by DJ Ray
On November 27th, 2018, I sat down with Ethan Thompson, Samantha Ronson, and Pete Nappi of Ocean Park Standoff for a quick interview before they prepared for their set at the House of Blues. Many thanks to this trio for taking the time to answer questions about music, tattoos, and interesting future plans before their amazing show!
ET: What’s up, I’m Ethan, I sing in this band.
SR: I’m Samantha (keyboards and vocals and guitar).
PN: I’m Pete and I play the drums in the band.
WMXM: For anybody reading who might not know, what was the origin of the band’s name?
ET: We actually get asked this question a lot. Where the band name came from was the day after we had decided that we wanted to be a band, we were on our way to Samantha’s house and Pete and I couldn’t get there ‘cause all the roads were blocked off. It took us like an hour to get there and by the time we finally got there, we found out through some various means online that there was a standoff going on at Ocean Park and 10th. Samantha saw the headline – I think it said “Standoff on Ocean Park” – and she’s like “That’s gotta be our band name, Ocean Park Standoff.” And we never looked back, ever since that day.
WMXM: It’s definitely gonna be different for every person, but was there one definite moment in your life – maybe it was listening to a song or going to a concert – that you knew you wanted to be a musician in some way or another?
ET: I don’t remember a particular moment clicking, like “This is what I want to do,” it was just the thing I was always doing since I was a little kid. My sisters did music and they were older than me, so I just started doing it too, and then that was just all I ever thought I could do, was music. (Turns to Samantha) Did you have a click moment?
SR: No. I, uh…
ET: You were raised in it.
SR: Yeah, I grew up – my stepfather founded the band Foreigner and plays guitar, wrote all those songs, so I just was always around music and I never did it. And then at around…when I went to college, there was no more music around me. I all of a sudden realized that it doesn’t just follow you, so I then kind of started giving a s*** about music because I had to provide it for myself. I remember my stepdad always asking me – I would change what I wanted to be every week, literally every week. I was super passionate about being, like, a veterinarian or a nanny or an actor. Super passionate every single time, every Thursday. And my stepdad would be like “Is this what you’re really passionate about?” I’m like “Yeah!” “Could you live without it?” “No, I could never live without any of this stuff!” I was so dramatic and could totally live without all of it, and then I started playing music and I was like “Ohh, I get it! That’s what he meant!” So I guess that was the “click” moment.
WMXM: Nice. (To Pete) Did you ever have one like that?
PN: June 5th, 2001.
PN: I had already been playing drums, but June 5th, 2001, I went and saw-
PN and ET: U2 in Boston!
SR: Oh, you’re serious-oh, wow!
PN: Yeah. Pretty sure it was June 5th, it was one of those days. I had already been playing drums, I liked drums, I wanted to play the drums, but that was when I was like “I gotta do this for real.”
ET: I’ll say that the moment – for me, wanting to do a band, I was always doing music but I was doing classical studies in college and my teachers told me that I needed to stop hanging with the band I was with at the time and start focusing on my studies. That was the exact moment that I knew, I was like “I don’t want to do anything other than play original music with the band.”
WMXM: So you have the 5-song EP that you released and the song “If You Were Mine” with Lil Yachty, but you also have a ton of remixes of all the songs you’ve released, which all are very different, they sound very unique. Was that something you always knew you wanted to do when you started the band? You were like “We want to make remixes of these songs,” or is that something that just kind of came around naturally and you just rolled with it?
PN: Just kind of happened.
ET: It kind of happened because we were always making – Pete would always make alternative versions of things, I was always trying to make acoustic versions of everything, and then Samantha came in and made her DJ versions of things, and it was something that kind of naturally happened after. We were like “Well, we have an alternate version of this song that’s also cool and we want to put that out.” So then we decided that we all three wanted to put our spins on songs.
SR: I’m still waiting to do my “If You Were Mine” remix.
SR: Feels a little late.
WMXM: I mean, it’s never too late.
SR: Six years from now, I’ll be like “I got it! I finally figured out what I want to do different!!”
WMXM: Speaking of “If You Were Mine,” what was it like working with Lil Yachty on that song, and how did that collab come together?
SR: Well, I like to say that when you have a nautical-themed band name, you kind of have meetups at the marina, and one of those meetups in particular – I think it was August of 2001.
SR: Just a little after Pete decided he wanted to play drums.
PN: And Lil Yachty was four.
SR: Listen, man, it took a long time to get here, let me tell ya…
ET: (laugh) We’ve been plotting with Yachty since 2001.
