We Are The Ocean’s Jack Spence and Liam Cromby are hopeful of confirming some oversea tour dates in the New Year, much like the duo’s favourite football team, Tottenham, who are dreaming of playing on the big stage among Europe’s elite next season.
With Spurs currently three points behind fourth-placed Manchester United, despite losing just once since their opening day defeat at Old Trafford, the musical duo believe the North London side must take advantage of the vast unpredictability surrounding the Premier League this season if they are to qualify for next year’s Champions League.
Following the release of their smash hit fourth album ‘ARK’ back in May, Shoot exclusively sat down with Jack and Liam to discuss We Are The Ocean’s plans for the New Year, how they both came about supporting Spurs, their North London rivalry with band member and Arsenal fan Alfie Scully, plus their ideal January transfer window additions.
Your fourth album, ‘ARK’, peaked at fourth spot in the UK Rock Chart. How big of an achievement was that for the band?
Jack: “Our reaction was one of pride. Obviously it was a success, but we took on a much more old school, natural approach to everything, which really could have messed up. Recording so much live [music] could have sounded terrible. It could have sounded rushed and things like that. So it came together really nicely. We are kind of proud that we tried something different.”
Liam: “I think over the board, everyone was really positive about it. We took a little bit of time out to record the album as well, so to finally get it released in May this year and have really good, positive feedback online and from people coming to the shows was nice.”
Jack: “Yeah in the shows, we sort of posted out what they wanted us to play and there has been such a widespread of requests. It is not like just one single; every song on the album has been requested by some people. So it is nice that is such a widespread album and that every song had its own sort of fan base. It has all been pretty positive!”
You have had some rave reviews from your latest round of gigs. For anyone itching to come and see We Are The Ocean live, what can they expect at one of your shows?
Liam: “A full on live performance!”
Jack: “A lot of energy, and we sort of pride ourselves on the songs sounding like they were recorded. It is not that we haven’t written anything that we can’t physically do, so it is like the record and live [music] kind of intertwine.”
Liam: “It sounds weird to say, but something different to what you might see normally because it is so live what we are doing now. Although saying that is different is kind of weird anyway, because music should be that way anyway [Laughs]!”
What have the band got planned in the New Year?
Jack: “We are kind of getting the cogs turning on album five, but I still think there is some touring to do. Maybe jump over the Channel a few times in the New Year.”
Liam: “Yeah, head over to Europe and do a few shows over there. But right now, we are kind of putting ourselves back in the studio and doing some more demos for the next album. Hopefully we’ll get back in the studio sometime soon.”
Jack: “We just want to keep busy between the two. Tour it as much as we can without kind of over-touring it, whilst writing at the same time, so we keep busy. Then once this campaign feels like it has been fully milk dried, then the next one is ready to go!”
You are both originally from Loughton, Essex, so how did come to support Tottenham?
Liam: “My mum’s family just got in there first! My dad is from Liverpool and he is a Liverpool fan. But they got in first; got me the kit and trainers…”
Jack: “Mine is like a whole family unit. My dad lived in Tottenham all of his life; my mum didn’t, but all of her family supported Tottenham. So I think that was probably how they ended up talking. That was probably my dad’s opening line with my mum, something to do with Tottenham! It has just sort of been growing in me since I was young, from every angle. Like my grandparents; when I see them, the first conversation usually ends up being [about] football and Tottenham. So it is just a real family element and one of the nearest big teams. I used to look at Leyton Orient a little bit when I was like 10 or 11, but I found it tough. So Tottenham just made sense.”
With Alfie Scully supporting Arsenal, how competitive does the North London rivalry get between the bandmates?
Jack: “Originally he wasn’t so involved with football. I feel like it has spurred him on, excuse the pun, to get more interested in Arsenal to counterbalance us supporting Tottenham. So we have watched a few derbies together. We have got other friends that support Arsenal as well, so we don’t really overcrowd him. But I remember when we were invited to the Enfield Spurs training ground once to play some game with them and he always used to go! That photo of him begrudgingly with [Hugo] Lloris and [Andros] Townsend, I think it was. So clearly it is a sore spot.”
Liam: “He just knows that we would never let that go!”
Do you still remember your first-ever Tottenham game?
Liam: “We played Coventry and it was 0-0. But that wasn’t my first football match! My first game was at Anfield, watching Liverpool! [Gasps] Oh my God! And they won.”
