oscar scheller just wants to hear beautiful words
Channeling old school Britpop, young Londoner Oscar Scheller has just released the title track off his new EP, and it will make everything OK.
24-year-old Oscar Scheller (or Oscar as he's formerly known in the industry) has been making music ever since he was a little boy, surrounded by a family where rhythm was a way of life. Alongside his beloved dog Jasper, 2015 sees him launch his EP and its warming lead track Beautiful Words. Elsewhere described as a modern day Morrissey, Oscar's soulful sounds are the perfect accompaniment to long, hazy summer days. Sit back and crank up the volume as i-D chats to him about his lo-fi beats that take the listener from heartbreak to happiness, and all the way back again.
You studied sculpture at St Martins College - so, why music?
Because of Jarvis Cocker. Haha, no but seriously -- before going to Central Saint Martins, I went to Fine Arts College which gave me the most amazing and bespoke art education. Having been visual from an early age, the natural progression was to further that by studying art. I never intended to be a modern artist or anything, but I got so worn out by higher education and the feeling of wearing an invisible lab coat, talking a made-up pretentious language in a suffocating and unbearable environment, a place that was no longer an art school, but a university. It was the opposite of culture to me. I turned back to music because it was something that I felt I knew, and something I found to be a more natural form of expression, and far more inclusive.
When did you start making music?
The first song I wrote was when I was 13. But I started making music properly when I was about 14 or 15. Having been a piano player, picking up the guitar was an adventure and the innocence definitely helped me get creative.
Was music something you've always grown up with?
Both my parents were musicians and threw lots of parties, so I remember bits of that. My older sister, Scarlett, always had really good taste in music, so something was always on her stereo. I used to borrow all her CDs and listen to them over and over. I think Pure Garage Vol. 1 was pretty influential for me. My mom had a great collection too, which I was always going through. My earliest music memory was my granddad buying me a 'My first Sony Walkman' as a birthday present. It had a cassette deck, four drum pads and a microphone. Everything I needed! And I've still got it.
How has music impacted your life?
It's really such a big part of me. Every waking hour I'm thinking about it, feeling it, constantly making it in every form. I honestly can't imagine doing anything else.
You said that you're a big follower of i-D. What are your memories of the publication?
I just remember always seeing it on the shelves of my corner shop and wanting to buy it. It's the coolest fashion magazine because it's got such a great cultural identity and was way ahead of its time with the emoji logo! The most memorable cover for me was the one with Agyness Deyn and a sparkler and after that it was Rihanna! I reckon I'd make a good future i-D cover boy ;-D
You have quite a recognizable style - how important is that as a part of your musical career?
That's cool that you think so! I think it's a subconscious thing really. I have fun with clothes, I enjoy wearing them, and I've always had a clear idea of how I wanted to dress (my signature look from 5-7 was a stripy cardigan, a kilt and some DMs). It's a different feeling everyday though. In the same way the music has different outfits, different personalities!
Where's your favorite venue to play?
My favorite place I've played is probably Scala. Still waiting on that Wembley offer though.
How has music helped you deal with difficult situations in your life?
Music can heal as it is has a transcendental nature. It can be incredibly powerful and moving. It can lift you up, bring you down, change the way you experience things. For me it was about having an outlet where I could channel my troubles and just sing. I really think if I hadn't started singing or playing music, I would have had some sort of breakdown. When I was 11, I could make grown men and women cry just by singing and I realize now why they would cry. I was channeling my grief and loss through the music. Music is about inspiring and sharing and that involves pain and difficulty too.
How would you describe the music you produce?
Are you playing any festivals this summer?
Yes! Latitude, Visions, End Of The Road and The Great Wide Open. Jasper would be the perfect festival companion but sadly I think the noise would be too much for him.
What's the story behind your EP title track Beautiful Words?
It's about wanting everything to be good. It's quite a childlike feeling of needing reassurance and to be secure. Particularly from the perspective of someone who has suffered from bad anxiety, the whole time you just want someone to tell you it's gonna be alright. Words become beautiful and even more significant because of this.
Where would you like to be when you're 35?
In a hot tub in my Manhattan loft apartment, listening to the sweet sound of the city.
Text Greg French
Photography Leonn Ward
Styling Luci Ellis
Oscar wears shirt Folk. Trousers Tonsure