Interview: Dale Tanner of Ocean Grove

Interview by Jonathan Matthews

DEAD OF WINTER festival hits Brisbane this weekend, so we caught up with Dale Tanner, the clean vocalist / bass guitarist from the Melbourne band Ocean Grove. They’ve been killing it recently, with things really taking off since the release of their album ‘The Rhapsody Tapes’ last year. They’ve flown around the world and back since then, now they’re back home and ready to rock us once again!

SR. You’ve been the world over recently… have you been enjoying the crazy tour life?

Touring was, for the most part, a dream come true. We’ve always wanted to tour America. I don’t think we even dreamed of touring Europe, to do them in succession was pretty amazing and the tours that we were on were so next level. We’d been to Europe briefly once but it was essentially our first time in both places. To be playing to hundreds of people every night in ‘A’ class venues, we felt so blessed. There were no real hiccups that come to mind, we had a lot of fun. With that comes the issue of being away from home for six months, we’d never done that before. That brought its challenges, there’s a life back home, and when you return, things have changed. The complexity and instability of a tour is something we hadn’t quite come to understand until recently.

SR. You’ll be playing Dead of Winter Festival which is this week, are you looking forward to that?

Absolutely! It’s been a while since we’ve actually played Australia and our home towns. When we played Ringwood a few months ago, we underestimated how crazy it would be. We didn’t really know what to expect, it was a local show and it was raining. People turned out in the hundreds there was a huge line. Everyone got in there and it was chaos, we had the best show. The photos and the videos demonstrate that, we were all smiling and laughing. We almost forgot how good it was at home because we’d been away for a while. That makes me eager for Brisbane, we have a strong crowd over there. It’s such a great lineup, Frenzal Rhomb, Clowns, Radio Moscow, and more. It has that festival buzz, it’s not just a gig, we always get excited about festivals.

SR. Tell me about your equipment. Have you changed any amps, pedals, or basses?

A little over twelve months ago I picked myself up a Fender Precision Bass, which has been really good. When I started in the band I’d never played bass before, I didn’t own a bass guitar. I had played a little electric guitar, but nothing serious. This was back in year ten, I was sixteen. I didn’t have any idea of what bass guitar would suit me. I started off with an Ibanez Soundgear, but that didn’t do it for me. My next was an Ibanez BTP that I borrowed, that was better, it held tuning, but I wanted something from that Fender Jazz world. I got a custom build made for me, which was similar to the Fender Jazz prototype, but with a one inch fan on the frets. At that stage I had started to transition my gear, the older gear I was using wasn’t in line with the music we were playing. Recently I’ve been using a Dark Glass micro tube head which is great, it’s super portable. In terms of pedals I’ve transitioned to Dark Glass B7K distortion and compression pedals. We now work with Fender when we get our gear for tour, they always do us a good deal.

SR. I like how you put the bass tabs on the Stratosphere Love video, why’d you do that?

The riff is so pronounced and in-your-face, we were wondering how we could make it stand out, but keep it fun. One day I was brainstorming and I thought of Guitar Hero, I thought we could have the tabs come up as we play it. It was as simple as that. Sometimes we’re blessed with these ideas.

SR. When are we gonna hear some new tracks?

I can’t give a specific date, but we’ll be coming out with a single fairly soon, it’ll be this year. That’ll sort of be the introduction to the next album, similar to ‘Lights-on kind of Lover’ did for The Rhapsody Tapes. So something new should be out next year.

SR. Dead of Winter festival has a bit of a horror theme, will you be dressing up for that?

The outfit I’ve been wearing lately is pretty ghastly, so I might wear that. I’ve got a mate Twiggy, He designed my latest outfit for Download Festival, I like to stick with an outfit for a little while. I don’t know what the others are doing yet, I think they’ll be changing up their outfits. On the Limp Bizkit tour Jimmy had a knack of leaving his outfit in the dressing room, on the last night we said “That’s it, were not bringing it back this time” , we just threw it out the window, so that’s never to be seen again. When we were driving off he was like “I forgot my outfit! Oh well…” There will definitely be a new outfit for him, that’s for sure.

Don’t miss Ocean Grove at Dead of Winter Festival in Brisbane! They’re playing alongside a massive lineup of awesome bands, so grab yourself a ticket before they’re gone!