Insider: Ocean Alley Guitarist Mitch Chats ‘Chiaroscuro’

We were lucky enough to share a deep and meaningful one-on-one with Ocean Alley guitarist Mitch, chatting about the bands origin, ticket scalping and their latest album, Chiaroscuro! Join us as we find out more about the lads behind the album we’re already flagging as 2018’s hottest drop. 

Credit: Auster Club

I heard you boys started honing your sound out of a backyard shed, tell us a bit about that.

We were just hanging out there skateboarding and drinking when we shouldn’t have been and we needed something to do to pass the time… So we picked up some instruments, started having a bash and here we are!

You’ve just released a killer new album, Chiaroscuro, tell the people one ‘must listen to’ song.


What does the title of the album mean?

It’s an artistic technique used in renaissance painting back in the day… its a treatment used to show light and dark in painting, we’ve interpreted that in our music. It connects music and the visual and describes the way the tracks came out. Light dark, happy sad etc.

So, sort of oxymoronic in a sense?

Yeah definitely, it’s a clever, smart way of saying ying/yang I guess.

The album seeps all sorts of sound coming from different feelings, tell us about some of the inspiration behind the writing…

The way we write is we all get into a room, someone will bring an idea to the table and we build on it as a group. Baden writes lyrics by himself, he’s basically just writing from a more general point of view, not necessarily all his lyrics are personal. It’s nice to have a broad and listenable sound. Producing  a listenable sound is something thats different enough to be interesting and not different enough to put you out of your comfort zone.

Where did you write and record the album?

Up at The Grove Studios, about an hour north of sydney on the central coast. Xavier Rudd, Delta Goodrem and The Presets have all recorded there so we were stoked to land such an awesome spot to record. They have accommodation on site too, and we basically had access to the studio 24/7!

Do you remember when it really clicked that you could actually make a career out of music?

After we released our first album Lost Tropics… That’s when we started to say it could happen. As we were going in to the last session of the latest record also, we were really proud of what we’d done and we knew we we’d made some standouts in our discography. 

If you had to pick one band to go on tour with who would it be?

Rolling Stones.

Best show?

I can replay this one in my head right now… Our headline show at the Metro Theatre. I’m sure the Enmore coming up will even top that!

Did anyone in the band ever have any funny day jobs?

Ummm my brother, who plays keyboard in the band is working at an elevator company called ‘Going Up’ which we all find pretty hilarious. Three of us are carpenters actually, so when we aren’t making music we do some chippy work on the side.

Give us one crazy fan story, please!

One dude at an underage festival went for a stage dive, slipped as he jumped and went head first in to the fence… He was sort of dazed on the ground and none of us knew what to do so we just kept playing. Sure enough the paramedics got to him and he was all good thankfully!

If you could sit in a jacuzzi and share a bottle of champagne with one person dead or alive, who would it be?

Kylie Minogue! Or Britney Spears in her early days… that would’ve been interesting. 

I googled the band before and noticed that the scalping website viagogo was right up the top of the page, do you have any thoughts or opinions on this?

Yeah, there’s people trying to on-sell our merchandise also. Basically it just rips off the band, the fans and everyone involved… The ticket scalping is just ridiculous, lucky its not too hectic at the level we’re at. I’m sure the government could legislate against it. It’s not gonna stop unless something like that is done. There needs to be ticketing outlets that’ve been verified and checked, and they should be the only company’s allowed to sell them. A bit of education, and telling people where to buy would help I’m sure.

Any funny tattoos?

I don’t have a single tatt… my body is a temple. Angus, the lead guitarist got a sketchy home job saying ‘SRV’ on the bottom of his foot. For Stevie Ray VaughanOur name actually half came from one of his songs, Tinpan Alley.

Do you have a favourite triple j like a version?

Yep, I really like DMA’s version of Cher’s ‘Believe’. And Sticky Fingers version of ‘Rihannon’ by Fleetwood Mac, I love Fleetwood Mac.

Finally, is there anything you want to say to the readers?

We’re just thankful for the fans that keep coming to our shows… we’re looking forward to doing this for a long time. As long as the fans keep coming we’re gonna keep making music!

Thanks for the chat Mitch, and thank YOU Ocean Alley for the incredible album. If you haven’t heard Chiaroscuro yet you can hear it on Apple Music and Spotify. And if you’re dying to witness the band in their full glory, catch them at one of the shows on their next tour. Book your tickets below!