“It’s just a rollercoaster of emotions”: Ocean Grove reflect on 2020 and the return of live music

“It’s just a rollercoaster of emotions”: Ocean Grove reflect on 2020 and the return of live music

Photo by Sam Wong

Following a year-long forced hiatus from performing, Melbourne’s metal/punk fusion outfit Ocean Grove have announced a national album tour.

Four years on from their groundbreaking debut, The Rhapsody Tapes, the nu-metal quartet will make their way around the country touring their latest release Flip Phone Fantasy, and the boys couldn’t be happier.

‘It’s just a rollercoaster of emotions for me,’ says vocalist Dale Tanner.

The tour announcement followed an impressive triple j Like A Version cover of Sneaky Sound System’s ‘UFO.’ The band was accompanied by former member Matthew Victor Kopp, aka Running Touch, who provided a different level of instrumental texture to the rendition. The restyled cover was a stunning punk-rock arrangement, received as a breath of fresh air to many.

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And, after getting a taste of performing again, Tanner is excited to be back in the spotlight.

“Doing the Like A Version the other day was just a huge indicator of how much we miss playing together live, it gets taken away from ya. You think you know how much you miss it, then you get to perform and it’s unlike anything in this world,” he says.

He describes Flip Phone Fantasy as having “the capacity to be someone’s very own mixtape”.

The record is jam-packed with tracks that forgo consistency while remaining a coherent project that is a thrilling listen from start to finish.

Their second studio album happened to be released under an unforeseeable change in the music industry landscape. With restrictions coming into effect at the very same time as the album’s release, the timing was appalling.

“The train was just leaving the station,” says Tanner.

“[We] had done some great shows, released a few singles, put a new image out and all that. It was weird having all that stripped away in a blink of an eye. It sucked, man.”

Despite minimal promotion, Flip Phone Fantasy defied all odds and debuted at eighth place on the ARIA charts while meeting critical acclaim from a wide range of audiences.

Tanner says he was “grateful for all the support” and that it “revealed a genuine response to all the hard work put in.”

Riding the momentum of their second record, Ocean Grove look to the road as they gear up for their upcoming Australian tour, appropriately dubbed ‘Flip Phone Finally’.

Blending a wide assortment of genres, Ocean Grove set themselves apart as a formidable force when it comes to nu-metal experimentation. The band effortlessly manage to pay homage to aspects of ’90s/millennial rock genres, channeling a DIY aesthetic.

For many artists, 2020 proved challenging. However, it came as a point of reflection for the Ocean Grove frontman.

“This little break has done wonders for my own cultivation of new perspectives and new philosophies,” says Tanner “I am able to channel more of who I am in my music as an artist and as a person… This period of lockdown was really a blessing, and I’m able to see a silver lining in every situation.”


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The band decided it was necessary to keep busy during the lockdown period and stay connected with fans. Providing individual updates of their daily routine and challenges, the band took to social media to give insight into their situations.

“At that point, we were looking for any way to connect with our fans,” says Tanner. “We always want to stay engaged with them, even when we are playing, before or after a show, we really believe in that personalism and show that we are human too and we are real.

“Those diary entries were an aspect of us trying to maintain a personal engagement with fans, it’s really important to us as a band.”

With prospects of performing festival sets in the future, Tanner shares his thoughts on the possibility of performing to divided and socially distanced crowds in the future.

“By putting these limitations on a live show, it takes away from the full capacity of a performance,” he explains. “From a metal perspective, the moshpit is the source of atmosphere and it’s sad seeing that being taken away at festivals.”

That said, punters are guaranteed to be treated with an extensive setlist filled with new material from the album on the band’s upcoming tour.

“The set will be jam-packed with a bunch of new stuff for sure,” promises Tanner.

Ocean Grove hit 170 Russell on August 6. Grab your tickets here