Now that 2022 is coming to a close, it’s good to look back at what this year has looked like. We invited a few artists to talk about how 2022 has been for them and what the future holds. Naturally, we had to catch up with Finnish heavy metal act OCEANHOARSE, who spent part of 2022 touring with SOEN, but also were working on their upcoming record, “Heads Will Roll,” out in February 2023. Check out our interview with guitarist Ben Varon below…
What musical goals did you set for 2022? Did you achieve them?
My (and our (as a band)) goal for 2022 was to record the hardest, rawest, and purest follow-up possible to our debut album. And I do believe we succeeded, yes. The studio session was the most enjoyable one I’ve ever been a part of, with a well-rehearsed band all getting together in a nice big studio room and capturing the magic on tape (hard drives, actually) live.
Were you able to dedicate as much of 2022 to your project/band as you had hoped?
I think so! Besides recording and mixing the new album, this time I was also responsible for the layout for the vinyl and CD packaging, which was really time-consuming but rewarding at the same time. Then we had the month-long European tour with SOEN in September, before it was time to get back home to start working on Hoarsefest 2022, which will be the perfect end for a great year.
What were some of the highlights you realized in 2022?
Standing in the studio control room, listening to a great take of a song we had just recorded was definitely one of them. It’s one of the best feelings in the world when the song is playing back, and you just know that this is the take and your bandmates and the producer all nod in agreement with smiles on their faces. And honestly, the European tour was just the best tour ever. Never has there been a better vibe in the bus between bands, and the crowds welcomed OCEANHOARSE with open arms at almost every show.
Is there anything you learned during 2022?
I learned how to do album layout, for one! I’ve always been very hands-on with the layout and artwork of all the albums I’m involved with anyway, so I just thought it’s time I’ll try to do it myself, instead of bugging others to try to understand what I want. Besides that, I’ve actually started working on some electronic music on the side, just to get some of my musical ideas out that won’t fit OCEANHOARSE. It’s been a lot of fun and I’ve definitely learned a lot just by doing this thing that is new to me.
Have you (re-)discovered any new music during 2022?
My two biggest discoveries this year have been Halsey and AUTHOR & PUNISHER. Halsey‘s “If I Can’t Have Love, I Want Power” is the album I’ve listened to the most all year, by far. Her songs, combined with the production of Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, are a match made in heaven. And then AUTHOR & PUNISHER… My friend told me about this one-man project, so I went on YouTube to check it out, and was just blown away by the sound and the whole concept of this mad professor! Such a cool, unique band!
What can we expect from you in 2023?
One of the best metal albums of the year! “Heads Will Roll,” the second OCEANHOARSE album, will be out on February 17th, and I can’t wait for everyone to hear it! We also have some touring plans for next year, but more about that later…