Latest News

Tobias Atkins of Glass Ocean on ‘The Remnants of Losing Yourself in Someone Else’

Interview by Jordan Sibberas, 29/08/2020

Glass Ocean, the prog brainchild of Tobias Atkins, dropped the beautiful debut full-length ‘The Remnants of Losing Yourself in Someone Else’ this week. Blending influences from the more metallic side of modern prog with glossy, glamorous pop production and a hint of the dramatic, this album stands out boldly in a genre that occasionally falls trap to losing itself in unnecessary complexity. Jordan Sibberas sat down for Music Injection to talk about the album, and the band’s future aspirations with Tobias himself.

Jordan Sibberas:

You must be pretty excited for this first full length Glass Ocean record to drop! The band’s been around a while, but this is the time for the first record?

Tobias Atkins:
Yeah. It took five years, but we wrote pretty much two albums before we landed on the one that we actually wanted to write. It’s nice to be actually at our first full-length.

JS:
Does this album meet the visions you had for it?

Tobias Atkins:
We’re really happy with it! Initially we weren’t, and that’s why it took five years to arrive because we had written, pretty much two albums worth of material that just wasn’t true to ourselves at the time that we were writing. We had to hit the delete button and start fresh. Then get to writing something that was more honest to us at that time.

JS:
That’s a hell of a process to just hit the reset button on, but I have to say on a personal level, I really loved the album.

Tobias Atkins:
Oh, thank you.


JS:
‘The Remnants of Losing Yourself in Someone Else’ is quite the title and certainly evokes quite a strong response. I was wondering if you wanted to delve all at all into the meaning behind that or some of the lyrical themes on the album?

Tobias Atkins:
Yeah, absolutely. As I was saying before, we tried to write an album that wasn’t us, and then we tried again, and it still wasn’t fitting. And what we realized was that we were trying to force a narrative on ourselves that wasn’t true to who we are, who we were at that place time, and who we in that place and time was something that had dark elements to it. It was conflicted, it was fighting with itself. It was falling in love with its own image and it was kind of painted. And so, we thought let’s write about that. That is way more interesting than trying to write a, you know, a bit of a showstopper album. And so, the songs are the actual remnants of losing yourself in somebody else. It’s basically, the whole album, it’s like bloodletting. It’s going through this process of its own conversation. It’s traumatic, there’s loss, there’s fighting, there’s humour, there’s anger, there’s maliciousness, and that’s what the songs were on, the remnants of losing a self in somebody else. And somebody else is what we were trying to be. It was basically a process of bleeding out that character until what was left was who we really were at that place and time.

JS:
When you say us and we, you’re referring here to Nic from Northlane?

Tobias Atkins:
Yeah. Nic’s my sort-of main co-writer in the band, as well as our guitarist, Curtis Martin and drummer Patrick Smith, we wrote most of the album together.

JS:
I assume from the way the album turned out that that collaboration for you was an enjoyable one?

Tobias Atkins:
Yeah, absolutely. I mean, Nic’s been my writing partner since I was about 16, we do everything together, even if it’s not Glass Ocean related. He’s sort of my number one jamming partner and stuff, so it’s really nice to actually release a full length record with him. And also the rest of the boys, we actually hadn’t written music together until that album, so it was a really nice process, to have something that we can all look back on.

JS:
One of the really powerful things I enjoyed about this album, is that in this genre, vocal lines tend to be a little bit of an afterthought for some bands, but I really enjoyed how the vocal delivery seemed to be the focal point of the album. And perhaps some of the guitar wizardry took a little bit of a backstage to the messages that you were getting. I really loved that. And I was just wondering, is that something you consciously went for, or did that just turn out that way?

Tobias Atkins:
A little column A, a little column B. One thing that I used to do a lot of was to write the rest of the music and then write the vocals, and I thank my dad really, because his words I sort of etch my mind when I was writing the record. And that was to put the vocals first and foremost, and make that the centrepiece to build around. So each song was really focused on just doing that, and it really helped clear a room for the message of the song, whereas in the past I used to lay the vocal over at the end. But then you’d be trying to scrape away bits around it to try to get the vocal to fit until it eventually sat nicely, but it was really nice to build around the lyrics and the melody of the vocals first and then go from there. And it’s in some ways, as a guitarist, sometimes lines guitar lines that you really like go missing, but it’s definitely a worthy sacrifice I think in the end, if people are listening to the lyrics and they hear something that really resonates with them.

JS:
Also there’s lots of room for breath on that record in terms of the actual compositions, I found myself enjoying a lot of the textures that were in there.


Tobias Atkins:
Yeah, there’s a lot of that sort of synth work deeply buried in the background of the music. It’s meant to be a guitar focused band and in a way, a guitar/vocal band, but this time I did really want to fill out the atmosphere on the sides and in the stereo dimension and put things pretty deeply nestled in there. So that, as you said, you only really hear it when there’s those moments of space and you get to pick up on these cool little elements that sort of occasionally kind of pumped through the mix. I never really dived into that before but I think we’ll keep doing that as well.

JS:
How good is Adrian Goleby? I really loved the film clip you guys came up with for Almaida. What was it like to work with him for that?

Tobias Atkins:
Adrian, he’s like my twin brother or something, we’ve formed a close relationship with Caligula’s Horse and us being on the same management. We did the first video together for Voyage and we did every video since then together. Almaida was really fun to do because we went out to an abandoned place with just a bunch of batteries for the gear that we had and used really minimal setup to make it work. It was just me and him in the dark and really scary place in the middle of nowhere. It was exactly what we wanted to do, it was a really enjoyable process.


JS:
I’m sure that you get that the moment you’re getting this question all the time from people so I’ll try and steer around the whole coronavirus thing, but while it’s on you’ve got lots of time to think about how to translate this record to a live setting. Is that something you’ve started to consider?

Tobias Atkins:
We’ve actually been waiting pretty much since the last record to instigate and get on with it, to develop a live show that is more than just playing a tight set and performing well. We’re quite theatrical at our core, we want to sort of bring those elements into our show a bit more. We were really planning on our Australian tour, which is no longer happening, to bring those elements forward a little bit more and be a bit more storyteller in those 40 minutes slots that you get and slowly incorporate elements. Hopefully five years from now we’re this weird circus of stuff that’s going on when you come to see us. That’s been our plan for a while, and I think we’re still investing energy in that during COVID, but we’re probably more investing it in the next record and more music videos for the album. We can’t wait to do live stuff again though, it’s a big part for us.

JS:
Is there anything you’d like to say before we wrap up?

Tobias Atkins:
For anybody that’s thinking about listening to it, this is something that we wrote for people having a conflict within themselves, and I hope that there’s something that they can take out of it that will lead them into it, and that brings a bit of understanding and compassion for themselves and the world around them. And of course, that hopefully people enjoy the record.

JS:
Very powerful message. I’m sure they will. Thanks for your time!

The Remnants of Losing Yourself in Someone else can be streamed and purchased at: smarturl.it/glassocean 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: