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NewTracks New Artist: Osqar

NewTracks New Artist: Osqar

He answers to Sunny, SJ or Sanjeev if you’re family, but really you should call him Osqar cos that’s the name this “creative junkie” Auckland songwriter, drummer and music producer has adopted as an artist. With vocal treatment that screams ‘right now’ laid across 20th Century synth beds that bounce with retro richness, his latest single Company holds a mirror ball to the contrasting emotions of lonesomeness and unlikely opportunity. NZ On Air Music liked it enough to put it in the company of other great brand new tunes on their NewTracks compilation this August.

What’s your full name, where are you from and what instruments do you play?

My actual name is Sanjeev Joshi, but my friends call me SJ or Sunny. I’m from East Auckland. My main instrument is actually the drums but I can play the piano as well. 

Was any high school or other music training especially important to you?

I’ve never had proper professional training, all self-taught from producing to playing instruments. My dad was a drummer and played in bands when I was growing up – I guess watching him as a kid was my training. 

I guess a little background story about me is I have been writing and producing music since I was in high school. I’ve loved music from when I was a little toddler haha. My parents have videos of me drumming and singing from when I was two years old. I’ve grown up surrounded by music thanks to my Mum and Dad. 

What’s the background story of how Osqar came to be? 

I think I’ve always loved songwriting and had always wanted to produce and write songs as opposed to just producing beats. A lot of my inspiration comes from the music I grew up listening to, from Daft Punk to The Police, then Kanye, The Weeknd, Tame Impala and even old school Motown records to just name a few. Also very inspired by the ’80s era in terms of sound and aesthetic – I love to use analogue retro type sounds in my music

I’m a creative junkie, haha, and everything in terms of creative direction is super important to me – I love being involved and coming up with creatives ideas/concepts for music videos and also for each new project. Osqar is just me, but the live show will be with a band which I’m super excited about. 

How has your music evolved from your beginnings in songwriting to now?

I think by just being extremely open-minded to learning and trying different approaches to writing, being open and honest as well as writing from all sorts of perspectives, whether it’s from real-life experiences or a place of fantasy. I think it’s really important to get around other songwriters and producers as well, I’ve learnt so much by working with different artists/creatives.

Starting out though, and even now I am songwriting and producing most days or nights and it’s because it has almost become a habit where a lot of the time I’ll open my laptop and just start making music, or watch another tutorial on YouTube whenever I’ve got a free second. The more you do it, the more you get better. I still feel there’s always something to learn so I’m always trying to get better and upskill and maybe that’s the difference. But also creating space to be inspired. 

How did you come up with the Osqar name?

The name Osqar actually came when I was playing the video game FIFA on Playstation and I scored a goal with a player named ‘Oscar’. I thought the name sounded cool, but I wanted to make it different so I swapped the C for a Q and then all of a sudden all this imagery came to me in terms of creative direction and I guess that’s when the vision for Osqar started.

Aside from this release, what’s been the big highlight to date?

I have a couple of small highlights. I think hearing my music on the radio was a tick off the bucket list. Also getting to work with such amazing creatives like Connor Pritchard who I worked with on the Company video. But I think the more real milestones have been less obvious. Had some beautiful moments in the studio writing music with friends. 

What makes Company stand out for you as a single?

I think with this record it is the energy for me, it’s a funky dance track at the end of the day so it felt right to put it out as a single. 

What’s the story behind Company?

Well, I wrote this based on real-life experience but also from a place of fantasy. The subject of temptation is a theme throughout the song, writing about the highs and lows of a casual hook up. I just tried to communicate the idea of how sometimes we do things in the moment, even though we know they aren’t the best for our mental wellbeing, but at the same time expressing the idea of being tempted by the escape of it all. 

What’s your favourite moment, musical or lyrical, of the single?

I think there are a couple of interesting and fun moments throughout this record, but to just name one… I love synth lead in the outro. 

Who did you record/produce the single with?

Originally I produced and wrote Company by myself but then took it into the studio with a good friend of mine, Joshua Strand, and we re-recorded the vocals and added some small production parts to help make the song stronger. Josh also mixed and mastered this record. 

What would you like listeners to take away from this song?

I think I just want people to have fun with it and dance, escape and get lost in the music.

How do you generally work out what song would make a good single?

For me, it just has to feel strong and simple, and whenever I think of a single I think about the energy and how it’s making me feel. Usually, I can tell whether something could potentially be single, you kinda just know, I guess. 

Are there any other musical endeavours you’re working on that we should keep an eye out for?

Yes! Lots of music and lots of visuals. I’ve been working on a project for a year and half  – all the songs are there but just finishing off bits and pieces. Very excited to put these tunes out. 

Can you please name three other local tunes that would fit well on a playlist alongside your song.

  • Falling In Love – LA Women
  • People by High Hoops 
  • How It Would End by Balu Brigada

Have any previous NZOA applications not gained funding or been included on NewTracks? Got any advice for others out there?

Yeah, I tried applying once before but didn’t meet the criteria. I think just keep trying to apply and search the criteria on NZOA’s website so you know what it is, and then you can make goals to start ticking off each requirement. 

Who did you make the video with?

Production Company: CNRPR
Directed by: Connor Pritchard
DOP: Ezra Simons 
Gaffer: Aaron Wakely
Photography by: Jared Tinetti 
Edited by: Connor Pritchard

Any last words?

Grateful for all the support and new music on the way! Also special thanks to NZ Musician  :] 

 

New Tracks is a compilation of new music from New Zealand artists which is distributed to broadcast and online platforms on the first of each month. Previously the Kiwi Hit Disc, New Tracks is one of the ways that New Zealand on Air promotes kiwi music to the industry, radio, streaming services, and media. To apply for New Tracks you must have a completed, airplay-ready song and a promotional plan.

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