Oceans in Love
Purple Door Festival
August 13, 2011
Philip Herndon – lead vocals, acoustic guitar
Matt Ferguson – piano, guitar
Tyler Hornberger – guitar, back-up vocals
Zach McCleaf – bass guitar
Dwight Sensenig - drums
We often chat with more well-known artists. Though, when you think about it, most national-touring musicians at one time were not as well-known. At the Purple Door festival this year, we sat down with local favorites, Oceans in Love for a bit, soon after their well-attended late morning set on the Main Stage. The quintet call Hanover, Pennsylvania home base, and enjoyed sitting down with us to talk a bit about the past, present and future of the band.
inReview: Which one of you guys is the glue that holds the band together?
(Discussion among all band members.,,)
Philip: I don’t know if I am necessarily the glue. But I think that I am asked to kind of always take leadership, you know what I mean? So for us it’s like I just kind of fill in that role. But we are all such a big input in all that we do. I think the cool thing about the band for us is that we kind of partner together in all that we do. So I kind of keep things flowing.
Tyler: I think the really cool thing about Phil is that he is just a good mediator in the band. Whenever there is any kind of a problem or even a decision that has to be made, we will all talk about it, but he will oversee the whole thing and make sure we all stay in line with the conversation or stay in line with whatever is happening in the band at that point in time. It is really important that we have him to do that.
inReview: You recently released a full-length CD. What was the process to make the CD, and why did you choose that process?
Philip: It was started in October. So we were just working, and we took a break. We recorded five songs, took a break, and then we recorded five more. It kind of went, we wrote five [songs], we stopped, we wrote five more and then we went back in and we finished the album in March. And really for an independent band like us, we had to raise a lot of the money through shows and generous people who believed in our project. So we raised money and were able to put down money. We actually released it yesterday. It has been a cool process. We recorded it in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania at Attic Studios with Nathan Horst [who] produced the record. We are very happy with the outcome.
inReview: So what song are you really hoping that the audience hangs on to?
Tyler: The song that we were really hoping to push would be, I guess, “Crooked” and “Clouds” maybe too. “Crooked” seems to be a crowd favorite while we are in the live perspective. Like we always close out with that one because we feel it is definitely the strongest one we have in a live performance. It puts out a lot. And people really accept that song really well. And just like the whole meaning behind the song is a cool message to kind of push to the general public. It is a song that could be taken in a variety of ways. But each way is really meaningful and we think pretty strong and powerful as well.
Philip: I think that’s what makes a good song. We know what we mean when we wrote it. But I think people can take it a lot of different ways. So we are pumped about it and I think it is going to come off well.
inReview: That is interesting about the meaning of a song. I was just talking with someone about U2 and different songs and different meanings. Actually I think it is good that you can have a song with different meanings. So, you are independent now, and playing Purple Door, where do you see yourself in five years?
Philip: We have families. Like Dwight our drummer has two boys and a daughter on the way. And I have a son and a daughter. And we just want to be able to provide for our family doing what we love to do and that is music. So whatever that looks like, if we can provide for our family. I think in five years it would be awesome to be able to just be touring, doing what we love doing and providing for our families. And to be able to make a small impact on the world in some kind of way. We want to be more than just a band.
inReview: You were talking about touring. What would be your ideal tour – location and a band to tour with?
(Discussion among all band members.,,)
Tyler: I think our dream tour would definitely with be a band like Death Cab for Cutie. I think we are all like madly in love with that band. And it would actually influence a lot of our writing process. Even bands that we have played with in the past and would love to do a tour with would be something like Deas Veil. They are really great guys. We love their music and we think our music would really sync up really well with a band like that. And I think generally the same group of people who like them would like us, and vice versa. Do you want to know length of tour, like how long we want to be on tour?
inReview: Length would be ok, but how about maybe what area? Regional? National? World tour!
Tyler: Eventually getting a national [tour] would be sweet, but even starting in just an east coast region sort of a thing or even just the tri-state area just to start out. We don’t have to go coast-to-coast right away, but doing something small and kind of working our ways up would be great. We are kind of working on that now and we would love to keep on pursuing that and hopefully getting that opportunity.
Zach: I think it would be awesome, not necessarily to go to any specific location, but just to be on the road with all five of us, playing shows and doing what we love to do. That is really the dream for me. It doesn’t really matter when or where. Just my company and doing what I love to do.
inReview: So, what is your ideal fan?
Zach: I guess our ideal fan would be anybody that we can make an impression or make an impact on, whether it be helping them through their day or really making a change in their life.
Dwight (after being prodded by his band mates to speak): Ideal fan. People. Everybody. Not aliens so much. Just people. Humans. No, but anyone who is into music and loves good music.
inReview: How did you get involved with Purple Door?
Tyler: It’s easy. Three years ago we entered this battle of the bands, and we won. And the winner played Main Stage at Purple Door. And last year, they invited us back and we played the Gallery Stage. And this year they invited us back. And this is the first year that we were asked to play the main stage, so we are really pumped about that.
inReview: So why do you want to play Purple Door. I mean, obviously, there is exposure. But what about Purple Door fits Oceans in Love?
Philip: I think when you are a musician, especially a younger band or independent artist, anything you can take to get your music to more people. We don’t have distribution deals and all this stuff. We are looking for ears to hear. So this is one of those avenues. We play tons of shows. But here we get to have an impact and at a time with a lot of people all at once. So for us it just makes sense for us. I think musically, too, we kind of fit this festival. It is really cool to be a part.
Tyler: I think for me personally, I came to Purple Door a lot when I was younger, before I was getting really serious in the music scene. And I discovered a lot of bands at Purple Door that ended up really impacting my life in some way or another. Whether it was getting through middle school or high school and having that band that wrote the songs that your head was where they were. Like right when they were writing that song, it was like, “Man, I just dealt with that at school all week long.” Or whether it was something where you were like spiritually at, like anything. I always discovered bands here, or got to come and see bands here that were impacting my life. And just to think that there is even one person here that we are impacting in that way, the way that I felt when I came to this festival. If there is just one person out there that is feeling that way, then I consider that a huge blessing. Because it is awesome to even think about the fact that God is using your music to impact someone like that at a festival like this. Because there are so many people from so many different places that come here. That is huge for me, just because knowing how it was for me coming to this festival. So that is really important for me just to try my best to let God use us as a group to impact anybody that we can. I think that is my desire for when we play things like this.
Philip: The unseen of being a musician is cool. For me, you put your music out there and people buy your CD and you never know what happens. And I like that about being a musician. Maybe possibly we were able to help someone through a tough time that may have not been able to get out as easy without a certain song. Just to have that out there is a blessing. Probably one of the best parts about being an artist in general.