Artist Profile: Oceanic

 Photo: Jacob Buwalda - Instagram: @jacobrbuwalda

Photo: Jacob Buwalda - Instagram: @jacobrbuwalda

Lynchburg is brimming with fresh, new talent, so it's no surprise that a promising new group seems to pop up every ten minutes. But Oceanic seems to be different. Their first single just dropped- like, yesterday- but they've already garnered a loyal fanbase. I caught up with Nathan Wyatt, the lead singer, to fill me in on the wildest new ride in town. 

When did the band form (officially or unofficially)

 

The band formed when Jacob (our guitarist) and I met in our college dorm in 2016—we started playing guitar together. I think the first thing we ever did was record a cover of WALK THE MOON’s “Shut Up And Dance”... It was pretty bad. Anyway, Jacob showed me a great guitar riff that he had come up with a year or so before, and over the next couple weeks we wrote our first song, “…You.” (It’s our next single, by the way.) We really didn’t know if it was any good or not, we were just flying blind. We felt more like a band when we played our first open mic, and noticed that people really liked what we did. 


 

 

What was the biggest inspiration for your aesthetic (you have a very strong one which I love, and I feel like your visual and audio aesthetic match up well, which is hard/rare)

 

 

That’s so sweet! That’s a great question, and I’ve thought about that. I think our inspiration, visually and sonically, just comes from inside us and our marketing team: we all like certain things, so that's what we make. The millennial era is the Era of Availability—so much art, musically and visually, is available to everyone, so we’re just a product of all of them at once. That being said, its kind of hard to pin down one place where our aesthetic comes from. For example, we often work with Jacob Buwalda, an extremely talented photographer in Lynchburg, and his skill in producing photographs that match our sonic aesthetic  has inspired me (as social media coordinator) to extend that to graphic design, and beyond. That’s just one example of how we all feed off each other to make something we think is cool.

 


 

Who are the members?

 

 

Nathan Wyatt: Lead singer, and songwriter. I write the songs so the band can make them better. With my lyrics, my main goal is to get people to see something in a new light.

 

Jacob Johnson: Lead guitarist. Jacob has spent years developing his ear for guitar, and I would say his expert taste is unparalleled in Lynchburg.

 

Jon Hopkins: Drummer. Jon is an incredible drummer, and—like Jacob—he knows EXACTLY how to coax the sounds he wants from his instrument.

 

Sam Goodwin: Bassist. Sam is probably the best at music, of all of us. He’s just got a brain for it, and he shows it with his bass and arrangement skills. (And he’s beautiful.)

 


 

Your new single just dropped (YAY) and it's getting a lot of hype. How do you guys feel about that? Was it expected? Are you going to Disney world next? Inquiring minds wanna know (read: me)

 

 

We’re so proud of that song! We worked with Gat3 Studios in Charlotte, North Carolina to record, mix, and master it, and they did a stellar job of bringing our song to life. I’m not sure how much “hype” we expected exactly, but we know we’re proud of it, and we’re incredibly thankful for all the people who are spreading it around. We’re in this business to connect with people—we love nothing more.


 

 

Where did the name "Oceanic" Come from?

 

 

Well, before Jon and Sam were even in the band, Jacob and I were literally just trying to come up with band names. For about a week or so, we were throwing out names (awful ones, mostly), and we started saying stuff like “Oceanic House” or “Oceanic Minds” (not verbatim), until one of us said, “What about just ‘Oceanic’?” Our friend, Lexy, who was with us at the time, hated the name so much that we had to choose it. 


 

What can you tell me about your single, Party Song? (I'm jamming to it now as I write this)

 

 

At its inception, "Party Song" was originally named “Party Song About How I Don’t Know What Love Is.” A little dramatic, but essentially it highlights the high contrast between parties and the reasons people go to them. I am fascinated by humans, and the fact that someone can be bleeding and depressed inside, and still laugh, drink, and act like they’re enjoying themselves with fake love, is a mystery of humanity. Now, it’s not a blanket statement about every single person at any given party—I’m aware of that. But Party Song is a song about lonely people who try all sorts of destructive ideas to cope with their loneliness. I’ve been there. 


 

 

Who have been the biggest influences to your sound?

 

 

Coldplay, WALK THE MOON, The 1975, Hippo Campus, Julia Rothenburger, and other similar artists. Those are the big ones, but we definitely have learned something from every different genre we listen to—Drake has taught me lessons too. 


 

 

What do you wanna see happen in the LYH music scene over the next five years

 

 

I would love to see songwriters in Lynchburg building relationships with each other, influencing each other to keep growing and learning. I’ve been influenced by some awesome people here in Lynchburg, and I’d love other people to have a similar experience. It’s so important for artists to stay involved in each other’s lives. Also, I want Coldplay to do a secret show here. 

