Rising band of the indie-emo persuasion, Sydney’s Oslow have finally dropped their debut LP via Resist Records. Frontman and bassist Dylan Farrugia took some time out to chat with us about the makings of the record.
Congrats on the release of your debut album! How do you feel now that it’s finally dropped?
Yeah it’s exciting but it’s still nervous ‘cos like I guess I don’t know how people really feel about it, I guess. Knowing people are listening to it but not knowing what their reactions are while listening to it – that’s pretty scary.
I guess that would be with every release but considering this is your debut LP it probably just a little more different?
Yeah, well, that’s the thing. We’re just very nervous but it’s exciting because it’s our debut record, it’s our first record. So we’re still really excited, we’re really proud of it. We’re really stoked on it so we hope people are stoked as well I guess.
That’s awesome! And I believe you guys had an album launch show as well so how did that go down?
Yeah, we played on the record release day and we’ve still got an album launch show coming in March but we just decided we’d celebrate releasing the record at Beatdisk Records, which has been a really influential space in the band’s existence. We hang out, the people that own it like Pete and Tom, they’re excellent people, they’re very supportive of people playing music and people into music and stuff like that. It was really good to be able to play a show and release a debut record there. I think that was the dream for us, really. It really couldn’t have gone any better and the band that we played with, Video Breezy, are really good. We’re stoked to have gotten then on the bill, they’re from Canberra. So yeah, it was a really good show, people came out and it was so hot – it was like 40-something degrees and people still came out on, like, on a week’s notice.
Well yeah! That’s the thing, we’re really, really humbled by people coming out to celebrate it with us.
Awesome and did you get to play any of your new songs at that show?
We played most of the record, we just dropped a couple of songs to put in some old stuff but we played about nine songs off the record and it was fun!
Was it at all nerve-wracking playing those songs for the first time to a crowd?
Oh yeah! Super nerve-wracking! We started the set with a new song and I didn’t know how to feel or to play that song I was like “What’s going on?” so we went straight into an old song to make it feel comfortable again. But yeah, it’s definitely very nerve-wracking playing new songs live for the first time ‘cos you don’t know how they’re going to go for you, for the people playing it but also what the reaction’s gonna be in the crowd. You never know.
Can you tell us a bit more about the album and how it was going in to write this record compared to your previous EPs? It’s probably a bit of a jump going from an EP to an LP.
It was a huge jump. I think we definitely underestimated how big that jump was, initially. Because we’re so used to writing shorter releases. We jumped straight into it real stoked, we decided from the get-go it was going to be an album and it was going to be at least 10 tracks. We were like “Yeah sick this is going to be so much fun!” so we started jamming, we had a bunch of riffs and we were like “SICK, let’s work on those” but then we got like, three, four songs down and then realised that we need another six plus tracks and that it’s going to take a little bit more work than a couple of riffs (laughs). It’s going to take a lot more work than that. That was a really big learning experience for us. You know, you hear about it like bands talking about how it was a big deal writing up their first record or whatever but they’re right when they say it. I guess that’s why it gets said so many times is because it needs a lot of work. Most of the time it’s you playing in a band with three, four other people. It takes a lot of work, it takes a lot of time. I guess we realised how much effort and energy and time an album takes compared to an EP which can be done in a fairly short space of time.
So the album is self-titled… Is there a specific reason why you chose to do that or did it just come naturally?
We figured if we were gonna do a self-titled record it was gonna be on the first record. We tried a couple of names. We normally use a lyric from one of the songs to name the release to kind of tie them together but this time it didn’t really work. I sort of had an idea from as soon as we had written the first song. I had an idea to call the record ‘Asleep In The Hallway’ but then as time went on, like I said, it took longer than expected and you change some things and life happens – things just keep moving. So we decided to not make it so brazen, like, have a song called ‘Asleep In The Hallway’ and then name the record ‘Asleep In The Hallway’, so we’ll do a self-titled because if we’re going to do it at all it would be the first record.
I wanted to ask what some of the influences behind the album were but like you said, when you went in it was a bit of a different progress than you thought it would be so did any of those influences change as you were making the record?
Yeah! Because it took us like two years or so to really get everything together, really. Having time with the songs and seeing how those songs have changed now since we first started writing it’s pretty hard to slack out, it’s just what time does to songs that you write and having the time to think about it and think about the songs in various contexts, think about lyrics, vibe, what sort of tone you want to use and yeah. Just the direction we wanted the record to go took shape over a couple of years. We didn’t have the idea straight away and it definitely changed over time.
