Q&A with John Martin of Sea Of Storms

Richmond, VA trio Sea Of Storms recently released their debut LP, Dead Weight on June 9th and they couldn’t be happier. Having played in bands with each other for years, each member of Sea Of Storms felt comfortable switching things up from their previous act, Mouthbreather for the new project. For bassist John Martin, it meant putting down the microphone and picking up a bass again. With big plans on the horizon, such as a few upcoming shows with Planes Mistaken For Stars and The Fest later this year, things look bright for Sea Of Storms.

Check out the band’s LP, Dead Weight via bandcamp below!

Interview by Shannon Shumaker

Congrats on the release of Dead Weight! How does it feel now that the album is finally out?

Thanks! It feels great! We took our time and worked so hard on hard on this album and we’re really excited that people can finally hear it.

I know you guys were in Mouthbreather prior to Sea Of Storms’ formation, so how did that come about? What was that transition like?

Mouthbreather had begun slowing down around 2011 in terms of touring and writing. Brandon and Chris and I still wanted to keep touring and writing new material so we started meeting up a little earlier before practices to start writing. Initially the idea was that we’d still do Mouthbreather, maybe just play locally and record eventually, but Sea of Storms would be the band we’d take out on the road. However, with the other two guys in Mouthbreather deciding to go back to school or move to other cities we just decided to put that band to bed and concentrate on Sea of Storms. The transition was a lot slower than I think we would have liked initially, but looking back I think it was totally necessary to take as much time as we did. Brandon had to adjust from being one of two guitar players and singing back up to being the only guitar player and doing lead vocals and writing lyrics.  I had been the “singer” in Mouthbreather and had to transition back to playing bass which is something that I hadn’t done since 2007.  Even though we’d been playing together for 5 years already we had to relearn how to write songs with each other. It was pretty exciting and fun to start over from scratch, but with the same people.

Was there anything that you wanted to be able to do or accomplish with Sea Of Storms that you felt like you couldn’t or didn’t get the chance to with Mouthbreather?

Well like I said, Mouthbreather was pretty much done touring, and that was something that three of us really wanted to keep doing.  We had been practicing on a farm about 35 minutes outside of the city so to take that amount of time to commute to practice really didn’t make sense to us if we were only going to end up playing locally 3-5 times a year.  Mouthbreather had toured a good deal up to that point, so it wasn’t like we’re accomplishing touring that we hadn’t previously done.  More like a continuation of what we had already enjoyed doing.

Musically we didn’t really set out with anything in mind, especially from a standpoint of comparing ourselves to previous musical efforts.  Personally, singing and lyric writing in a hardcore band had been losing a little bit of a shine for me and I had been wanting to go back to playing bass again. Brandon had been getting a lot of new gear and experimenting with using all those crazy pedals he has now. I think this band certainly scratches a few of those itches for us.

How do you feel that the songs on Dead Weight reflect you guys? Did you have an overall theme in mind for the album while working on it?

The album was written little by little over the first two years of us being a band. Our goal wasn’t to write any kind of concept album or anything like that but just to take our time and write songs that we loved to play and that challenged us in some way.  Lyrically, I think the songs all touch on a sort of common core, but Brandon usually would rather people take away their own meanings from them than explain each and every song.

I think the album is a pretty perfect reflection of us as a band though at this point. We’ve worked pretty hard to bring it to people and we’re pretty proud of how it turned out.  It’s nice to be able to have something to show to our friends and families and say “Here! Look! This is what we’ve been working on while we’re locked in a room in a warehouse at all hours of the day and night. This is why we went on all those tours.”

What would you like listeners to be able to take away from Dead Weight?

The neat thing about the album finally being out is to hear what other people besides us take away from the album. I don’t think we wanted people to feel a certain way, or get anything specific out of the album.  We’ve had people tell us that the album relates perfectly to the struggles they’re going through in their day-to-day lives and had other people tell us that the albums pairs perfectly with beer and swimming pools. Both are correct answers.

Dead Weight is listed as “name your price” on bandcamp, and you’ve told people to download it for free if they want to, which is always awesome to see, especially for fans who might not be able to afford a lot. Was it important for you to get the album out in this particular way?

Honestly, we just want people to hear the album. If that means giving it away for free is the best way to do it, then that is what we’ll do. We’re all a bunch of music stealing pirates anyways so it would also be a little hypocritical for us to put our music behind a paywall.  If people want to give us money we’d rather they do it by coming out to one of our shows when we roll through their town.

You also just recently finished up some tour dates in support of Dead Weight – how were those?

Tour was great! We did 15 shows in as many days and although there were some stinkers in there (you can’t win them all) the tour was overwhelmingly positive.  It was our 5th (6th?) tour and it was our best by a mile.  It certainly exceeded our expectations across the board, in terms of show turnouts, the venues that hosted us, bands we were playing with and response to the material we were playing.  Special shout out to the guy who had just gotten out of prison and violated parole to come see us play.

Now that the album is out, is there some more touring in your future? I know you’re going to be playing with Planes Mistaken For Stars and The Fest later this year, which is awesome!

Yeah, we’ve got some stuff here and there coming up. We’re just playing two shows with PMFS and sometimes I feel like we’re making a bigger deal out of that than we should. However, the three of us love that band so much and certainly draw from influence from them musically, so I think its OK for us to be yelling so loudly about it.  We’re in the planning stages of potential touring to and from The Fest, but that depends on so much. There are so many other bands are hitting the road between us and Gainesville at the same time that it might just be in our best interest to big dog it down and back from Florida and then tour at a different time.  Regardless of when it happens though, rest assured we’ll be back on the road sooner rather than later.

I know it’s a little ambitious to ask, but do you have anything planned musically to follow up Dead Weight? What’s the future looking like for Sea Of Storms?

Well its not too ambitious really considering that we recorded Dead Weight about a year ago already. We’ve been writing new songs for a bit and are planning on a follow up full length sometime within the next year.  Well now that I say that, it does sound a little ambitious doesn’t it? Ok, follow up full length in 2017. Take notice.

Thanks for taking the time to chat with us! Is there anything else you’d like to add?

Thanks for talking to us! Everyone should go over to our bandcamp (http://seaofstormsrva.bandcamp.com) and download “Dead Weight”! If you like it head over to Tor Johnson Record’s page (http://torjohnsonrecords.com) or Self Aware Record’s page (http://selfawarerecords.storenvy.com) to pre-order the vinyl. If you still haven’t gotten enough of us and want us to come to your town, hit us up at seaofstormsbooking@gmail.com Jah Bless!

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