Oceans Over Airplanes’ name reflects a topsy-turvy world where up is down, down is up, and where rock ‘n’ roll dreams can still come true for those who are determined.
Determination was something band members – bassist/vocalist Tony Pagorek, 32, drummer Joseph Bickham, 28, and guitarist Joseph Muzyka, 25 – learned much about over the last two years. This particular Northwest Indiana trio forged a musical alliance about 16 months ago after other musicians surfed through membership in Oceans, creating some waves that have since been calmed.
It was during that time two previous albums - 2010’s “Oceans Over Airplanes” and 2011’s “Rip The Sky from the Earth” – were self-released. Their new 5-song EP, “Revival Songs,” is the group’s first output for Chicago-based Stayposi Records.
Last month “Revival Songs” became available via most online music sites (iTunes, Amazon, Spotify, etc.) with a short run of physical CDs, each copy hand-painted by the band’s members to make each unique and special for fans.
“The original band started 4 years ago,” said Crown Point’s Pagorek, who reluctantly switched from rhythm guitar to bass guitar after the group’s first bassist quit the band. Unable to find a suitable replacement after over a year of searching, Pagorek traded his six strings for four to give the group its groove back before too much time lapsed.
Pagorek had previously enjoyed regional success as guitarist/vocalist/songwriter of Farewell to February.
He later founded and now sings lead for Oceans Over Airplanes while collaborating with Crown Point’s Muzyka and Demotte’s Bickham on songwriting. “We are primarily an all original project, but we do put one or two covers into each live set that we really enjoy playing,” he said.
“The three of us came together through evolution,” Pagorek said. “As the band grew, I sought out people that I wanted. I had seen these guys (Muzyka and Bickham) around and loved their playing.” Invitations were extended and the current incarnation of Oceans Over Airplanes began a journey that over the last several months included writing, recording and tweaking songs at Hey Charlie Studios.
Those songs proved strong enough to grab attention from indie label Stayopsi Records whose artist roster includes Chicago’s Lights Over Bridgeport and Milwaukee’s Avenues, among others.
After that year on hiatus searching for a bass player they never found, Oceans Over Airplanes nearly called it quits. “We still got together as friends during that year but weren’t playing music,” said Pagorek. “That’s why we chose ‘Revival Songs’ as the EP’s title. It reflects the recreating of the band, the recreating of the music and the theme running throughout the songs that ‘Sometimes people have to be pushed to the brink of losing what is important to them in order to save it’.”
With their band moving ahead and a new batch of music to promote, Pagorek said Oceans Over Airplanes is now determined to help kick-start a “community” music scene” in Northwest Indiana much like other areas have done.
“When you look at many of the bands who make it on some level it’s because they were part of a community that created a scene for people to get excited about; a scene that supports many types of artists and music styles,” he said. “We want to create that kind of community here and help put (Northwest Indiana) on the map."