Music. It’s a great hobby. And for most people, that’s exactly what it should stay as: a hobby. But for those few to whom the passion is all-consuming, that simply see no alternative, and have the talent to match, music turns into a lifestyle and a profession. Helsinki-based heavy metal band Oceanhoarse is comprised of four individuals just like that.
”When I had finally decided to disband my old group Amoral, it was time to start something new, from scratch”, guitarist Ben Varon begins. ”And, most importantly, do so with musicians who share my drive and passion for playing music, musicians that would be willing and able to put 130% of themselves into this band. The first guy I thought of was bassist Jyri Helko. I called him that very same day.”
Ben pitched Jyri his vision for this new band:
1) A metal band to match and surpass the very best of the genre.
2) The emphasis would be on the live shows, and the music should sound great on all stages, from small clubs to arenas.
3) No backing tracks, no computers. No keyboards either, for that matter. Guitar, bass, drums, vocals, that’s it.
4) The band should be all members’ priority, and everyone should be able to drop everything else they might have going on in just a few days notice, in case a good show or other opportunity was offered.
5) The level of commitment should be way above and beyond what appears to be the norm for most of today‘s bands. Rehearsing, writing and arranging together 4-5 times a week would be the norm, to truly find the band’s own sound and groove.
6) The band would bring the fun back to metal, a genre that for some reason had turned quite ”adult” and boring in recent years. Extra effort would be placed on the show, artwork, concept and overall image.
Jyri, already frustrated with issues in his band at the time, For The Imperium, slept on it, and called Ben back the next morning: he was in.
”The problems in For The Imperium had a lot in common with what Ben had experienced with Amoral. The guys had too many bands and side projects, rehearsals were too few and far between, and the original fire had begun to fade. Just like Ben, I wanted to play in a band that worked hard, was tight as all hell, and would blow other bands off the stage. So what he suggested made total sense to me”, Helko says.
With the core of the band now together, Ben and Jyri started to write songs immediately, and scout for the remaining members at the same time. Inspired by the idea of a new band, the songs came fast an in great numbers.
”It was crazy. I’ve never written as much in such a short space of time before. And in Jyri I had found the perfect writing partner. He truly has a knack for arranging, taking my raw song ideas and turning them into tight, to-the-point metal bullseyes. He knows just where to cut the fat off, which chord to change and which part needs to be replaced by something better”, says Ben.
They quicky had an album’s worth of songs, and those songs, together with Ben and Jyri’s relentless drive, helped them find just the right guys to complete the line-up: drummer Oskari Niemi and singer Joonas Kosonen. The guys now had their dream band, with all four dudes committed to creating something great together.
Last but not least, the band still needed to decide on a name for itself. And not just the name either.
”We decided early on that we wanted to have some sort of a ‘mascot’, our own Eddie or Vic Rattlehead, if you will”, says Jyri. ”Something cool that would be featured on all our album covers, t-shirts, stage show etc. It just makes the whole thing more fun. Ben came up with the idea of this creature we ended up calling the Oceanhoarse. And that was that: both the mascot/logo AND the band name were settled!”
After many tedious months of rehearsing, writing and recording together, Oceanhoarse presented itself to the outer world in early 2018, with it’s debut single ”The Oceanhoarse” and two sold out shows supporting Beast in Black. The feedback was even better than expected. ”Oceanhoarse seems to have the entire package amazingly well together”, wrote the Finnish leading metal site Imperiumi.net. ”Oceanhoarse is clearly not kidding, their riffs are heavy, songs are brutal and they have the best stage energy”, praised Tuonela Magazine.
The band spent the year 2018 playing shows (supporting acts like Ensiferum, Barren Earth and Freak Kitchen),
including it’s first few summer festivals (Nummirock, Saarihelvetti, and aftershows for Tuska and Rockfest). Between shows they kept writing and recording. Oceanhoarse put out a new single out every few months, each doing better than the previvous ones on the streaming platforms.
Most recently a slot on this summer’s Rockfest, next to giants like Kiss, Def Leppard, Slipknot and Disturbed!”