Interviews

Emotive rockers OSLOW discuss their debut record; Sydney alt scene

OSLOW by Marnie Elizabeth Vaughn
New Resist Records signees OSLOW are fusing together emo, post punk and alt rock to create a sound of their own. Their latest record boasts a freshness and vitality, and recaptures the joyful mix of styles that made for an exhilarating, and at times relaxing experience. The band’s debut self titled album is out now, and we caught up with them before their upcoming record release show on March 11th to learn more about their project, creative process, thoughts on touring, Sydney music scene, and more!

OSLOW have become respected stalwarts of the Australian DIY scene, and their debut full length offering delivers eleven tracks of moody, layered melody lines and heartfelt lyrics, encapsulating feelings of melancholy and detachment, reminiscent of iconic crossover bands such as BRAND NEW and TITLE FIGHT. Since their formation five years ago, OSLOW have captivated audiences and critics alike with their alternative post-punk sound, sharing stages with highly respected indie, punk and hardcore heavyweights TITLE FIGHT, PUP, LA DISPUTE, and BALANCE & COMPOSURE, to name a few. Since debuting the Field EP in 2012, the band has gone from strength to strength, having released the now-sold-out Days Are So Bright Now EP (2014) and the double A-side No Longer Concerns Me 7” (2015), which was re-pressed in 2016.

Catch the band live at their record release show at Newtown Social Club in Newtown, New South Wales, Australia on March 11th! OSLOW will be joining BALANCE & COMPOSURE on their Australian run with INTROVERT (see the dates below).

Top band photo by Marnie Elizabeth Vaughn

Hey guys! How does it feel to finally have your debut out?

It’s nerve-wracking but super exciting by the same token. We worked on these songs longer and harder than anything we have put out before so we hope people like it! it’s super rewarding and we can’t wait to get on the road again

How did you team up with Resist Records for this release?

Graham, the owner, had put us on a bunch of Resist presents shows in support of bands like TITLE FIGHT and LA DISPUTE, some of our favourite bands. Resist was the absolute number one choice for a label but we never thought it was an actual possibility. Graham showed interest in wanting to hear songs from the record and when he offered to put it out we were over the moon. Graham working on the release of this record closely with our long-time friend and manager Dave Drayton has a been a dream.

Can we get a physical copy in Europe?

Of course! Resist Records is selling the record via their web store in a choice of three colours which we are really stoked on!

OSLOW band

Ok, so let’s dive into some of the concepts for these tracks. Were you set on those messages before writing the album?

No not really hey, I tend to write the lyrics from initial ideas I have during jams. So it all came together over time rather than a pre-thought set of ideas. We started real stoked on writing a record, punched out a handful of songs and then sort of mellowed out a bit and the rest took a lot longer. The lyrics for these initial songs, such as ‘Asleep’ are pretty to the point and brash, whereas the later tracks we wrote like ‘Everything etc’ have a more reflective aspect to them.

Were your lyrical themes thought up before the instrumental part of songwriting came in, or were lyrics written after the composing process? How is your writing process?

During and post writing the music. I’ll have some idea of melody during the jams of the song then I’ll spend a lot of time alone with shitty iPhone demos trying to nut out verses and choruses or some sort of hook to build the song around. Writing over an extended period of time really forced me to be critical of melodies and lyrics and try to get them sounding as “right” as possible. It also influenced the themes of the record. As we changed our perspective as people during the writing process the lyrical themes did also.

What were the most challenging aspects of compiling this record?

Having never attempted a release longer than 6 tracks it became challenging when we realised it was going to be an album and not a random selection of songs – questioning what we wanted this record to be and what sort of songs we felt like it needed. Also two years is a long time, so managing life alongside writing a record is pretty challenging. Not knowing if this thing you’re working on is going to be any good and if it’s not, what then? Getting through that stuff was pretty tough but we got there in the end. To now be releasing it after all this time is scary but also really cool.

 

Alright, so what are your next steps? Can we expect a lot of touring in 2017?

I hope so! Well we’re going on tour with BALANCE & COMPOSURE and fellow Australian band INTROVERT in March which is super exciting. BALANCE are a band we all love and have influenced us a bunch so it’s such an honour to be sharing the stage with them. We definitely want to tour a bunch this year. We also would love to tour overseas so hopefully we can work toward making that happen and then start jamming again I guess!

BALANCE AND COMPOSURE

Speaking of live shows, is there a specific venue you particularly feel at home at?

Beatdisc Records in Parramatta. Pete, the owner is such a lovely supportive person. Pete, along with work life-partner Tom do so much in nurturing the community surrounding their shop. A bunch of real cool people are doing real cool shit because they met, spent time, bought records, played/attended shows at Beatdisc.

Apart from Sydney, are there some other cities or towns that you favour more than the rest of the places you’ve been to? Do you travel a lot?

We have been really lucky to have seen most of the country just by touring. We have met so many amazing friends that have offered to halt their lives and have 4 strangers sleep on their floor. Every city has it’s pros so it’s hard to just pick one. Tasmania, as a state, is by far the most beautiful place we have been to, a sentiment I feel most people that live here share. Cannot wait to go back to Tassie!

OSLOW live by ZK Photo

Photo by ZK Photo

How is your local scene? What’s the earliest you dove into the alt scene of Sydney and what kind of an evolution you have seen throughout your participation?

Sydney DIY is so important, now more than ever with ridiculous suppressive and oppressive legislation implemented by the state government. We don’t have a ton of music venues or spaces that are inclusive and supportive of young people doing their thing. The DIY venues that are inclusive, work tirelessly to support as many people as possible and this motivation and passion is reflected in the types of music that emerge. Sydney DIY is inspiring it makes you want to be a better musician but also pushes you to be a better person. These venues are Blackwire Records, Beatdisc Records, Monster Mouse and Nightcrawlers.

We started going to shows around 2011/2012 so pretty late in the game in contrast to a lot of people, especially the younger kids that have started coming to shows. If we hadn’t been exposed to Sydney DIY through friends we wouldn’t still be playing in this band.

When you were first introduced to punk / alt rock, what did you find most interesting about the culture?

We all bonded over bands like ALEXISONFIRE and UNDEROATH in high school. The way they approached music was really interesting and inspiring to us as a bunch of kids but also, particularly ALEXISONFIRE, to this day. These were the bands made us want to pick up instruments and play music. The culture was particularly interesting as it opened us up to local shows, that a gig didn’t have to be in an arena with a guardian it could be down the road at the youth centre with your friends.

Lately, what musical periods, moods or styles do you find yourself most drawn to as a listener?

I tend to gravitate toward darker, sad music but lately I’ve been trying to be more open. I like hearing peoples take on writing pop songs with guitars. Just got onto that CREATIVE ADULT record from last year Fear of Life, new DINO is great, JOYCE MANOR’s Cody, new CLOUD NOTHINGS is amazing, JULIA JACKLIN’s Don’t Let the Kid’s Win, to name a few.

We all listen to a bunch of different shit so that’s just me I don’t speak for the band as a whole!

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oslowmusic@gmail.com
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