It’s Oscar, Victorious

Oscar
Oscar

Experience some rarely played chamber pieces at Portsmouth Guildhall

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When Oscar plays the Castle stage at Victorious this weekend, the north London native will be able to look over and see where he used to play with his childhood best friend.

‘I’ve never played in Portsmouth, but my childhood best friend, her nan lived in Portsmouth, so I used to go and stay in Portsmouth, I went a few times – we went to the pier and the beach and all that.

‘It’s going to be quite nostalgic.’

Oscar released his debut album Cut and Paste in May this year to great reviews. Recorded mostly in his bedroom, it is an eclectic mash-up of styles, and reflects Oscar’s own wide range of influences from indie rock to synth-pop, dance and hip-hop.

Music was a key part of Oscar Scheller’s background – his parents were in new wave act The Regents who scored a hit in 1979 with the song 7Teen.

‘I always looked up to my parents, I always thought they were pretty cool.

For me, the most exciting thing about being a recording artist is that you have the potential to progress and discover new things about yourself and your music

Oscar

‘I was really focused on visual arts – drawing and painting and things like that so I went to art school.

‘I knew music was always going to be part of my life, but I didn’t know how, I didn’t know I would be doing it professionally so it was a nice surprise I think for everybody. I was just totally drawn to the music.’

He has also released a new version of early single Breaking My Phone with up-and-coming rapper Girli, who will be joining Oscar on his autumn tour, which includes a Brighton date.

‘I met Milly (Girli) when she came to a few of my gigs, she started out as a fan, but when she tweeted me I realised she had her own music.

‘I listened to it and really liked it so I asked her to support me at a London show I did and then we met properly.

‘We realised we had a few mutual friends, we’d grown up in the same area, we went to the same school, but she’s a bit younger than me so we’d never connected.

‘ It’s a bit crazy really, and now she’s become one of my best friends, so it made a lot of sense to do a track together.’

So will she be joining him on stage at Victorious?

‘I’m not sure, I need to ask her what she’s up to this weekend – that would be really cool though. I’m trying to get her on stage with me as much as I can.’

Although he plays with a full band at gigs, Oscar put together his debut in classic bedroom-producer fashion.

‘Pretty much all of it was recorded in my room, ‘ he explains, ‘bar the live drums and bass.

‘I went into a studio to record that because I wanted there to be a live presence in there somewhere.’

And he’s already looking at album number two.

‘I’d just finished a demo when you called,’ he tells WOW247. ‘It’s kind of the same process really, just me doing it, but I think I’m going to start working with a producer and to co-write with people and branch out – make it a bit bigger.

‘For me, the most exciting thing about being a recording artist is that you have the potential to progress and discover new things about yourself and your music.

‘For me it’s all about evolution. I wouldn’t want to do the same thing over again as that’s boring, and for me as an artist, that’s not what’s it’s really about.’

Oscar is signed to Wichita Recording, the label that has played host to indie luminaries such as Bloc Party, Yeah, Yeah Yeahs and The Cribs.

After coming to the label’s attention, label head Mark Bowen flew in from LA to meet him.

‘I really got on with him. They were fourth or fifth on my list of dream labels to work with before this – obviously that’s changed now,’ he laughs. ‘I think I was quite naive back then.

‘It was total magic as soon as we sat down, we weren’t talking about business, we were talking ’90s acid house and our favourite hip-hop producers, it was a total meeting of minds, and it was very clear that they should be the ones to bring me into it.

They’ve been incredibly supportive, they’re like family to me.’

Speaking of the US, has he had the chance to play there yet?

‘I’ve probably played more in America than I have in the UK. I’ve been doing little tours, and I did a bigger tour with Bloc Party and The Vaccines which was pretty mad.

‘I’ve done SXSW and the CMJ twice, I’ve been around the block over there. It’s probably my favourite place to play because it’s so mad.’

But he adds like an old pro: ‘But I reckon Portsmouth could give America a run for its money in term of the vibes...’

Victorious Festival, Southsea Common

Saturday, August 27

victoriousfestival.co.uk