Interview with Cammie of Oceans Of Slumber By Carina Lawrence
US prog metallers OCEANS OF SLUMBER are releasing their self-titled new album September 4th 2020 via Century Media Records. The band launched via 2013’s ‘Aetherial’ debut, but truly blossomed upon the arrival of vocalist Cammie Gilbert for 2015’s ‘Blue’ EP and the following year’s ‘Winter’ full-length. Oceans Of Slumber triumphantly re-emerge in 2020 with new members and a redefined sound in what is their most ambitious and sonic release to date. Ahead of the album release which is an odd one during a pandemic we got to speak to vocalist Cammie Gilbert about the new album, the challenges of covid-19 on the release and more in what is the next exciting chapter for the band….
So firstly, I’m sure you have been asked this many times but what have you been up to during the lockdown/covid-19 crisis?
Really just laying low, working from home tutoring children, I am busier than I thought I would be with the city shutting down but staying safe and keeping to ourselves.
Before we get onto the new album, let’s go back to the beginning how did you come to join Oceans Of Slumber back in 2014?
I met them through a band member and mutual friends, I was in a band just a little hobby band and we shared a jam room next door to them and we were invited to do a benefit show with them and that’s the first time they had heard me sing or saw me perform and Dobber (Drums) asked me to do a duet on upcoming album which turned into ‘Winter’ (2016) and at the time their previous singer was having a lot of personal problems and stuff and he ended up leaving the band so with the songs needing to be finished and redone they asked me to be in the band and go ahead with this long lost dream of Oceans being female fronted anyway so that’s where I came into the scene.
What are some of your main musical influences and how did you first get into singing?
I started off always with a passion for singing, I grew up in a pretty musical family, my Dad was a local musician and I was always taught to and given the opportunity to love my voice and never had to pick one particular style, like singing was just made for you and whatever you wanted it to be. The band that kind of got me into metal were like the grunge nineties era of rock, they were like the gateway drug music for getting into heavier stuff then that kind of just morphed into the heavier stuff with the pursuit of metal but I would say that what really got me into metal was getting into Oceans and it just expanded or exploded from there.
So, your new self-titled album is coming out September 4th 2020, how excited are you for its release and how has the covid-19 pandemic changed the album release?
It feels like your preparing for something that you’re not actually going to go and do, it will be like “here’s the day” and you just go and make a coffee and sit on the couch, it feels like it’s going to be a bit anticlimactic but it’s exciting to see the singles come out and peoples reception of them but yeah we would be out, we had tours scheduled around the release of the singles, people would have already got to see some of them live and the big album release show, that was going to be so exciting to plan that especially with Oceans getting more momentum, at the beginning of the year we got a great team organised and we were really ready to just hit the ground running at festivals and now every time my phone calendar reminds me of them and I have to go and delete it but we are hopeful for the reception of people online who are also in the same predicament that we are and that they are hungry for new music and devour us however they can but obviously it’s the other half of what goes into the album release is just that live aspect but it just won’t be there right now.
What was the writing and recording process like for the album?
This one was unique in that we were transitioning the band at the same time the album was released so previous members had left so they didn’t have any input or they weren’t writing for this album but Dobber was, so it was like one at a time going their own way, Dobber was writing and then we were looking for new members and a part of the process was wading through the people that were interested and introducing these songs and how they might collaborate with them and when Jessie (guitars) joined Dobber had a song and they hung out and it was done in like an hour and that kind of solidified when these new guys came into the band how well they were going to help the album and the songs along and just be a part of the band and so the conclusion of bringing in the last member and his final touches on the album done so it was really cool, as the band completed, the album completed and everyone was really happy with the final product. It was such a cohesive healthier dynamic between the band, it was really fun for once and not stressful getting into the studio and getting stuff done, just to have people that have that energy and excitement about what we were doing again, that was great.
Are there any particular lyrical themes that run throughout the album?
Generally the themes kind of started as visiting the stages of grief and morphed into what the stages of grief manifest as through society, how the world ebbs and flows through these turbulent times given that society is made of individuals and how each person’s individual psyche forms this greater whole of these actions that can be kind of repetitive and negative if left to perpetuate so we mixed in that in with like a day in the life of someone suffering with depression to like speaking the angst or anger of the entire set of people or mindset of people who felt wronged, we kind of cascade through those central themes.
The album artwork is really awesome, can you tell us about how the design came together, did you as a band have any involvement in that?
Our kind friend Giannis Nakos designed the majority of our t-shirts and the style portrayed on the album cover is the newest metamorphosis of his art and we just sent him the album and said just send back what it conveyed to him and that was what he sent and it was perfect, it’s so intense and amazing and it’s so big and grand looking piece. What I like about it is it is open to anyone’s interpretation and obviously when you look at the whole album and listen and see what it feels like and piece together between the interviews and what they see and hear but that was just what he captured and its fantastic.
The new album almost redefines your previous sound whilst keeping your core, was this a conscious effort or did this just happen naturally?
I think the natural progression of the band moves us not away from what we have done but a new take of what we have done. ‘The Banished Heart’ came from such a focused singular dark cloud mood at the time and nothing else is going to sound like that or come from inspiration like that so once that was captured and put out there we released it and moved on and what is heard on the new album is that energy and angst and focused attention that having these new members bought to the band and having myself, Dobber and Mat deal with having to stay so focused on making sure the band survives such a transition is what is like heard in this new album.
