By Quentin Singer
This past weekend I had the pleasure of hanging with one of Boston’s finest progressive pop acts, Ozean Skye. Hailing from various corners of the world like Mexico, Indonesia, and Atlanta, the band has a wide variety of cultural and musical backgrounds, which seem to help create their sound. The bands lead songwriter and founding member, Santiago Orozco, is the heart and soul behind the band’s existence. While interviewing Santiago and the band before their show, I had the opportunity to ask them a few questions about the origins of the group, and how it all started.
Berklee Groove: So first off, I have to ask why the “z” in ocean and “e” in sky?
Santiago Orozco: So why the “z?” Spotify placement; that’s the best answer I can give you. And I was thinking I want to have a reason behind the spelling too, other than the Spotify placement, and Ozean with a “z” is actually ocean in German so it kind of worked out.
Berklee Groove: Very cool, yeah I’ve always liked that aesthetic to your band, it makes the name look very prog-rock. Moving on though, you guys have one single released, titled “A Song to the Moon.” What are the lyrical themes and ideas behind this piece? Were you the sole composer of this song, Santiago?
Santiago Orozco: Yeah I wrote the piece, and as far as the meaning and story of the song go, it talks about a man who’s in love with a girl and is friend zoned. The whole song is very graphic and tells how they start to get more involved with each other, which inevitably leads to sexual tension between them.
Berklee Groove: So the song is basically a story in and of itself, almost like a concept album, but more in this case a concept song if you will.
Santiago Orozco: Yeah, exactly!
Berklee Groove: Who are artists that you take as inspiration for the band and your image? I hear a strong prog rock influence, are there bands in that vein you take inspiration from?
Ozean Skye: We like to think of us as cinematic prog rock, but not prog rock like Yes, or King Crimson. More melodic like Porcupine Tree, like a modern crisp prog rock. Basically not your dad’s prog rock [laughs]. I mean we also play Reggae, we have this one song with a reggae esc part. Not all of us consider ourselves prog-rock players, we each like prog-rock, but all of us have our own forte whether it be jazz, alternative rock, or even prog-rock too.
Berklee Groove: What are some bands or artists that have inspired you personally Santiago?
Santiago Orozco: Marillion is an 80’s prog rock band, and they might be the central source of inspiration I had for Ozean Skye. They’re considered to be a neo-prog group. But Marillion, Porcupine Tree, and even Pink Floyd are some main influences I took into creating this band. However, I consider our music very listenable on a broad spectrum regardless of our influences.
Berklee Groove: Very cool, yeah I totally get that vibe. Since half of the band is from Latin America, do you guys have plans to incorporate more Latin influences into certain songs?
Santiago Orozco: Yeah! Personally, I’m a big fan of Santana and The Mars Volta, but a friend of mine actually told me our sound is trying to be like Santana, but ultimately comes out like Porcupine Tree haha.
Berklee Groove: That’s honestly very cool, it makes your style not dedicated to one single band or artist. As far as the future goes, are there plans for recording an EP or even LP?
Santiago Orozco: We’re recording a full length album right now. It’s 7 songs and we’re actually playing them all at tonight’s show. The theme behind the album is based on the love story between Winston and Julia, who are from George Orwell’s novel 1984.
Berklee Groove: Awesome, that sounds very unique, when can people expect the album to be out?
Santiago Orozco: We’re planning for a March release, but we don’t have an exact date yet. Most definitely in the spring.
Seeing the band perform that evening was undeniably memorizing. I’ve been intrigued of their mix of progressive, latin, and pop rock styles ever since I heard their single “A Song to the Moon.” Finally seeing them live I can say without question their one of the finest pop-rock acts here at Berklee. Santiago’s vocal range is something any rock vocalist dreams they had; it’s almost as if he’s channelling Muse vocalist Matt Bellamy. As far as the rest the band go, they’re each at the top of their game with their instruments, with Sebastian Soto’s drumming being a clear standout. If you’re by any means a fan of Pink Floyd, Muse, Marrillion, or Santana then do yourself a favor and go out and support some great local talent like Ozean Skye.
ARE YOU A FAN OF PROG ROCK? WHO ARE SOME OF YOUR FAVORITE BANDS? LET US KNOW IN THE COMMENTS!