In the final interview from Tech-Fest, The Ocean’s drummer and newest member Paul Seidel spoke to ZT about joining the band, learning to play the entirety of Pelagial and what the future holds.
After his previous band War From A Harlots Mouth announced they were going on an indefinite hiatus from the end of 2013 and drummer Luc Hess (along with guitarist Jonathan Nido) left The Ocean, the timing seemed right for Paul to sidle into the band (sorry!).
Based in Berlin like mainman Robin Staps as well, and friends due to both bands playing numerous shows together as well as ex-The Ocean vocalist Nico Webers being in War From A Harlots Mouth, the decision just made sense. Assuming the interview was going to be with Robin a couple of questions had to be left out, but Paul still proved an interesting, impromptu interviewee. And of course The Ocean were magnificent onstage later.
*Correction* Mere minutes after posting this I saw The Ocean’s Australian tour has been thrown into jeopardy due to a supposedly unreliable promoter as the band posted on Facebook: “We were supposed to tour Australia in early 2015, but unfortunately, the promoter proved to be a flake… at a stage when we are already very far into planning details of the logistics of this tour…we would really like to come and play, but need to find a reliable agency/promoter to commit to making this happen. So please share…”
ZT: How has the tour been so far?
It has been really good. This is the first time we’ve performed the Pelagial set live, doing the whole album in one piece. We brought all our light stuff with us, the screen, and the response has been really good.
ZT: How long have you been in The Ocean?
I joined in late November right after Luc (Hess, drums) and Jona (Nido, guitars) left the band, that’s when Robin (Staps, vocals/guitars) grabbed me and asked me to join. I played in War From A Harlots Mouth, from Berlin as well, more technical, grimey stuff. A bit faster.
Why did you decide to join The Ocean then? We actually met in 2007 when both of our bands toured together, when the Precambrian tour was happening. Our singer used to sing for The Ocean, Nico (Webers), then he joined us so we always stayed in contact seeing as Robin was also living in Berlin. We always met and hung out, it just led to me joining the band.
Did you have to learn all The Ocean’s songs then or just Pelagial so far?
Not all of them, it’s kind of a process. We always want to vary the set and play a couple of old songs but mostly I learnt the Pelagial stuff and seven or eight more songs, which is a lot already. There are still more to learn though!
Was it easy?
I wouldn’t say it’s easy but it’s not as hard as the stuff I did with my old band which was way more complicated and exhausting. But it’s a little different as I have to play with a click track now, with the samples and the lights triggered with me from a laptop, so I have to concentrate way more with the click track.
Was it an easy decision to leave War From A Harlots Mouth?
I actually didn’t leave, we went on a hiatus, sort of, so it was perfect timing for me. We played the last tour in December and then I just got into the van to tour with The Ocean. The first tour was in March in the US. We toured with Scale The Summit, The Atlas Moth and Silver Snakes, also from the States, and there was a really good turnout. I would say we had 2-300 people every night which is good.
Do you think The Ocean are biggest in Germany or abroad?
I would say The Ocean are bigger in the States, especially after the last album kind of blew up. Everybody wants to hear that record and I think it’s a really successful album. The Ocean have been around for more than ten years now. It’s hard to see if it’s getting more popular or not as it’s already in a good place and I think the last album even charted in Germany, so that’s a good sign I guess.
Was it easy stepping in after a couple of members left?
We have a new guitarist as well, Damien (Murdoch) from Australia. I mean Luc is a completely different drummer from me, he’s way more laid back and a hard hitter. I would even say, don’t get me wrong, but a little bit of lazy drumming, not doing as much as possible but trying to find the perfect way of doing less than just filling everything in with drums. Since I’m always fast, energetic with a lot of fills it’s different playing. But it’s also good for me to learn that stuff to improve my own drumming.
What future plans do The Ocean have?
Well we’re working on an Australian tour right now which will probably happen in January, and some Asian dates which are about to happen in December, I think. We want to do Scandinavia which I think will happen in December too. And then, next year I don’t know. Robin has already started writing new stuff. He writes the songs mostly and he asked me to do some drumming so we all have to get into the writing process somehow, as we have never really worked together before. I think it will work out.
With all the touring you do, do you have other jobs?
We tour a lot and try as much as possible to not get tired of it.I give drum lessons in a music school in Berlin so I would say I’m a full time musician. For next year we don’t have specific plans yet, just some ideas. We’re definitely not doing nothing!