Picture The Ocean— You Go Back To Being You and I’ll Go Back To Being Me…..
I drove to Portland last night, a ninety mile jaunt on a beautiful sunny evening, to see a band almost no one knows in this neck of the woods. Picture The Ocean is at present traversing the US and Canada, pumping a new album (self-titled) and trying to break through the white noise. It can’t be easy but nothing worth doing ever is, at least according to my father, may he rest in peace. With the music world tipped on its ear amidst the chaos created by this gadget dominated generation of robots we call humans (read “consumers”), we have become consumed with details which mean nothing unless attached to an “app”. We pick our music based upon machines— and I don’t mean the machines play it, they pick it! They choose what we listen to in all too many instances and the way I see it, having traversed the jungles of music for decades, that cannot (in most instances) be good.
They were scheduled to play Alberta Street Pub and I confess to being a bit peeved at that, but more about that later. I got there sometime around 8 PM and hadn’t been there two minutes when Jacquie B, the band’s vocalist and keyboard player, walked right past me, Jessie Dee and Matt Blackie directly behind. I grabbed them, introduced myself and we headed to the outside area in back to get acquainted. I had listened to the album quite a bit over the past couple of weeks and it was getting better all the time but I knew time was limited so I steered clear of the praise (they would read that in my posts anyway) and dove into the meat of surviving in the world of music in this day and age. Is it tiring for you to travel so much? Not that much. Is the album selling? In Canada, but we have only begun to play the States. Are you frustrated? Of course, but not as much as others. We sailed through my questions easily and agreed to disagree on some things, totally agreed on others. This was not an interview. This was curiosity.
We talked about social networking, what works and doesn’t work in terms of promotion and a plethora of other things— never really in depth, partially because we all knew the situation and we all knew we knew. For instance, there are always problems when you’re on the road. They had had their gig in Seattle canceled two nights earlier, something many bands suffer through, and it was not a first. They walked in to Alberta Street Pub not knowing the rules, but they adapted quickly, something you must do on the road. The agreed payment was the door and they worked it out with other musicians playing that night who would take care of it. They quickly set up their equipment after the earlier show by a musician named Ellis (the room was packed— obviously a local favorite) and then got out of the way so the opening act for their segment of the night, Chris Bigley and Ben Cartwright, could set up theirs. They found and introduced themselves to the sound man (who did an exceptional job with sound the entire night), to the bar manager to the local musicians who made themselves known. What can I say? They are pros.