Easy To Love: Clash Falls Head Over Heels For Oscar Lang
We’re coming into the second month of the lockdown on the UK and there are very distinct categories that people are falling into.
We have plant-based Instagram, rising early for morning yoga and baking in the evenings. Then we have the dancing couples in their crushed velvet adorned pads learning choreographed TikTok dances. Over on Facebook there’s chainmail and fake news flooding feeds, and finally Twitter is quite frankly a place of hysteria and nightmare anecdotes of Zoom meetings.
- - -
- - -
The reality for most, across all subgenres of coping-with-isolation are those who can relate to the lyrics of ‘Snacks’ by Oscar Lang. “I spent all my day, Online looking at chairs,” the psychedelic-licked track starts. Described as a song about “eating food and feeling shit about yourself,” Oscar writes about spending hours in one place, staring at clothes cluttering his floor before taking a hit. He laughs at the comparison of the song now to life in lockdown, where we’re living under the microscope in close quarters.
“I’ve always liked being honest and realistic in my lyrics and writing songs about mundane things that we all do, and I try not to take myself too seriously,” Oscar says. Just shy of 20, last year he signed to Dirty Hit records whilst completing his A-Levels.
Just before, through an interaction on Instagram he found himself producing for Beabadoobee, and collaborating on the songs that got her picked up by the home of The 1975 and igniting Dirty Hit’s interest in Oscar. It’s very much a family label, in ethos and practice - his girlfriend plays in Bea’s band. “I’ve always known music is what I wanted to do, I’ve been writing music ever since I was a kid and the day I discovered Garageband at age 11 was the day that it all clicked.” He starts, referencing 2017 as the year that he started to take it seriously.
2017 was the year that Oscar Lang made his first public appearance with the dreamlike ‘She Likes Another Boy’ and soft ‘Talk 2 U’. Both are like 80’s style anti-prom night dance songs, with the rhythm for a gentle four step waltz but the lyrics of a boy watching his sweetheart complete them with somebody else.
2018 welcomed his first EP, 'To Whom It May Concern'. “All of those songs were written about me falling in love with my girlfriend.” Oscar confides. It’s filled with romantic guitar swooning songs that prompt nostalgia of an emotion you may have misplaced or buried for a little while. ‘you.’ is delicate but vibrant, like the crystallised image you see when you look through a kaleidoscope. ‘million little reasons’ is intimate and bittersweet, the vocal overcome with emotion.
'Teenage Hurt' followed. “Sometimes I write songs to help me get through tough times in life and those are the ones that tend to be the most real and personal ones. Other times I’ll sit down and write a story that fits the mood of the song.” The title song of this record was “100% real,” Oscar recalls, “[it] was written at a time where I was quite lonely and felt a bit out of place.”
He confides that he was never too popular at school due to making YouTube covers, “that year one of my best mates had told me he ‘didn’t want to be my friend anymore’ cause ‘I was bringing down his reputation.’” Remembering “that shit sucked, and I felt very alienated at the time.” Oscar then giggles that the third friend of the group chose him, over the other.
- - -
- - -
An Oscar Lang song features magnificent attention to detail on the small things that we encounter day in day out. Each is a short story, and his collection so far explores all emotions; some are very poignant and raw, others romantic, most with lightness and trivia swirled into the mix. Oscar’s longest record to date is Silk. It’s a halcyon paradise of lazy summer days and is ideal for long drives with the window down, allowing the wind to tangle your hair in the cool breeze. The jazz undertones are freeing and the lyrical content observant and sweet. 2019’s EP Bops Etc. is in a similar vein, but on a gap year with mates; acoustic guitar and trip to Europe included.
If the records each set up a Tinder profile Oscar decides that Silk “would defo be the skater boy with cuffed jeans,” whereas Bops Etc. would “be the pints-with-the-lads cheeky chap,” leaving latest record, 'Overthunk' to be “the young adult who enjoys picnics in Richmond park and is looking for somebody to settle down with.”
- - -
- - -
Where its predecessor was about “not giving a fuck,” 'Overthunk' is just about the “complete opposite.” Oscar explains that the recording process for the EP took quite a while, as each part was recorded two or three times to get it sounding as he liked. “I definitely felt a lot more stress producing this EP as I hadn’t really produced this style of music before, so getting each song to its finished place took a while.”
He says: “Also my girlfriend being away on tour with Beabadoobee the entire time I was recording led me to feeling a bit low whilst making this EP. But it feels so good to have it finally out after sitting on it for so long, and the people have had nothing but good words about it.”
Straight from the opener, ‘Flowers’, Oscar is like a snake charmer and able to rise audiences to their feet to dance. The giddy feeling transcends across the melodic EP; from the lovely cooing softness of ‘Easy To Love’ to the hazy ballad ‘January Leaves’. In the second half, ‘Feeling Like A Rose’ replicates the flower. The slow, folksy pronunciation of his anxieties are intricate and sharply sincere like the thorns amongst the blossoming velvet choruses. Finally, ‘Applaud’ is dreamlike in nature but lyrically heart-breaking, showcasing the vulnerability across Oscar Lang’s catalogue.
Referencing colours of a spring in bloom and the natural changes of the season, 'Overthunk' is almost an ode to the transitions we’ve been watching from our windows. “I think I must have subconsciously written about the change in season after being stuck in a tiny windowless room recording the EP, dreaming of summer days only to go outside and it be pissing it down with rain and dark by 3:30pm.”
Oscar laughs, “I never intended to have such a floral vibe to the EP and only realised that once I finally put the tracklist together and went ‘Oh, I’ve accidentally made ‘em all about flowers.’”
Something tells me, that Oscar Lang may just be the sound to the summer we are all hoping to have. For he is the perfect companion for reuniting with the ones we are missing; be those friends, family or lovers.
- - -
- - -
'Overthunk' EP is out now on Dirty Hit.
Words: Tanyel Gumusham
Join us on the ad-free creative social network Vero, as we get under the skin of global cultural happenings. Follow Clash Magazine as we skip merrily between clubs, concerts, interviews and photo shoots. Get backstage sneak peeks, exclusive content and access to Clash Live events and a true view into our world as the fun and games unfold.