Interview Grown-ish: Oscar Lang

After three years of penning indie bops (etc.) in his bedroom, Oscar Lang is growing up - and unveiling a debut album that forms the perfect soundtrack for it.

For many, the working week is spent waiting for the weekend to arrive, but for Oscar Lang, the last three years in the ‘biz have felt like one long holiday. And last year was his best trip yet.

“I really hit my stride in 2020 with music, and I felt really confident with the music I was making,” Oscar reminisces. “I’m always super in my head, and music is such a big part of who I am that when the music I was making wasn’t sounding like I wanted it to sound, it would really affect me badly. [But last year] I was just making music that I really loved, and it felt right, and seemed like it was the right time to make a full album.”

Decamping to Liverpool for a month with a bunch of musical mates, the result is this month’s upcoming debut album ‘Chew The Scenery’: a collection of lo-fi-inspired numbers exploring the age-old conundrum of growing up. “It was the funnest month of the year, 100%,” he beams of the experience. “They have these electric scooters, so we spent a lot of time on those going around Liverpool. They’re called Vois, so it was the boys on the Vois on a voyage. That was our end of the day treat.”

When not “gunning it along near the sea” on scooters or having Tony Hawk competitions on the studio’s PS2, Oscar was busy crafting the coming-of-age gems that form the core of his debut. “A lot of the themes of the album are to do with growing up and maturing,” he explains. “I think lockdown meant that a lot of people my age have matured and grown up a lot in such a short amount of time. Some of the songs - ‘Thank You’ and ‘Take Time Out’ - are more based on self-reflection and admitting you’ve done things wrong, but being thankful for those things you did wrong because they help you do things right.”

“Your brain doesn’t have the capacity to process what 200 of your friends are doing every week on Instagram!”

With many tracks touching on Oscar’s relationship with his mental health, album opener ‘21st Century Hobby’ details the all-too-well-known pastime of endlessly doom scrolling on Instagram. “So many people talk about this topic, and how Instagram is bad for your mental health and it’s been a thing for years, but I was always like, ‘I can handle it’,” he notes. “Then I realised, no, that’s not true. I would spend hours and hours scrolling and then walk away having done nothing and feeling worse. You’re not meant to see this! Your brain doesn’t have the capacity to process what 200 of your friends are doing every week!”

Tackling friendships, relationships and the emotional rollercoaster we call life, ultimately Oscar is hoping that people find solace in ‘Chew The Scenery’ and understand that they’re not alone. And as if to demonstrate his capacity for an empathetic offering, old track ‘She Likes Another Boy’ is currently doing just that; released back when he was 17, the first song Oscar ever wrote is now getting a second surge of life thanks to social media. “I wrote it because I went to a party and the girl I had a fat crush on was getting off with a different guy across the room. I remember really viscerally that feeling when I was a teenager that it was the worst thing in the world,” he recalls. “Now, it’s generating a bit [of hype] on TikTok. I go on and watch these TikToks of people crying, and look through the YouTube comments of everyone talking about their own story and that they’ve been through the same situation. That’s a really special thing, that I can capture that emotion in a sound and allow people to feel it and get it out.”

Not just contained to apps, Oscar’s reach and relatability has IRL proof too, his DMs currently flooded by fans excited to finally grab hold of his debut and get back in the mosh pit. “It’s still mad to see messages from people who have been there from the start. We have a few fans who have been coming to every gig since the first headline shows,” he smiles.

“I used to spend a lot of time thinking, ‘Oh this is where I wanna be’, and setting expectations for myself. But the last year has made it so that I’m not setting expectations,” he continues of what he hopes ‘Chew The Scenery’ will achieve. “In life, if you want something so much, it finds a way to avoid you. I’m trying not to want anything for the record; I’m just happy to release music people want to listen to. Saying that, if it did get to Number One, I’d be fucking gassed!”

‘Chew The Scenery’ is out 13th August via Dirty Hit.

As featured in the July 2021 issue of DIY, out now. Scroll down to get your copy.

More like this