In the summer of 2017 and after the breakup of their band Voxhaul Broadcast, David Dennis and Tony Aguilar holed up at the famed Sound City Studios where artists like Fleetwood Mac, Tom Petty, and Nirvana plied their craft and created some of the modern American songbook’s must-listens and essentials. The pair emerged as alt-pop duo OcnSide, with a bevy of newly-inspired material; they recently released a new track, “Bless Your Soul,” a So-Cal sunshine-infused uplifter with plenty of groove and a whole lotta soul. We caught up with the band and asked them all the probing questions just for you beloved readers, so get to know ’em, and give ’em a listen:
East of 8th: Can you give us a brief history of how you came to be a band?
OcnSide: David and I have been friends for a very long time. We actually started playing music together when we were in junior high, continued to play together for years, and formed the band Voxhaul Broadcast in L.A, in 2007. After Voxhaul broke up, we took some time apart to write and start solo projects. Eventually, I think we really just wanted to write together again because we always enjoyed each other’s ideas and concepts for writing.
Eo8: What was it like recording at the famed Sound City Studios?
OcnSide: It was really amazing! We had a list of songs we were going to record, but once we got there, we felt something special and we actually ended up writing most of the songs from scratch during our month-long stay at Sound City.
Eo8: Could you feel the ghosts of those who have recorded there in the past?
OcnSide: Haha! Yes! I first fell in love with music when I heard Nirvana. Being in the same studio where they recorded Nevermind was such a trip for me. I felt a connection to that studio that I had not felt before. I immediately sensed that, because I was walking into a room that my heroes once recorded.
Eo8: You make vintage-washed bluesy, soulful music. How did you land in that realm sound-wise?
OcnSide: Soul/bluesy/rock music has always been the foundation for most of the music we write. With OcnSide we decided to full-on embrace this sound because it felt right and it was the best way to express what we wanted to say.
Eo8: Tell us about the creative process behind/origins of your new single “Bless Your Soul.”
OcnSide: “Bless Your Soul” was actually the first song David and I wrote coming into this project. David started strumming and singing the opening line and we both knew immediately that there was something really special about this songs and it should be the foundation for everything else we did. We love Motown and Soul so much and we felt like “Bless Your Soul” embodies a bit of that sound.
Eo8: “Bless Your Soul” has an uplifting message, why was it important for you that you relay that particular message to your listeners?
OcnSide: David and I felt a strong importance to write music with that powerful, strong, and uplifting message. I think we have both have felt the world knock us down so many times, and we feel like was our duty to write something encouraging and tell the universe that you just have to keep on getting up no matter how hard that is. David and I have grown and are in a different place in our lives right now where we feel it is important to give and leave the world something positive and hopeful.
Eo8: What is the relationship like between the two of you, what makes your partnership “work”?
OcnSide: I think it is our long friendship. We have been friends since junior high, and we have been in each other’s lives through many different stages. When we hear one of us jam on something, we say “oh that’s from that song we loved when we were kids.” Also, we know each other so well that there is nowhere for us to hide, so we always have to be honest with each other all the time. I think that’s why we continue to write true and honest music.
Eo8: How do you think your home base of Los Angeles affects the music you make?
OcnSide: Sometimes it feels hectic living in L.A., but I think it helps us find new things to explore and write about all the time.
Eo8: Any parting words of wisdom?
OcnSide: Thanks for having us and we are excited to keep on sharing the music we love to write with everyone.