The Ocean Collective, The German Progressive Metal band, needs no introduction, the band had huge success since the inception in 2000, had been giving amazing music. I had the opportunity to speak to Robin Staps to discuss on the Phanerozoic II: Mesozoic | Cenozoic which is set to be release on September 25, 2020.
Hey Robin, how are you today, I’m Keith from Metalheads Forever Magazine?
Hey there, I’m Pretty good, how are you ?
How was your day Robin?
It’s great, I’m currently in Spain, I managed to get out of Germany for two weeks, It’s Monday, It’s beautiful, I’m close to the ocean, Getting into water, its so beautiful here.
Phanerozoic II: Mesozoic | Cenozoic (2020), is scheduled for September 25, can you tell me about the process and production behind it?
We started writing both the records starting 2016 and 2017, the real recording session started in Iceland in 2018, we recorded drums for both the records together and we focused on finishing the 1st part of Phanerozoic first, finished in November of 2018, and then we focused on touring the whole year, and by the end of the year we started working to finish the second part of the record. So it’s been a long process and spread out with various parts of recording sessions basically, so drums were recorded in Iceland like I said before, and later guitars and vocals were recorded here in Spain and then the album was mixed by Jens Bogren, in Sweden.
Is there a particular reason for choosing multiple countries for working on this album?
Yes and No, One reason is we all love to travel, one another reason is you can’t write the songs in your home and surrounding that is the one reason I come here, While in home, I have too many distractions like friends gigs and things, so when I want to write I have to put myself in an isolated place away from distractions. And its good for recording, its good to have a fresh start and put yourself in an environment where you have never been before and with the choice of Iceland it was taken because we were actually recommended by one friend and when we checked it out, we found this is what we are looking for, it was very remote, next to a waterfall and beautiful nature and the drum session is always very important, it brings the meaning to the record the first thing you do so, its important to get it right, that’s why we spend our money on really get a good drum sound,, but also a inspirational place for us, where we can start off a good record basically
The album is about The Mesozoic Era and Cenozoic era, what is the concept you have kept, is there a scientific approach towards the both, Dinosaurs and the modern earth?
Well it’s a larger concept of the album Phanerozoic, it is the time that we currently live in and its almost about to over, and we started on 550 million years ago, so its an unfathomable amount of time, Phanerozoic, basically evolves on the evolution of animal life, earth and structure of it, 5 0r 6 massive incidents happened, and that is what happened to the dinosaurs in the world. We are taking that to the human level, just like the movie Melancholia, like an Asteroid or Planetary Collision, the certainty like the end is coming, The idea of the eternal occurrence, that things happen over and over again. If you look in the Phanerozoic and the earth history in general, countless examples for that, Like I said, Life already exist in all different places and forms a number of times already, so you can look into this in a geological, it apllies in your own life, not able to get of your mistakes in your life, its also an indication to the concept of time. This is the base of the double album basically.
The Ocean is known for bringing a civilizations and times the things evolved since the beginning, is there a particular reason for that?
I didn’t know I ended up initially, that was during Precambrian that was during 2007, that is the reason we ended up there in that musical direction.
What are your thoughts on the current pandemic, do you think the earth is going through changes like we already know about climatic changes?
Haha, Well it would not be who would define that, Yes we are going through a dramatic changes when it come to climate changes, who knows how people will look at history almost 1000 years, but I can’t predict the future, but if we don’t take the right decision at this time, I believe it could be an end of an era, which leads humanity to the very end of it.
You have your own recording label Pelagic Records, is this only for The Ocean or you have plans for the future?
Pelagic Records are constantly releasing records of other bands not only The Ocean, Initially it started to release all The Ocean records, now a days we have bands all over the World reaching us and have a lot of releases. The label has grown a lot in the last two years basically, now more people are working on the label permanently
Do you have enough time to work with the band and the label?
It’s a challenge, definitely a challenge. Talking about this year, due to Covid19, I have a lot of time to work on, Like on the label, the new release, album, Vinyls, since there is no touring, it gave quite amount of time, but usually we have to balance it out to make things work. Last year was very busy for The Ocean, we were on tour for almost 7 months, so it’s a matter of give an take, but im very happy that both of these are very rewarding and I really enjoy the label work as much as with The Ocean.
What are the next plans for the band?
We will release the album in September and we wont be able to do any touring this year, There is a tour scheduled in Jan 2021, but I hope there wont be any issues, it will happen, as I see things are improving. And touring touring touring in 2021 and come back to States and other parts of the world where we haven’t been a long time, so looking forward to that next year, but now just hungry to get out and play again. So we are trying to make the best out of the current situation.
The band has know for its numerous line up changes, since its inception, is it part of the experiment that you wanted to try new things?
The member changes is matter of the fact, in the early years we were searching to find good players and we have lot of people in and out of the band, in early 20s you will have priorities and this change so quickly and when you get older people stay longer, that makes the permanent change less likely
The album art is something quite interesting, If my understanding is correct are you showing the two eras?
The album art shows two celestial bodies on collision, which refers to Jurassic Cretaceous, Paleozoic extinction event of Dinosaurs, so two planets or asteroids are set for collision, that’s what the album art reveals basically. We have cut cards in the Vinyl Records to illustrate that, You can play around with it, so that is the idea.
Message for the fans?
Well check out the record when it drops, its an experimental process, we have put a whole lot of time and energy into it. Hopefully you will like it.