LeeFest 2016 Interview: Oscar

By on Wednesday, 24th August 2016 at 11:00 am
 

Oscar Scheller, or just Oscar as he’s known professionally, is a fast upcoming pop darling, with tunes that consist of melody and a rough indie edge, whilst his baritone delivers a quaintly simplistic yet deeply emotive carry. Talking to Oscar about anything, you find the same kind of thoughtfulness that’s present in his music. Our interview at LeeFest 2016, which took place in a catering tent backstage, was no different.

“I think its nice playing smaller festivals because you do get the focus. People are genuinely there to enjoy everything, and they have the time to do that”, Oscar explains about the differences between the larger and smaller festivals that our country has on offer. “Like Glastonbury, it’s kind of hard to enjoy anything because you’re just worried about how long it’s going to take you to get from side to the other, it can feel like a whole day.”

It was a few weeks prior that Oscar had played Latitude Festival in Suffolk, which is where he felt his first real movement up the musical ladder. “Latitude was the first time that people stayed to like, meet me afterwards. There was at least like 40 people, we were doing selfies and selling t-shirts. Every show is going better and better. People are singing along to the words now and there’s real, sort of like, fan activity.”

His fondness for this moment is found in his description of the Suffolk getaway, “I really like small festivals, but I think Latitude is genuinely my favourite festival. For me, it’s like if I was still at school it’s one I would go to. It was amazing”. He appreciates that the difference between a festival and a gig can be quite a challenge, but it’s something he relishes. “The other thing about festivals is it’s different to a gig, because a gig people are coming to see you. They’re going to be into it. Whereas festivals, you have no idea who’s watching or what they’re into, so you really have to try and make that connection.”

Oscar’s fanbase has been steadily growing since the release of his debut album ‘Cut and Paste’, but he’s not one to sit back and hope things fall into place. He has ideas and wants to reach you all with them. “We’ve got headline tours in September and October in UK and the European festival circuit up until the end of the year, so the real emphasis is on that. I am writing and recording demos for the next record, I mean, I have so much left over.”

Oscar is somewhat of a creative factory, he explains. “I’m always making stuff, whether it’s album worthy or not. Which is good in a way, because it means I can just pick the best songs. I’m not in a rush.” This certainly means that he’ll have no issue with the follow up to ‘Cut and Paste’, though the second album is normally where people come unstuck (no pun intended). “I think half the problem with that is people can’t write on the road, or they don’t have the means to do it, [or] that’s not how they work, but I can actually write wherever. I could write in here, back of a bus, a melody could come at any time or anywhere. It’s just getting them down.”

With such a free-flowing process, he’s aware that he needs to remain focused upon the smaller goals, although he does have the larger ones in the back of his mind, “I do have massive ambitions. I guess one of them is to eventually cross over to commercial attention. That would be one of them, and write for other people, big people, do top lines for big artists, I’d love that. Yeah, just kind of keep building it”. This isn’t necessarily a modern way of thinking in this fast-paced society, as he fully well knows. “It is an old school method that I’m taking. It’s not hard or fast, it’s slow and steady. I think it will hopefully be a much richer and deeper pathway to wherever I want to go, rather than like just having it thrown at me.”

Speaking with brutal honesty, he continues into talking about the more traditional idea of success in music. “You know all these bands that get signed to major labels, they all get dropped within six months. About 90% of people who get signed to major labels don’t make it, you don’t even hear of them. That very rare 10%, those are the ones you hear about, so in a way I think it’s good that I am where I am now. If a major label wants to sign you and you haven’t got anything going, that’s really dangerous. They own you. I think it’s pretty scary. I think a lot of artists are quite naive about that.

“Signing to a label is the easiest part of the artistic process. Everything that comes after that, that’s the challenge. People say ‘I want to get signed!’ The only thing it changes is maybe you have a bit of money, and resources, just like going to university. You may have access to things you wouldn’t normally. Apart from that, your artistry doesn’t change, [and] hopefully your mentality doesn’t either. Other artists, if they meet me or whatever, or friends who aren’t signed, I say, ‘you don’t need a label’. I was lucky enough to have a really great label interested in me, they have love for it. It’s not just a business. Of course there is that aspect to it, because they have to survive, but it’s a labour of love.”

Even if such successes are sought after by the masses of budding artists and bands, they should all heed Oscar’s advice: “I think you have to hone your craft, and if that’s making things in your bedroom and breaking through that way and kind of getting natural attention like that, I mean, everyone has their own method of doing it and there’s no single way of getting through. You just have to do what’s true to you and try not to worry about it too much”.

TGTF’s full previous coverage of Oscar, including his appearance at SXSW 2016 earlier this year, is right back this way.

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There Goes The Fear is where we tell you about the latest music, gigs, and tours we love and think you should too.

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TGTF is edited by Mary Chang, who is based in Washington, DC. She is joined by writers in England, America and Ireland. It began as a UK music blog by Phil Singer in 2005.

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