When I was attending the Surfana Festival (Bloemendaal, Holland) I was mesmerized by the laid-back yet powerful live performance of Ocean Tribe. Is there any other band name that would fit Surfana Festival better than a band that includes the words ‘Ocean’ and ‘Tribe'? So I stood there listening to that five piece from Scheveningen (on the Dutch coast) that would take me and other Surfanies right away to exotic places such as Byron Bay and Santa Cruz. Later I had the chance to interview Ocean Tribe’s Leadsinger Mathieu (nicknamed Matty) in a hip cafe in Amsterdam.

Annabel: Hey Matty! Good to see you again! How did you like Surfana?

Ocean Tribe: I really loved it. The vibes there are always incredible and the whole atmosphere makes me very happy. What I was really surprised about was that people were singing along with our songs, which is something new. People from the back to the front were jumping and dancing to our songs and we merged with the audience. Our bodies were full of adrenaline. It definitely was a show to remember.

New Single Vancouver

Annabel: So I heard you just released a new single called “Vancouver” yesterday?

Ocean Tribe: Yeah. It’s about my time in Vancouver in 2011, where i was studying at University for one semester.

I lived right in the city centre in a really cool old neighbourhood with wooden houses called Strathcona.

Back then, at age 22, I didn’t have a care in the world. I had a beautiful sweet girlfriend in Amsterdam that I had on my mind as something to look forward to when I would have to go home again. I had such a good time in Vancouver: partying, smoking herb and listening to Sublime (a famous California band from the 90’s). I had tons of Canadian friends that were super laid-back and down to party.

We would drive up to Whistler to snowboard and visit Vancouver Island to surf there. We would spend days in nature and on the beach, just drinking, grilling and chilling. I went to crazy Campus parties on Burnaby Mountain and I would attend lectures at University completely hung-over but happy. Those magical eight months had been stuck in my head for years and I always wanted to write a song about it.

I wanted the song to sound just like my crazy but happy days in Vancouver. It had to take me right back to the good old days.

Annabel: Sounds great. So how did you actually start the band and choose the name Ocean Tribe?

Ocean Tribe: My good friend Auke and me picked up a guitar at a BBQ party of a friend in Wijk aan Zee, on the coastline. I just started playing a couple of chords and Auke played a catchy riff that fitted perfectly. I started singing something along the lines of ”Down in the moonlight”. Auke improvised a bridge and then we immediately had something going. I always knew that we had a vibe ever since but for one and a half years we just didn’t get to jam as we were busy with other musical projects.

In the summer time of 2017 Auke and me started jamming and writing songs on my roof terrace in the blazing sun. Every time we were playing it felt like we were sitting underneath a palm tree on a far away beach. When we started to think about band names, the first name that came up in my head was “Frankies hot sauce”. Auke didn’t quite like it though, haha. After some time the name Ocean Tribe crossed my mind because of the beachy vibe of our music. Since Auke also liked it, we decided to go with it.

Annabel: How did you meet the rest of the band?

Ocean Tribe: A few months later we met Durq at a Surf Party on the beach in Zandvoort who used to play in the band Piñata and had a reggae feel to his guitar sound, that I totally loved.

Durq joined the band and introduced us to our highly-talented drummer Paul. We have been playing and writing songs for a year in that setting. Later we met our bassplayer Jeroen who had mad skills and is a great rapper. In only a couple of months we all became close friends and Ocean Tribe was born. A couple of months later we started recording our first EP ‘The Seelab Sessions’, named after our homestudio and we threw a release party in our hometown Scheveningen.

Annabel: What genre would fit your style of music the best?

Ocean Tribe: What I am very excited about is that our music is a mix of surf rock, reggae and hip hop. We even have some groovy jazzy influences, a slide-guitar made out of an oldskateboard and a didgeridoo.

When Jeroen joined the band he surprised us with his mad rapping skills which was really refreshing. Now we are also experimenting with new stuff. Our continuous hunger for innovation makes us all very excited about the band and the years to come.

Annabel: Where do you find inspiration for your lyrics?

Ocean Tribe: I know it’s a big fat cliché but we mainly write about women, haha. I am almost ashamed to admit it but I think most songwriters do. Nothing in the world moves a man as much as woman. Women simply are magical creatures. I wrote a couple of songs about that one girl I was crazy in love with but could not get a hold of: ‘Volcano Love’, ‘Let Go’, and ‘Miss Lion Hair’. ‘Back in Time’ is about my ex-girlfriend.

I always regretted breaking up with her but I just can’t get her back, no matter how hard I try. ‘Miss Flava’ is about falling in love with a girl you see walking by on the sidewalk. You exchange a quick glance but probably won’t ever see her again. That is the tragedy of life, haha. In a good way!

Annabel: Well, you already did a really good job with your latest single Vancouver which is a love song about a city instead of a girl!

Ocean Tribe: Yes I guess so, haha.