“It feels like we’re all in the middle of an ocean, in a ship, getting through it, and you forget that the audience is there,” laughs Oscar Lang, sitting backstage at Tufnell Park’s Dome. “For the first half of the tour, when I walked out, I didn’t even wave, and now I say, ‘Whaddup, everyone!’”
Tonight when we meet him, the sold-out Dirty Hit tour has rolled into London, and alongside labelmates Beabadoobee and No Rome, the 18-year-old is one of the powerhouse label’s newest hopes. The pressure could be through the roof, but backstage, as the artists breeze in and out of each other’s dressing rooms, it feels like the last day of term. In the yearbook, Oscar is ‘most likely to claim the slacker-pop throne’.
“Out of my top five songs, three of them are on piano. I wonder if people come expecting a really sombre show…” he ponders, but sombre it is not. Stage presence may be an art that the young singer has had to learn on the job across the tour’s 20 dates but, ably assisted onstage by his tinsel-covered ‘Londondinium’ or ‘Lang Gang’ (“We’ve come up with a different name for the band every night,” he chuckles), Oscar explodes onto the stage like a charisma bomb. “We like to go hard on stage. Mac DeMarco’s one of the personalities I aspire to be like,” he explains. “I’m like, ‘This guy is so cool’.”
Last year’s woozy ‘Bops Etc’ EP - the singer’s first on the label - found Oscar touting a laissez faire effortlessness that would make ol’ Mac proud, and there’s plenty more where that came from. “The song ‘Trash’ I wrote when I was 15. I’d just been waiting for a studio so I can do it properly - just saving it for a rainy day,” he shrugs, cheekily. “We’ve got music coming very early [this year], and as many shows as possible; I just want to do it more now. I could keep going [on the road for] another 2 months, I’m not even tired! I just wanna keep going! I’m always writing new stuff, to keep adding to the bar.” Even if he’s already set it high for 2020, be sure that Oscar Lang will pole-vault over, and make it look easy.
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