THEAUSSIEWORD.COM special interview with Opal Ocean.
How and where did it all begin for you? What drew your interest to the music industry?
Alex: My dad played guitar around the house and he always had friends coming over for late night jams. I always knew I wanted to play guitar but it’s when I saw a DVD of the G3 with Joe Satriani, Steve Vai and Malmsteen that I decided to take it seriously.
Nadav: I have a very similar back story except it was my mum playing guitar and my brother’s musical taste which put me onto learning guitar at the age of 13 with bands like Metallica being at the helm of my musical journey. From that point on it’s been a journey of sound and exploring new ideas.
What motivates or influences you in your quest to make great music?
Alex: I see music as a gift and I was very lucky to receive it at a young age. As a musician the goal is to pass it on to others and inspire people to pick up an instrument. In that process I’m trying to keep it interesting for myself with songs that I enjoy to play.
Nadav: Exploring new territory is always a goal when it comes to music. There’s so many bands I love but I never have “enough” when I listen to their music. This makes me want to create music to fill that satisfaction.
What are some of your biggest goals you hope to accomplish?
Alex: They are many, but if 2020 has taught me anything is to be happy with what you have now, you never know how the future is going to play out. A lot of my childhood dreams of playing music live and inspiring others to play have already been accomplished. Now I can only hope to continue that trend and keep evolving in my professional and personal life.
Nadav: I think just being able to break the notion that you need a singer to top the charts. Instrumental music is notoriously hard to make a big statement as there’s no human voice to give a message and it would be very cool to see if that would ever happen But as Alex mentioned we’re both very happy and grateful to have what we have now.
What can we expect from you in the coming months? Any plans to tour?
Alex: Our local council has opened up the possibility to busk in some areas. We are very excited to get out into the world again as we’ve been in lockdown since late March, apart for the month of June. Melbourne has been severelyhit by the virus and we had to cancel all plans for touring until the country opens up again. We are working on shows for 2021 but at this point it is all uncertain.
Tell us a bit about your latest release and how would you best describe your music?
Alex:The Hadal Zone is the title track of our new album and it represents our love for the progressive genre. It was meant as a tribute to Tool with a 7/4 groove throughout the song. For us this is definitely on the slower side as we usually write songs much faster than this but we fell in love with the tumbling feel of this rhythm and decided to push things and see where it would take us. Overall this is a very special song for us and it is a new milestone in our development.
Nadav: Our music overall is definitely an eclectic mix of genres all mashed onto two acoustic guitars. When we play these songs we really imagine us with a full band playing Heavy Metal Or Prog Rock but the acoustic nylon guitars give the music much more of an interesting texture and ultimate softer output!
Give us an insight into your creative process. What gets you writing songs?
Alex: I suppose it all comes from a sort of vision Nadav and I have. When we tour and play a lot together, we stumble on moments of music that make us raise our eyebrows, so we take notes. Over time we compile those ideas and when we feel like we have enough we’ll find the time to sit down and put those songs together. We are on the hunt to keep ourselves stimulated musically, so anything that feels new and exciting is given the green light to be pushed forward.
Nadav: Atmosphere. Watching live music and other great artists is very inspiring for creative juices! With our particular playing style we can take a lot of influences on board so hearing something new and fresh makes us eager to try adapt and translate that into our own style.
Is there a hidden meaning in any of your music?
“You don’t need to be a full band to sound like one”. That would be the main message we’re trying to move across.
Success, what is the secret to it?
Alex: We still haven’t figured that one out! But from the little success we’ve had I’d say a strong vision and lots of perseverance is key if you want to do anything in this industry.
Nadav: Determination, discipline and direction. Know what your goals are (direction), use your passion to motivate yourself to get where you need to be (determination) and make sure if you lose focus or get distracted you have the discipline to get back on track.
What has been your biggest career highlight so far?
Alex: I would normally say, playing Montreux Jazz festival, the millions of views on our original songs, and that time we got into Quincy Jones’s birthday party at Montreux or even having Jordan Rudess on our album. But what I really hold close to my heart is the amazing people that helped up over the years. I had no idea strangers could be so generous, welcoming and straight up legends. From the fans that take the time to learn our songs so we could have a jam, or the fan that opens up his home to us for a few nights on tour to the fan that backs us in our crazy crowdfunding campaigns. Those people are why we give it 100% and we’ll continue to give it 100%.
Nadav: I think The Hadal Zone album. It’s not out yet but it feels like we finally found our voice in the music industry and that we are doing something unique and fresh. We’re not exactly sure how everyone will take the album but we’re happy with how the album came out overall.
