Ocean Park Standoff
When members of a band come from disparate backgrounds, each member’s idiosyncrasies and individuality come together to form a new collective identity.
That certainly has been the case for Ocean Park Standoff since forming in late 2014. For as different as Pete Nappi (producer, drummer, hip-hop head and Long Island native), Samantha Ronson (UK-born multi-instrumentalist, lyricist, and internationally renowned DJ) and Ethan Thompson (multi-instrumentalist, classically trained vocalist and singer-songwriter – hailing from Montana) might seem at first glance, they quickly turned Ocean Park Standoff into a an amalgamation of artistry and vision giving OPS its creative energy and identity; a trio from different worlds colliding to create aggressively uplifting, alternative leaning, hip-hop influenced party anthems.
“On paper, it doesn’t seem like we would end up in a band together,” smiles Samantha. “We’ re all from such different worlds, but our roots are the same. We just want to make people happy, have a good time, and take care of each other. The world is so complicated, but everything we do is a reminder that love conquers all. If us three weirdo oddballs can be a family, anyone can,” she laughs.
“When we first started, it wasn’t something I would’ve ever thought could work—but the more we play, the more it makes sense,” says Thompson. “We all come from very different places and believe in different things, but in the end we’re able to come together and these songs that we all really love.”
Within a year, Ocean Park Standoff’s music and message made a major splash. Their self-titled debut EP was powered by the breakout single “Good News” (currently at 21+M streams and counting). They ignited late-night television for the first time on The Late Late Show with James Corden. Between headlining numerous dates, they supported Third Eye Blind and Silversun Pickups on a 2017 summer shed tour followed by a spring tour with AJR and wrapping up 2018 with a North American run supporting Dublin’s alternative rock band Kodaline. Along the way, they constantly wrote and recorded new music for a string of singles.
The experience on the road invariably shaped the creative direction.
“When we did the first EP, we’d never really played together,” Ethan continues. “We’ve realized what we’re like on stage together after all of that touring. The chemistry works really well. Whether it’s Pete pounding away on a drum section, Samantha playing a different guitar part, or me singing, we’ve found the elements that fit. Once you go out in front of people, you learn right away what embodies you and what doesn’t.”
“When we came back to write this next group of songs, we just really understood each other,” agrees Pete. “It flowed easier than ever before. We know what we can execute live really well.”
The follow up single “If You Were Mine” [feat. Lil Yachty] illuminates their progression. Perfecting a signature fusion of neon synths, shimmering electronics, propulsive handclaps, and acoustic guitars, it quickly slips into a chantable refrain before Yachty serves up an auto-tuned cameo. The lyrics prove provocative, passionate, and powerful.
“The song is actually about bisexuality,” explains Samantha. “You can go left, or you can go right. At the end of the day, love is love. The message is, ‘Choose whichever way you want, but it’ll be better if you’re with me’.”
Ocean Park Standoff keep up the momentum with a bevy of new music throughout 2019 and beyond. Already a live favorite, “Hey Kid” hinges on the intersection of glitchy beats, reggae-style flourishes, and an inspiring and empowering mantra. “If you keep your head up and keep moving forward no matter what they say, everything will work out,” assures Samantha.
In many ways, “Good Time” most seamlessly reflects the trio’s philosophy. A bold, bright, and boisterous anthem, it remains equally suited for a bar singalong as it does for a swaying festival field.
“We really wanted to make a song that was all about just having a good time and partying,” says Ethan. “It’s the simplest one, but it means so much to all of us. We’ve created music that really matches who we are.”
The unbridled honesty that Ronson and Thompson channel into each lyric are what their feel-good anthems are built on. “When you listen to us, I hope you take away a sense of fearlessness,” Ethan leaves off. “Going through life, happiness is the most important thing. We want to share a sincere state of happiness from the heart. Most of these lyrics are like reminders to ourselves. That empowers us to give it back. We hope everyone can feel that.”
“We’re not trying to be the coolest kids on the block,” concludes Samantha. “I want all of those kids who feel like they don’t fit in to understand that not fitting in fits in within our world! The three of us don’t fit into any particular box, but we all love each other, understand each other.”