Being As An Ocean
Holding Absence, De'Wayne Jackson
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BEING AS AN OCEAN is the sound of the push and pull of circumstance versus ambition; of facts and figures overwhelmed by vibe and mystery. It’s a sonic landscape littered with stories of strength from weakness and the beauty in tragedy. It’s poetry in motion.
BAAO songs are immediately, visceral, and memorable upon first listening, while remaining transformative, empowering; infused with deeper components to discover and unravel.
Since they first emerged from the mountainous areas of San Diego County, BAAO have fashioned an immersive experience with every performance, wrenching catharsis from post-hardcore punch and ambient excursions. It’s an approach that commands a crowd from the massive festival stages; co-headlining with Counterparts; headlining Europe’s Impericon Never Say Die!; or anywhere BAAO appears.
“Alone,” “Dissolve,” “Mediocre Shakespeare,” “Death’s Great Black Wing Scrapes the Air,” and “The Hardest Part is Forgetting Those You Swore You Would Never Forget” are among the steadily building catalog of moody anthems and textured epics that have earned BAAO some 40 million streams and views, across YouTube and Spotify alone.
Voracious devourers of music new and old, BAAO taps into a deeper well of inspiration. Those weaned on genre-giants like Underoath and mewithoutyou readily identify with what BAAO is all about. Fans of likeminded artisans La Dispute, Touché Amore, and Defeater support the cause. As they evolve, BAAO looks further outside, to iconic greats like The Beatles and Queen, not so much for their sound, but rather the dramatic ways with which they presented their art and the celebratory air of collaboration and honesty in the making of it.
PROXY: An A.N.I.M.O. Story is nothing short of a creative milestone for what was already a breathtaking band. Joel Quartuccio mines the depths of his psyche with distinctive power; Tyler Ross evolves from songwriter and guitarist into co-producer; guitarist and melodic vocalist Michael McGough soars to new heights; cofounder and bassist Ralph Sica anchors the proceedings. BAAO charges forth into a brand new era.
Across five full-lengths marked by increasingly impressive progression and power, BEING AS AN OCEAN remain focused on provoking thought and discussion, right down to their album titles. They touched on Old Testament tradition with Dear G-d (2012), drew upon the poet Rainer Maria Rilke for How We Both Wondrously Perish (2014), returned to the Gandhi quote behind their moniker for Being As An Ocean (2015). They braved their creative and career fate with the self-released Waiting for Morning to Come (2017).
PROXY: An A.N.I.M.O. Story careens between rousing anthems and philosophical wonderment, packing the personal and thematic punch Quartuccio has made his calling card, while indulging a new collaborative process miles evolved from BAAO’s start. (By comparison, Ross composed all of the music for Dear G-d… in something of a vacuum.)
BAAO emerge victorious from a troubled time of uncertainty and perseverance, a period where the support of their dedicated fans never wavered. Grammy-nominated producer Zakk Cervini (Blink-182, Poppy, Halsey) showed them how to build songs from the ground up, together in the studio, starting with 2018’s “Alone,” which emerged in just 12 hours. This new process carried forward into the making of PROXY: An A.N.I.M.O. Story. Each song sprang from the collective. Nothing was considered “finished” till everyone shared in enthusiasm and satisfaction in the results. (As co-producer, Ross added some polish and flourish.)
Wondrously cinematic, taking both band and audience deeper into an infinitely unfolding saga, PROXY: An A.N.I.M.O. Story is the sound of a reinvigorated entity, ushering in a bold new chapter, free from preconceptions and eagerly embracing the unwritten future. The passion of the band’s formidable past remains a dependable constant, arresting in its urgent delivery and authenticity. The energy pulsing through PROXY flows from the same source that built a dedicated community around BAAO’s first four albums, but it’s scope bigger, somehow both more cerebral and more soulful.
In emotional impact and boundary pushing, BEING AS AN OCEAN 2.0 land somewhere between They’re Only Chasing Safety and The Life of Pablo, fusing seemingly disparate elements into a cohesive new whole, spilling over with possibility and creative courage.
BEING AS AN OCEAN is that rare heavy entity that offers a full experience for the head and the heart. They stand out in a sea of rock sameness, filling an ocean of their own. Embracing vibe and spirit over precision and safety, BAAO stokes the embers that first drove them to make music into a raging inferno of sound and emotion.
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Los Angeles, CA, 90017