Capturing emotionally connective electronica with a delicate precision, Adelaide artist Oisima – Anth Wendt – samples and reworks everyone from Adele to DOOM. Pinning them to his unusual and soothing beats like butterflies to a corkboard he is easily one of the most talented artists in the Australian scene. His EP, Dusk Til Dawn, released in May, is an original debut of ambient hip-hop that has drawn him an international following and signings to Berlin-based Herbede Records and the independent label Pilot Records. Anth talks to ACCLAIM about how he began making music, the effect it has on his life and what he hopes for the Australian scene.
How did you become involved in producing music?
I grew up with a strong blues/folk influence and always played in bands growing up. I really only fell in love with electronic-based music in late high school listening to bands like Boards Of Canada, Radiohead and Air and almost instantly put down the guitar and leaped into fumbling around on the computer making really bad electronic-based music.
What drives you to make music?
I’ve never really considered what drives me as it’s always first thing on my mind when I wake up and last thing before I go to sleep. Influence-wise though, you just don’t have to look far at all, there are just so much creative inspiring people and producers these days. If you’re open to experiencing new things you’ll be constantly inspired.
You recently released your debut record Dusk Til Dawn, what work went into crafting the EP, had it been a work in progress for a while?
The record really was just a culmination of how I was feeling at the time of deciding to start writing it. It’s a pretty reflective record I think, without sounding cliché, kind of an end of the first chapter vibe.
You’ve said you’re releasing another EP in the future, how do you feel your music is evolving or are you still working to craft a specifically Oisima sound?
It’s pretty much finished now to be honest. I’ll be releasing it before the end of the year, which is exciting. Everyday I sit down to make music or listen to a newly released record…I think the way I interpret my music changes. This next release will be on a similar, but more evolved tip for sure.
How did you become involved with the Berlin/Sydney based Herbede Records?
It all came about through Soundcloud. Around the middle to end of last year, I was in constant communication with a bunch of different labels, but after chatting with the family at Herbede it was an easy decision. They have such a positive outlook on how things should be done and I wouldn’t have chosen anyone else to help me with the last release. Keep your eye out for big things coming through Herbede in the near future.
Australia seems to be producing some incredible artists at the moment, could you tell us a little about the Adelaide scene?
The scene in Adelaide is really coming along and is feeling extremely vibrant. We have some amazing producers down here like Slamagotchi, How Green, the Cuckoo Music Family, Carter Bros & Urtekk just to name a few – it’s really something special. Our main venue Cuckoo Bar is just so supportive of our growing scene and the numbers we get to our shows are getting bigger and bigger each time.
Online you’ve been very supportive of other Australian electronic artists, do you think it stands alone as it’s own scene, and if so, what do you think makes it unique?
I’ll be honest, Australia is absolutely killing it at the moment. Every week another ridiculous producer pops up making phenomenal music, we’re going through an amazing period for Australian electronic music. Galapagoose, Wooshie, Thrupence, Amin Payne, True North and the list just goes on and on and on. The best thing in my opinion is we’re actually defining our own ‘sound’ instead of emulating what’s currently happening in the States and Europe. It gets me really excited (laughs).
While your music is labelled as ‘chilled’ and ‘ambient’, how do you translate your music to a live performance?
My live set and my recorded music have two completely different feels. The EP itself is very chilled, but for my live shows I completely rework my stuff to translate to a club setting. I get pretty nasty and bass heavy.
As well as your own shows you have supported a multitude of touring artists from Martyn to Mux Mool and Tokimonsta – do their shows ever influence your own performances?
Every time I have been fortunate enough to support any one of the internationals, you really do feel yourself sub-consciously stepping your game up…it’s really hard to describe. I honestly do pinch myself every time, I’m a very lucky person indeed to be able to spend time with all these amazing people.
You quoted Bjork on your Facebook saying “I find it so amazing when people tell me that electronic music has not got soul, and they blame the computers. If there’s no soul in the music, it’s because nobody put it there.” It seems people use this attack often, but listening to your music no one could doubt there’s emotion behind it, do you use your music as a place of catharsis or how do you work in the element of emotion?
Music wouldn’t be music and have so much effect on people if it didn’t stir some kind of emotion. I think whether it’s the producer making it or the listener experiencing it, we all have music play such a major role in our lives for the same reason. The way it makes us feel.
What do you hope to see for the future of the Australian electronic music scene?
Mainly that we just keep on doing what were doing in growing our massive family whilst creating interesting and forward thinking music. We’re currently experiencing such a positive shift in culture and creativity, and I strongly believe we’re all just getting started.
What’s coming up for Oisima?
I have a bunch of things coming out on various compilations, another album being released and a bunch of touring around Australia up until the New Year.
I feel humbled for all the support and love I’ve been shown in such a short period of time. Big ups to Phil & Sarah from Cuckoo, the Sidewalk crew, the family at Herbede and Pilot and everyone who’s bought my record or come to one of my shows. Peace.