Based out of New York, Oceanator is ostensibly a solo-project, the musical world of multi-instrumentalist, Elise Okusami. With releases dating back to 2016, excitement about Elise’s music has been growing since the acclaimed 2018 EP, Lows, was released on Tiny Engines, home at one time or another to Strange Ranger, iluminatti hotties and Nanami Ozone. Two years on, the debut Oceanator record, Things I Never Said, has recently arrived as a joint release between US-label Plastic Miracles, and Elise’s new home in the UK, Big Scary Monsters.
In some ways, Things I Never Said is an apocalyptic record, its nine tracks littered with references to falling skies, raging fires and watching the world break apart in front of your very eyes. Contrastingly though, it is also a record of hope, a belief that tomorrow could be better and that even if the world is ending, that’s not a reason to give up, as Elise sings on Crack In The World, “I’ll keep trying to keep the skies blue anyway”. These are the lyrical missives of a racing mind; thoughts and worries being processed in real time, crashing through hopes and fears and taking over her every waking moment, as Elise sings on January 21st, “I think I think too much, thoughts spilling out of my head and learning how to swim”. While Things I Never Said is a lyrically fascinating affair, that would count for little if the music wasn’t so great. The album canters through genres, from the glistening synth-pop of I Would Find You, to the grungy fuzz of Goodbye Goodnight, with each track permeated by Elise’s own personal musical stamp. A record about the end of the world and how it might not be that bad after all, Things I Never Said might just be the soundtrack 2020 needs, even if it doesn’t deserve one this good.
FTR: For those who don’t know who are Oceanator?
It’s me, Elise Okusami! I play guitar, bass, drums, keys, and sing. On the records I have some friends play, too. I live in Brooklyn, New York.
FTR: What can you remember about your first show?
First show I played as Oceanator specifically? It was August of 2016 I think. My friend Anders played bass, my friend Britta on drums, and my friend Kate on keys and second guitar. We were opening up for Kid Midnight (who I played bass for at the time) and Charly Bliss, in a tiny room in the back of a brewery. It was very fun and very loud!
FTR: Why do you make music? Why not another art form?
I don’t know, I’ve just always really loved it. I started playing guitar at nine and it’s been my favorite thing ever since. I like to write stories still, but I guess that makes sense ‘cause of lyrics. It’s all wrapped up in that. I’m not great at drawing or anything.
FTR: What can people expect from the Oceanator live show?
To have a good time! Me and my touring band (Andrew Whitehurst and Tony Richards) smile a lot and have a lot of fun playing together.
FTR: What’s next for Oceanator?
Gonna take a little time to enjoy this record coming out (finally). But I’ve started working on a new album and a new EP and also another project that I’m not gonna say yet because it might not get done in time to actually exist!
They Listen To…
Cave People – Nothing At All
Elliott Smith – The Biggest Lie
Calyx – Onom
David Bazan – Severely Dear
Curtis Mayfield – Move on Up
Things I Never Said is out now via Big Scary Monsters (UK) / Plastic Miracles (US). Click HERE for more information on Oceanator.