Interview: The Desert Sea

The Desert Sea are a hidden pearl of the Sydney scene. The

well-oiled three piece generate some heavy rock hits that have

plagued my mind and Spotify search since seeing them live

nearly a year ago today. A band comprised of three personable

and amusing blokes;

Andy ‘Westy’ West , the reserved bass player whose big smile

is decorated by a great beard leading him to be the

unanimously decided looks of the band.

Justin ‘the old man’ Leef, a drummer from a heritage line of

mystic musicians, whose talents have been used by many

Aussie acts and the holder of a pocketful of connections,

And Ashton Tremain, the charming front man who builds songs

as well as he does houses in the northern Sydney beaches.


As eager as I was to meet the band with a small but sure library

of songs, I was equally excited to learn all I could. Ashton told

tale of the bands rather unexpected origins “originally I had a

solo acoustic thing and then these boys came in to try and

fill out the sound and we very quickly outgrew that”


In their humble beginnings, the Sea was far more contained to

the likes of a surfboard factory, where their manufacturer friend

and fellow musician would let them jam. Upon reflection Justin

said “you’ve got to have somewhere to get loud and this

definitely wasn’t you mums lounge room.”


One can only imagine, a dull, dank and dim workshop. Fresh

boards, stacked against walls surfing on only the vibration of

Andy’s bass. Then as Justin stomps a booming kick to his bass

drum, Ashton recalls the sawdust clouds smearing the air. That

is certainly a gig I’d like to see.


An arduous back and forth led the trio on the conflicting title of

The Desert Sea, a name which sums up their earthy riffs

matched with enticing lyrics. However, as Justin points out The

Desert Sea is also an unintentional acronym for T D S

(tedious) Ashton adds “(it) certainly describes the process of

naming it.”


Currently, the band has three epic EPS to boast, the latest and

greatest being released this year. ‘Awake me’ was produced

by Justin’s childhood friend and COG drummer, Lucius Borich

and captures the rock and roll harmony that defines this band.

Whether listening to their top tier production or live in a

swamped dive bar, the band’s sound is so well synchronised.

The bass feels consistently next to the lead guitar, not

underneath or over, but next to. The drums are prominent and

well timed and whether Ashton is singing with softness or

dealing a little more of a grungy edge, he hits the mark. The

band attributes their playing perfection to practice and the

genuine brotherly love. As the front man puts it “we are all

comfortable in knowing our roles in the band but we are

also just great mates that hang out outside of music and

that I think comes through in its own way.”


“Being a three piece…” Andy adds “everyone has their own

parts to fill.” The EP kicks off with one of Ashton’s (and my)

personal favourites, Set Me on Fire. more than a song, it’s a

call for action. “In the music world things can get flat and

uninspiring…in every aspect of life you get that sort of

metonymy, your job, your nine-to-five and set me on fire

was just a bit of a craving for some inspiration, whether

that be artistic or in just generally day to day life.”


Set Me on Fire is a good example of the band developing a

heavier sound. With the possibility of an album on the desert

sea’s horizon they claim to be open to trying new things. While

the EP features a lot of heavier blues inspired rock songs, often

compared to Queens Of The Stone Age, the band are open to

working into their other influences if given the chance to explore

such concepts on an album. Andy seemed excited to declare

that, “we’re about to start a new writing process and we

have all been writing our own little riffs and skeletons of

songs.” The band has an awareness that they don’t wish to

betray long-term fans by abandoning the sound we love but as

creatives they certainly seem ready to try something different.

While we have heard some of their influences in their work, I

suggested the idea of leaning in to the sludgier side of their

musical taste. The bands admire stoner metal giants like Kyuss

and Black sabbath and said “you couldn’t rule out” hearing

something of that nature on a debut album.


The Desert Sea are an excellent band whose sound seems so

familiar yet it’s hard to find a mainstream act today that

captures the hardness of the rock that they’re serving. Fans of

radio friendly bands or more metal acts alike would benefit from

checking out what this band has to offer and sticking around for

whatever is next to come.


-Maxx Bradford Lester


Listen to the full interview, an acoustic performance and more at

X2X STUDIOS on YouTube


https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCFfXDZUaiWEOy4m-rw_P9KQ

Instagram: doublexonair


Published by Behemothian/Site Admin

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