In need of an escape?
Ember Oceans wants to take you on a trip someplace warm, but not forgetting our current situation.
The first single, “Cheap Flights (Hawaii),” off the band’s upcoming album is a strikingly relevant song in these locked-down times.
Written during the first week of the Chicago-area quarantine, the Palatine indie-pop band — Joe Cox, Sean Groebe, Freddy Purcell and Parker Simonaitis — yearned for that freedom that comes with travel, but also wanted to capture the moment we’re in.
“We wanted to write a song that takes people out of their homes, gives people this mental vacation and kind of get those tropical vibes in there,” said Simonaitis, who plays drums in the band. “But at the same time, we didn’t want to make it too lighthearted and not face reality. So in some of the lyrics, it’s sort of that contrast between what’s going on outside and all the craziness and chaos going on. And then for you to just sit in your house on the couch being able to relax and just enjoy some good music.”
The entirety of the single was recorded remotely, with housemates Purcell and Simonaitis writing up their parts and Purcell engineering recordings collected from Cox and Groebe.
“It’s a weird balance that everybody’s in right now, so we wanted to kind of capture both sides of it, not just the tropical vibes, but write lyrics in which we tried to send a message about the environment,” he added. “At the end of the song, it talks about how it’s a sign from Mother Nature. She’s having trouble breathing, too. And you hear about all these stories because of social distancing … then nature kind of taking back over.”
Now that the single is out, the band also plans to share a behind-the-scenes video Purcell put together of the process soon.
“I actually made a little session walkthrough that we will be releasing,” he said. “We talked a little bit in-depth about just how quick the song turned around and some of the production in regards to that. I was making … Instagram stories when I was first coming up with ideas, and those were literally the recordings that ended up on the record.”
The single — which blends Ember Ocean’s earlier bright and playful tunes and its recent mature, groove-based jams — is a playful mix spanning the band’s history and incorporating the chaos of the times.
“I think that it harkens back to our earlier days of just kind of jamming in the garage, just working on song ideas and just kind of laying stuff down,” Simonaitis said. “So I think naturally it kind of just came out as that just more kind of innocent music. … And when we put it with the rest of the songs on the album, we really felt like it was sort of the last missing piece that we needed, something just fun and a little nostalgic soundwise for us.”
Ember Oceans has a string of single releases planned for the summer leading up to the album release. But for now, sit back and enjoy the new single, available on all major streaming platforms.