Oscar is tall. It's hard to not have it be the first thing you notice about him. The second would be his deep voice. "He sounds like Morrissey," my friend kept whispering to me as we watched him perform one of his recent U.S. dates. I could see it, but I didn't agree. Oscar was a force all his own, with influences swirling together from a hodgepodge of directions. Backstage, he shared his love of artists from hip hop to Elastica. He isn't a slave to genre, and his results prove such.
Your music has an amalgamation of sounds, from more 50s-throwback moments to echoes of Blur. If you had to whittle it down to one description, how would you describe your sound to new ears?
Soulful, bittersweet Indie Pop.
You grew up in a very musical household. Punk mom, new wave then later acid house dad. What was that like?
There was a lot of falling asleep to the sound of parties and melodies always flying about the place. It was a great way to grow up, surrounded by music and excitement. I think I took in a lot more from my early studio visits to see my dad than I realised. My sister also had great music taste and I was constantly borrowing her mixtapes and CDs.
You studied fine art and sculpture. What drove you to undertaking that pursuit? What styles did you lean towards, classical or a more modern approach?
Before studying at Central Saint Martins, my high school was very arts based and so I really just wanted to continue that but was disappointed by what I found at art school. It lead me back to focusing on music so it was really a blessing in disguise.
How often do you freestyle? There's a great video on your facebook going #backto95...
Haha, honestly, only when I get high with friends. I start to think I'm a hip hop artist, which in many ways I would love. I have a steady flow but my weakness is free styling lyrics. I just need write lyrics down and I'm there.
What is a genre you'd like to experiment with? Will we ever hear Oscar folk or gospel?
I've been listening to a lot of Disco and Funk, so maybe that. Also I have a huge love of UK Garage so would be fun to try and make that my own too.
What is your production process like? It used to be on a laptop in a messy bedroom. Are you still sticking to the one-take method for the raw sound or bringing more polish into the creative space now that you've been doing more work in a studio? How has it influenced your sound?
I still work a lot on my laptop but my approach is slightly different. Since the first album has been recorded, I now just roughly sketch things out on the computer knowing that it might change a lot in the studio. It's more exciting that way. I'm basically thinking less about production, and more about straight up songwriting.
Who would be your dream to collaborate with and what kind of vibe would you go for with them musically?
Kero Kero Bonito. I would just make the funnest pop song I could with them. I think it's only a matter of time.
Can you tell us a little bit behind the inspiration for the video "Beautiful Words?"
James Turrell, Harley Weir, Gerhard Richter and Gary Numan.
Your full-length album is around the corner. How soon until we get to have it for our ears?
It comes out in May! I'm really, REALLY excited for people to hear it.
interview by Jordan Blakeman
photos by Rebecca Peloquin