Despite just forming four years ago, Orange County’s Being As An Ocean haven’t wasted a single moment.
The band already have three full-lengths under their belts to date: 2012’s Dear G-d…, 2014’s How We Both Wondrously Perish and this year’s self-titled record.
A mix of brutal but melodic hardcore with a bit of spoken word thrown in for good measure, their music is driven by both a cathartic rage and the spiritual beliefs of frontman Joel Quartuccio. That said, the band – who adopted their name from a quote by Mahatma Gandhi (“You must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is like an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty”) and who are completed by Tyler Ross (lead guitar/backing vocals), Ralph Sica (bass), Connor Dennis (drums) and Michael McGough (guitar/clean vocals) – don’t preach. Rather, their songs are a mechanism to work out their own internal conflicts.
“It’s a very personal thing for me,” says 24 year-old Quaruccio, who has been playing music with Ross and Sica since they were 13. “That aspect of my life helps me carry on when I don’t feel like it. It’s a quiet reassurance that I can get through something no matter what it is, and I try to incorporate that into my everyday life, not just the music that I make and the reassurance that I put in my music for myself. Ever since I was young it has helped me to find a cathartic outlet and I’ve always held tight to it because my life feels out of sorts without it. Music gave me an identity when I was so in need of one, and searching for one, that I don’t know where I’d be without it.”
You can hear how just important the music the band makes in the delivery of Quaruccio’s lyrics, whether that’s in his throat-tearing screams or the more gentle spoken word and poetry segments in some, but far from all, of the songs, something which only serves to add to the already dramatic urgency of the songs.
“They’ve always kind of been married,” explains Quaruccio. “Me having that need for an outlet and writing just fell in with each other. I found that I felt better when I wrote things down. When I started writing lyrics, especially in my early bands, I wasn’t so focussed on the poetry of it all, but it grew out of me wanting more from my writing.”
Over the past four years, the band’s profile has grown – the self-titled album made it to the number 2 sport on the Billboard Heatseekers Chart – but Quaruccio’s motivation has remained exactly the same. For him, this is intensely personal, but even if your religious beliefs aren’t the same – or don’t exist – it’s still hard not to be moved by the power and resonance of the band’s songs.
“First and foremost,” he says, “this is for myself. But it seems that if I’m just honest with myself in talking to myself, or talking to what I might call God, that other people will relate. There’s a certain unspeakable but known energy that happens when something that’s written that somebody else experiences across the world relates to almost entirely. I think, if we’re speaking just in world secular term, it’s as close to magic as I can get. And if you want to speak as someone who might believe in God, or something bigger than themselves, you can call it the joining spirit of humanity. It’s a very quantifiable thing. Take people at a particularly emotional show, you’re going to have a lot of the same stories, even though they’re all different people and they’re all coming from different walks of life. And I think that’s extremely significant and special.”
For more information on Being As An Ocean, visit their Facebook page.