Ocean Grove released their third album Up in the air forever last week, the long-awaited 2020 sequel Flip phone fancy.
While retaining the raucous spirit of previous versions, Up in the air forever sees increased experimentation from the band, mixing in hard rock and grunge.
“This record is definitely a departure from our heavier side,” drummer Sam Bassal explained. “We had a unique chance to dictate what our group would look like when we moved Dale (Tanner) to the leader position. It’s a chance that a lot of bands don’t have, and they might end up feeling stuck in a certain path they’ve always been on.
We had the opportunity to say, ‘All right, what are our strengths going forward?’ And for us, that meant extending the heavy foundations we had built for ourselves.
As the record’s manifesto says, “The power is in the shoes.” The shoe in question is the colossal sneaker that dominates the Up in the air forever cover. And while it’s at the center of the rocker’s new album, it’s not just any normal shoe: it’s a vessel for personal freedom and unbridled creativity, all that Ocean Grove stands for.
To mark the release of the album, we asked Twiggy Hunter from the band to guide us in the creation of Up in the air foreverthe memorable cover art, which had some very unexpected influences.
And if you fancy experiencing the power of the shoe in person, Ocean Grove will embark on the Flip Phone In The Air tour this month, performing across Australia before hitting the Full Tilt stage in July ( all the details here).
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The concept for Up in the air forever was a natural process, every little gesture fell into place organically. We originally thought about the whole concept of the album as a whole, like how we could play it throughout the campaign and where each individual song would fit in the album, largely because we relied on the whole “playlist” rather than an overall album with the songwriting for this one.
We try to get away with it as much as possible by writing a good mix and variations of sounds and songs rather than just having a linear sound throughout the album. If you’ve listened to it, you’ll know what I mean – there’s a lot of ups and downs and we really needed something to complement that on the cover.
I came to see the boys one day after having had an idea in mind for a while…it was the idea of bringing a real world element to life through the actual concept of the album and the artwork, and represented throughout the campaign. I didn’t necessarily know what it would look like, if it would be sportswear or if it would be an Ocean Grove brand that we were doing or something like that.
One reference in particular was the film Like mike where he puts on his shoes and he becomes a person in a world where he can do and be whoever he wants. Once we had locked in the idea that the shoe was the object of the real world for Up in the air foreverwe started to brainstorm ideas on how we could include that on the album cover itself.
The artist for Up in the air forever, Brent Engstrom, is actually an artist for Topp, the trading card company, and they do a whole bunch of collectibles and stuff. I’ve followed his work for years, since he’s been the official Garbage Pail Kids artist, and I’ve always loved Garbage Pail Kids.
For this album, we brainstormed and it wasn’t necessarily super pressing, but when it came to finding a critical moment, I just threw Brent in the mix and showed the boys his work. . And right away, they were kind of like, “Fuck! His business is so sick!
Obviously it’s Garbage Paul Kids that shines through, but his style is so nostalgic. Even if someone wasn’t necessarily into Garbage Pail Kids as a kid, they’re still recognizable for that specific cartoon style. It just unlocked a part of my childhood when I saw those cards, I was so obsessed!
The power is in the shoe: The OddWorld 3000
When we incorporated the shoe into the artwork to Up in the air forever, we had some initial ideas that were, I guess, very “beige” versions of what he eventually became. For example, we had thought of the shoe itself with classic Apple ads, with similar text and things like that. Sam and I were going back and forth on ideas, and I just didn’t feel it.
Another idea I threw into the mix earlier was that the shoe has devil horns, angel wings and a devil tail, sort of playing on the idea of the “devil on the shoulder, angel on the other”. Going back to Brent Engstrom, I’ve always wanted to do an Ocean Grove cartoon or cartoon, and I was a big fan of his work and his style, so I said to the boys, ‘And if we had the shoe? coming from the OddWorld to the real world, and Sam, Twiggy, and Dale walk out of the OddWorld with the shoe.
The shoe, or the OddWorld 3000, represents the user or wearer, as well as the OG fan who is in the OddWorld with us, as they have been transformed into their best and truest form. And they’re in there living OddWorld and it’s all fucking raw and real.
We believe it’s in these raw times and times of adversity that people truly grow and become their best selves, and that experience is represented by the shoe coming from OddWorld with the three members of Ocean Groves. The shoe comes out clearly, ready to race and ready to take on the world – and we’re here with it.
Honey, we blew up Oddworld 3000
A little extra inspiration came from the Honey, I reduced the children series, I loved all these films when I was a child. One of the ideas I think I originally sent to Sam Bassal was the cover of Honey, I blew the kid, which has this hovering massive shoe and the dad looks shrunken and tiny. It’s such a classic movie, and the inspiration came from seeing those kinds of movies when I was a kid in the early 90s and early 2000s. Back then a lot of Hollywood movies were still making things and physical, real-life props rather than anything now so digital.
That cover with the giant shoe and the movie itself was so obnoxious, and there are these behind-the-scenes photos of it – the shoe was as big as a car next to the guy! They really didn’t take any shortcuts, you know? And I always wanted to do shit like this, I really miss those days jurassic park movies and all that.
They actually made huge dinosaur heads and things that looked so real, and as a kid after seeing all those movies, I was always amazed at the props. I always thought I wouldn’t mind doing a few things like that myself. Obviously we weren’t able to make a car-sized OddWorld 3000, but I think we might have to do something like that, maybe for a stage show or something thing like that!
the Up in the air forever the artwork and the album itself are as simple as that: we’re here with the fan, ready to take on the fucking world with them, and support them with whatever they want to do and who they want to be , and just really allowing people to be themselves. And we want to show them that if they really want something, they can get it. But only if they wear the OddWorld 3000 of course.
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