Issue #34 🚦 in the driver seat
HIGH FREQUENCY Vol. 1: "i know you're tired of driving" by oshi
We’re back and still buzzing off last week’s Pauline Herr drop, “Nirvana” and the subsequent footage from her epic EDC Las Vegas set last Friday. If you were lucky enough to be there IRL, we are JEALOUS.
Today we are thrilled to drop oshi’s latest BOP “i know you’re tired of driving.” Reinvigorated and empowered, his music, journey, and perspective is nothing short of inspirational.
Artist, producer, and DJ oshi delivers the perfect Sad Boy Summer Bop™ with “i know you’re tired of driving.” Angsty, raw, brooding, yet romantic, oshi wears his heart on his sleeve. ‘‘“i know you’re tired of driving” is an apology/love letter to my partner about literally not knowing how to drive, and in the metaphorical sense saying I'm sorry that I can't do certain things because of past trauma or situations that taught me not to react the best way or be the man that I want to be,” says oshi. “Relationships are not the easiest, especially when you deal with things in your brain that make life on a day-to-day basis harder.”
Inspired by a drum sample, oshi utilizes a chopped vocal and glitchy drum break to add a satisfying element of danceability to the vulnerable subject. “I’ve been on a Jersey Club tip with the drums. The pattern of the sample that I chopped up is very much the club–not, ‘let's get hype in the club,’ but more, ‘let's cry in the club, rhythmically.’ It’s bedroom/Jersey pop if everybody in New Jersey was sad and in love all the time.”
Completing the song with a sample from his latest Sound release, “Ominous Vibes,” oshi threads a refreshingly “sappy” through-line to the otherwise swaggy sonic mood. “I stuck the last verse of “Ominous Vibes” at the end because it fits so perfectly. The lyrical content is very similar and just so happens to be an indirect sequel to my last release.”
Created in an authentic moment of catharsis, “i know you’re tired of driving” captures unfiltered emotion while managing to result in an unexpectedly crisp and compelling final product. “Sometimes I make songs just to work through feelings. I didn't plan on releasing this, it just existed as an ode to my person. My way of telling somebody that I love them is making something for them, because that's the most pure part of me,” says oshi. “This song was one where it fell out and after a haze of a few hours it was done. I was like, ‘Wow, this is actually amazing.’ So I wanted to put it out and it just felt right especially given that now I want to learn how to fucking drive.”
oshi describes his current state of mind as a “phoenix rising.” Having experienced “the highest highs and lowest lows of the music industry,” he’s emerged recentered, self-aware, and in the driver’s seat.
Exposed to a wide spectrum of genres by his mother, he fostered a passion for music from an early age. The summer he turned ten, he discovered FL studio tutorials on Youtube and dove in. “I downloaded it illegally, because I was ten and didn't have 300 pounds or whatever to get it. I started from there making different types of dubstep and drum n bass. So I've been doing it for longer than half my life now.”
Trying on a roster of stage names–including b for beats, misfit, gemini beats, and gradient to name a few–he landed on oshi when he was 15. “oshi is the nickname my grandma calls me, so it has sentimental value to it.”
Beginning to release remixes under the new moniker on SoundCloud, he quickly gained momentum when a Justin Bieber remix he made caught wind. “It was a strange experience when my music first started getting traction. I was used to being alone in my room making beats all day, being like a real hermit, and then all of a sudden one song blew up, and kick started the journey.”
Now 16, he was thrown head first into the world of DJing, learning quickly to put his more reserved personality on the blackburner and tap into his inner performer. Booking rooms like London’s famed Boiler Room as the youngest person to ever play the venue, he continued releasing remixes and took industry meetings in New York for his first-ever trip to America. “That's when I made the decision. I was like, ‘I need to move to America and take on the music industry.’ So I moved to Los Angeles when I was 17.”
