Cosmic Ocean stepped into the music scene in 2013, when Michael Whelan, Dino Rodino, Jake Rarick, Sean and Noah Lubell were all at William S. Hart High School.
They were inspired to parody an 80s hair metal band. As time went on, the group became more than a garageband and evolved into a group who performed at local shows. WIth COVID-19 affecting performances, The Santa Clarita Valley Proclaimer spoke with Michael Whelan, the group’s guitarist, to better understand what the band is and how the bandmates are coping during the pandemic.
MH: Tell me a little bit about who you are as well as your bandmates.
My name is Michael Whelan. I’m a guitarist and keyboardist as well as a part-time songwriter for Cosmic Ocean. That’s my main job. I’ve been doing this with my writing partner, Dino Rodino, who is the bass player of the band. He also writes a lot of the music with me and then the rest of our team.
Emily Solis [is] on lead vocals, Steven Elias [is] on rhythm guitar. And then we have our live lineup as of a year ago, which consisted of Aaron Miller on drums, who is still in the band now. But during the pandemic, we recruited our old friend, Mark De la-O as a drummer, and Aaron’s going to be moving to guitar. So, we technically have three guitars in our band now.
MH: How did your band start? How did you all come together?
This band started off as a joke back in 2013, when I was still in high school and my old friends and I came up with an idea of creating a 1980’s parametal parody band called Out of Time. We ended up writing some songs, released a homemade album in 2015 and didn’t really think much about it.
At some point in 2019, I was itching to play some of those old songs live. So I got a live lineup for Out of Time for the band to play together and at some point last year we decided that this it is our own thing. It’s different from the eighties, hair metal origins that we started with. From there, we just decided to take a whole new direction with the name Cosmic Ocean.
MH: Tell me about how you got into playing guitar.
I got into guitar when I was about 12 years old because I think some of my friends started playing it and my dad figured, “OK, Michael should play guitar too.”
MH: You mentioned the band started out with the name Out of Time. Why did the group decide to change the name?
There’s a number of reasons why we decided to change it. The main reason is that there’s a few other bands already out there called Out of Time. It makes it so much more difficult to stand out when you have a Spotify page that is trying to compete with others that have the exact same name.
The secondary reason is that it’s just so different from how we started off. We don’t sound anything like how Out of Time sounded in 2015 and everybody’s style is different. The only two people from the original Out of Time inception are me and Dino and that’s two out of five people.
MH: While the band started in 2013, you did not do your first live concert until 2019. How did that affect your fanbase?
We never really had a fan base. Originally we had a few people online that discovered Out of Time back in 2015. I’d say Cosmic Ocean didn’t form in 2019, that’s when this whole thing started. It kind of formed from the soul of our old band Out of Time because of how much of its own thing it is. That’s the real starting point.
MH: Being a local band that performed live often, how have you been coping with the pandemic?
The main thing we were supposed to be working on before the pandemic hit was supposed to be released in April last year. The day we finished recording vocals was when the first lockdown happened. So we had to put everything regarding that first single on standby. We still haven’t released it yet because we want to be able to all get together and make a music video for it. But that’s [been] impossible. The entire band has not seen each other at the same time since February 2020.
To cope we’ve been working on covers separately and posting on our YouTube channel. I think the thing that’s done most of all for us, so far, has been our cover of “Stand By Me.” I think a lot of people really seem to like that.
For more Cosmic Ocean music information visit their website cosmicoceanband.com