One step at a time for Ocean Alley

Ocean Alley. (Supplied)

Matt Hewson

Psychedelic surf rockers Ocean Alley seem to be on an unstoppable upward trajectory; for the past decade the band has achieved one success after another.

From winning 2018’s Hottest 100 with their hypnotic single Confidence (also certified six-times platinum) to sellout international tours, Ocean Alley’s last two studio albums both reached number three on the Australian charts, catapulting them into the highest echelons of the domestic music industry.

But guitarist Mitch Galbraith said since forming in 2011 the band had always focused on making music and taking it one step at a time, rather than chasing fame and trying to make it big.

“We always had small goals; when we first started jamming in the shed we just wanted to go play the pubs down the road,” he said.

“And it’s good, we’ve just stuck at it together. We always wanted to progress what we’ve been doing, but no, we definitely didn’t have this grandiose plan of doing what we’re doing now.”

Mitch, his brother Lachlan Galbraith (keyboard, vocals) and frontman Baden Donegal all attended the same high school in Collaroy in northern Sydney, where they all played music together.

“And the other bunch we knew from surfing around the Northern Beaches – Mona Vale, Newport – so we were hanging out years before we started playing music together,” Mitch said.

“There were three or four years there before we had a manager or any kind of infrastructure around the band, so we were doing it all ourselves.

“And we’ve managed to keep our relationship strong, it’s better than ever, and that’s the reason why we can still tour so hard, I think.”

Ocean Alley is about to embark on a stint of interstate touring, including headlining at Here Comes the Sun festival at Torquay, before heading off for a 19-date, month-long North American tour in June and a similar length European tour in September.

Through it all, Mitch said the goal of the band had remained the same: to give their audiences a good time.

“It’s the same experience we were trying to provide to our friends and families that were putting up with us playing in the backyard shed and our friends that watched us play at Mona Vale pub,” he said.

“We grew up with plenty of contemporaries around that area, like Lime Cordiale, who we still tour with today, and the Ruminaters, who are now known as Le Shiv.

“We all grew up going to house parties and it was just the most fun we could possibly imagine. That’s what we lived for when we were younger and now we get to do it on a much bigger scale.”

Ocean Alley headline Here Comes the Sun at Torquay Common on Saturday, March 30.