SR: And we were like “Let’s have a regatta.” So we took Lil Yachty and our ocean, and it was just inevitable.
SR: It’s great, it was great.
WMXM: Are there any other artists you would want to collaborate with in the future?
SR: So many.
ET: That’s it, that’s the only-! Nah, yeah, a lot.
SR: There are so many we want to work with.
WMXM: Do you have any examples, any that come to mind right now?
ET: One that comes to mind right now, we’re about to go do a show with OneRepublic, middle of December. I think we all wanna try to sneak in the room and be like “Yo, do you guys want to write a song?”
SR: Basically, we’re just not going to get off stage until they agree to do a song with us.
ET: “Sorry, we’re holding it down until you guys come out here.”
SR: There’s gonna be an *ocean park standoff* for sure.
WMXM: Ohhhh (laugh)
PN: I also found out that you can hire Chubby Checker for a party and he’ll sing “The Twist.” So that could be cool, if we just do a party and we both play, that’d be pretty good.
ET: I’m in.
SR: Chubby Checker Standoff?
ET: Yeah, the remix.
SR: So many mash-ups, right here.
WMXM: When it comes to future plans, whether long-term or short-term, do you have any big plans for releasing music or playing shows, remixes, anything?
SR: Just taking over the world.
ET: World domination. Yeah, we’ve got a dartboard that has, like, “Single,” “Tour,” “Album,” and a bunch of other things on there.
ET: Yeah, “Nudes.”
ET: “Adopting a pack of lambs.” And when the new year hits-
ET: Yeah – “Alpacas,” that’s on 12!
SR: That’s peak.
ET: So when the new year hits, when you guys are all saying “Happy New Year,” we’re gonna be throwing darts at that and that’ll be our plan for the new year.
PN: Wherever the three darts hit. If it’s “Nudes” three times, I’ll take the bullet.
SR: Hoping for “Alpacas,” “Singles,” and…
ET: “Nudes.” (laughter)
ET: *Our* nudes, we don’t want to receive them.
SR: Unsolicited nudes.
PN: *Tasteful* nudes.
ET: And *if* we do hit the “Single” mark, “Good Time” is our next single that we’re gonna be putting out in the new year. And then we have a couple other songs that we’re really looking forward to putting out, too, that people seem to dig live.
SR: We shot a video for “Good Time” out in Vegas.
ET: In preparation for hitting it on the bullseye. Yeah, “Good Time” is coming out late January, early February, something like that.
WMXM: Sounds cool! Alright, a lot of the music that you release is very feel-good music or it’s optimistic or it’s got something that gets stuck in your head and you’re like “I like this.” Does writing that kind of music – is that what helps you stay optimistic about anything going on? Is it like you write the music that you want to hear so it keeps you in a good mood?
SR: I think when the three of us get in a room together, it’s kind of what happens. I think we’ve always – our main goal is to just bring hope-
(Ethan mimics the way she articulated the P in “hope”)
SR: -and optimism and light with us. There’s enough s*** in the world, we just want to make sure that people get to have a good time.
WMXM: Yeah, “Good Time.” Is the next song you put out – “Good Time,” it’s gonna have kind of the same optimistic feeling like that?
ET: Nah, it’s a super sad song about life ending.
SR: (singing to the tune of “Good Time”) “We don’t want a good time…”
ET: Be prepared to be depressed at the top of the year (laugh).
SR: We’re also gonna get a thesaurus for the future, so we learn a word other than “good.”
ET: Yeah, that’s our main word at the moment, “good.”
SR: My English teacher somewhere is like “Ahhh, didn’t I teach you better?!”
ET: (singing) “I just want a *great* time.”
PN: (In a Scottish Accent) *Great* time.
ET: (Repeats Pete) *Great* time!
SR: That’s the Scotland remix.
(Laughter and multiple repetitions of “great time” in Scottish accents)
ET: Yeah, I like that. “The Kilt Remix,” we’ll call it.
PN: We “kilt” it.
(lots of laughter)
WMXM: Do you – before or after the show, do you have any warm-ups or pre-show/post-show rituals that you go through?
ET: It’s just kind of shots and hands in.
SR: Try to remember to tune our guitars, plug in our mics. (sips Red Bull)
ET: Yeah, remember what needs to be plugged in. It’s basically – we take some shots, she sips some Red Bull, we put our hands in, and then whatever happens happens.
ET: (to Pete) I thought you were – it’s like we’re finishing-
PN and ET: (high-pitched and in unison) -each other’s sentences!
WMXM: So you all have the band logo – the three lines – tattooed on you. Do you have any plans to get any more band-inspired tattoos?
