Review by Adriana Rubio
Photographs: Courtesy of Occoeur

“Occoeur” is a band from Birmingham fronted by Alexandra Slawinski, a talented vocalist who has a background in theatre, singing on stage for small productions and has also been trained to play the piano.

“I started writing for piano and voice but wanted something a bit more beefy with more complexity”.

“Occoeur” was formed in 2011 by Alexandra Slawinski and lead guitarist Luke Challender. They were joined by Joe Challender on bass guitar, Al Wilce on rhythm guitar and Neil Meadows on drums.  They all are self taught musicians and are very proud of it.

“Me and Luke began writing together in late 2011, giving us our first few tracks and soon after joined by Luke's brother Joe on bass. We were writing our own stuff, totally different genres, Luke was writing metal and I was writing pop/soul, but we merged together and started in a different direction. We advertised for a drummer and guitarist after a few months and we had our full band with Neil and Al within 2 weeks of doing so!”

Their music likes and influences vary from “Metallica”, “Sylosis”, “Trivium”, “Sixx:am” to “My Chemical Romance”, “Paramore” and “Jimmy Eat World”.

“We have quite a variety of influences, we all have different music tastes but when meshed together you get the 'Occoeur' sound.”

The “Occoeur” sound can be heard on their first recording endeavour titled “Taking Over” which was released in November 2012. It’s a self produced 7 tracks album (Extended EP) filled with pure- heart- song writing and well performed songs in the genres of Pop/Punk/Rock/Alternative.

“Taking Over” is the kind of album that will please the ears of so many around the globe since the genres mixed together and the amazing lead vocals create a unique atmosphere that enriches even more what “Occoeur” is all about: “Passion For Music”.  

Occoeur’s vocalist Alexandra Slawinski has a commanding voice for rock tunes and even for some punk music lines, she is very good at that. However, the beauty she provides while getting into a more pop-melody-singing, the most powerful hitting riffs makes the difference here as she touches the rocky rhythm edges with a chorus that will have a sold out arena singing along, no doubts about it.  “All I can Be” is the song I’m talking about and the perfect track to play on radio stations.

“Our song-writing method works quite well for us, basically the lads lay down some riff ideas on cubase.  Then I go and move them around and write some rough vocals, we then keep polishing each song as we go along, by re-recording or trialling them with the rest of the band”. 

There’s another song that really got my attention for several minutes, and is “Villain”. It starts on a slow mode and builds up on a more complex and dark tuneful scenario. The guitar rhythm riffs, drumming touches and bass slaps all together in real synchronization create the ideal moment to get off of your seat. “Villian” also has a very well done bridge which leads to another catchy chorus.  The lead solo guitar on this song moves the groovy song climax to a more profound level. Thumbs up on this one to Luke Challender.

“Me and Luke have totally different methods for creating music. Luke works through trial and error, testing and recording until he finds something he likes, whereas I hear how I want something to sound in my head, and then I have to translate that somehow. But it all comes together in the end”.


  • Villain
  • You’ve got it
  • Taking Over
  • Endless Lies (Lay me down)
  • Fear Fall
  • All I Can Be
  • Another Life

 “All our music so far has been recorded and produced from home. We've been really lucky, we've managed to do the whole album ourselves on a budget including all the design and printing for the album. Luke has done recording and mastering for several years as a hobby, but he's gotten pretty good at it, so we just use that to our advantage!”

“Taking Over” is undoubtedly the album that will make a lot of noise out there keeping Radio Stations busy playing all these songs and venue managers booking Occoeur. This band from Birmingham will definitely find some serious appreciation in the music world.

“Occoeur” debut 7 track Extended EP “Taking Over” was launched on iTunes in November 2012. They also placed second in the Live Band of the Year Competition 2012 held at The Robin 2 venue, Bilston.

For further information on Occoeur, tour dates, pictures, videos and/or to purchase “Taking Over”, please visit the band’s official website at: