. The album spawned the singles and subsequent music videos for 'Catalyst,' 'One Day All This Could Be Yours' and 'Remember Where You Are.' The piano line playing on Track 9, "Unravel," is an excerpt of the second piece, Le Gibet, from Maurice Ravel's Gaspard de la Nuit.
Music Critic Ben Hogwood acclaimed the debut album, and saying that despite its length, "...with their broad harmonic language and fluctuating rhythms it's difficult to give an alternative to Oceansize, which is always a good sign. If pushed I would say they've taken a good liking to '70s rock but taken on board the works of bands such as Muse and The Cooper Temple Clause, along with the more expansive end of Seattle grunge music".
'Everyone Into Position' (2005-2007)
The band's second album, Everyone Into Position was released on 19 September 2005 on Beggars Banquet. The album marked the final appearance of bassist Jon Ellis.
On 4 December 2005, the band issued a press release, stating that bassist Jon Ellis was leaving the band, but would still contribute musically. On 28 January 2006, frontman Mike Vennart, issued a short post on an Oceansize messageboard announcing Ellis' replacement, Steve Hodson - a member of the Oceansize side-project Kong and also drummer in 'Capulet'.
"Meredith" from the album Everyone Into Position was featured on the popular television drama The O.C., and "Music For A Nurse" became the soundtrack to an Orange advertising campaign entitled Fish during summer 2006. "Music For A Nurse" was also featured in the motion picture The Invisible (2007). Both "Music For A Nurse" and "Meredith" have also been used in the BBC drama series Waterloo Road.
On the sophomore effort, Oceansize have mixed views on the album as a whole. In regards to the singles released off the album, Steve Durose admits that “the singley songs we put out [from Everyone Into Position] didn't do us any good whatsoever. There might be a few songs on the new album (Frames) you can sing along to, but they're not our fans' favourite tunes, and they're not our favourite tunes.”
New Label (2007)
The band, in getting a new record deal, sought to find one that would better support the band in terms of promotion and financial backing for international (e.g. U.S.) touring.  Mike Vennart implied in a recent interview that the record deal was contingent on the band writing two tracks "on order" for the company. These mp3s were released on the band's Myspace page around Christmas 2006 as a band-described gift to the fans. The two songs were "Red Rag to a Bear" and "Siberian Bullshit". In the posting of these mp3s, Vennart described these tracks as "warts an' all," and suggested that they would not show up on the new album.
On moving to Superball, Vennart described the move as a chance for the band to move forward: "we reached a point when we’d gone as far as we could [with Beggars’ Banquet]. We needed a new home and these guys [Superball Records] offered it to us on a plate. We’re the only band on the label at the moment, so they can’t do enough for us"
'Frames,' Australian Tour & Faith No More(2007-2009)
Their third album, Frames, was released on 1 October 2007 on Superball Music (home of ...And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead, Pure Reason Revolution and The Amber Light). Artwork for the album was done by Robin Finck (Nine Inch Nails, Guns 'n' Roses).
The album features “a lot of songs about grudges and negative energy”, with the song 'Commemorative 9/11 T-Shirt,' inspired by a gift to Vennart by band The Cardiacs, wich includes a time signature of "11/8 or 9/8, so when we were naming the song it was like 'it's in 11, it's in 9, it's got to be 9/11",
In May and June 2009, Oceansize supported Sydney band Cog on a national tour of Australia, along with other support act Calling All Cars, playing a string of dates which included shows in capital cities Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide & Brisbane. Of the tour, Mike Vennart spoke of the excitement, saying "from the moment (the tour) was mentioned, I was just hammering our manager, going ‘make it happen!’”
'Feed to Feed' (2009)
The band will release a live box set in 2009, entitled Feed to Feed. It will be released on September 28. The release will be limited to 5000 copies.
'Home and Minor' EP (2009)
The band will release a new EP, entitled Home and Minor, in October 2009. On the EP, Vennart has explained that the band have taken a stylistic approach on the record; "There’s no big blast beats, no metal, there’s no riffs, there’s no ‘loud loud’ on it. The whole EP is a more gentle affair. There’s stuff on it like Music For a Nurse (from Everyone Into Position ), that sorta stuff....It certainly sounds like us, but it is a bit different.” Vennart added that “the idea of this more-chilled EP is something that we’ve been thinking about way before we got signed. It would be nice to be able to do different albums and EPs, with different flavours. And we thought about how the second album ('Everyone Into Position') was quite scattered, with a million different styles on it and I think that turned a lot of people off in some ways. So we thought if it’s an EP, let’s just do something that is one flavour, rather than try and put in all these different colours into it and freak everybody out, because it’s not going to work for thirty minutes.”
