QUICK CHAT W/ OISIMA
We recently caught up with Oisima, who has just released his long-awaited Nicaragua Nights LP and will be touring it later in the year. He talked the album creation process, Adelaide warehouse parties and why he chose to put a Rihanna sample into one of his singles.
Okay, I’m going to jump straight into it. We first got word of Nicaragua Nights a few years ago, so when did the album idea start to form in your head?
Well I guess I started writing the skeleton of it pretty much straight after Goddess (his 2012 debut EP) was released a few years ago. And it just took along with that definition.
So Vivid Live just started in Sydney, I have the light shows in my head. What are you envisaging for your live tour of this album?
Yeah, I’m pretty much working on the album release at the moment. And the tour is going to be around the end of June, early July. So yeah it’s just putting it all together, I have no idea right now how I’m going to do it. It’s going to be different and special and I’ll have some good guest artists coming with me on the tour so it should be a lot of fun.
Will those guest artists be the same as those who you collaborated with on Nicaragua Nights?
Potentially, yes. I don’t want to say too much yet.
So I have to ask this, have you been to Nicaragua?
No, no I haven’t. It might be happening at the end of this year. I have no idea how it all came along – I think it was when I was watching a documentary and I fell in love with the vibe that I got through the TV and what I thought it would be like.
I’ve been listening to Lapalux’s Lustmore recently and I saw you posted his track “Closure” on your Facebook page. I’m sure you get over-asked about your influences, but what other artists or albums are you digging at the moment?
At the moment I’ve been thrashing the new Hiatus Kaiyote record, I’m a huge fan of those guys, just loving that. I love Bonobo The North Borders (2013) which kind of came out during the process of making the record, so it had a big influence. A lot of Lapalux. I don’t listen to heaps and heap s of electronic stuff, it’s kind of a bit more like jazz and afrobeat.
That description reminds me of this trip hop band I saw in France last year – Chinese Man – they mix sampling with live jazz instruments.
I’ll have to check them out.
This probably won’t apply to our readers, but what can you say to convert the last acoustic snobs to electronic music?
I love particular straight electronic acts. I guess the way I put it together this album – I was pretty conscious on this new record of making it sound very live and a lot of the elements, the majority of the elements, are recorded with actual instruments. I don’t know, there’s an art form to being an electronic producer with no instruments, and to not master an instrument, but I don’t think they’re any different really.
Why did you originally put down your guitar to work on production?
I have no idea. I never had any intention of doing any of this kind of this stuff. I just met two guys down here in Adelaide, Slamagotchi and a guy called How Green, and we literally just sat in my studio, the three of us, and kind of fooled around for the best part of a year. That’s where I met Sebastian (Slamagotchi.) I’d never actually seen an audio program or anything like that.
I feel like that is part of a bigger Australian narrative in the electronic music scene – experimental artists now rising in popularity. Maybe if we heard your album 10 years ago, it would have been received differently.
Yeah I reckon so, for sure. With my latest one, during the creation process, I was really conscious of writing it to be able to be performed without any electronic instruments. I got some big plans of having lots of people on stage and doing all live versions of my music. As much as I loved when I started making electronic music, like with bass stuff, I guess I’ve kind of grown more towards song-writing, like guys like Bonobo. That’s kind of what’s become more interesting to me.
Sydney and Melbourne seem to get all the press – tell me about the Adelaide music scene. What’s happening down there that we wouldn’t know about?
Adelaide’s crazy. It’s full of extremely amazing, amazing artists, from everything – from jazz, we’ve just got an insane amount of incredible jazz musicians like Ross McHenry. Our house and techno scene has Luke Million and all that kind of stuff. There’s so much going on down here. Over February to end of March we’ve got the Fringe Festival down here and WOMA Adelaide and lots of warehouse parties. I guess it’s slowly getting exposed to the rest of the country, but a lot of it is kept here. But it’s an exciting place to be – it’s very understated.
You’ve played the Red Bull Music Academy stage at Splendour, so how do you change your set from an intimate gig to a festival?
I do enjoy when I play a clear difference between the record and music I perform live. I end up making my live shows completely different to my record. In that sense, my live sets are very mixed up and upbeat. When you start playing bigger rooms and bigger festivals, you don’t want everyone just standing still.
Well from my side, it seems like you’re already getting a lot of praise for the record.
Yeah it’s been crazy. It’s always hard to put it out there and to be judged.
That sounds like Chet Faker talking about Built On Glass, when he scrapped a whole album in the process.
Totally, I mean every artist knows that the hardest part of what we do is actually letting things go. Once it’s out in the world and on the Google machine, you can’t change anything and get it back.
So what would you say to someone aspiring to make electronic music, to the wannabe amateurs who are reading this?
Don’t just try and make it to triple J – keep being expressive. With the electronic thing at the moment I find that there are a lot of bands who are kind of creating for that rather than something that they really want to express. I feel like that is getting caught in the hype that is “my song playing on the radio.” But it would be nice for people to express themselves and being okay to make something a weird.
Well I did actually hear “Take Your Time” today on triple j, but it’s not a particularly commercial track.
Yeah no it’s not. It wasn’t a conscious decision. A lot of the tracks have been played on the radio, which has been really nice, and especially with “Take Your Time.” Yeah, it is very strange because my stuff doesn’t sound like anyone else’s.
Ok what was the thinking behind putting the Rihanna (“Russian Roulette”) sample on “Take Your Time?”
The thing was, when I was making that stuff I was literally just making it with a shitty vocal sample that I had on my computer. I just pitched that particular one down and I was actually just going to leave it as a reference and I was going to go back and record it and sing it myself or get someone else to sing it. It just kind of ended up staying. It’s so weird – I didn’t think people were going to pick what it was but so many people have. So it’s a bit embarrassing.
It’s kind of cool, like Cyril Hahn “Say My Name” – you would not think of Destiny’s Child on deep house.
Yeah but there’s something about the acapellas from a lot of R&B music that especially in electronic music it just kind of fits. And it’s really funny listening to a vocal like that in a completely different context. And then trying to make it work, it’s fun.
What are you looking forward to in 2015?
I have been waiting to put this album out, it was meant to come out at so many different points in the past and that changed. And I’ve got a tour at the end of June/early July in Australia and New Zealand and then trying to get over to the States later in the year and give that a crack. I’ll start writing for the next record which takes up a lot of time and writing the music for Annabel’s (Weston) solo. And yeah, I’ll be taking it as it comes.
By Antigone Anagnostellis.