INTERVIEW: Oscar + Martin
Oscar + Martin are a lovely duo that you should have heard. If not, it’s okay – we forgive you. And now we’re going to give you a proper introduction. We had a quick chat with the Melbourne boys to find out about their music, their upcoming shows and their place in the industry as the “lovechild of James Blake and Architecture In Helsinki“. Keep reading to hear what they said…
We’ve heard your music described as “wonky pop” and “experimental pop”, what genre do you think your music best fits into?
Oscar: I think something like ‘Alt pop’ would do fine. There is no exact genre we stick to, so something as open ended as Alt pop does fine.
Martin: I read in a review some one said it sounds like R’n’B that got broken. I kinda like that.
You’re well known for using toy instruments and other random utensils on stage… what’s the craziest thing you’ve used to make music?
Oscar: We really haven’t used toys on stage for a long time, because they are quite limited, and messy to get working in a live situation. We do often sample toy keyboards and use them as a starting point for many of the synth sounds we produce. I guess when we were playing in a more intimate environment (8 or 10 friends), the toys gave the performance a particular aesthetic, but in bigger situations they are a hassle, and they get a bit lost on stage, the performance has to be more about energy.
By now, your audiences have grown and you’ve got quite a following, what have you found were the biggest differences between now and before?
Oscar:I find that less close friends are passionate about our music, and suddenly strangers are!
Martin: I had a 5 year old girl come up to me today to say hi because she liked the album so much. It was very cute… it’s kind of strange when you realise people outside of your own age group are listening to your music.
You take influence from lots of different genres, if not your own music, what do you most listen to?
Oscar: I mainly listen to (and have taken influence from) Arvo part, Bjork, Dirty Projectors, Curtis Mayfield, Marvin Gaye, Ghill Scott Heron and lately go through intense phases with different producers; like heRobust, Clams Casino, James Blake and the list goes on. But also locally over the last few years I have been really inspired by acts like Otouto, kid Sam, Galapagoose, Yamaboy, Wife, Scissor lock, Nick Huggins, parking lot experiments, Pikelet, and heaps more!
Where do you find inspiration for your lyrics?
Oscar: From first hand experience or the experiences of my close circle mainly. I would also think that I am inspired by normal conversation, or normal phrasing. It would be lovely to have singing that sounds as genuine as speaking, but I don’t think I have achieved that just yet!!
What’s your favourite place for making music?
Oscar: It depends on what I’m making, there is something lovely about making music really quite at home late at night, like your whispering every part and instrument. But that vibe will translate into the music. I make most of my vocal ideas while riding my bike (hitting my chest and clicking my fingers) or walking home late at night, when it feels like a ghost town.
What has been your favourite show to date?
It would be pretty hard to top the Gotye shows in Brisbane last month, its rare to play to such an attentive crowd, particularly one that big.
Your label mates on Two Bright Lakes are all pretty awesome, what’s it like to be on such a roster? Do you ever collaborate?
Martin: yeah, Hazel Brown who is one of the three main label guys, also doubles as our manager. On top of that she sings on our album and gets up on stage with us at some of our shows. Also, my other band the Harpoons has recently signed to TBL, and Bec, the lead singer of that band features on a couple of O+M tracks.
You’ve just kicked off your summer tour, which will end at Falls Festival, what show are you most looking forward to?
Martin: Meredith and falls are obviously going to be awesome. But I’m hanging out to go back to Adelaide – people there seem really down for a dance.
Oscar: I am so pumped for all of them! The show in Tasmania is in the botanical gardens so that is pretty exciting.
The Brag called your album the lovechild of James Blake and Architecture In Helsinki – what did you think about that?
Martin: I’d say maybe Prince and JT…. (maybe that’s aiming a bit high).
Oscar: I feel like there are so many influences, and that it would not be fair to reduce them to two projects. We definitely have things in common with both those artists… But a bunch more too!
What’s next for Oscar + Martin?
Martin: Oscar is finishing an album with his other projects Brothers Hand Mirror, Oscar Key Sung, and taking a holiday of the spiritual variety in India with his mum, and Im working on an album with my other band the harpoons, and id maybe like to hang out with my girl for a bit….. we hope to take a little break from touring early next year so that we can make a new album.
Friday 9 December
Meredith Music Festival
Thursday 15 December
Yours & Owls, Wollongong
Friday 16 December
Oxford Art Factory, Sydney
Saturday 17 December
Plus One @ Edinburgh Castle,
Sunday 18 December
Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens, Hobart
Friday 30 December
Falls Festival, Lorne