You recently released ‘The Colours Of Grace’ video/single, can you tell us a bit about the meaning of this song in particular and why it was chosen as a single and also what was it like working with Mick Moss of Antimatter on that song?
That video was finished very recently, we finished it a week before it went out so it was all shot during the lockdown so he is in the UK and we are here in Dallas, Texas, we had such a different idea and had wanted to fly him here originally for the video but we needed to switch it and rework this idea, we wanted to capture that long distance as plenty of people have been separated from their spouses in this time and loved ones in general or have had to isolate and we wanted to capture a period piece video so to speak of what that felt like where we are stuck in the house all day but like need them and maybe you can’t get to them right now, so it was definitely a unique challenge but I think it went well and I was pretty happy with what was done and I got to try some different things video wise and learn a lot about making videos during this time.
On the new album you have included a cover of Type O Negatives’s ‘Wolf Moon’ what made you decide to cover this particular song and how happy are you with how it turned out?
I love that song. We have been doing it live for a couple of tours and just wanted to cover it for the longest time and after we done it live we were like we need to get this recorded and be on an album. Were huge Type O Negative fans and that is my favourite song from them. We felt like the positioning of it was fitting with the covers, it’s like a trend to put covers at the end and tie the album together but the Type O song being next to ‘Red Flower’ it’s to kind of show the intertwining of all the complexities of womanhood we have, ‘Red Flower’ is this lucid ambiguous outlook of contradictory statements that I wrote to reflect standards that women are withheld under and all the kind of things women have to navigate in their lives and psyche and then you have Peter Steele who loves anything of a woman and to me it’s like the ultimate love song, like its precious he would say these things and the fact its hidden cleverly amongst a song that could almost be completely about something else and then to cover it as a woman it just brings it altogether it’s just ridiculous. We are super thrilled about that.
Obviously, all tours and gig plans are on hold currently, but have you got any plans to do any live stream virtual shows or anything?
Yeah it’s been on our minds a bunch, we are trying to figure out the best way to capture the quality of the songs, I’ll be damned if it goes over the iPhones speakers so we need to figure out and how to put it altogether and organise. We don’t want to get too ahead of ourselves and the technology undercut us so just building on this idea slowly and being realistic about what are resources are and the venues have closed down here so we are a little bit stuck as far as production wise but we have options and we definitely want to do something intimate and cool and cut it up with Q&A or funny things from us.
You are featured on Ayreon’s upcoming new album ‘Tranitus’ out September 25th, what was it like working with him and how did you feel to be asked to be a guest on the album, how did it come about?
I was super excited when he reached out to us. We had been interviewed by a friend of his previously and when he found out how big a fan we were of his he asked if there was anything we could relay to Ayreon about the band so we were just like “yeah, is there any room for us on Ayreon album?” so when he did reach out I was very surprised and nervous and then when that kind of turned into being a lead role I was even more excited and more nervous but he was amazing to work with, he flew us out there and we recorded with him in his home studio and he had such a way of getting more and expanding on the vocalists that he works with, like what they offer vocally, it was really incredible and really eye-opening, I attribute a lot of the things and dynamics that ended up going on the new album from being able to work with him and find that new mode in my voice.
Other than the album promotion what other plans do you and the rest of the band have?
We will probably start working on new music sooner rather than later. Usually the only time we would be off would be to be writing and we aren’t touring so we literally don’t know what else to other than make more music and just kind of start to practice and get back together for the release show but kind of see how things are going, we try not to take more than a month at a time because things shift so dramatically and then with the kids going back to school that’s definitely going to hold stuff up, I would be very surprised if things don’t change at all when children go back to school, we are going to figure out what that means. A lot of the local venues are hurting, we are in a safe space with the size of the band as we are fortunate that we aren’t too big but we also aren’t too small, we aren’t too big that we tour full time and keep our day jobs and we weren’t too small that we weren’t on the radar at all during the time we are trying to break out online that we are in a comfortable spot in the middle where we aren’t relying on tour income but aren’t too small that nobody knew who we were, we have such a good strong engagement with everybody that this could sustain for us but we want to get back on the road and we want to tour and that down time is a big question mark of what that means of what we can do.
Do you and the rest of the band all live quite far from each other?
The other guys live in another city, we got together maybe twice and for the video a couple of months ago so it’s been just over a month since we have all seen each other so it’s a little sad but I was actually telling Dobber about doing Instagram live were we share and call each other and its funny but this time I will have to tell them what we are doing and let them know people are tuning in live.
Lastly is there anything else you would like to add or share with us?
I hope everybody is staying safe and healthy and reach out to us whenever you want on Instagram and Facebook, we love seeing how the new singles have inspired everybody and we are just hanging out, so reach out if your just hanging out too!
Check out our review of Oceans Of Slumber’s upcoming album here: https://darkartconspiracy.com/2020/08/27/review-oceans-of-slumber-oceans-of-slumber-album/
See the below video for ‘The Adorned Fathomless Creation’ taken from the upcoming album:
Oceans Of Slumber Upcoming Self-Titled Album Is Out September 4th 2020 via Century Media Records.