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.