OSKAR can be found on Incarnation Records, downloaded through Universal, gigging around the UK, in Milan performing live for Miu Miu fashion shows, exhibiting at the V&A, in theatre, TV and film soundtracks, international radio and performance art shows. Vibeka Mair interviews them.
In basic terms, OSKAR is an incongruous collaboration between former Collapsed Lung bassist and fine artist Jonny Dawe and former Strangelove keyboard player and soundtrack composer Nick Powell, that feels comfortable calling itself art rock, and drawing on sources such as systems composers Michael Nyman and Steve Reich, folk-psych and ambient musics. OSKAR is a group,then, but OSKAR is also a name, and in the boys’ pursuit of music, OSKAR is also a character as well as a state of mind.
I chatted with Nick about the band:
What are your musical influences?
My influences are filmic or soundtracks. Artist-wise they are Brian Nino, Sonic Youth, Substantial and the Pixies. I also take elements from Kraut Rock; it is repetitive, German music from the Seventies. I am a composer and I’ve done a lot of theatre and TV, especially documentaries and short films. A couple of years ago I did a live piece for the Prada Fashion Show.
Where did the band name come from?
The name of the band has different meanings for Johnny and myself. For me, the name comes from a book by Gunter Grass called Tin Drum; it’s about a boy who refuses to grow up and just plays the drums. Johnny got the name from a Seventies film called Six Million Dollar Man.
Your new single is download only – is the Internet good for music?
It’s complicated. I buy CDs; I like to see something on my shelf. I think vinyl will always be around, but CDs will eventually become obsolete, in a way they already are. Everything is becoming digital; it’s a fantastic way to reach a wide audience. There is more scope to discover about a band. Downloads make it easier for me, as my music will never be absolutely mainstream, so the net is the logical way to distribute my music.
Finally, if your band were an object what would you be?
An elaborate-equipped aquarium.
The Rerun EP is out now as a digital download only.