Jack: “I don’t remember my first but I have never seen Spurs lose, so I feel like a little lucky emblem for them. But I can’t manage to go to too many games because tickets sell out. Well they don’t even go on sale to be honest!”
Are you confident Tottenham can break into the top-four for just the third time this season?
Jack: “It is strange because obviously we are going unbeaten and defensively we are really solid. But you look back at the West Brom game, there is still something lacking…”
Liam: “I think if there ever was a season for us to get into the top-four, it would be this one with Chelsea not playing too well. We are going to win it! I believe. I believe in it [Laughs].”
Jack: “I think it is interesting that when Spurs drew with Chelsea, it seemed like a disappointment. Whereas any other season, you would take a draw. The game was fine, but you felt feeling like we dropped points there because Chelsea aren’t performing well. But that is kind of an indication of how things are going. I think the top four is doable, but I think it is partly based on how Spurs are doing and partly based on how everyone else [is doing] really. Everyone is slipping up. Games like Chelsea versus Bournemouth; I wouldn’t normally watch that because that is normally just a given. But now you just want to watch every game, you have no idea what is going to happen!”
You must feel confident that Mauricio Pochettino is the right man to lead the club forward?
Jack: “I have liked all of our managers, to be honest. But yeah he is doing good. Obviously he has got this philosophy that he keeps harking on about; bringing through young players, it is nice to see and it seems to be working at the minute. Even last season; I thought he did a fine, admirable job. This season looks to be an improvement. Hopefully he is a long-term investment and that will show. He seems to be doing well so far and if he builds on what he has started, then I think he is definitely the right appointment.”
Would you like to see your club go all out for the Europa League and FA Cup, or focus on your league form?
Liam: “I would like to see them win everything if they are in it!”
Jack: “I can only get tickets to Europa League games because I find the Premier League so hard. So selfishly, I would like them to continue so I can go to more games! But especially now with the teams coming in from the Champions League; I think all of these teams have got the squads to challenge on four fronts, or only three for Spurs, so why not. Our players are young. We don’t have to go to Azerbaijan anymore, so we have done that. Why not? I kind of feel like you need to go all out or don’t bother at all in a way. If you really don’t care then it sucks for the game, you just get knocked out and lose all the fixtures. Or you go all out. There is no point being in the middle because you are just going to tire your players out, to then give up halfway through. That would be strange. But now that we are through, why not!”
How impressed have you been Dele Alli and Eric Dier this season?
Jack: “Dier especially, because he looked good in defence. I thought it was just a bit of a weird move to play him in midfield. I thought it seemed like a lack of choices to thrust him in there, but he has been great. Everyone sort of raved about Dele Alli before, so even though he has hit the ground running, it is a surprise, but…”
Liam: “I think just how well both have performed is more of the surprise, rather than them being good.”
Jack: “Yeah and I think part of that is them being together. They have played for England together. Dier is more defensive, which allows Alli to be more attacking. I do think they kind of bounce off each other a little bit and that is helping them both to improve their games. But last season it was [Ryan] Mason and [Nabil] Bentaleb who were practically in the same position, the ‘surprise midfielders’. And now, they have kind of fallen by the wayside! Well Mason has just got injured again, but I guess it is lucky through injury that these guys get a chance and it does just go to show how many other players are just in the waiting. Alli was in League One, so how many other players in League One could perform that well? Whilst Mason and [Harry] Kane; all of these players waiting in the wings and who have taken the league by storm. How many more are out there at teams that they don’t get a chance?”
If you were manager of Tottenham, who would be at the top of your January transfer wish list?
Liam: “I think another striker would be really handy. I am not saying Harry Kane isn’t doing the job; obviously he is smashing it, but if he was to become injured, then it would be good to take the weight off his shoulders a bit. Maybe someone like [Saido] Berahino?”
Jack: “Nah! I don’t want him. He annoys me! I think another striker, but someone who wouldn’t knock Kane’s confidence or pedestal. Just someone who is designed to be a back-up or maybe knock on the door, but not get like a £30m striker.”
Liam: “Get [Dimitar] Berbatov back [Laughs]!”
Jack: “Yeah he can play one game every two months. Personally, I don’t know if I would sign anyone, I think part of the reason why Spurs are doing so well is the unit. I feel like it would be hard to bring somebody in and plop them in. Obviously the defence is more of a unit, plus the midfield and stuff. Maybe just some squad players.”