Eric Marshall, frontman of the New York experimental worship band Young Oceans, was kind enough to do an interview with me. I tried not to fanboy too hard, but I adore this band.
1. Let’s start from the beginning, Where did the idea for Young Oceans come from? Who were some of the big influences when coming up with your sound?
Our first recordings were deconstructed versions of songs I’d written for our church community to sing. The was no plan, no name, no grand vision. More than anything, we wanted to record music that we ourselves could lay on the floor and get lost in.
I’m pretty obsessed with the collaboration of Robert Plant and Allison Kraus, ‘Raising Sand’. That was a strong influence at first. Also, anything that Daniel Lanois has been a part of.
2. When I think of Young Oceans, I think of layered & hazy vocals, deep & worshipful lyrics, memorable melodies, big drums, shoegaze-y guitars, atmospheric synth, splendid production, and some beautiful cello. It’s like a perfect storm of my favorite musical elements, which is why Young Oceans is one of my favorite bands. Does the upcoming album go along those same lines?
Wow, thank you. Yes in many ways it does. There’s several songs that will feel like home for anyone that’s a fan of the sound. Others are exploring new territory. We have a string quartet on many of the songs instead of a single cello so it gets pretty orchestral. There’s also a ton more singing on this album. It really wore me out.
3. People who have only heard Voices, Vol. 1 probably don’t recognize the band I described in the previous question. Did that album accomplish what you were hoping it would? Did it get your songs played in worship services across the country, as I believe they should be?
There’s probably no way to tell what its accomplished. I will say that I was surprised that some of our fans wrote to tell us they didn’t like it. Others wrote in to say it was fantastic. So, as usual, I’m clueless. I’m aware that more and more churches are playing the songs. We honored by that of course. I genuinely hope that people can make the songs their own.
4. Young Oceans is about to go on their first real tour, right? Is that something you hope to do regularly or is this going to be a rare thing?
Yes, after 5 years of thinking about it, we decided to just start [saying] yes to almost everything. I hope it can be a regular thing, for sure.
5. “All Who Hear” is one of my favorite songs of all-time. Is there anything memorable to you about writing or recording that song?
That whole session was memorable. That fall, the northeast got hit with Hurricane Sandy and parts of New York were really severely affected. The first floor of our studio building had 6 feet of water in it. After the storm receded, Red Hook Brooklyn was like a ghost town. We had no heat in the building, all the grocers and stores in the area were ruined. It was a crazy time. Recording songs about waiting and hope when its hopeless felt very real.
6. I like to ask these types of questions to everyone I interview: What are some of your all-time favorite songs?
Visions of Johanna by Bob Dylan. My Sweet Lord by George Harrison. Stand by Me (John Lennon version). (What a Wonderful) World by Sam Cooke. So many more…
7. Do you like to read books? If so, what are you currently reading and what are some of your all-time favorite books?
Yes I love to read. I’m currently re-reading ‘The Call’ for the third time but Os Guinness. I love everything by Bill Bryson.
8. Your other band, The Last Royals, released an excellent album last year called Never Be Alone. In the future do you intend to keep both bands pretty active in releasing new music?
I hope to. There’s something about having the 2 projects. Its kind of one recharges while one is being drained.
9. Back to the upcoming Young Oceans album, it’s coming out in the fall, right? Will there be a preorder going up soon?
Yes, look for some singles coming soon and a pre-order campaign. Full album should be out end of October.
10. Will the new album be released on CD and vinyl like I Must Find You was?
Sort of. We will be selling only Vinyl, but every jacket will have a CD in it as well.
11. Will there be an instrumental version of the new album, as well?
12. Anything else you want to share about the new album, or the tour, or anything Young Oceans related?
Just that we’re excited and grateful to keep it going.