Interview with Ocean Districts
Answered by Taavi Liinak (guitarist of Ocean Districts)
What got you into music, and if you had not gotten into music what would you be doing today?
Just music itself I guess. I got into nu-metal when I was around 12-13 and I was so fascinated about it. I wanted to be a part of that and make my own tunes.
It took another 4-5 years to buy my first guitar though. Meeting Martin (other guitar player in Ocean Districts) in 2005 definitely sped up the process because he wanted to do a band too and we had similar tastes in music. Our first band was much different from Ocean Districts obviously but it’s still semi-active, you can check it out, Burn Still – if you are into metallic hardcore.
What do you like to do when you are not playing music and how does that influence your creativity?
When I'm not playing then I'm listening to music so it's with me on a daily basis with no exceptions. I also go to the gym quite often and I feel it makes everything better. It helps me focus and keeps me energized. And I like to eat. I love good food, I love going out and trying new things, especially when traveling. I wouldn't say gym and food make me more creative but they fill the holes and therefore I feel more pumped up to pick up the guitar and play.
How long has your band been around?
I joined Ocean Districts in 2013 I think. Or was it 2014. So basically it's been 10 years of this band.
Where are you based and how did that influence your music?
We are from Tallinn, Estonia. I honestly think that being from here has any influence on our music. I've always listened to foreign bands.
How did you come up with the name of your band and what does it mean to you?
I honestly dont remember the details, there were some options we were choosing from when we had to name the band. Initially, it was supposed to be named Ocean District, but the extra “S” in the end came due to url availability issues on some platforms. I feel it captures and describes our music quite well.
Tell me about your most memorable shows.
I remember our first bigger show and it was quite scary being in front of so many peole. We were supporting God Is An Astronaut in Riga, Latvia. It was scary but really awesome at the same time.
We did a really cool show in a historical movie theater two years ago. We had an artist do all the visuals and it was just beautiful. We filmed the show too so if you look up our song Survival City on Youtube, you can get a glimpse of how the show was.
What is your favorite venue to play at, and do you have any places you want to play that you have not already?
Oh, there are so many places I'd like to play. We've never been on a proper long tour so that's something I'd like to do one day. I think we are yet to discover our favorite venue.
If you could play any show with any lineup, who would be on the ticket?
That's a tough one, but I'd say Hopesfall. That would be a dream.
What is some advice that you would give to someone who is just getting into playing in a band and some advice that you would give to your younger self?
Try to listen to different kinds of music and don't just stick to one style and try to learn your favorite songs, even if they seem too difficult at first. Also just practice. Find some exercises and spend 10-15 minutes on it every day. It'll make a huge difference That's something I never did. It would help if you knew some music theory too. At least scales for example.
If you could go back in time and give yourselves advice, what would it be?
The advice I gave in my last answer and I would tell myself to start recording songs instead of just making Guitar Pro tabs.
Of your songs which one means the most to you and why?
Hard to say but “Arctic Circle” has quite a bit of emotion behind it. I was working in Lapland at the time and I can remember what I was going through and how being in a quite remote place helped me deal with all of it.
Which songs are your favorite to play and which get requested the most?
“Discovery” is always really fun and also “Survival City”. We'll see what new songs work the best when we start playing again.
What is the creative process for the band, and what inspires you to write your music?
Either Martin, Siim or myself come out with some riffs or sometimes even half of the song and then we'll take it from there. It's rare when the whole song is done from start to finish. Then we just start bouncing ideas back and forth and see what fits the most and what's missing form the song. It can be a long process because none of us are doing this full time but we've always managed to finish what we've started.
Listening to music inspires me the most. I've had so many ideas just from listening to some songs and something clicks like “oh I can do that like this and add that part and...”, if you know what I mean. I never copy or anything, I just let music I like influence my writing.
What kinds of messages do you like to get across in your music?
We're an instrumental band and don't have a strong message. I'd like to think that our music speaks for itself and every person has their own connection, feelings, and emotions when they listen to our songs. We've always had an overall concept with each release but that doesn't really define the songs. Every song is exactly what you think it is.
Do you ever have disagreements in your band, and how do you get past them?
Nah, we're all friends and old enough to know how to avoid drama. There's never really been any huge disagreements.
What are your plans for the future, and do you have anything that you want to spotlight that is coming up?
We'd like to play live as much as possible and promote the new album. We have already some festival shows coming up this Summer which is exciting. We're also planning on making another music video soon and hopefully, we can pull off a small tour.