Which stars of the music industry do you find inspiring?
Alex: Anyone that has some degree of success in the industry has something to teach you. As musicians we respect all the virtuosos of this world, because we understand the amount of work and dedication those skills represent. And the same goes with artists that think out of the box, we’ll check him out and go through his repertoire and work out if we can apply any of it in our world.
Nadav: It’s always inspiring to see self made musicians and the ones which worked to get where they are. Playing and busking on the street has given us a better understanding of what it takes to get from the ground going as an independent artist. When we see others gaining success it is truly inspiring.
Are there any new projects in the pipeline?
Well the new album is coming out on the 16 of October so we’ll definitely be busy till then. We’ve got a masterclass series we’re putting together. Hopefully that will come out at the end of the year. We definitely want to film some more music videos for some of the tracks off the album. Then if all goes to plan, we’ll be getting ready for touring Europe in June. We might even record some more tracks if we find the time and money…
The music industry is constantly changing, where do you see yourself a few years?
Alex: I know the industry has taken a massive hit with covid-19, in all honestly, I would be happy being where we were before the pandemic. Touring and recording music is the best.
Nadav: Yeah I’m the same, if we can get to where we were with being able to survive touring the world off our music that would be amazing right now.
What is your favourite and least favourite part about this line of work and why?
Alex: My favourite part is performing and connecting with people, and my least favourite part is the insecurity of revenue that we unfortunately have to deal with since day one.
Nadav: Creating and expressing something that means something not just to ourselves but to other people as well. Financial security. Not being able to create new music to the standard we want because we have bills to pay or not even knowing if we can pay those bills ha!
Name a few of your favourite Australian artists.
Malcura, Tommy Emmanuel, Karnivool; Pilini; Xavier Rudd; John Butler Trio; AC/DC
The shape of the music industry has changed significantly over the years, including the use of social media, how do you feel about the industry as a whole and what does it mean to you in getting your records out into the public eye?
Nadav: Social media has been the number 1 driving force of getting us out there. It’s a tricky one as these days it feels so over saturated and forced to get people to listen to your music but at the same time if you don’t push it out there you won’t ever get people coming back to check you out. Overall though our experience has been positive but hard work!
Alex: It’s great! We wouldn’t be where we are today without social media. It’s very cheap to run and we have a lot of control over it. It’s a lot of trial and errors and you have to be diligent about it but that’s nothing new, especially for musicians.
How will you continue appealing to the international market?
The truth is that we mostly appeal to the international market, we’ve never toured Australia because it’s such a hard country to tour and how little fans we have here compared to Europe or the USA.
Do you collaborate with others? Who is on your wish-list?
Alex: Well, with the new album, you can tick off Jordan Rudess of the list! We’ve played with Beardy Man, Malcura, The Trouble Notes and Tribubu. Personally, I would love to collaborate with Infected Mushrooms or Shpongle, I feel like the Psy-Trance scene would connect well with our music. Trio Joubran is one of my favourite acoustic bands, I would totally love playing with them, same goes with Rodrigo y Gabrieal they basically inspired our band form the get go.
Nadav: There’s definitely some interesting ways we could collaborate with people but the main one would have to be a film composer like Hans Zimmer or David Elfmam. I feel our music could already be synced to a film or TV show because of it’s instrumental vibes. It would be such an amazing experience to work with someone like that on a project.
What advice do you give for other artists wanting to follow in your footsteps?
Be different! There are so many musicians today that being “the best guitar player” no longer cuts it. Find what makes you truly unique and build it up.
A message for your fans. How do you best interact and respond with your followers and fans?
Nadav: Just be yourself! I have always been that guy who waits hours to talk to the band after the show or take pictures so I know what it’s like from the fan perspective. Because of that we always try to make time in person or online to respond to your messages or want to have a chat!
Alex: I miss meeting them after a show, we’d always spend a lot of time after a show or before to hang out with everyone and share their stories. Thankfully we have social media that enables us to keep in touch but it really doesn’t compare to face to face rambling. I Hope everyone is keeping safe and I’m looking forward to being on the road again.
Any last words?
Nadav: Don’t be afraid to express yourself! We’re all just trying to connect with one another and music is our universal language!
Alex: Thank you for this opportunity, I always enjoy talking about my journey as an artist. I hope you and your viewers are safe and if you ever feel bored just put on some Opal Ocean to ease your mind for a while, Enjoy!