Meet London's Oscar Lang, who makes fuzzy indie-rock with 21st Century Hobby
It's an exciting taste of the musician's debut album Chew The Scenery, out August 13th via Dirty Hit.
If you don't have your eyes on Oscar Lang, then you're missing out on somebody amongst indie-rock's high-flying next generation; somebody whose fuzzy brand of alt-pop will see him no doubt dotted on festival line-ups as soon as these god damn international borders re-open.
Since emerging with his earliest work back in 2017, the London-based musician has consistently delivered gems of hazy, rough-around-the-edges indie-rock that's been quick to establish itself as somewhat of a defining sound of today; full of the inwards-looking charm and energy that has made Oscar Lang such an appealing addition to playlists ever since his debut. In the years between then and now, he's constantly showcased this, boasting a discography littered with EPs showing his many sides as both a person and a musician, striving for a multifacetedness also recognised in his collaborators, like beabadoobee.
In the last few months, however, we've seen Oscar Lang's talents reach fever pitch. In April, he shared a new single Stuck; a taste of something new that showcased how the musician was continuing to elevate and evolve his sound as he eyed the release of a debut album. In the months since, he's continued to share snippets of this album, before announcing its eventual arrival in the form of Chew The Scenery, a 13-track debut album arriving on August 13th via his home at Dirty Hit (The 1975, Rina Sawayama, beabadoobee).
It's only a week away now, and his latest single 21st Century Hobby is the clearest taste of the album's promise and potential that we've seen thus far, capturing the fuzzy alt-rock Oscar Lang has become notorious for, as well as the intimate and world-viewing lyricism that thrives amongst its pacing guitars and dancing rhythms. "21st Century Hobby is a tune based on the idea of society’s obsession with sharing your life online and comparing yourself to other people," he says on the single.
"There was one point where I was spending 13 hours a week on social media, which equated to about a month every year. That was a really dark time for me - I always thought that it would never affect me, but it took some time to realise that it was subconsciously affecting my mental health."
Recorded amongst the UK's tedious lockdowns, Chew The Scenery is an album bound to emphasise the craft of Oscar Lang's music, and the wide-ranging scope of sounds that together, create something that's become distinctive to the rising star. "We recorded the album over a month up in Liverpool," he says. "It was a nice break away from the tedious lockdown in the UK as I got to spend a month away with my mates doing what I love. I think you can hear that built-up boredom being released on the record."
As the last tease of the album, 21st Century Hobby is the final stop before Oscar Lang takes off. Take a dive into it below, and underneath, introduce yourself to Oscar Lang ahead of the arrival of his debut album, which you can pre-order here.
Tell us about yourself?
My name is Oscar Lang. I’m 21 and I’ve been making tunes since I was a little kid. I write, produce and record all my music.
What’s your music like? What does it sound like? What kind of themes does it usually cover?
I never know what to define my music as, cause it’s always changing. At the minute, I’d say I make Indie Rock/Pop but who knows where it will go next.
I tend to write about a lot of personal experiences so a lot of my songs are about my mental health or situations that have happened to me. But I also love to write little stories in my songs, I’d say it’s a 50/50 split of real to made up.
What are your production and writing processes usually like?
I typically start with some chords and a melody, beef that out and then lay down some lyrics. There’s actually a lot of demos off the album filled with me just singing gibberish over the music so I could remember the melody. After I’ve got the chords down, I layer it up with more instruments and beats and bass and all that jazz. Often I can hear what the song should sound like in my head and I just have to work towards actually making it sound like that.
You're releasing your debut album Chew The Scenery next week, can you tell us a bit about it?
Chew The Scenery was recorded over a month last year up in Liverpool, the whole album is essentially a night at the theatre and is a mashup of all of the sounds I’ve developed over the years. It’s got some soft boy sad tunes and some up beat rock bangers all mixed into one. A lot of the album focuses on mental health, something that I’ve really struggled with for most of my life.
What do you have planned for 2021?
Lots more music. Lots more shows. (Hopefully).
What do you want people to take away from your work?
I just hope that people find comfort in me talking about my mental health, and I hope that my music helps them process their own emotions and allow their emotions to be felt which I feel is a large part of the healing process