INTERVIEW: Labyrinthine Oceans | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

Narc. Magazine Online

Reliably informed

Image by Cameron Wright

Wearside newbies Labyrinthine Oceans are all set to take the world by storm. This Sunderland-based ensemble came together organically, growing from the solo project of vocalist Julia O’Neill into the budding four-piece vying for your attention now. 

Initially starting as a duo of Julia and Toby, session drummer Jack eventually joined properly after we started doing more band based stuff. We started out by adapting solo material from Julia and began gigging about a year ago. In early 2022, we added Daniel (guitar) to the line-up, who we’d been working with outside of the band for a couple of months. That’s where we’re at now. It’s filled out our sound a lot more and we’re excited to see how we develop.” 

Their debut album Visions From Below is their weapon of choice, and it doesn’t take much listening to win your affection. With such a relatively new line-up to play with, there’s a real melting pot of sounds and inspirations feeding into the record, and that makes its base of appeal unexpectedly broad. 

We’ve found that splitting the songwriting has really helped us with productivity and exploration of different styles and opened up the playing field for experimentation. Due to different musical backgrounds, Toby’s songs have a very different sound to our usual stuff, using more complicated chord progressions and electronic elements. Julia’s tracks have more of what you expect from us, with rock influences, simpler structures and an abundance of melodic lines.”

It wasn’t wholly intentional to write it about loss, but it’s the theme that sticks out the most throughout the tracks

Visions From Below certainly hits these notes. Sultry, subtle dreamscapes make up its tracklist; each song stands on its own two feet, slotting together like a jigsaw made from missing puzzle pieces that happen to compliment each other perfectly. Despite coming together to make a cohesive sound, Visions From Below started with a departure from Labyrinthine Oceans’ established work.

It wasn’t wholly intentional to write it about loss, but it’s the theme that sticks out the most throughout the tracks. During the first discussions we had about what sort of vibe we wanted to go for, we talked about one of our pre-existing songs, Glory. It has a very different feel to a lot of our earlier stuff and we really like it. Glory is about loss and cynicism, but still having hope and a vision of the future. It’s sort of trippy and dazed but very airy. Overall the theme within most of the songs is loss, whether it’s losing something or losing yourself – sometimes it’s fantastical, like The Gap, sometimes it’s literal like All That’s Left.” 

Labyrinthine Oceans are bearing their soul with their debut release – a risky move but one that can be reciprocated. Their heartfelt style tugs at your emotions and grips your attention, so set aside time to give Visions From Below your full attention. 

We really hope for the chance to develop a fanbase and really connect with them. It’s like handing your soul to people and letting them interpret it – we think that’s really cool. Talking to people about our music after gigs and online is one of our favourite things to do. While we aren’t really too bothered about commercial success, we do want this to be our career and we’re really hoping people like what we do and continue to support us beyond Visions From Below.” 

Please, lend them your ears – it’s the least you can do.

Labyrinthine Oceans release Visions From Below on 11th June. The band play Independent, Sunderland on Friday 17th June.

Like this story? Share it!

Subscribe to our mailout