Rob Grenier from Oceanborne

I did this interview with my buddy Rob from the band Oceanborne out of London. These guys have been good friends of ours for a few years now, and are just in general super supportive, awesome dudes!

http://www.facebook.com/Oceanborne

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1- Let’s begin with basics, who are you, and what is your role in Oceanborne?

-Rob Grenier, I’ve been playing playing guitar and writing music for almost 12 years now and Oceanborne is the 3rd band I’ve started from the ground up! I’m the song writer, instrumentally, but Milo and I work on vocals/lyrics together. Milo writes the bulk of the lyrics. Both he and I are band leaders, I’m just the less soft spoken of the two haha.

2- Who are the rest of the folks in your band?

-So other than Milo, who I’ve been writing songs with since late ’08 in our first band together, Escapes… Brandon, our bassist, is the only other member after a big lineup change a few months back. Brandon instantly gelled with Milo and mine’s personalities so he was a shoe in from the first day he tried out. We’re starting tryouts as soon as we finish tracking vocals to our next single.

3- We met you guys back in the Escapes days a long time ago. How did that band turn in to Oceanborne?

-Escapes was a lot of fun. It was the first time I really delved into a poppier sound as well as for Milo. Our EP had all clean vocals, it was something Milo and really pushed for coming from two heavy London bands, we wanted to stand out from our predecessors … maybe a little too much. I think after we got that recording under our belt, we wanted to push even further. I started getting into back post-hardcore and metalcore as newer bands like Memphis May Fire were emerging on the forefront of the underground internet scene. I started to get excited about heavy music all over again, and thus steered the band in that direction.

4- Can you explain the origin of your band name?

-Oceanborne is a play on the words airborne and seaborn. It’s meaning to us, is basically ‘life”. As all life stemmed from the ocean, we were all ‘oceanborne’ in a sense. It’s a pretty pro-evolution name.

5-Up to this point in your career, what has been the most satisfying show you have played?

-Easy, Vans Warped tour ’09 and ’10. In ’09 we won the Ernie Ball BOTB along with our homeboys in TLIFK. But ’10 took the cake, we won a different competition through West-49 and were one of three bands chosen to play a Canadian Warped date on the Kevin Sez stage. That year we had all-acess passes, so we were eating beside the dudes from Four Year Strong. It was surreal to say the least!

6- Every band has it struggles, has their ever been a point where you were ready to ‘throw in the towel’?

-Oh many times. I think slimming down our numbers to 3 members at this point is what saved this band. It allowed me to re-work the songs into something more fresh and what I wanted as opposed to making all 5 members happy. I think when friendships are on the line and at risk, it’s a lot harder on a band. I did quit the very band I founded and named, The Jettison Commitment, for that very reason.

7- If you could pick one song out of your catalogue, which would be the one your are most proud of? Lyrically, musically or other.

-Well since we’ve only officially released one demo over a year ago, I’m going to say “Blonde Ambition”. It was the song that transformed Escapes in Oceanborne. I started experimenting with synths and sampling live and in practice, it was also the first studio tracking of my very own vocal lines. I also love the chant part in the bridge. We’re currently re-working that song and giving it a facelift… so expect to see(hear) it bigger and better than before.

8- Every band has had that ”night” where things just aren’t right, vibes are wrong, instrument/gear failure etc. Have you guys had one of those nights?

-All the damn time. one of our former guitarist had this piece of shit fender amp that would start to whine and squeal at a very high pitch at least 3 times a practice, that would set off (then drummer) Aaron Webb and myself. Other nights it would be PA issues, using so much samples can be frustrating AND I know you’ve seen me frustrated first hand haha. (ed- it’s true, I have.)

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9- The scene is incredibly tight knit, what bands do you go for advice or feedback?

– Any band we respect really. Milo and I have been in the London scene for years. We both went to high school with Nick Harris(Seconds To Go) so he was a very big influence on us, or at least myself. He got me out to the Embassy when I was 15 to check out his punk/ska band Dry Heave and I was hooked on the scene at that point.

10- You guys have been around in one form or another for a long time, but you and Camillo (vocals) have kind of stuck it out together. What kind of dynamic do you two have together?