 

LISTEN TO THEIR DEBUT SINGLE HERE

Local act jams their way into LOCKN'

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 Billy Berger of Firecracker Jam 

Billy Berger of Firecracker Jam 

Long running music festival in Nelson County will get a little taste of Lynchburg this year. That's right, local act, Firecracker Jam will join the bill this year supporting iconic acts such as WIDESPREAD PANIC, DEAD & CO, UMPHREY’S MCGEE, LETTUCE, MOON TAXI and lots more. LOCKn' Music Festival hosted a battle of the band called ROCKN' TO LOCKN in Garcia's Forest out at the festival grounds in Arrington, VA. Firecracker Jam went up against 5 other acts from around the state and came out as one of the finalists and earned themselves stage time at this year's LOCKn' festival. Firecracker Jam was able to move on to this event after advancing through an online voting campaign where fans were encouraged to vote for who they wanted to see perform. With their results from voting and killing it for the live performance element they moved on to Garcia's Forest where they were able to battle it out to secure themselves a spot at the festival. 

It excites us to see Lynchburg talent working their tails off chasing after their dreams and making things happen. We encourage all who attend the fest this year to check out their set. Follow them on social media for more info as the event grows closer.

 

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Firecracker Jam

LOCKn' Music Festival

August 23-26

Arrington, VA

Infinity Downs & Oak Ridge Farm

Record Store Day

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Since 2007, RSD has been one of the most highly anticipated- and nearly holy- days of the year on the niche music calendar. Originally launched to celebrate the still thriving community, Record Store Day now boasts thousands of stores participating world wide on every continent except Antarctica (though we're still betting some penguins would love to jam out to  Grateful Dead). 

In honor of RSD, bands are encouraged to release special content, including represses of classic records, unreleased music, and other exclusives. This rare content will only be available on RSD, so fans are encouraged to get to their nearest local spot (that's us) as soon as they open- they will most definitely sell out. Though stores never know for sure what they'll have till the day before, and are under strict orders to keep it a secret, you can view the list of special releases here

Above all, RSD is an amazing way to #shoplocal, support small business, and keep an integral part of the music industry alive. In a world where streaming is the standard, artists often fall by the wayside. Purchasing a physical copy of an artists music is the best way to support them- plus, records are an awesome decor piece (if you use them, that is). 

 

Doors open at 9am , so get there quick. I'll be trying to snag a Bowie, what are you wishing for? 

Artist Profile: The Bergerons

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I Sat down with one of Lynchburg's most anticipated breakouts of 2018, The Bergerons. 

“The Bergerons started when Parker and I were juniors in high school. We got wind of the LCA talent show, and knew of each other, and kind of formed- solely to play in the talent show, then won.” Says Josh, the Front man, Keyboard player, Guitar Strummer, and song writer extrordinare

Parker laughs, “I don’t know if I ever told you this but I was gonna ask you to play Uke for the talent show.” Though Parker is strictly bass on stage, he's also well versed in guitar. 

“I had no idea, dude. I guess it was meant to happen. All the other members of that group have since gone down their own paths. We did the same thing next year and won again. We tried to record an EP but weren’t totally satisfied, so we’re still progressing.” Says Josh. You’d never guess he’s just shy of 19, he carries himself in a much older way.  “If we won the talent show, we had decided that it was a sign to keep working at it. We thought that our age and the town that we’re in would make it harder, but we were wrong on both fronts.”

 

The group has gone through several evolutions since it's inception, with eras packed tightly into their just-over- two- year existence. The most distinct changes can be seen as a majority of the members shift from high school to college- as does their fan base. 

“We struggle with feeling like we exist in a bubble,” Says Parker. A little older and equally as assured as Josh-  neither of them seem like college freshman. “We have a local following, but more people have started listening from other places, which is encouraging”

 

The group is in the process of recording a single called Desperate Age. They really hope to continue to play shows around Lynchburg- especially at Lynchstock in October.

Confidence- and growing confidence- has been key for every member of the group. For Josh, the spotlight has been the biggest changed. “ I don’t feel like I’m cut out to be a front man of a band.  Desperate Age feels very different from the two songs we currently have out, which are different from each other in their own right. We've performed Desperate Age before, and played it live for over a year, but the version we have now is a big departure. It's poppier. The song is about the 21st century being weird and scary, specifically in the context of relationships. It's optimistic -I always try to leave my cynicism at the door when I write- but I like to think it's honest. The crux of the song is the idea that love from another person won't complete you.”

