After more than a year of performing virtually and no live shows, Santa Clarita Valley-based alternative rock band Cosmic Ocean looks ahead to their upcoming album in the two months since they released their new single “Ring to Reception.”
With Michael Whelan on guitar and keyboard, Aaron Miller on guitar, Dino Rodino on bass, Steven “Skunk” Elias on guitar and Emily Solis on vocals, the band has been creating original music as Cosmic Ocean since 2019. The band is currently looking to add a drummer to their lineup, as Miller previously played drums but has switched over to guitar.
Their latest music release, “Ring to Reception,” came from a guitar riff and an experience Whelan had. The band has grossed over 23,000 streams on Spotify and 390 views on YouTube for the “Ring to Reception” song and music video within the two months since the single’s release, according to Whelan.
“‘Ring to Reception,’ was based off a riff I had for a very long time, and then when I wanted to put it to music, I knew exactly what I wanted it to be about. I wanted it to be about cell phone addiction and social media addiction, and it was particularly inspired by a situation where I found myself at Cafe 50’s a couple years ago,” Whelan said. “I was sitting there, and when you’re at a restaurant you kind of observe the other tables around you. I saw a family of three, it was a mom and a dad and a little five or six-year-old kid, and the mom and dad were on their phones the whole time and the kid was just there by himself, like not even looking at the menu just kind of sitting there, surrounded by his parents on their phones. I was like, ‘That is all kinds of messed up. That is a shame,’ so that is what inspired this song. Social isolation through technology and addiction to technology.”
The title and album art of the song itself is meant to point out the tremendous flaws technology has brought upon society, as Whelan explained.
“The title of ‘Ring to Reception,’ is a pun. It’s about the marriage between human and technology, like a wedding reception and a wedding ring, and a phone’s reception and telephone ring,” said Whelan. “That’s why the single cover has the bride on it, because she’s the bride and you can’t even see her face. It’s kind of like the twisted marriage of human and technology.”
The band also filmed a music video for the song themselves, a project that came into ideation directly before quarantine.
“This was originally supposed to happen a year ago before the world exploded. Literally in March of 2020, we were like, ‘Oh, we’re gonna set a date in April, we’re gonna film a music video, we’re gonna get all this filming equipment, we’re gonna do it.’ And that’s also when we were recording it, too,” said Whelan. “The day the first lockdown happened was the day after we finished recording Emily’s vocals for the song, and then literally that day till this day, we’re still wearing masks and the world is all messed up. And then literally a year to the day, we finished the music video in April of this year.”
The band had a lot of fun filming the video, especially with the anticipation that had built up over the year.
“[Miller and Rodino] put up with the most hell because we poured shaving cream all over Aaron’s face, we poured two bags of Doritos over Dino,” said Whelan. Rodino added, “It’s not the tortilla chips, it’s the dust.”
The music Cosmic Ocean creates can be described as a funky, heavy modern twist on classic rock, “Like the bowl of fruit punch at a party, if that were music,” Miller said. The band members draw inspiration from many musical artists across all genres, from Slash and The Edge for Miller, to Propagandhi for Elias all the way to Maroon 5 for Solis.
“I have a lot of artists that I really love and I like to think that I take bits and pieces of them,” said Solis.
A lot of the music from Cosmic Ocean has come out of Whelan’s song book, which he will then show to the rest of the band, who in turn adds their own personal touches to the song’s instrumentation.
“Recently it’s been a lot more collaborative than it has been, typically Michael had just a bunch of songs in a book, and he just put them on tape, and we would come in and kind of put our spin on it and do our part,” said Miller. “More recently, we’ve been writing more collaboratively. Kind of just coming up with ideas and taking it into places, having more writing sessions where we just talk about the song and talk about where to take it.”
“Usually a song starts when one of us will come up with a little riff idea, and it’ll get expanded on,” added Rodino.
The band has yet to play live since before the pandemic, however they look forward to rehearsing more and playing in the near future, adding some songs to their setlist never heard before by an audience.
“I miss the energy,” said Solis. “Just having a full band behind you and the energy from the crowd. I miss that a lot.”
“Ring to Reception,” is just the beginning of new music Cosmic Ocean plans on releasing.
“We are making a lot of new music and it’s really close to being done,” said Whelan. “It’s really insane, I can not even comprehend what’s going on in my own computer, so I can’t wait for you all to hear the music that we’ll be coming out with.”
The new Cosmic Ocean album is currently in the tracking stages, and will hopefully be available for streaming in February or March of 2022.
You can support Cosmic Ocean by following them on Instagram where you’ll find information about new music releases and live show dates. Listen to their music on Spotify or Apple Music and find their music videos on YouTube.
Tips? Leave a message with The Santa Clarita Valley Proclaimer: (661) 463-3228