Shortly after in 2016 his kali uchis “ridin round” remix went viral, accumulating 29 million streams on SoundCloud, launching him into the limelight. “That really sent everything through the stratosphere. I got the attention of people like Diplo, Skrillex, Lorde and Flume and was bewildered by the fact that something I created in my room had reached all of these people that seemed unattainable at the time.”
The success, though exciting, also ushered in an overwhelming amount of expectation and noise. “That was before I had really started experiencing the reality of the music industry, and was the catalyst for all of these people to come in and me be so overwhelmed and flustered by all of the attention.”
Young and far away from his support system back home in London, he faced the subsequent barrage of industry vampires alone. “Most people who are in music or the music industry know you get fucked over left and right if you're naive and young, and don't have somebody there to really take care of you. You make mistakes and decisions that with hindsight, you're like, ‘Why did I ever decide to do that?” says oshi. “I started playing shows in America, and dealing with industry suits who wanted to control everything, and make me do this, that and the other. It took a toll on my mental health. That sent me back to being the hermit, making music and trying to reinvigorate myself, and revamp, trying to find the music I actually like to make. So I've done that for a few years instead of going out and playing shows, and building a career that way, because my real passion was always creating music, writing songs–the creative part of it.”
During this reset, he faced a new challenge when his visa expired and he was denied entry back to the US in October of 2019. And the timing couldn't have been worse. “My visa expired and I really needed to get back to America, because my girlfriend at the time was pregnant with my son. I spent a year at home in London and it was hell knowing that my partner was pregnant with my son, and I couldn't be there to take care of her. I was trying to do everything I possibly could to make some money and apply for the visa, so I could get back.”
Experimenting with early web3 platforms in an effort to generate income, he was awarded an Audius airdrop worth $11,000 at the time. With the money from the sale of NFTs, he was able to hire an immigration lawyer, renew his visa, and eventually move back to Los Angeles to help raise his son. “There were many times where I felt like giving up, but as somebody who didn't grow up with a father, I could never allow my son to go through that. And so it was really the driving force and the flame underneath me that kept me going through even the most difficult and trying moments.”
Reinvigorating his faith in the ability to make a living from making music without sacrificing his creative integrity or mental wellbeing, he dove all in as one of the earlier pioneers of Music NFTs. “At the time, there weren't a lot of platforms for music in web3, so I would make AI art and put my music under it. A few of them got bought, and it really helped set me up for coming back to America. I was one of the first people in these spaces and Discords talking to people and testing out different things on Arpeggi, Zora, and Catalog. When Sound came along, I spoke with David and was lucky enough to be the first person on Sound, which was an insane thing at the time. And now looking at where Sound is now, it's even more insane to me. I finally started to see that other people placed value in my music, whether that was because they liked the music, or because they wanted to collect it, and it really set me on the path of knowing that I could do it myself. Web3 is really helping me take control back.”
Reenergized and bursting with new material, oshi has a plethora of projects in the queue. “I'm really focusing on making whatever I want. There's ignorant rap shit, there's very weird indie pop stuff, there's a side project with Sober Rob and LAZER BUCK, which is the most belligerent EDM music,” says oshi. “The reason I started making music is because I liked hearing sounds that had never been created before and the joy of it coming from me. Having that stripped away from me, I'm now recentering and getting in touch with what I actually want to create and doing it on my terms.”
Planning to continue utilizing new platforms, tools, and mediums, oshi looks ahead with both optimism and maturity. “I'm going to be experimenting with different platforms and different tools that are being built now that I can apply to anything I want to do creatively, whether it's visual, writing, music, anything that I can do with the skills I've gained over the years,” says oshi. “It's a difficult career path, but it's what I chose, and it's who I am, and I'm never going to be different.”
Ashes in his wake, he spreads his wings and is flying high. Sounds like he’ll be driving there soon, too.
Collect Music NFTs from HIGH FREQUENCY Volume 1. “i know you’re tired of driving” is the thirteenth track to be released from NOISE, for HIGH FREQUENCY Volume 1. “i know you’re tired of driving” is dropping via Sound Swap at 2pm PST on May 25.
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