23-year-old Melbourne based singer-songwriter and producer, Oscar Key Sung, has already compiled a fairly impressive resume. The hip hop crooner has been in esteemed company for his short but attention grabbing career that has garnered the praise of taste makers the world over.
That esteemed company has come in the form of Key Sung’s high octane live performances providing supports for the likes of St Vincent, Four Tet, Metronomy and Gotye. Following his own string of headlining Australian shows the up-and-coming artist will be hitting the road with Ghostpoet as well performing at the forward thinking OutsideIn festival.
So far Key Sung has released two promotional singles, It’s Coming and the Miguel cover Sure Thing, which have both been on high rotation on triple j as well as being featured in Ghostpoet and MeLo-X’s collaboration EP WecanWORKitout. There is also the ethereal track WIMLTM, which simply ‘appeared’ on line almost a year ago.
Just prior to kicking off his headlining Australian tour Oscar Key Sung dropped Music Feeds a line to discuss the preparations for his upcoming live shows, his thirst for collaboration and the musical territory his forthcoming LP will cover.
Music Feeds: Thanks so much for chatting with us today. In only a few weeks time you’re going to be hitting the road on tour, stopping off in most capital cities in Australia. How much prior planning do you put into your live show? Months? Weeks? Or seconds?
Oscar Key Sung: Thank you! Im never 100% satisfied with any live set, I’m always tweaking it, trying new things out. So the answer is, it’s an ongoing process I suppose, but there is definitely a cram session the day before a show where I freak out and run over everything to make sure I’m prepared enough to get in front of an audience haha.
MF: You’ve unleashed your music across festival stages such as Falls, Meredith, Sugar Mountain and Melbourne Music Week. Now that you’ve had that experience, which do you prefer to play: smaller club shows or the full-on festivals?
OKS: I have definitely played more small shows than large ones, so it would be cool to even the odds a bit. But I definitely like both. Small shows can have a really satisfying sense of curation, in that every act is kindred in style and vibe (for lack of a better term), and the audience too will often be very attuned to what ideas you are playing with. Festivals will generally have more variety and an audience that is looser in their tastes, which is also amazing for different reasons.
MF: Speaking of live shows, you will also be performing at Outsidein Festival. Those guys always deliver the most forward-thinking line ups – what’s exciting you the most about being part of that?
OKS: Yeah they are really great! I will be playing as part of a collaboration with Andras Fox. Our tracks are really based around jamming and improvising with heaps of analogue gear (cool old synths and drum machines etc.) to make dance music, so its really different to my solo vibes. I pretty much just get to show more of my fun side and sing really cheesy satisfying lines and dance around only to occasionally play a bit of synth. Andy is a totally swell guy, and I love his music so I think it will be a blast. Also I’m really really into Laurel Halo, I think she is a total genius and really inspiring. So I’m crazy pumped to see her play and check out her live set up, and maybe talk shop with her if I get a chance.
MF: Let’s talk music. I understand you will be releasing your debut full-length album in 2014. How’s the record looking at this point in time?
OKS: Im not 100% sure exactly when I will be releasing it, I’m kind of hoping to get it out this year. I have really tried to make an album that has no filler tracks, of course some of the tracks are probably better than others, but each one has had a lot of work put into it.
MF: You’ve released two promo tracks – It’s Coming and Sure Thing. Will these two feature on the record? If so, how well do you think they represent what we can expect to hear from full release?
OKS: At this stage I am planning to have It’s Coming on the full release but not Sure Thing because it’s a cover. It’s Coming is probably one of the slowest tracks on the record but is a pretty good indicator of the overall vibe… maybe. I think the beat in it is a lot looser and ‘warpier’ than some of the other tracks that are a lot more minimal in terms of feel and layering, and instead work from chord changes and melodies.
MF: You’ve worked with other artists on your material, and worked on other artists’ material. How often does collaboration result in you discovering soundscapes you never knew you enjoyed?
OKS: Really good question! Yeah, pretty often I guess. I tend to think that taste (like pretty much everything) is based on your understanding of the elements within. It’s like how certain things you only get with age. I’m sure my taste for this reason will always be in a state of flux. Sometimes meeting someone who is truly connected to their genre and it is just flowing out of them in a really natural uncontrived way; being around them can make you understand the values and merits in that particular genre/style/movement. Sometimes you need the right experiences to contextualise whatever that soundscape is.
MF: Tens of thousands of people have sampled your work on MELOGHOST’s WecanWORKitout. How did things change for you with the release of this track?
OKS: Im not sure really. But it was such a good feeling hearing it for the first time!
MF: The success of your latest single WIMLTM goes to show that if you make a good song people will find it, regardless of exposure. But is it still worth it getting the thumbs up from taste-markers such as BBC Radio 6?
OKS: I guess it depends on what you’re trying to do with your tunes. Some things will take on a life of their own, but it never hurts to be legitimised and validated by someone who has a respected opinion. To be honest with WIMLTM, I kind of just put it out because I needed to stop working on it. It can really start to hurt when I’m working on an emotional track for an extended period.
MF: Next up you’re going to be touring with Ghostpoet himself. What sort of madness are you expecting at these shows?
OKS: Im just super keen to play some billiards with Obaro, last time I saw him he was saying that he is pretty good… Let the games begin!
MF: Any exciting collaborations you’re willing to spill? I know there’s gotta be at least one.
OKS: Haha lets just say yes! But I’m sorry, gotta keep stuff on the ‘DL’ for the moment…
Oscar Key Sung Australian Tour
Friday, 23rd August
Rocket Bar, Adelaide
Friday, 30th August
Black Bear Lodge, Brisbane