Localized: I am the Ocean & Her Candane – December 2007

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Localized is always five bucks, and happens on the second Friday of the month at the Urban Lounge, a private club for members. This month’s showstopper falls on December 14th. December showcases two bands that have been staples in the Utah scene for a few years, the hard-rockin’ for loud parties Her Candane and the genre defying I Am the Ocean with openers The Schwass. I had the opportunity to spend one evening with each band, which resulted in a weapons-grade hangover and the other that resulted in a belly full of tea and English muffins. I’ll let you decide which order that was in.

I am the Ocean

Taylor Orton – Drums
Eric Rose – Guitar
Adam Virostko – Guitar
Jeremy Conder – Bass
Kellen Dopp – Vocals

“We just want to talk about Broship!” the gentlemen of I Am the Ocean express to me as I approach them standing outside Positively 4th Street, sharing a jug of wine. Obviously they are excited not only to talk about the collective network of other bands known as Broship, but also their band. We proceeded to the nearest Denny’s to share the same booth where several band meetings have been held.

In the past two and a half years, a lot has happened for I Am The Ocean. Their full-length album ... And Your City Needs Swallowing, which pulls influences from heavy sludge metal to indie rock you could dance to, was released earlier this year by Uprising Records (Fall Out Boy, Underminded). A great deal of touring was done to support this record, and they found Charles, the official band puppy, while touring. “A big deal for us is our brothers in the Broship, Clifton and Her Candane have been and continue to be a huge influence not just musically but as incredible support. Without those two bands, our band wouldn’t have happened the way it did, nor would we be in the position we are. We’re very fortunate to be part of an amazing brotherhood and collection of badass individuals and bands such as the Broship,” Jeremy Conder says.

Thanks to grueling tour schedules by bands not only in Broship, but in Utah bands en masse, these past few years may have put our state on the map quite a bit more than it has been at any other time. “People out there and industry people know what’s going on here and they know it’s incredible. I think the stereotype that we don’t have good music is more cultivated by people in Utah than outside,” Eric Rose states. “We have the best bands and best scene in the world right here, with incredible diversity. For what just about every awesome band that’s out there is doing, I could show you a Utah band that could spank them.” I Am the Ocean shares local influences of other bands as well; “We’re proud to be influenced by Form Of Rocket, Gaza, The New Transit Direction, The Hi Fi Massacre, The Kill and many more.”

As for actually performing, it’s easy to say that the band has done a great deal of it all across the country. “We hope the crowd has a good time and that they’re impressed to some degree in one way or another and feeling what we’re feeling. We hope that they’re close enough to get sweated on, and really hope they don’t get into a fight.”

“Writing is a high all its own because of the fact you’re creating something; it’s something new for you as well and progress is very satisfying,” Jeremy reflects. With several new tracks in the workings, one which is 25 minutes long, and a second full-length album on the distant horizon, I Am the Ocean’s creativity seems far from dry. I had a chance to hear a segment from the almost half-hour track and it was a heavy, spastic psychedelic experience; hearing the full track will be quite exciting. “We don’t set out to sound like anyone else or even not like anyone else, we just write songs that we like, and usually others enjoy them too. If people find us unique then that’s awesome.” About the future, I Am the Ocean is understandably optimistic; “Hopefully we’re still working our asses off with more friends, a couple of more releases, maybe all of us a little bit taller.”

I Am the Ocean has an EP coming out soon in the 21st century.


Her Candane

Dreu Damian – Vocals
Mike Deathner – Guitar
T.J. Fox – Bass
Dan Edwards – Drums
Brad the Loy’d – Guitar

Upon meeting the members of Her Candane for the first time, one thing was immediately apparent to me: these kids know how to party. My instinct to bring a 12-pack of beer to the interview was correct, and as I stepped inside the home of Dreu Damian, I was greeted with friendly handshakes and hugs.

Her Candane formed in 2003, and has had several lineup changes since. “Former members have gone on to join bands like I Am the Ocean, Loom and Fear Before the March of Flames,” Dreu says. “About four million beers later, we have a new lineup and a new album in the works.” Presently, the band sports five members, six if you count Scribble Jackson, the official band tour puppy and mascot. Despite these lineup changes, it was clear that these guys are not only close band mates, but good friends as well.

Being a band from Utah certainly can produce challenges, since the popular musical offerings from this fine state are seemingly limited to The Osmonds and The Mormon Tabernacle Choir, but Her Candane has a secret weapon. “We’ve got what we like to call ‘puss,’ it’s kind of the same as heart, moxie or gusto” Dreu states. “We’re not too big on choruses, religion or any other diluted crap that gets pumped into the heads of the American youth. Oh, and we party harder.”

Not only do they seem to have large amounts of puss, but it also helps to have a network of bands and friends that look out for each other. This is a small tribunal of bands known as ‘Broship,’ who will be collectively releasing a compilation album in early 2008. “In this business you are who you know.” Dreu continues, “but nothing is as important as writing good solid jams.” Living in a city that doesn’t exactly go out of its way to embrace local arts seems to only fuel their enthusiasm for the local scene. “We couldn’t be more proud of our little beehive state. Loom, Gaza, I Am the Ocean, Clifton, God’s Revolver, Medea. Exigent Records and SVSS (Sound vs Silence) are kicking asses; we even have a dope basketball team!” As far as local influences go, the 801 pride runs deep, “The Kill was the best band ever. The New Transit Direction should’ve been the biggest band on the planet. Parallax and The Hi Fi Massacre were fucking legit, and every time I see Form of Rocket, they prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that no one rocks harder.”

But all this rocking is somewhat blurry. When asked about memorable moments had while touring, “I don’t recall ... you see we’re a bit of a clusterfuck. We did get to party with Vinnie (Paul) and Dimebag (Darrell) of Pantera once, that was probably the highlight of our lives.”

How much of a clusterfuck are they? Where does Dreu see Her Candane in three years? “Dead in a ditch, or playing covers at a bar in Wendover.” Sarcasm obviously, but Dreu proceeds to explain the meaning of the band name, “Candane is a word I created to describe the habit of self-sabotage that people tend to inflict upon themselves. It basically means destroying something intentionally as opposed to letting it fail due to circumstances beyond your own control.”

However, after two respectable releases, countless shows, touring and sharing stages with some of their favorite bands, and starting a close network of friends and bands that span between Alaska, California and Utah, dead in a ditch - or even the act of a “candane” seems rather doubtful. But then again, that’s rock n’ roll.

Her Candane is working hard on writing a new album, which they hope to start recording come springtime.