Oceanside Sound System Interview

Oceanside Sound System or The OSS are paving the way for the fourth wave of ska. Plenty of bands have been influenced by the likes of Operation Ivy and Rancid, but Oceanside Sound System breathes new life and personality into the familiar ska sound. By the Barricade caught up with the band’s vocalist Skillet and guitarist Garrett Grabowsky to find out just how far they can ride this fourth wave, and to learn more about their upcoming release. You can check out the full interview below.

bandIncluded in this interview:

  • Skillet: Vocals
  • Garret Grabowsky: Guitar

Also in Oceanside Sound System:

  • Aaron “Knuckles” Peterson: Bass
  • Ricky Havoc: Drums
  • Joshua Donahue: Saxophone


By the Barricade: Oceanside, California has obviously had a big influence on the band. Can you explain what gives the city such a significance to you?

: Oceanside is a unique city in the sense that it is kind of a beach slum that sits between Orange County and downtown San Diego. We have always had a rowdy, punk rock scene here, taking huge influences from surfing and skateboarding. This scene is something we grew up with, it’s been here as long as we have, it’s just that nobody has really put Oceanside on the map yet in the music world and that’s what we intend to do.

Garrett Grabowsky: Oceanside is the other side of the tracks compared to the rest of the north coast of San Diego.  It’s our roots, it’s where we experienced the things that we write our music about.  The cops are assholes, we have rich trendy tourists, we have gang and drug problems that plague our city, if it weren’t for the military population spending their money here this city would be bankrupt.  At the same time, we love it here for many reasons, it’s a real community with people who actually care about their neighborhood, it’s a cultural melting pot, and the town in general is punk as fuck.

By the Barricade: I see a lot of parallels between Operation Ivy and Oceanside Sound System. Are there any other bands that have influenced your style as heavily as Operation Ivy?

skiletSkillet: Most of us in the band got into this style of music by listening to 80’s and 90’s hardcore punk rock.  We grew up on a variety of music though, bands like Rudimentary Peni and Poison Idea, to bands like Suicidal Tendencies and Rancid.  We all love traditional two-tone ska, as well as first wave Trojan Records style ska and skinhead reggae.  When we started formulating our own ska punk style we knew we couldn’t be smooth like Desmond Dekker, so we took a more aggressive approach more in the vein of Op Ivy or Against All Authority.

Garrett Grabowsky: The music that we can all agree upon is the ska and punk rock that we grew up listening to.  We all have a little of this or that which influenced us differently than the other members of the band, whether it was from age differences or simply different taste in music, and it comes out in our individual playing style.  I’ll put it this way, if you catch us riding in the band van together, you’d probably be surprised at the diversity of the things we listen to.

By the Barricade: What was your catalyst for becoming a musician?

Skillet: It’s all I know how to do.  I was a lost teenager with nowhere to go.  It’s one of the only things I’ve been passionate about for so long, and I really don’t see myself doing anything else.  Whether we’re playing a big show or a sweaty basement, I feel at home playing music with my friends.

garretGarrett Grabowsky: My Mom signed me up for piano lessons when I was 5, and I can remember listening to classic rock with my parents on trips in the car.  It kind of just snowballed from there as I was exposed to more and more music and picked up a variety of instruments to learn along the way.

By the Barricade: I’m seeing a big resurgence of ska on the west coast.  What do you think is contributing to that?

Garrett Obrowski:  Ska has a good message of unity and fun, and it’s a bit more accessible than some hardcore punk is.  It’s pretty hard not to start dancing when some good ska comes on.

Skillet: I think that more people are getting exposed to good ska music, and when you hear real ska, it’s undeniably catchy and contagious.  I think a lot of people in America think of ska as the “3rd wave”, which most popular bands have been pop-punk with horns.  Now we are starting to hear a lot of diversity in the styles of ska.  We see a lot of ska music brewing in local communities that we travel through, and even though they all may sound a bit different, it all fits under the genre of ska music.  We like to call this the “4th wave”, the new sound.  924 Gilman St. is probably the driving force behind ska music in America right now, and they are doing a great job keeping this scene alive and well!

By the Barricade: What’s the writing process look like for Oceanside Sound System?

Garrett Grabowsky:  Usually one of us will sit down and write a basic structure of a song, be it Knuckles, Skillet, or myself.  Then Skillet writes the lyrics.  Once he has some kind of melody for the verses and chorus we hash it out together at our rehearsal space and add anything we need like back-up vocals or bridges.  Everyone writes their own part for their instrument,it’s a pretty straight forward, no-nonsense writing process.  We are pretty comfortable writing music together. Knuckles and I, and Knuckles and Skillet for that matter, have all been in the same bands writing music together for a long time.  Josh just shreds, we give him the music and he does whatever the heck horn players do to shred.  When Ricky joined the group his playing style naturally fits our writing style, so it is a very organic experience.

By the Barricade: Do you have any plans for new music?

Oceanside Sound System Promo 2Skillet:  Yes. We are actually in the studio right now, currently recording a new release.  Our first single off our new release will be “It’s A Revolution…”

By the Barricade: If you could pick any artist to collaborate with for upcoming releases who would it be and why?

Garrett Grabowsky:  We actually have a few collaborations in the works that we will disclose at a later date, but outside of the surprises we have in store for our fans on the new recording, I’d personally love to collaborate with Iron Maiden, but that’s getting off the topic.

Skillet: Honestly, I’d love to collaborate with a lot of the friends that we’ve made in our growing 4th wave scene.  It would be cool to feature different people from all the up and coming bands we’ve made friends with.  With the style of music that we play, it’s pretty obvious that we would love to collaborate with the likes of Tim Armstrong, Fat Mike, Dick from Citizen Fish, or Stza for that matter.

By the Barricade: The last time I saw Oceanside Sound System was at a CD release party for The Interrupters. When will it be time for your CD release show, and who would be on your dream lineup?

Garret Grabowsky:  Our new recordings release date has not been announced, but it will be released before next summer.  Our new single will be released much, much sooner.  As for a dream line up, I still wanna rock out with Maiden.

Skillet:  Keep your eye on The OSS.  We have a new album in the works, come to the shows join the 4th Wave Revolution!

Be sure to check out Oceanside Sound System on iTunes, or stop by one of their upcoming shows.

9/6 Double Downs Las Vegas
9/13 Pier View Pub Tour Kick off
9/18 Club 66 Ashland Oregon
9/19 Le Voyeur Olympia Washington
9/20 924 Gilman St Berkley
10/11 Yucca Tap Az w 2Tone Lizard Kings
10/29 Slidebar Fullerton w Koffin Kats and China Wife Motors
10/30 Boars Crossing Carlsbad Pre Halloween kick off…
More dates being added all the time so follow Oceanside Sound System on instagram @theossband and on facebook/oceansidesoundsystem

Keep it on Bythebarricade.com for more punk rock interviews, reviews, articles, and photos! Also, “Like” By the Barricade on Facebook to never miss a post. If you liked this article check out:

The Interrupters Show Review

Left Alone: Interview with Elvis Cortez

Pennywise: Interview with Jim Lindberg

Punk Rock Bowling 2014 Review

Super Session Interview

Street Dogs St. Patty’s Day Show Review

Eric Walden

Founder of Bythebarricade.com giving bands of all calibers a chance to share their story. With the help of an awesome team By the Barricade quickly saw great success prompting the launch of Awfully Good Records and its spinoff AGR Publicity.

Recent Posts