London’s bedroom-pop songsmith tells Rhian Daly why he’s aiming to attract the attention of music’s big guns – plus stream new track ‘Stay’ below
There’s been a strong lineage in British music of bands and artists coming out of art school: from Pete Townshend to PJ Harvey, Blur to MIA. Latest in that long line is 23-year-old north Londoner Oscar Scheller, a former student at famed London art college Central St Martins and creator of infectious lo-fi bedroom-pop, such as single ‘Daffodil Days’.
Where others have celebrated their time at creative institutions, though, Oscar describes his as a letdown. “I actually went hoping to find some like-minded musicians, but to no avail,” he remembers glumly. But the experience wasn’t all bad. Parts of his degree in Fine Art & Sculpture had some influence on the music he stayed up all night writing, which was informed by the “aesthetic and attitude, and the irreverence to stick to one thing”, Oscar explains.
That influence is still clear on Oscar’s debut EP, ‘Beautiful Words’, in its ‘collage’ approach, combining string samples with rickety drums and crooner-inspired baritone vocals. It’s a sound he describes as “gangsta melancholy”, noting that his favourite music has “big happy-sad vibes”, like his own. “You can’t be happy all the time, otherwise you’d be Bruno Mars,” he shudders.
Up until now, DIY has been at the core of what Oscar does, but he’s moving into territory that’s more collaborative and bigger in scale. His debut album, currently scheduled for release on Wichita early next year, was recorded in a proper studio, rather than the confines of his bedroom, and he’s been dreaming of working with producers big (Dr Luke) and small (Micachu, Jai Paul). “I dunno where the hell he is,” he says of the latter, “somewhere getting stoned
in Rayners Lane…”
When he’s not writing for himself, Oscar’s been taking advantage of his knack for making bold and brilliant choruses by trying to pen songs that he hopes will catch the eyes (and ears) of pop’s finest. “I really want to write for Rihanna,” he gasps, throwing his hand across his heart. “Unless you have a hit, her team won’t listen. So I need to get a hit.” In the unpredictable world of pop, stranger things have happened.
OSCAR: NEED TO KNOW
FOR FANS OF Magnetic Fields, Micachu & The Shapes
BUY IT NOW The ‘Beautiful Words’ EP is released on June 15 via Wichita
SEE HIM LIVE London Black Heart (June 22), London Village Underground (July 23), Visions Festival (August 8), End Of The Road Festival (September 4)
BELIEVE IT OR NOT Aged five, Oscar wore dresses to try and be like his sister. “I thought she was the coolest person ever – still do, actually,” he says