 

The third member to the group is Josh’s older brother, Tim. The three round each other out well,, on stage and in production, and are constantly pushing themselves to evolve more. The Bergerons have been in the process of recording ,but have struggled to nail down their exact sound “We’re more folk rock than alternative rock, but we’re more indie rock than folk rock.” Their first single, Sojourner, has strong alternative indie influences with ballad like vocals and an easy but progressive rhythm, whereas the newest single, Away, takes a more indie pop route. Definitely a road trip worthy jam.  

 

The development has been natural and organic as they develop as artists and get a stronger feel for who they are, and who they want to be. “Lately we have been playing a lot of acoustic shows, and the end goal for future recordings is to find a happy medium between the unplugged, folky sound we love and the indie rock we love. The other thing is, we don’t know. Its all trial and error. “

 

The Name

The story of how the Bergerons got their name is defining for who they are as a band. “It all began in the basement. We were watching a Youtube video called ‘I feel fantastic.’, by John Bergeron. We thought it was the creepiest thing ever and it bothered us for a bit. Eventually, to get over the disturbance of it, we played the music ourselves, it was really therapeutic. The original concept was to face your fears and redeem crappy things.” We definitely aspire to make beautiful music. If there’s any emotion we wanna elicit it would be peace and hopefulness. If we were able to make that song in some way shape or form sound hopeful, it would be worth our while." Josh pauses "If I was to listen to the advice in my own songs, I would make bolder choices”

 

On the Color Of Music

“Music definitely has color” says Parker. " On some albums, I see the cover, and I feel the way they look. Greens and blues are our favorite colors because I hope our music is calming no matter how intense it could be.. We’re lighter now. We wanna mix organic with electronic.”

As for their own sound, they all agree that though their sound clocked orange and grey tones before, their new music resonates with blue and purple tones. 

 

 

5 Bands To Watch in Lynchburg VA

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In the past five years, Lynchburg- specifically downtown, is breathing new life, and the arts and culture community is the clearest example. Local talent in every genre of music have been producing and performing almost faster than we can keep up with. If you feel like you’re a little behind ,here’s some artists to keep an eye out for (before you have to go through Ticketmaster to see them):

Good Dog Nigel

 Photo by aztekmedia

Photo by aztekmedia

Bursting onto the scene in mid 2017, Parker Emeigh of Good Dog Nigel has already finished a tour of the East Coast.

Sound: “ Usually when people ask I just say ‘Rock and Roll’. But the sound is always slightly fluctuating depending on how I’m feeling or what phase I am in at the moment… Evolution is unavoidable when writing long enough, but still being able to recognize that it’s you even after you’ve changed so much, that’s important and that’s what I try to think about and focus on”

What’s in a name? : “originally it was going to be Roy G. Biv, but there was too many other artists with that name on bandcamp, so I settled on Good Dog Nigel, named after a poem by John Lennon from his book “in His Own Write”

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La Dies

 Photo By Victoria Goodman

Photo By Victoria Goodman

Myra and Melody have been playing music together since they were 9 years old, and when they met Aaron at a show in 2017, everything finally clicked together.

Sound: “ we chose our aesthetic based on the feelings we wanted our music to portray. Its symbolic of the growth and femininity, but also fragility.”

Are Poptarts Raviolis? :  “Pop tarts are definitely ravioli.”

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Great Health

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Made of four parts- Tyler, Jamie, Malachi, and Andrew- Great Health is just beginning to gain local traction with the release of their single “Stitches”, which, by the way, is a bop.

Sound: “I’d call our sound alternative. My personal biggest inspiration is basically anything emo, especially Brand New and Say Anything.”, Says Tyler

Coke Vs. Pepsi: “Coke by farrrr. Can’t speak for everyone else, though”.

 

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Friendlie

 Photo by Sydney Morris

Photo by Sydney Morris

Probably the newest of the bunch, Friendly is just beginning to play shows.

Sound: “Our sound is airy and sometimes abrasive rock reminiscent of the shoe gaze, grunge, and noise rock genres”

While listening, you should: “Drink a glass of sparkling mineral water. It’s important to stay hydrated.”

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Xenith

What started out as two siblings in the basement of a music store has now developed into both a creative outlet and a sound new to the area. 

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Sound: "We would describe our sound as eclectic, melodic with a hard twist. You definitely can hear some 70s, 80s and a lot of 90s influence in our music. Our first 8 track album “Run” was definitely an experiment with different types of rock, and leading into our most recent EP “Sabotaged” we knew we could grow into an even better band.

Advice for musicians: "Play as if it’s your last show. No matter how big the crowd is, play as if it’s your last show. And any crowd is a good crowd, even if it’s a few people!"

 

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by Staff Writer - Sarah Fleet