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Oceans & Oceans at Beat Kitchen: An Interview with Adrian Medriano

Monday, April 18, 2016 Kathleen Lieffers

Oceans & Oceans are a noise rock band from Elgin, IL. The band has a bit of a different dynamic than most, however, because the members all happen to be siblings. Adrian Medriano (28), Kristine Medriano (24), and Julian Medriano (20) make me hate my tone deaf brother. The three make for a unified sound and a really great combination of enthusiasm and passion that must run in the family. Adrian is on vocals and guitar, Julian plays guitar and sometimes bass/vocals, and Kristine is completely insane on the drums.

Oceans & Oceans played a show at Beat Kitchen Saturday night. Also on the bill were Beach Bunny, Peru, and the headliner Aftersound.

Beach Bunny is a solo acoustic indie project of Lili Trifilio. She opened the night with her intricate guitar and smooth, sweet vocals. She played all original songs that left the audience begging for more. Not to mention she is about the cutest thing ever with her humble attitude and her refreshingly honest performance. You can find more from Beach Bunny here.

Peru played an excellent first show ever at Beat Kitchen following Beach Bunny. The two person band played their upbeat and catchy originals as well as a cover of The Weekend. They had a comfortable stage presence and were definitely not afraid to joke around and get the crowd talking and laughing with them. A great performance was given by Peru. Definitely check out their stuff here.

Aftersound played a unique set of songs that pumped up the audience. They were very energetic and lively with their performance giving the crowd a good wake up before leaving at the end of the night. They also had a sweet light-up drum set, you know, if you're into that sort of thing. You can check out their music here.

An Oceans & Oceans rehearsal. Photograph taken by Roberto Martinez. 

Oceans & Oceans opened for Aftersound and were easily the stars of the night. Not only did Oceans & Oceans have the biggest draw of the bands throughout the night, but their genuine originals left the fans and the newbies, or 'soon-to-be-fans', with a connection to the music.

Adrian got the crowd involved by teaching us the words of the chorus to one of their songs. The words went, "I'm low, I'm tired, and I'm wasted." Not only did the crowd sing along to begin with, but Adrian encouraged the crowd to sing louder and then even louder.

"Alright, now louder! Now, as loud as you can!" Adrian shouted as he screamed the words with the crowd.

Adrian also disclosed to the crowd how he had written a song called 'Gemini Girl' about how girls with the sign of Gemini are sexy, but have always done him wrong. This honest confession left us wanting more. Not only was the song's words and music genuine, but their performance of the song was unbelievably heartfelt. I have to say that I was moved to tears.

Along with the opportunity to see Oceans & Oceans' fantastic performance, I got a chance to snag an interview with Oceans & Oceans’ hilarious guitarist and vocalist Adrian Medriano before the show to ask some deeper questions about the band, their start, and their developing future with music.


Kathleen:What’s going on?

Adrian: I’m glad you called me just now because I literally just swallowed half a chocolate bar and I had enough time to, uh, navigate it down my throat.

K: Alright, that’s going in the article.

A: Ha! Alright!

K: Getting down to it, you’re originally from Elgin, IL. When did you guys form the band?

A: Crazy enough, it was in 2010 - 6 years ago. I want to say May, 2010. It was just me and Kristine back then, though.

K: When did Julian join?

A: I think it’s been two years. We, uh, played a basement show for, like, his birthday party and we liked it so much that we were like, “Hey, so, uh, it’s kind of weird because we’d be, like, a three-piece sibling band, but do you want to be in our band?”

K: Ha. That’s great.

A: Ha. Yeah that is exactly how it happened, too. We were like, “Well, this is convenient.”

K: So, he played separately, but never with you guys?

A: Yeah, he was learning piano and played guitar and stuff like that by himself for a couple years, but then I guess he just happened to catch up to us - skill-wise.

K: So, you and Kristine formed Oceans & Oceans. What is the meaning behind the name?

A: Oh, well there is actually a pretty good story behind this. Basically when we started out, we were kind of getting back into the swing of things. After I graduated high school, I played with a couple of bands, but I kind of quit music for awhile. Kristine had done the same thing - she was with a couple bands, but we both hadn’t really been serious about anything. We had an acoustic band of me and Kristine and some friends, but when we started what would be known as Oceans & Oceans, I finally started messing around with the electric guitar and different guitar effects.

So, We did this one instrumental song. It was this wave of noise. It was influenced by a lot of the stuff we had been listening to - which was, like, very weird experimental music and noise rock bands. We were like, “Holy shit. this is way different than what we used to do.” The only way I could describe it was that we were two big giant waves of sound crashing against each other. And I thought waves, oceans. I said, “Well, I am one ocean and Kristine is one ocean and we are crashing against each other.”

K: That’s really cool. That’s a great story. Did you guys have a name for your acoustic band in high school?

A: Yes. We used to be called Ghost of a Hero. Our demos are circulating somewhere on the internet now. Ha.

K: Ha. Okay. Does Oceans & Oceans have a demo coming soon?

