December/January 2018

by Ally Su’a

Fresh Talent: Oaky

by Ally Su’a

Fresh Talent: Oaky

Taking the name from a diss rap about his high school math teacher, Mitch Fowler explores elements of rap, hip hop and poetry under the pseudonym Oaky.

“I was 16 at the time and I honestly thought it was a pretty stupid hook, but six years later the name stuck.”

Born in South Auckland but raised in Christchurch, Fowler grew up inspired by The Black Eyed Peas, Offsite, and alternative hip hop musician Milo, particularly his album ‘I Wish my Brother Rob Was Here’.

“What he [Milo] was doing I was realised I wanted to do. But I also still wanted to be me.”

When it comes to performing Fowler surprises with a sudden change in persona, cohesively alternating between Oaky and Jenson.

“Jenson, is everything Oaky isn’t. He’s super egotistical but also very lost and delusional.Personally, he’s almost like the animal in me…”

Fowler has a unique element of emerging several characters to play almost a rebuttal role in his projects.

“I enjoy incorporating other characters. I don’t like to be one-sided on things and this allows people to listen and resonate with a character because the characters make more ideas accessible. It’s a new angle with every character.”

Illustrating the extent of his immersion in this narrative, Fowler released a 27-track mixtape ‘Sven’s Paddock’ involving a collective of characters that were created spontaneously out of a day’s freestyle.

“At the time I was unemployed and I was writing so much and in so many different strange characters, I knew I wanted to combine them all and have them from one place – that place is now called ‘Sven’s Paddock’.”

‘Sven’s Paddock’ is in no doubt inclusive to the complex characters created by Fowler but also a highlight to the poetic stance subtly lingering within each lyric.

“I’ve always loved poetry and growing up with my interest in rap they were a definite connection. When I first started writing my own raps, I would focus more on the poetic elements within the lyrics but as I carried on I focused more on my rapping and freestyling, and noticed the poetic element was still there somehow.”

Like his music, of which Fowler says, “…I like to think of it as a journey,” Jenson and the characters from ‘Sven’s Paddock’ still have a long road ahead of them.

“I’m loosely working on my future projects because life kind of got in the way, but once I’m back into the swing of it it’ll be fine. I’ve got releases planned for each month until February next year.