We take you inside our favourite new albums with the artists who made them. Today we're sitting down with English bedroom-pop singer, songwriter and producer Oscar Welsh.
For many of us, our bedrooms are our sanctuary – a place we can go to escape the world. For English newcomer Oscar Welsh, his bedroom is the place where he shares his world with the rest of us.
The singer-songwriter has been writing and producing lo-fi, sun-soaked jams in his bedroom studio, crafting smooth, laidback grooves and honey-smooth melodies that document what it’s like to be a teenager growing up in today’s world. These feelings and emotions translate perfectly into the woozy, dreamy bedroom indie-pop you can find on Welsh’s debut EP Vernal.
While it was Stevie Wonder that initially inspired Welsh to try his hand at creating his own music, you can also find him listening to, and finding inspiration in, the catalogues of everyone from bedroom-pop artist Still Woozy to Frank Ocean, Anderson .Paak, and Steve Lacy. Balance that with his forays into learning classical piano and you’re left with a sound that is both drenched in the present and somewhat unplaceable.
Whether Welsh is discussing missing friends during lockdown or his own mental health, Vernal is the perfect comfort record for the current times. Both a poignant soundtrack for what life is like in 2020, and a sure-fire timeless collection of music, Welsh is here to let you know that you aren’t alone. He might be the new kid on the block, but this steady introduction to his career has him well-placed to continue his rise for many years to come.
In the lead up to the release of his debut record, we sat down with Oscar Welsh to chat all things Vernal and get to know him better.
The Oscar Welsh Story
From the beginning
Oscar Welsh: “I first started making music when I discovered Stevie Wonder – he’s so fucking cool.
“I was 12 and had only really had classical piano lessons, so I kind of associated piano with dull classical pieces. When I saw that Stevie could use a piano to talk about real-life/politics/funny stories, I was totally inspired – I hadn’t really thought of that instrument as a way to talk about that stuff. Like he didn’t hold back with ‘You Haven’t Done Nothin’ – he was changing the world with his music.”
What you’ll hear
Oscar Welsh: “My sound is pretty lo-fi. I’m currently using a lot of borrowed equipment. My first song was recorded on a cheap microphone which is meant for Zoom/Skype meetings. I like that though.
“I like that my sound is lo-fi right now because it’s raw and truthful. I love bedroom pop songs when you can hear they aren’t recorded in very good conditions because you know that it really is just a kid in a bedroom messing with some cheap kit. I also love big fat drum beats that borderline hurt your ears, like Scarlxrds drum beats are beautiful, I’m definitely inspired by him.”
Inside the creative process
Oscar Welsh: “Most of the songs on Vernal came to life through days of misery at school, thinking all day about when I wanted to go home and make music. That’s all I wanted to do all the time. ‘S.A.D’, ‘Get Yourself to Sleep’, ‘Sixteen’ and ‘Drift’ were written then.
“‘Weird Times’ is the outlier which was actually written during lockdown as a reflection of what lockdown for an adolescent is like, that’s why it has a slightly different vibe to the others.”
Tell us the story
Oscar Welsh: “The weather, movement of moon and stars, and change of seasons is the main idea behind Vernal. ‘S.A.D’ (seasonal affective disorder) represents this perfectly, as I talk about breakups during the wintertime. This probably came about because I had a breakup in the winter and that inspired the whole idea of seasonal affective disorder.”
Down memory lane
Oscar Welsh: “My favourite memory is definitely making the videos, they were crazy. If you look at the ‘S.A.D’ video, it’s just some friends, some alcohol, motorbikes, and cars. We had loads of fun with it and it was like being at a party rather than being in a music video.”
Oscar Welsh: “My biggest achievement so far has been talking to some of the artists I used to look up to and thought I would never talk to. It’s nice that sometimes they reply to me now and I can start to see them as peers rather than gods who are untouchable.”
Overcoming struggle town
Oscar Welsh: “I’m lucky enough to not have had that many challenges throughout. The main challenge which I think people forget about is practising their instrument – I want to keep training my voice and my piano skills because that’s a key way to gain inspiration.
“I used to hate classical piano, but now if I play a classical piece it will inspire my indie music production so much. Don’t write off Beethoven, he had some bangers of his time, and I’m not nearly as successful as he was (yet), so I can still learn a lot from him.”
For the love of music
Oscar Welsh: “I love it when other people love it. I’m weirdly driven by what other people think about my music which is unusual and you could see it as shallow. The way I see it, I have a chance to show people something that makes them think differently and change the way they see things, influencing their opinion.”
Oscar Welsh: “I hope Vernal changes the way listeners think about stuff, that there is a significant and active change in their perception of the world.”
Say it in a sentence
Oscar Welsh: “Vernal is…a collection of sounds and thoughts made by a young kid in his bedroom.”
Oscar Welsh – Get Yourself To Sleep
“I actually released this song on YouTube in Summer 2019 and it didn’t really connect, got maybe 100-200 views. Even when I re-released it not many people really cared until it generated a bit of momentum.”
Oscar Welsh – Drift
“The most quickly written, recorded and produced song I’ve ever done. This was by far the most fun to record because I just had fun and did what I wanted to. There’s a guitar solo – I never thought I was going to put a guitar solo in a song.”
Oscar Welsh – S.A.D
“The music video for this song was carnage. Most of the vehicles you see in it suffered damages of some kind.”
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