lossless is the feel-good, musical bromance between html flowers and oscar key sung
Photography Phebe Schmidt
Lossless is a study in shitty first impressions, or rather that they should usually be disregarded. Members Grant Gronewold, aka HTML Flowers, and Oscar Key Sung hated each other when they met in high school. But over the years, that tension transformed into something else entirely, ultimately becoming the foundation of an unlikely but intensely fruitful relationship. Both lauded musicians in their own rights, they have previously worked together as Brothers Hand Mirror, a primarily rap-based project that has been central to Melbourne's growing conversation around inclusive club spaces. But their kinetic relationship never stops fidgeting. Grand credits learning how to use Autotune as a central component of Lossless's evolution. A more earnest observation could be that it's a reflection of their growing friendship.
Ahead of its self-titled debut album's release on November 4, the band premieres its new track, "Full Raichu," with i-D below. We liked it so much we decided to snatch the guys for a quick chat about friendship and change.
You guys have worked together previously as Brothers Hand Mirror. How is Lossless different?
Oscar: Brothers Hand Mirror was pretty strictly Grant rapping and myself making instrumentals out of junk and tape machines. So the first difference is now our roles are more intertwined, we share the production and the vocals. In Brothers Hand Mirror we were experimenting and were maybe afraid to use popular music tropes and "cheap shots" so to speak. Like, if something was too satisfying in an obvious way we would stray away from it. Now I think we have a different set of values when deciding what we want to make. Maybe we are both just more comfortable with the field now that we have had some time with it. It's funny because I think we are trying less, but getting further.
How does a collaboration shift when you take on a new name?
Grant: The name was a reflex to the sound: we changed, then the music changed, so we had to find a new name for it. We picked Lossless because it's such and un-human word, like nothing in the real world is Lossless.
Oscar: We made most of this body of work not really knowing what the outcome would be. I think we were just making it for the pleasure of hanging out. Both Grant and I get a bit anxious if we are not feeling productive.
How has working together changed your own work? Do you bring out different things in each other?
Oscar: A really beautiful thing was just the feeling of being able to hold each other up. When I make music alone, parts of the process flow and materialize effortlessly. But then to get things over the line, to the point of being a finished work, it can be testing and I really have to push myself. But Grant and I were able to make up for each others' weaknesses. Conveniently, one's weakness is often the other's strength.
Grant: When we're together, we take shit less seriously. I feel invincible when I work with Oscar. We had some days on this album where we were able to put down finished takes for two or three tracks; the process changes when you can fuck around with your best friend in-between takes, you feel more free. It's more like a late night deep and meaningful than a solitary diary entry.
Do you ever get tired of each other?
Grant: Not really. Oscar's a Taurus with a Sagittarius rising and I'm a Sagittarius with a Taurus rising. We're basically born to be best friends.
Who would be your dream third person to join Lossless?
Grant: No one else is allowed, access denied.
Text Wendy Syfret
Photography Phebe Shmidt