Anyone who has followed the career of Oceansize to date – 2003’s thunderous statement of intent Effloresce and 2005’s more accessible but equally sky scraping Everyone Into Position – will have been awaiting their third effort with no little anticipation. The wait however was shaping up to be a long one as news filtered through that the band had parted company with their original bass guitarist John Ellis and also with their label Beggars Banquet. Fortunately extended periods of contractual to-ing and fro-ing did not ensue and the band were soon signed up again (to Superball) and in 2006 announced that new four string strummer Steven Hodson was onboard and recording was well underway. The results of these sessions, Frames, are now with us and Andy Basire collared guitarist Gambler (above left) for a chinwag, beginning with what prompted the move from Beggars to Superball?
"We thought that we weren't getting the right kind of attention that we deserved at Beggars. They gave us free reign to make some wonderful music without any intrusion, which is exactly what we wanted, but they then did nothing much in the way of promoting said wonderful music and letting other people know about it. As for Superball, out of the multitude of record labels, major and independent that were throwing themselves at our feet, the only reason we signed with them is that they were the only label to actually offer us a record deal. simple really."
It must have been peculiar not writing and recording with Jon Ellis this time out?
"It was scary but also exciting, almost as if the first chapter was ending and a new one beginning. We never knew in the beginning what type of band we were and still don't so it was quite intriguing to figure out what was going to happen in terms of the sound when Jon had left. I still don't know what type of music we write, that's up to you lot isn't it."
You’re probably sick of answering this but why did Jon decide to leave, and will he be involved with you at any level in the future?
"I'm not sick of answering that, I just don't really want to. It's very doubtful that Jon will be involved with the band in the future."
What does ‘New Steve’ Hodson bring to the bands sound?
"A wonderful sense of adventure and righteous calamity. his Ramones influence can be heard all over the new album as I'm sure you picked up on straight away. It was exciting to have a new young face to bounce our ideas off and he just loves being bounced off and bouncing his youthful joyousness right back at us."
Can you tell us why you decided to return to Effloresce producer Chris Sheldon for this recording rather than use Dan Austin again?
"They both wanted to be involved with album and as we couldn't decide we told them to have a fight and although Chris Sheldon looks quite effeminate he has a fucking nasty streak in him that surfaces when he wants something, as we in the band are well aware."
For many of our older readers the return of bands that can play and aren’t afraid of challenging their listeners is welcome, do you find you attract older listeners as well as youngsters?
"Yes we do tend to attract some of the older kind, it's usually quite a mixture of ages at our gigs which is quite good as the older ones tend to look after the younger ones who are only out to cause trouble and get spazzed on ecstasy pipes. naturally."
You are regularly referred to as a prog rock band does this bother you at all?
"It's not that it bothers me but when people tend to put us in the same bracket as Porcupine Tree and Dream Theatre it just confuses me. I think we are a million miles away from a band like Dream Theatre who tend to take the technical aspect to a stupid degree. Yes we can play our instruments but I think in Oceansize we know how to show a little restraint and would rather play three notes for ten minutes if it invoked the right emotion.
In the words of Claude Debussy 'Music is the silence between the notes'."
Frames is out now on Superball and more details of the bands current activities can be found at www.oceansize.co.uk