Chats with Oscar Key Sung

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The kind of music that Oscar Key Sung produces has quickly become my favourite genre. It’s soulful vocals mixed with R&B beats. Oscar Slorach-Thorne has been collaborating with amazing Australian artists for years, including Andras Fox, Martin King and Banoffee. Altruism is his second solo EP release and I’ve barely listened to anything else for the past two weeks.

Premonition” is definitely my favourite track and shows off Oscar’s vocal abilities. It has a haunting vibe to it, similar to The Acid. “Inside Job” is a short and sweet club-ready banger. “Brush” and “Skip” are more upbeat and filled with catchy lyrics. I had a delightful chat with Oscar about what it’s like to record his own vocals (soul-destroying apparently), sci-fi and his not-so-favourite tunes on FM radio.

NADIA: You’ve recently released your second EP, Altruism. Do you think your sound has progressed much since your first EP, Holograms?

OSCAR: Yeah, I think so. It’s always changing and developing. This EP has different themes and ideas. For instance the skipping vocal sort of sound.

NADIA: I caught your first set of 2015 at NYE on the Hill. What has been your favourite gig so far this year and why?

OSCAR: NYE on the Hill was so chill. Such a “no dingus” zone. My favourite gig would have to be Sugar Mountain. I did a DJ set with Cassius Select. It was such a charged, intense kind of vibe. We got really amped up and it was really fun to prepare for. It was like, “Here’s some beats I’ve been working on.” It was all really fresh for us.

NADIA: You’ve played The Liberty Social (RIP) heaps of times. How do you feel about the closure?

OSCAR: I think that it’s really lame that it’s closing but obviously it’s no one’s fault. It was such a rave-level intensity and the music was always fresh. If I played an edit that I only uploaded three days before, people would already know it and respond to it. They all had their finger to the pulse on the music scene.

NADIA: When you’re in Melbourne what’s your favourite place to eat or hang out?

OSCAR: It changes. Right now it’s Munster Haus in North Fitzroy. I’m a vegetarian so they have this a la carte menu and a salad bar. It’s just yummy stuff. The owner is a tofu genius. He has a couple of other tofu shops so there are heaps of different kinds of tofu.

NADIA: What are you listening to at the moment?

OSCAR: I’ve been listening to lots of dance music because I’ve been DJing a lot recently. Some jersey house and just hectic club music. Tink as well. And I’ve been listening to some grime, like Skepta and Novelist. I’m always hunting down new stuff. I just got a car so I’ve been driving a lot and listening to the radio. PBS, Triple R and jazz. Stuff I wouldn’t normally listen to. I’ve actually been listening to Fox FM as well. Some stuff is pretty good. That song, “Let’s Marvin Gaye and get it on” though… Fucking hell [laughs].

NADIA: It’s the same with that one that goes “I wanna take shots with somebody” [laughs].

OSCAR: It’s the worst! Just completely ripping off “I Wanna Dance With Somebody”. I really like that new Sam Smith song, “Lay Me Down”.

NADIA: Yes, with John Legend. I love it.

OSCAR: He’s so good in it! Here we are chatting about all day hits [laughs].

NADIA: My favourite track off Altruism is “Premonition.” What, if anything, has influenced you to produce the slower and haunting vibes in that song?

OSCAR: I made the beat one day and just played around with putting vocals over it. I guess I was slightly influenced by Tink. I made the beat right after I saw one of her gigs. Alba and dark techno stuff too. There isn’t really a melody or any chords in their music. It’s just lots of bass and swishy sounds. I actually made an opposite R&B remix that I put on my Soundcloud as well.

NADIA: You sing, write and produce all of your songs. Is there a particular part of the song-making process that you love more than others?

OSCAR: I like different things. I guess that I don’t like the vocal delivery part. I’ll spend an entire night re-singing the song over and over again. Just tearing my hair out. It’s pretty soul-destroying. It can be fun though when it’s all done.

NADIA: You’re touring nationally in June. What are your plans for the rest of the year?

OSCAR: I definitely want to put out more stuff. Definitely. I want to tour in Europe and America too.

NADIA: Do you have much of a following overseas?

OSCAR: No [laughs]. Not in the same way as I do here. I think you actually have to go there and release stuff. I don’t have a label overseas or anything. I’ll have to get some people wanting to hear my stuff first. Actually my Soundcloud seems to be popular in Norway. Pretty random, hey?

NADIA: How do you think the Melbourne electronic music scene has progressed over the past few years?

OSCAR: I think that it’s gotten really good, in my opinion at least. A lot of people are making really nice stuff. It went through a kind of transitional phase when I was in high school. There wasn’t much actual electronic music but there’s lots of new stuff now. It’s so easy. Before you had to have a drums, guitar and bass band. Now you can just get a midi controller and an electronic drum kit and do whatever you want. I think that people like Cassius Select and friendships are making music that you can’t place. It sounds like it could be from a different country.

NADIA: Is sci-fi a big interest of yours?

OSCAR: I tend to like it. I’m an epic Dune nerd. I read all the books. They have weaponised sound and they use resonant frequencies. Like at a chest cavity they just go “BAH!” and it explodes. It’s really cool. I also recently saw the movie, Ex Machina. It’s about robots. One aspect about it that I love is that the consciousness is contained in a body. It’s not omnipresent like a lot of others where they just float around in computers. This one was so human and felt breakable. It was so much more intense and so disturbing.

NADIA: What’s your drink of choice when you go out?

OSCAR: I’m a whiskey and ice kind of guy.

So that’s it, Nadia.

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