ET: Oh, I already got one. When we were in Vegas, we decided in the video [for “Good Time”] – we wanted it to be us and what we do in our spare time. So I have a tattoo gun and Pete tattooed a drawing that Samantha made as a logo for her bulldogs, and I got that on my ankle.
PN: It’s gonna be in the video.
ET: You can see it there, yeah, and it’s actually the logo of our Spotify playlist right now, too.
SR: Bulldogs & Toothpicks.
ET: Bulldogs & Toothpicks.
WMXM: Have you seen any cool fan art or other people who have tattoos inspired by your music?
SR: We have a sweatshirt, the Thunder sweatshirt.
(sneeze from somewhere in the room)
SR: Bless you. And that was from this fan – either a fan of Thunder or a fan of us, I don’t know – she made that collage and I happened to see it on Instagram and asked her if we could use it to make sweatshirts, so that’s pretty cool.
ET: We actually have a gal coming to the show tonight that got some lyrics from “Lost Boys” tattooed on her forearm. She was at our show last night, she’s coming tonight.
PN: Oh, she is?
SR: Yeah, she’s coming tonight and tomorrow.
SR: “We’re not gonna grow up, ‘least not ‘til the sun’s up.”
ET: And then we – actually the other one was a “Lost Boys” thing too, “Don’t know where we’re going but it’s somewhere out there.”
PN: There’s been a couple.
SR: When are you getting your tattoo?
WMXM: Oh, God…
WMXM: Tattoos have always been so…
WMXM: Well, like, I love the idea of them, but all the stuff that I’ve heard is like “What if you regret it?” And I always get so paranoid.
SR: Do you not have any tattoos?
WMXM: Not yet. I do have this fake tattoo stuff, it’s like henna but darker.
ET: Oh, yeah. It’s supposed to last for a while, right?
ET: Well, it’s funny, ‘cause once you get a tattoo, the number one thing is you *can’t* regret it. That’s how I feel, I get ‘em and I’m like “Cool, that’s now a scar that I have forever.”
SR: Yeah, I’m like “Oof, definitely could’ve left that part of my skin clean, but whatever.”
ET: However, when we were in Vegas, we did tattoo about ten or eleven people with OPS logo.
PN: With the lines.
ET: I don’t know, we haven’t heard back whether they regret that or not.
PN: Except the kid that got it on his hand and it completely faded away.
SR: And with global warming and climate change as it is, we’re all gonna die in the next five years anyways. Might as well-
ET: Get some tattoos.
SR: Might as well get some tattoos.
WMXM: Alright, (To Samantha) you already are a DJ, and you can answer this if you want. (To the whole band) Since this is for our radio station, if you had to create a DJ name, like DJ *blank*, what would it be?
ET: I’m gonna hand this off to Pete.
PN: For the band?
SR: No, for you guys each. I’m DJ Samantha Ronson.
ET: Oh, we each have one! I thought it was just a group activity.
SR: Oh, if our band was a DJ, what would it be?
WMXM: Either one.
PN: DJ Dweeb Disease.
ET: Dweeb Disease
SR: Yeah, no, definitely not that.
ET: DJ Dweeb Disease, that’s gotta go in the quote. We’ll give you our top three. Um…
SR: DJ Ocean Park Standoff.
ET: DJ Silent Yelling Lamb
SR: “Silence of the Lambs”?
ET: Yeah, Silent Yelling Lamb.
PN: DJ Kilt.
WMXM: DJ Kilt, coming back!
ET: DJ Kilt It!
PN: Kilt it!
ET: Yeah, with the kilt! I’m in. DJ Kilt It.
SR: I’m definitely not in that DJ squad.
WMXM: Last question: If there’s one message you want the audience to take away from your set tonight – one message you want them to have in their head after your set when they’re leaving the venue – what would you want that to be?
ET: One message…
PN: To rule them all.
ET: I guess one that I would say is to realize that everything that is the reality of being human is made up by other humans, so really just do whatever you want. Have a good time.
PN: Live your life.
SR: I think all of our songs basically are the same, just like “Be a good person, but try not to get too stressed out by everything that’s going on in the world.”
ET: Like we do.
SR: Just kind of, I don’t know, just…do you.
ET: Do you, boo-boo.
(Band repeats that, more laughter)
SR: Mainly just leave an Ocean Park Standoff show being like “That’s the best band in the world!”
ET: And do you, boo-boo. PN: Do you, boo-boo.
WMXM: Alright, sweet! Well, that’s it, thank you so much for your time!