Hello, and welcome to LifeStyles of Love. This is a series of playlists designed for moments of intimacy with friends and lovers alike, curated by with artists we love. If the title didn’t wink at enough, this is a project with LifeStyles: makers of condoms since 1905. We’re starting the series on World AIDS day to emphasise the joy in sex and sexuality of everyone—including people living with HIV. First cab off the rank: Melbourne’s Oscar Key Sung. Here, we talk about kinks, fantasies, and (of course) music. Next week, we’ll have even more music for you.
Hey Oscar! What’s your playlist all about?
This is a fun, sexy playlist. I Imagine it’s for comfortable time with friends, probably goofing around and dancing a bit. It could work pre-turn-up, as you’re getting ready to emerge for the night.
I’m interested to find out how sex and romance play out in your music—I think your songs often have an air of ASMR-like intimacy, given that you tend to sing quite softly and closely.
I recently found out Janet Jackson is a Taurus like myself, and it’s funny because your description of close ASMR-like singing makes me think of her. I think, maybe, being a singer or music maker is generally an act of expressing your characteristics in a formless way—music is more of a mood or zone than an object to me. I think the archetypal aspects of the Taurus Zodiac are a deep commitment to sensuality, comfort, food, finding joy, and being grounded by the beauty that comes through the senses. I guess my mood, and the mood of my music, reflects that. Sensuality permeates how I go about everything when I’m happy and in a positive relationship with myself. When I’m not happy there is no passion in anything, but when I am, even being alone is a romantic act.
Given we’re sharing this playlist on World AIDS Day, I wanted to talk about the power of music as a way into to something so clouded by stigma and prevailing misconceptions. It’s fitting you mentioned Janet Jackson—she wrote ‘Together Again’ about a friend who passed away from AIDS. Do you view songwriting as a way into this discussion, and other emotionally complex topics, or experience music as a refuge?
You know, I don’t really make music that has an direct slant toward activism in a traditional sense, so it’s a hard question for me to answer, but I do make emotionally vulnerable music. And broadly speaking, I believe that making vulnerable music is so important, as way to work though things. I think so much negative behaviour arises from the inability to be emotional and vulnerable. Putting a face—or giving a voice—to the unknown will build sympathy and empathy, in any context. Knowledge is the so helpful in destigmatising anything, so often people may just have their facts wrong.
On emotional music, ‘Simple Luv’ is one of my favourite-ever songs of yours. It’s poppy, it’s sexy, but it’s also gentle. Tell me where you were when you wrote it. What kind of simple love where you dreaming of?
Thank you! I started writing the lyrics while walking around the Singapore Airport’s International Terminal on my way to Paris. I recorded voice memos singing under my breath, as I often do. I have never worried much or been embarrassed about doing this in public, because I like to think that people are too caught up in their own worlds to even notice—maybe wilful ignorance lol. When I arrived in Paris I had a charmingly cramped hotel room, and I recorded the first version of the song there. The beat and delivery changed over time, but the core lyrics were essentially put down [in Paris]. I was dreaming of a love where the other person and I could effortlessly be exactly what the other wanted, just by being our most authentic selves. Non-stop dreamy hot times where everything is super rose tinted.
I like to talk about sexuality in the same way I like to talk about anything else really. Kinks make for great conversation. Do you find it easy to talk about sexuality? Is it something you and your friends spend time discussing?
Definitely! And yes I fully agree, I have always loved talking about sexuality, identity, kinks, so on. It’s especially fun when talking about something in great detail makes you realise perhaps it’s something you want to try. It can be demystified, and in some cases de-stigmatised, through conversation.
So, can you tell me about a kink you’re fascinated by?
I am quite interested in Shibari. I think the atmosphere around that type of rope play is very enigmatic and beautiful. The performance of submission appeals to me in some way.
Can you tell me something you find particularly sensual, that isn’t necessarily connected to sex?
So many things! Sometimes I find applying a temporary tattoo strangely and subtly sensual. I also find going to the barber to be a nice form of intimacy. Definitely not sexual, but nice in a sort of ASMR-like way.
World AIDS Day raises awareness across the world and in the community about HIV and AIDS. It’s a day for the community to show their support for people living with HIV and to commemorate people who have died of AIDS related conditions or other conditions associated with HIV. For every follower to Oscar’s LifeStyles of Love playlist between 1 December and 7 December LifeStyles will donate $5 to Living Positive, a community-based organisation that works to advance the human rights and wellbeing of people living with HIV.