A: Oceans & Oceans just finished recording. Right now we are trying to get the songs mixed the way we want them. We recorded in a studio in Chicago and recorded the rest of the music in this guy’s basement. We are done tracking, but waiting for something that we think is finished.

K: How many songs?

A: It’s only 2, but we are splitting with our friend’s band. We wanted to do a split and, honestly, we didn’t have enough money to record more. Ha.

K: Ha. Yeah, definitely.

A: Yeah we are just waiting for our friends (Home Burial) to finish recording their two songs. We played a bunch of songs with them and they actually used to live across from us.

K: Alright, very cool and exciting. Who writes the music for Oceans & Oceans? Is it collaborative?

A: Well I used to come up with a guitar riff and Kristine would drum something to it. Lyrics always came last. Our songs are not very lyric centric - much more instrumental. I am mostly fine with it, but I am starting to realize that a lot of the songs that people respond to are the ones that they remember the lyrics to. We are trying to get some really good lyrics. Lyrics have always been an uphill struggle for us. We always feel like we never do it quite up to justice to what it should be, if that makes sense.

K: Of course, yes.

A: Yeah lately it has been very collaborative. Especially with Julian joining. It’s a democracy. If we left it up to one person we would probably kill each other. Ha. I mean, we don’t really fight a lot as siblings, but man, does it get amplified when you’re making music together.

K: Ha. Amplified. 

A: Yeah if it gets bad, it gets bad. But thankfully it is mostly awesome.

K: Could you talk about your experience in different Battle of the Bands?

A: It was crazy. We won the BOTB before as a two-piece which was awesome. We won $1,000. I was broke at the time so that money was gone, like, immediately. Ha.

K: Ha. For sure.

A: Yeah, that was in 2010. The last BOTB we won was the summer of 2015. It was interesting because it was a BOTB hosted by Side Street in Elgin, IL. It was a gauntlet of a BOTB. We were put in brackets and played a round on different nights. I had to play, like, three round basically. It was more based on the draw, too. They would give you a ticket at the door and you had to vote for who you wanted to win. We were lucky we had a decent amount of fans.

Ironically enough, I entered my other band and both of my bands were in the final round.

K: What?! What is your other band’s name?

A: Wayfarer. I play guitar for them. We aren’t nearly as active as Oceans & Oceans because our singer, Max lives, like, 3 hours away. But, yeah. Oceans & Oceans and Wayfarer made it to the final round. The entire time, people were joking about me playing against myself in the final round and it happened!

K: Yeah that is crazy! 

A: It really was. So many people were there. It was sweaty. Oceans & Oceans did end up winning. So I both lost and won, I suppose.

K: Ha. Great Battle of the Bands. 

A: Oh definitely.

K: So, back to your recordings. Are you guys going to release your music soon?

A: Oh yeah, we are thinking it will be done by the end of May.

K: Awesome. So, big picture, here - What’s in the future for Oceans & Oceans?

A: Well, we would love to do a couple home town shows in Elgin, but we also want to play in Chicago, too. We have a lot of friends in Chicago. But yeah. For a long time Oceans & Oceans wasn’t taken seriously by us. We are getting more attention and taking it more seriously now. We want to have fans. We like playing to people. We want to grow a fanbase because it feels good to play for people that really connect to you. Before, we would get up there and play and it was really just for us. Now, we really want to entertain people and have people that want to see us and connect to our music. It means a lot when that happens. We also want to get some merch in the near future. We want to write new songs and record them soon, too. We want to play as many shows as we can. Honestly, we just want to keep on going.

K: Do you have any advice for other artists/bands struggling to get out there?

A: Oh, man. Good question. Hmm. Actually, I have a couple words of advice. Mostly, be as genuine as possible. I feel if you try to manufacture your art in such a way, people will get a whiff of that and turn away. There is no connection there. Let it happen organically.

Also, I would say try to connect with people as much as possible. It sounds like a no-brainer, but I feel like when you try to involve the crowd somehow, they really respond to that. Even if you are just getting someone clapping at a show, they really like it. There is one song we have where we make it a point to have the crowd sing a long with the chorus first and then we do the song. We tell them the words and then we play it and have them sing it. They really respond to that.

Lastly, I think you really need to network. Another no-brainer, but it really is important. A lot of the shows we have gotten are from friends and knowing someone in the industry or, you know, the owner of the bar or something. Support your scene. Not just musicians, either. You have to know everyone you can. That’s how it works.

K: Well that’s awesome advice. I wish the best of luck to Oceans & Oceans. Can’t wait to hear the new split record. 

A: Thanks! I can’t wait either. Ha.

If ever given the chance to see Oceans & Oceans, I would highly recommend seizing the opportunity. They not only have an excellent dynamic on stage, but put passion in their work that is expressed through their lyrics and their emotionally-moving guitar loops. You can find more information about Oceans & Oceans events and music here. Their split album with Home Burial will be out in the next couple of months and I know I will be getting myself a copy! You should absolutely do the same.

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