So if this was another EP or something it would be completely different considering the time frame?
Exactly, yeah. That’s exactly it. It would be very different, it’d be four songs with a bunch of riffs and no real, overwriting direction or message or whatever.
But now that it’s all done and dusted would you say that you’re happy with where the album’s at?
Oh yeah. I’m very, very proud of all the songs that we’ve put out because we’ve had time. Some songs we’ve had for two years but some songs we had two years’ worth of time to really be super critical of. Not just being like “Yeah, that’s good enough” but we’ve taken the lid off that song and pulled its insides out and then put it back in and now we’re happy with them. So we had time to really unpack everything about most of the songs. Definitely super proud and couldn’t imagine them being any better than they are now (laughs).
You mentioned in a recent interview that you want Oslow to inspire more people pick up instruments and play music. What made you pick up the bass and decide, “yeah, I really want to pursue this”?
I initially started playing drums and then working out as kids there’s always gonna be more than one person playing an instrument, right? So one of my friends, the drummer in our band, also played drums (laughs) So I was like “Alright so this isn’t going to work so I guess I’ll sing” (laughs). I was a stand-alone singer for a while and then the bass player left so I picked up the bass because he wasn’t around like “Yeah sick I’ll do that for a little while” and then got some lessons and played guitar in this band as well – it was all a bit messy I guess. But music, first and foremost, what really made me pick up an instrument is seeing people older than you getting out there and playing music and being around people that are doing things. It’s so motivating and inspiring to go to shows and see people up there doing this thing and expressing themselves. I guess with this band, if we do anything, I hope – it’d be sick – if people watch our band and think “Fuck yeah! This seems like something I can do”, you know. It’s not out of your reach. Writing music isn’t some fuckin’ gnarly chemical reaction in the brain. You just practice and you do it. And anyone can do it. Anyone can sing, anyone can play an instrument. I hope that we’re as inspiring to people as people who inspired us to play. Music is one of the best things in the world, especially to do with mental health and stuff like that. It’s one of the only things that keeps me level and I know it’s like that for a lot of other people. In any way that we can be inspiring, that would be sick.
It feels like throughout the whole country, we’re seeing more and more venues close down and Sydney’s lockout laws definitely don’t help either. How do these things impact you as a live band?
Yeah, 100% they do. Things like that… it bums you out so much that it makes you want to play music even more, it makes you want to get out there even more. A lot of music is reactionary like that. It’s good that people aren’t going to put up with that shit, ‘cos it IS shit (laughs). It’s awful shit but good things do come out of awful things because that’s what the human condition is like, I guess. That’s what human beings do, they keep doing. In spite of so many awful things. So yeah, it totally affects us. In a bad way but also pushes us to be better as well like, “Screw that, we can still play music”.
You’ll also be supporting Balance & Composure this March on their Australian tour, how pumped are you for that?
It is the best thing that has happened to me in my life so far. For real. We’ve been playing music for almost ten years and to be in this position where we’re releasing our debut record and soon after putting it out, we’re touring with one of the bands that’s had a huge influence on us. It’s just ridiculous, I couldn’t think of anything better right now. Super pumped but also really nervous as well because we want to impress. We want to be good and be practiced and be ready.
Album’s out, supporting some bands, so What comes next for you guys? Can fans expect a headlining tour soon?
Yeah, potentially. We’d like to get out and do our own stuff a bit later in the year but because it’s been two years writing the record and we’ve just been rehearsing the record now, we sort of want to like… start writing music again (laughs). It’s been so long since we’ve done that. So we might take some time to ourselves and then maybe do something a bit later in the year. We’d love to do some of our own dates but it just depends If it works out with timing and stuff like that. We also really, really want to go overseas as well so we’ll work on making that happen as well.
You put out a video for Cold Dark Space about a month ago – any talks of putting out any others?
Yeah. We did the Cold Dark Space video and that was sick, it was really good to work with our friends Annabelle and Zack, Cam and Liv. We’ve got another one in the works… just organising time. It’s so hard to organise four different people’s lives PLUS another two or three to come together and do something. It’s pretty hard but, you know, people do it every day (laughs). So we’re going to do another video and then that’ll be it. Then just touring and writing more music because that’s the best thing ever (laughs).
Catch Oslow in their home city album launch on March 11!