Oceanator | The Family Interviews


Meet Oceanator

The ocean is a big and scary place. We don’t actually really know what’s in its deep and craggy depth — and, as George Constanza once said, “The seas were angry that day, my friends!”

Well, actually, the seas are angry EVERYDAY. 

Elise Okusami gets this and adequately pays homage to the oceanic rage with her powerful tunes. Influenced by ‘90s grunge and synth pop, her project, Oceanator is an equal force of nature.

Below, we chat to the Brooklynite about the dangers of microwaves, summertime survival hacks, and her love of beaches (duh!).



A MAD-LIB By Oceanator

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Would You Rather…

every dog in the world be replaced by giant crabs or giant bats. Please explain your answer.

Definitely absolutely no question giant bats.  It would be kind of horrifying to have so many of them flying around all the time, but I am very scared of crabs and lobsters.  They’re like giant spiders and thinking about their bodies makes my hands feel like they’re going to fall off.  


Some Questions With Oceanator

What is your favorite candy to eat?

I’m not a big candy person, but around Halloween when candy is just lying around I’ll sometimes eat peanut m+ms or a snickers.


What does your family think of your music?

They like it! I think my parents might secretly have liked the acoustic/more folk-y stuff I was doing a while ago better, but they’re super supportive and always listen to and buy all my records.

What is the most dangerous thing to microwave?

In 6th grade my friend forgot to put water in his cup of noodles before microwaving it.  Then he forgot about it entirely and we were outside, I think playing tetherball, and it caught on fire and smoked up the whole classroom.


What do you recommend for surviving NYC in the summertime?

I like to going to the beach or the park, and I like to ride my bike around a lot.  And then when I get home I take a cold shower and then don’t dry off all the way and lay in front of my two big fans.

What are your favorite subjects to write about in your music?

I guess I write a lot about being sad and relationship stuff, but I don’t know if I’d call that my favorite.  I think I’d like to write some more songs that are just little vignettes.  I’ve been doing that a bit more and that’s been fun, exploring emotions and thoughts but setting up a whole scene for them.

What has been your best interaction with a fan?

There have been a lot of really good ones.  In general people that have come up to chat with me after a show or at the merch table have been incredibly sweet.  One that stands out is after a solo set someone came up to talk to me who’d been writing her own songs but was too scared to play them in front of people ‘cause she didn’t see many girls doing solo sets.  And seeing me do it made her feel like maybe she could do it, too.  That was a really warm and nice feeling.

What is your take on the current climate of alternative/rock music right now in NYC?

There are just so many good bands! I feel like every time we play a show I get to hear someone new and awesome and that’s really cool.  And it’s great to get to meet a lot of new people just through playing music.  I feel like the majority of them are super nice and supportive of each other, too.  The hard thing is that a lot of the venues keep closing, and it feels like there are way fewer than there were a few years ago.  There are some new places that have popped up that I haven’t gotten to check out yet.  And I’ve gotten to play some really fun shows in people’s apartments or practice spaces, too.

Describe your perfect day off. 

Some combination of sleeping in, reading a book, listening to music, hanging out in my apartment, going for a walk alone in my neighborhood or in the park nearby, and then maybe meeting up with friends in the evening.  Or if it’s summer just going to the beach all day, but I don’t get to do that nearly as much as I’d like.

What is your favorite board game? Do you cheat?

I actually really like Monopoly even though I know people hate that game.  I have a Lord of the Rings version where the ring goes around the board and when it gets to Mount Doom the game is over so that puts a good time limit on it.  I still can’t really get anyone to play with me.  I don’t cheat, though!


If you could only wear one color for the rest of your life what would it be and why?

 I guess I would have to go with black because I almost always wear black on the bottom half of me, but if I could get over that then maybe something in the aqua/turqouise/teal family.

What made you realize you wanted to pursue a career in music?

When I was 9 years old my dad bought me a guitar and my neighbor had brought over Dookie, and I listened to that record and was like yep, this is what I want to do.


Do you have any upcoming projects that you are excited about?

Yes! I’ve got a new record coming out soon, hopefully later this year.  We’ve been playing some of the new stuff live, but I’m really excited for the whole thing to come out and to get to share all the songs with everyone.  And then to get back out on tour again after that comes out, too.

Any final comments? (This is your electronic soapbox for one last answer.)

I just wanna say thanks to all the people that have played these songs live with me and gone on tours with me so far in 2019 - Andrew Whitehurst, Anthony Richards, Aaron Silberstein, Anders Pierson, and Ben Richardson.  I wouldn’t be able to play these songs live without them.

Sean Maldjian