Debuting in a vision of bright colours and soundtracked by playful electronic pop synths that were accompanied by the likes of Mallrat and Sam Bluer on vocal duties, Oh Boy immediately captured your attention. Over the years his creative vision started to evolve as he rediscovered his neo-soul and funk roots and was encouraged by a close friend to creatively find himself again. And that is how the foundations of his debut EP ‘Brentwood Heights’ were conceived. This debut collection from the Sydney producer hears him in the most confident light yet. It’s very genuine and authentic to who he is as an artist and showcases him being more creatively free in the experimentation of the production. It has a very authentic approach with guitar and trumpet solos mixed with dreamy vocals that flow in and out. As a whole this EP is an artistic journey of growth and self discovery that you’ll find yourself diving head first into and embracing who Oh Boy is as an artist.
I recently chatted to Oh Boy about the directional shift within his music for this EP, how the psychedelic Cub Sport collaboration ‘Angels 888’ came about and what some of the biggest things he’s learn about himself over the past couple of years are. Check it out HERE;
TB: Your debut EP ‘Brentwood Heights’ hears you shifting towards a RNB and Neo Soul vibe whilst still managing to hold onto your electronic roots. So what was inspiring you differently this time around when you started working on this collection?
OB: At the time I was working on this collection I feel like I was really finding myself more. I have very hip-hop and RNB roots as that is all my family and I listened to while growing up. So I was being quite rebellious when I started creating electronic music. My family are Polynesion so hip-hop, RNB, reggae and island was the main genre in our house. I just wanted to be different and not listen to the same things over and over again. I kind of veered off in that direction and I enjoyed it but I always felt a strong connection to hip-hop.
TB: You previously mentioned that you wanted to return to your roots with this record, so was there a moment in the last year the stands out to you as that moment you realised you needed to be more connected to who you were as a person?
OB: Some of the music I was putting out wasn’t really what I wanted to put out. I just wanted to meet peoples expectations of electronic pop. I enjoy the music a lot and still make it with friends but I wanted to put out music that I would listen to and that’s what this EP is. It’s a collection of music that I would listen to on the daily.
TB: My favourite song on the EP is the Cub Sport collaboration ‘Angels 888’ which is a dreamy, almost psychedelic moment that instantly captivates you. So how did this collaboration and track come about?
OB: I made the instrumental and I thought all it needed was a few angelic hums on it, like no lyrics, just some vocal ad-libs. So I’m friends with Tim and Sam from Cub Sport so I sent it to Tim when I was in LA and just asked if he could do some hums for me as I thought his voice would suit perfectly. And he sent me back a while topline for the song which was super unexpected and it was perfect. It was exactly what I wanted it to be. He nailed it.
TB: I also hear that you guys recently shot a dreamy little video for that song. Is there anything you can tell us about the vibe for it?
OB: It’s super trippy and very psychedelic! I had a lot of influences from the ASAP Rocky ‘LSD’ music video and the way it was shot cinematography wise took inspirations from D’Angelo’s ‘Untitled’ video. It’s just me and Tim vibing and it’s super cool.
TB: Another one of my favourites is the funky ‘Slid333’ which has a different energy compared to the rest of the material on this EP but still works sonically with this new direction. One thing that stood out for me about this track was the groovy trumpets which is quite new for your music. With the addition of different elements with this project how have you found your creativity has evolved?
OB: I just love brass! And RNB brass in particular is so fun so I wanted to really explore that world. I actually submitted this song for a competition and it got rejected and I was heartbroken because I thought it was the best song I had ever made. I was like “really, you didn’t like it?”. But it was a blessing in disguise because it means now that I can put it out on my project and get everyone to hear it the way it deserves to be heard. We made it in three days which was so cool. I made the beat and then Cult Shotta came over and we just had a few drinks and wrote the song and i finished it the next day. It was such a quick turnaround and I was so proud of it. So I guess the biggest thing I’ve learnt is to just believe in my own vision.
TB: Lyrically this EP has some quite vulnerable and reflective moments, like ‘By The Wa777’ so what would you say is the most vulnerable moment for you as a producer and songwriter?
OB: As a person I’ve always never really shown too much. I’m really quiet. I’m not really out spoken especially emotionally which is really hard because I’m actually a really emotional person. I just felt like I needed to be more up front with people and work on myself to get more confidence to show people who I really am. It was something I’ve always struggled with so I pushed myself to grow from that. ‘Angels 888’ is special to me because the whole idea behind it was to raise awareness of collective consciousness. It’s all we want.
TB: The aesthetic for this EP sees you incorporating numbers into all the song titles, so what was the idea behind this concept?
OB: Numerology is so interesting! We look at our phones sometimes and see “333” or whatever it may be and then we see number patterns on the street too and it gets you to start thinking. All these patterns have meaning if you look them up and people have their own theories which is so cool. I just wanted to include the idea on this EP and do something a little different.
TB: Your breakthrough singles ‘Rush Hour’ and ‘Bunny Island’ with Mallrat introduced you to a huge audience through their playful vibes and big hooks. So when you look back on the creative process of these tracks with Grace, what is one of your favourite memories?
OB: Honestly just being friends with Grace just has been the greatest experience of all. She’s changed my life forever. She’s such a genuine person and she’s actually the big reason I’m going in this direction with my music. There was one morning where she sat me down and lectured me about being influenced by other people, what I should do and how I should present myself. She just told me I should do what I want and follow my gut. And that’s how we should all be. The next day I got a face tattoo because that what I wanted to do and she got a matching one on her hand and it was super cute.
TB: With these songs gaining huge momentum on social media platforms and streaming services, where is one of the weirdest places you’ve heard one of your songs playing?
OB: It was really random, I went into Priceline one day as soon as they opened and one of my songs was playing and I was like, “this is so strange”. I was standing in the aisles filming the speaker and the staff were just looking at me going “what is he doing?” *laughs*.
TB: When you started releasing music, you hadn’t played a lot of live shows. So now that you’ve done a bit of touring how do you feel that has helped you evolve as an artist?
OB: I’ve learnt to be more confident again and to be able to speak to people more. I used to not be able to hold eye contact with people and not be able to be enthusiastic during conversations. So it’s helped from playing these shows to find a voice within myself.
TB: Lets play a little game of rapid fire questions where I’m going to ask you some questions that you just need to answer with the first thing that comes to mind.
OB: Let’s do it!
TB: My pre-show pump up song is…
OB: That’s so hard cause I listen to so much music *laughs* but probably a dirty Soundcloud rap song from Pouya and Fat Nick called ‘Middle Of The Mall’.
TB: Pineapple on pizza is…
OB: Acceptable! I was always again it but I had it with the stuffed crust so I love it now.
TB: The emoji that best describes my debut EP is…
OB: The crystal ball and the sunflower!
TB: This morning I…
OB: Woke up at 3:30am to catch a flight to Brisbane *laughs*.
TB: If I could have any superpower it would be…
OB: Ability to have all the superpowers!
‘Brentwood Heights’ is out now!