LISTEN TO THE ARTIST SPOTLIGHT
Eric Marshall talked about Young Oceans. Described as Indie Meditative Worship, they have a unique sound and a unique story.
What was the choice to not be out there as Eric Marshall, but be out there as Young Oceans?
That’s a good question. You know, sometimes it’s something that I regret now because it can be a bit confusing. The original reason for it was actually kind of weird. I was in another band doing a whole other different type of music. And I had a record deal where legally I wasn’t allowed to use my likeness or my name for other recordings. And so we had to call it something else. Because of that, we kind of used that as a way to hide behind that name for a bit. But after a while, that became a little bit silly.
Tell us the Young Ocean’s story.
Well, like I said, I was playing other types of music. I was living in New York. Just recently, moved to Nashville, but I was in New York for about 11 years during a really kind of formative time in my life. And I was doing music, playing in bands.
But I was also a worship leader at a church called Trinity Grace for about 10 years. And we were writing music like many churches do. We’re trying to write music for our congregation to sing. And that was an amazing process for me. An incredibly humbling, incredibly hard to write worship music and to put words into people’s mouths was scary at times. But I was really drawn to it.
And I had an opportunity to do a recording (it turned into Young Oceans). But at the time it was just a bunch of friends getting together. And we were trying to just capture the songs that I had been writing. That came about because we were meeting about once a month at a friend’s loft in Soho, in Manhattan and doing these worship nights. We used to call them Soho Worship Nights, and it was just this kind of really beautiful and raw and simple gathering. Anybody was invited. Obviously we would invite our Christian friends and brothers and sisters, but we’d also just invite neighbours and people that really didn’t know what in the world they were getting into. And it ended up being a really special time. So in a way, we wanted to kind of can what we had experienced in those moments.
Was it hard to change your headspace of writing & producing worship music versus the other music you were doing?
I’ve always I’ve always looked at music as music. For me, if it’s true, you ought to be doing it. Now for me as a Jesus person, the truest things that I can conceive of, have to do with the conversation with the Lord. And so that’s what the Psalms are. The Psalms are not always happy go lucky ideas. They can be brutal and the type of things that many of us wouldn’t want to sing. But they were true. Recording the way that we did, I really recorded with guys that didn’t know anything about worship music for that first record, which was really refreshing because there was no rules. There was no precedent or sort of guidelines to stay within. Our only rule, I should say, was to just make something that we ourselves would want to listen to. So that was kind of a good way to start.