Interview: Ocean Park Standoff

LA alt-pop trio Ocean Park Standoff burst onto the music scene early last Autumn with a two-track release to sustain summer’s guise. ‘Good News’ and its B-side ‘Photos & Liquor’ were pop offerings seamlessly blending the likes of R&B and hip-hop with electro-rock to produce hook-heavy, feel-good cuts for glorious sunshine excursions.

Ocean Park Standoff is the band of internationally renowned DJ and singer-songwriter Samantha Ronson, who writes alongside singer-songwriter/producer Ethan Thompson and drummer/producer Pete Nappi. After spending time jamming together in Ronson’s beach home-turned-studio, material that was initially only written for fun led to the release of their debut EP on March 3rd this year, shortly after the band embarked on a US tour.

The five-track record displays the trio’s talents as individual musicians, yet succeeds as a collective effort to produce upbeat alt-pop ready for roof-down airplay.

Following the release of their self-titled debut EP, we spoke to Samantha Ronson about extended influences, band dynamics and just having fun.

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How did the three of you meet and why is it you decided to join forces?

Pete and I met first, we just kind of messed around having so much fun playing together. Pete then got Ethan got involved because he’s also a songwriter, so we all got together and we wrote. The chemistry was just there. We had so much fun so we decided to make a band, not really thinking we’d do anything more than Soundcloud, we didn’t really want to worry about anything else, just having fun. But one thing led to another I guess and here we are!

What do you draw on influence-wise for Ocean Park Standoff and how does this vary from your solo work?

I think stuff only makes a difference because you’ve got two other opinions and two other tastes, but the three of us always just sit down and work. Me and Ethan do the writing and then Pete does most of the production, although obviously we both do bits and pieces on both sides. I think it’s just having the different flavors, the different backgrounds and tastes of music that just kind of come together. Ethan and I write everything together, but it’s more of a case of bouncing ideas back and forth.

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What kind of backgrounds are you all from musically? Do you find you often have conflicting ideas? Or have you got a good dynamic going?

I don’t really think we’re that different. I mean Pete and Ethan are classically trained and went to music school and I just kind of taught myself. But I think everybody kind of puts in their ‘thing’. We all decided to be really open and let everyone’s voices be heard, then we just collectively choose what sounds best.

How do you find being part of a band in comparison to being a solo artist?

It’s just so much fun having your homies with you all the time. When you’re out playing and doing stuff… it doesn’t matter what it is, we have so much fun we’re kind of in our own world. Solo stuff is definitely something I just didn’t want to do anymore. I was really only focusing on wanting to nurture other people. I don’t want to be the front person.

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Is there any way you can describe your EP thematically as a collection of tracks?

‘Lost Boys’ — the first song on the EP – is the first song we wrote together and it’s kind of just the songs that we wrote that we really loved and were enjoying playing live. There’s no deeper meaning or big storyline between them. They’re just songs that we love that are honest, and just ours.

Do you compare yourselves to any more established bands?

Not really. I mean it’s not like we make weird crazy shit, it’s just pop, but we are influenced by all the things we love from hip-hop to singer-songwriter, it’s just got a little bit of everything.

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You embarked on your first US tour in February, how was that for you? Good turn-out?

Some venues were better than others but it was just our opening so there was no pressure for us. It was just about getting out there and doing it, about just having fun. And we had so much fun!

What’s next in terms of live shows?

We’ve got a couple over the next few months in terms of festivals. Then we’re going out opening for Third Eye Blind, then all booked up for all of June and July!

Where do you hope to see the band a few years down the line?

Umm… world domination?! I don’t know! We just want to play to as many as people as a we can. Keep things simple and have fun with it.

Check out Ocean Park Standoff’s video for single ‘ Good News’…

Ocean Park Standoff’s self-titled debut EP is out now via Hollywood Records.