Welcome to Unrecorded! For those who haven’t heard of Ocna before, how would you describe your sound?
Dale: Thank you, it’s lovely to be here. We’d describe our sound as immersive, expansive, lush and orchestral. We like synthesised strings and guitars with generous portions of reverb. The vocals are a big, big part of our sound as Fiona’s an excellent singer. Our current single is a pop song – in terms of the music, at least – which is why it became our first release. But we often go a little darker.
You’ve just released ‘Can’t’, which definitely brings up memories of being told “there’s no such word as can’t” by patronizing parents and teachers – but for you, why is this word so powerful?
Dale: “Can’t” is not about refusal. It’s about inertia, or wanting to move on in life but being unable to cope with what’s going on inside and around you.
There’s some lovely 80s synths in there, do you agree that that era of music offers up some interesting parallels to today?
Karl: We haven’t deliberately set out to make 80s synth sounds part of the Ocna sound. Of course, 80s synths are popular these days but when people say 80s I think what they mean is that there’s a bright, melodic and foreground synth element in the song. The intro to “Can’t” does that job, it’s true. There are electronic sounds in “Can’t” that I’d say aren’t particularly 80s, and even the intro synth comes back in the second verse, where it’s used a lot more like a background texture.
You came together in Brighton, which is famous for its indie music scene, what were some key venues, promoters or even other bands who gave you your first start?
Dale: We’d love to say we’re part of a scene, but it wouldn’t be true. We came together just before the pandemic so our first musical steps took place in isolation. We’d write and record on our own and send bits and pieces to each other by email. Strange times, but it helped us hone the recording/production process and work on sonics.
Having both English and Swedish band members, do you draw inspiration from across the European continent or is it more local styles?
Karl: As the only Swede in the band, I’ll try to answer that. As with all inspiration, it’s there but never deliberate. It could be from anywhere in the world or it could be local. I’m not sure anyone could really tell or own up.
With live shows and festivals back on the horizon, can we see Ocna somewhere live soon?
Dale: Yes, hopefully. With an orchestra, if we can find one that does discounts.
And lastly, will you be releasing more material this year?
Dale: Most definitely. Our next single, “When”, comes out in late April or thereabouts. It’s epic, swirling and more synths/bass-driven than “Can’t”. We have a few tunes ready to drop.
Where to find Ocna: