Oskar’s Drum is a Manchester-based outfit featuring musicians Patrick Fitgerald (of Kitchens Of Distinction) and Yves Atlana (Chameleons Vox, Wonky Alice, The Chrysalids). Their debut album, ‘A Cathedral Of Hands’, was released last November to high praise, with Gideon Coe of BBC 6 Music stating: “Patrick’s voice still sounds really, really good and the whole album has such a timeless feel about it” and UNCUT mentioning the “sweeping soundscapes of melodic, distinctly ‘90s alt-rock”. Their latest single, ‘Anyone But Yourself’, is due to be released March 17th (same day with their live appearance at The Continental), with a new album on the way.
How did the Oskar’s Drum collaboration come about? Feel free to give our readers the lowdown.
Hi this is Patrick answering. Yves invited me over to his house via Facebook. He played me a couple of tunes, we chatted over good strong tea, and it seemed a good idea to give it a go. Those first tunes were really strong, and ended up on the album. I was also really keen to collaborate again, after a long time of working on my own. This was an ideal opportunity.
Your debut, ‘A Cathedral Of Hands’, was said to have channeled Magazine, the Banshees, David Bowie, Scott Walker, and Kitchens Of Distinction… What would you say the general story is of your album? What can new listeners expect?
It came together quickly and easily. We knew the references already, and had a shared goal of writing songs with large soundscapes. It has a feeling of the 80s, but enhanced with our years of experience and all the wild technology out there at our fingertips. The fancy machines used to cost a fortune, now they were within our budget.
Who are some of your musical influences? And what are records of theirs that have influenced your musicality?
The list above is pretty good. A shared love of Bowie, Banshees, Magazine, Scott Walker, Brel. In particular ‘Low‘, ‘Juju‘, ‘Secondhand Daylight‘, ‘Scott 3’.
In a related question; as huge David Bowie fans – favorite Bowie album? If that is an answerable question?
Changes every day. Yves was talking yesterday about ‘Station To Station‘. We were watching clips of Bowie singing ‘TVC15‘ on American TV with Klaus Nomi. Extraordinary footage – worth seeking out. ‘Low’ will always be my favourite, but there will always be a huge love for ‘Young Americans‘ as it was the first Bowie record I bought. ‘Blackstar’ was an amazing ending.
On St. Patricks Day (March 17th) you’ll be playing the New Continental in Preston along with your live accompanist Danny Ashberry. So far Oskar’s Drum have only played a couple of shows in Manchester and London. What can concert-goers expect from you guys live?
We’ll play the whole record, and perhaps an old Kitchens of Distinction song or two. No budget for the dancing elephants or trapeze artists yet, but soon.
Your new single, ‘Anyone But Yourself’, is to be released on the 17th, the same day as your Preston gig. Can you give us the story behind how this song arose? And who is ‘Lucy’?
This was an early song. It was intended to come out before the album as a taster of Oskar’s Drum. But we had problems with the vinyl manufacturer and it’s ended up being delayed by a year – really frustrating! The idea behind the lyric is to encourage revelling in your own freakishness, not to be constrained by any norms. ‘Lucy’ is all of us. The name changes when I sing it live. Could be you?
‘Anyone But Yourself’’s AA side, ‘Golden’ is under the name Stephen Hero, which is your solo moniker, Patrick, and featuring Tanya Donelly (of Throwing Muses, The Breeders, Belly). How did this collaboration come about?
I met Tanya when she toured with Kristin Hersh, and asked her to sing the song. It was already written, and to me it suited her voice in particular. She was gracious enough to do this, and it first came out in 2015 as part of a digital EP. As it hadn’t had a physical release it seemed like a nice bridge to introduce Oskar to my listeners.
This latest single has been said to be a taster for an album to come… What can you tell us thus far about the new LP?
Well it was a taster for the first album! Hasn’t quite worked like that. Let’s call it dessert.
What are your lyrical inspirations? Do you gain inspiration from everything and anything?
I keep a notebook on me at all times. Jot down thoughts as they crop up, conversations overheard, stuff I read. It all bends together into a pessimistic outlook on the world. My little black rainbow. Can’t help it.
What’s next for Oskar’s Drum? A tour for this next album? I assume you’re going to hold off on writing new music for a bit..?
We’re half way through writing the next record. It’s sounding darker, huger, and you’ll be able to swing your hips to it.