4th Studio Album & Future
According to the band's official website, the band are "writing a new album which we are very excited about. Fifteen songs all under four minutes". On 5 August 2008, Vennart posted on the official messageboard "we're hoping to get it out for next summer, in the meantime there's still talk of a US tour, but finding a suitable support tour is proving virtually impossible" and talked about new songs.
Oceansize are hoping to release a full length album in March 2010.
When asked by Fasterlouder.com.au on the future of Oceansize, Vennart was coy, but optimistic about the band's future goals: "after the second album we stopped trying to make goals. We started getting a chip on our shoulder about not having broken through and being broke. We were getting to the point where if you start expecting certain things to happen, you’re going to be pretty bummed when they don’t. So we’ve got to the point where we kind of literally float through the whole thing. We don’t really think about any long term plans. We really do live for the day. I’m sure that our record company or our manager have some kind of financial expectations of us. All we really want to do is to be able to pay our rent. We really don’t care about anything else. Having this kind of mentality has paid off. We’ve stuck to our goals and made the records we wanted to make and forgot about the fact that everybody is listening to us and just concentrated on turning each other on. And that is a risky thing to do. I don’t think a lot of bands can do that, especially the bands higher up the ladder.” .
Style, Influences and Creative Process
Oceansize have often stated the the bulk of the writing is the product of fruitfull 'jam sessions,' with Steve Durose explaining after the release of Effloresce that "our sound has just evolved really, but right from the first rehearsal, we kind of had it in the bag. We were on mushrooms and just jammed for ages, and then we listened back to the tapes. About three songs from Effloresce were born in that one rehearsal, and we just realised we had something special happening. Everything comes from jams, though. That’s the way we write." In regards to structure and time signature, Durose cites drummer Mark Heron as a key collaborator; "Mark’s very into strange beats, so what will start off as a very simple idea, once it’s been through the Oceansize washing machine will come out as something sounding quite bizarre at the other end".
Guitarist/Keyboardist Gambler continues to advocate a 'no strings' approach with the creative process, saying that "I think we have been tied into the whole progressive thing for quite a bit now. When we formed the band we didn’t think we were going to be this or that sort of band. We’re forward thinking as far as our music is concerned". In regards to influences, Oceansize claim to have an eclectic source of inspiration; "Everyone has such diverse influences. I think it would be a list a mile long. The obvious ones, especially for me, would be Radiohead, Mogwai, Aphex Twin, Nine Inch Nails and Tool; I think I could probably go on all day. I mean if you looked at our record collection you probably wouldn’t think it," attests Gambler
Side projects and collaborations
The band's side project Kong, consisting of Steven Hodson and Mark Heron, recorded their debut album “Snake Magnet” in the summer of 2007 at The Works Recording Studio in Bredbury (where Everyone Into Position was recorded). Kong have now signed with Los Angeles based label White Drugs, home of The Bronx, and will release “Snake Magnet” in 2009. Two singles precede this on Brew Records
Oceansize also share a camaraderie with fellow Mancunian band Amplifier, with the bands referring to each other as “brothers-in-amps”. Mike Vennart and Steve Durose supplied backing vocals on two of the tracks on Amplifier's self-titled debut album, while Amplifier's front-man Sel Balamir is credited in Oceansize's song “Sizeofanocean”.
- Feed to Feed (2009)
- Amputee EP (1999)
- A Very Still Movement EP (2001)
- Relapse EP (2002)
- Music for Nurses EP (2004)
- Home and Minor EP (2009)
- "Saturday Morning Breakfast Show" (1999) (7" Vinyl Only)
- "One Day All This Could Be Yours" (2003) (CD/10" Vinyl)
- "Catalyst" (2003) (Download Single)
- "Remember Where You Are" (2003) (CD/7" Vinyl)
- "Catalyst" (2003) (CD/7" Vinyl)
- "Heaven Alive" (2005) (CD/7" Vinyl)
- "New Pin" (2006) (CD/7" Vinyl)
- "Walking in the Air" (Cover version) (2007) (Free Christmas Single, Web Only)
- Mike Vennart - guitar, lead vocals
- Steve Durose - guitar, backing vocals
- Richard "Gambler" Ingram - guitar, keyboards
- Steven Hodson - bass, keyboards (2006-present)
- Mark Heron - drums
- Jon Ellis - bass, keyboards (1998-2005)
Biography from Wikipedia