In a brief chat over email, Oceaán tells me that his real name is Oliver Cean, but I’m on the fence about whether or not to believe him considering this would make him O. Cean, meaning his parents were about 20 years ahead of the “North West” geographical naming tip. Still, there’s an honesty in his music and in the rest of his answers that makes me inclined to think he might not be holding all of his cards to his chest, even if he tells me that “more often than most I try and relate through harmony rather than the lyrics’ subject matter,” essentially indicating that what he says is not always exactly what he means.
The track Neéd U, which I’ve been dancing about to since Cean sent me the Soundcloud link to it yesterday, is particularly open and joyful music, recalling the intense falsettos of How To Dress Well and Bon Iver amid a warm rush of percussion. The track was apparently made with fairly limited equipment, though it shows clear markings of Cean’s influences: “at the moment I’ve been listening to a lot of West African music. Finitawa’s ‘Sahara Sessions’ and both volumes of ‘Music from Saharan Cellphones’. Deserty.”
Further down Oceaán’s Soundcloud page lies the older track Haze, which is much more melancholy than its follow-up, allowing his voice to occupy a much larger space. Stream that here.