Oscar’s cut and paste approach to pop
PUBLISHED: 13:33 13 February 2016
West Hampstead-raised Oscar Scheller studied at Belsize Park Fine Arts College, but has quickly built up a musical following with his brand of loose-leafed guitar pop. Ahead of a show at Tufnell Park Dome on February 18, he spoke to the Gazette.
Hi Oscar. Your parents were both involved in music and fronted the band The Regents – what effect did that have on you growing up?
I think it had a huge effect on me. More of a subconscious thing from just being constantly surrounded by music. I think being saturated in it from the day you’re born has to have a pretty deep effect on anyone.
Your debut record (out May 13) cuts from various cloths of pop, indie, electronic and hip-hop. Is that part of the thinking behind its title, ‘Cut and Paste’?
That’s a huge part of my thinking. At art school I became enamoured with collage and the philosophy of it. It’s definitely my M.O. It reflects the way the songs were constructed and also, my sensibilities too.
You’ve talked before about being inspired by the “erratic atmosphere of schizophrenic London”. What do you mean by that?
I suppose what I mean by that is the energy you get from growing up and living in such a colourful, intense and multi-faceted metropolis is definitely a big source of inspiration. London is my muse. The people, the stories. It’s my background. How it’s a cultural patchwork, historic, strange and ordinary. I feel as though that is part of the music.
How have you found the experience of being a ‘bedroom producer’? You seem to have avoided the lo-fi sound usually associated with such an approach.
It’s funny, because really a ‘bedroom producer’ is what the punks were. Just doing it yourself, your way, avoiding a mainstream process. Of course people have made music in their bedroom for years, but being dubbed a bedroom producer is really just a culture. Believe me when I started, the sound was beyond lo-fi. It needed its own name. It was unbelievably chaotic. I got better as time went on though.
‘Move over Moz, there’s a new miserablist in town’ is what The Guardian once said of you. Is that fair?
I wouldn’t like to de-construct a journalist’s work on a public platform, but what I will say is that the media love a nice and easy label. I think music concerns feelings, and melancholy is a very relatable one. It’s certainly one that I can’t help but express in a lot of the songs I write.