-Milo and I have a great dynamic and we’re the best of friends. We’re the most similar that polar-opposites can be, if that makes any sense. He’s quiet, calm and reserved, whereas I tend to be more loud, aggressive, and unpredictable. Musically, we see eye-to-eye almost 100% of the time, from guitar parts, to song structure, to vocal melodies, we do the big majority of writing and ultimately defined our sound in both bands.

11- A lot of bands have a bad rap as ”douches”. Have you guys run into any of those bands, touring or other?

-Hahaha some could say I get that rap from my take no bullshit attitude. I think the douchiest bands are the ones that think they’re breaking out but no one really gives a fuck. But also, I remember Oceanborne’s first show we opened for Transit and Bayside and the Tour Manager as well as lead singer from Bayside were total d-bags to us and the promoter. I never really liked Bayside anyways but coming from veterans like them it really left a sour taste in my mouth.

12- Being from London, what are some of your favourite hometown bands, broken up or otherwise?

-Seconds To Go, hands down most talented band from the older gen London scene. The only newer band that I’ve felt have come close to being that good as S2G, is The Lakeside is For Killers. In high school I was a huge Off the Mark fan as well. I’d have to say that Searching, currently, is the total package London bands.

13- Was there a song or band growing up, that you heard that made you want to be a musician?

-Yeah, like I said back a couple questions ago, Nick Harris and his early band Dry Heave, they played our highschool talent show and from that point I knew that i wanted to play in a band as well! Another local hero was Robbie from Off The Mark(now Chasing Mercury). Once I had started going to shows at the Embassy back when I was 15, him and OTM were one of the main reasons why I kept coming back and pushed me to start my own projects.

14- As a lyricist, and songwriter I often get writers block, and can’t write for huge chunks of time. Do you ever fall into this, and likewise, how do you get over it?

-Once again all the time for me, usually I’m inspired for 3 months straight and then 1 month of nothing. I’m constantly looking for new bands to inspire me and to keep me excited about music. I’m always looking for ways to keep my ideas fresh such as; different tunings, collaborating with fellow musicians and incorporating new elements into my song writing.

15- If you could whip together a dream tour with yourself and 3 other bands, would would they be?

-Local Ontario bands would have to be (even though they’re not together anymore) Seconds To Go, The Fully Down and Shotgun Rules. Big bands would be Thrice, Memphis May Fire and Blink 182. For shits and giggles the current local bands we’d love to tour with would be TLIFK, Searching and Anu Beginning.

16- Every band has their favourite place for pre/post show eats. What restaraunt do you guys stop at the most eats?

-In Escapes it definitely was and always will have been Popeye’s Chicken. In Oceanborne, I often cook for the bandmembers, stuff like Tacos and Fajitas. We love eating at Wink’s as well, Wings and the party platter are a big hit with us .

17- Being in a band, In know this feeling. If there was one person in your band who you could take in a wrestling rig for 5 minutes to blow off some steam, who would it be?

-It would have to be a former member we kicked out that we won’t mention formally. But as of right now, my bandmates are my best friends and I’d have their backs in any scenario. I feel the same way towards our brother-bands as well.

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18- Bands often have a lot of free time pre show. You load in, then have nothing to do for 3 or 4 hours until you play. How do you guys occupy your time?

-I like to network with the other bands, provided that they’re interested in socializing. Normally we’ll have a couple beers and a couple bowls and a few dozen cigarettes.

19-Most bands have a family dynamic. In Oceanborne, whos the dad, mom, etc.

-I’m def the band-dad in Oceanborne, like in the traditional sense. That would make Milo the band-mom, being the gentler, calmer leader. So Brandon would have to be the good-son, always doing us proud and surpassing our expections. In Escapes John was easily the band-dad and Aaron was the band mom, leaving Milo as the lazy son and me as the pissed off son…or post-pubescent daughter, whichever’s funnier lol.

20- If you described your band dynamic as a sitcom group (Friends, Big Bang Theory, Seinfeld etc) who would it be?

-Entourage. I’d be E, Milo would be Vinnie and Brandon would be Drama. You should photoshop this dream and make it a reality

I love the hell out of this guy.

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