About five minutes past our scheduled interview time, I was informed by his manager that oshi, fresh off the stage from his set at Elements Music Festival, had jumped into the crowd and began dancing along to the next artist. That bit of information was all I needed to understand the youthful and energetic personality of the young producer I was about to meet. A few minutes later, a shirtless oshi sporting his now signature massive hairdo appears, exhausted from just a few minutes of dancing in the 100 degree Brooklyn heat. After letting him catch his breath, we found a shady spot behind the stage and began talking.
Born Joshua Brennan in London, England, oshi discovered his passion for music at age 11. He describes his mother as a huge drum n’ bass head, leading to his early introduction to the world of music. Brennan first thought he could turn music into a career at the age of 15, and now at just 18-years-old he has already moved full time to the United States and is not looking back. Known best for his remix of Kali Uchis’ ‘ridin round,’ oshi has received attention from OWSLA, even playing a guest mix with Skrillex on his Beats 1 Radio show. He is also the co-founder of his own record label, Film Noir, along with his friends BNJMN. and Krs. 2016 has been a huge year for oshi with no signs of slowing down. We chatted about his incredibly unique sound, his massively successful 2016, his alter ego NO$TRIL, why he started growing his hair, and what is coming next from oshi.
You started creating music pretty much just doing your own thing, and your very unique sound was created as a result. If you could create a genre around your sound, what other artists would you include?
That’s a hard question, Honestly, I’d just say me, Deffie definitely, and my friend Sober Rob. None of us make the same kind of music, but it’s the same type of emotion, the same feeling that goes into. Because honestly, nobody sounds like somebody else, you can make something that sounds like somebody else, but everybody’s sound is unique in a certain way because they do it themselves. Only one person can have a certain feel because that’s them. So instead of people who sound like me, they’re people who put the same feeling as me.
What artists helped you develop that sound?
What led you to start producing?
The thing that first made me want to make music was Mr. Carmack and Inspector Gadget. Inspector Gadget Drum n’ Bass remix, you can find it on Youtube. That’s what inspired me, it was like a drum n’ bass remix and I was raised on drum n’ bass because my mom is a massive drum n’ bass head. After that I was like I wanna make music. I wanna do this. I found my calling at like age 11, but I didn’t realize it was my calling.
You started a record label with your friends BNJMN. & Krs., How’s that going and what do you three bring to the table as label heads?
As of late honestly it hasn’t been as much of my focus, but Film Noir as a whole…So BNJMN. is a producer & rapper, amazing rapper, so he brings that to the table. He understands how vocalists and how production should go, whereas Krs. is solely production. I’m not sure if he wants to be an artist, but his production side is amazing. He’s in the know how of all the mixing, mastering, he’s up there. And Myself, out of us three I’m the only “artist” there is, I’m the only one that has a face to what I do. So I mean, I think I bring character, more than anything.
Are there artists on the label that people should be looking out for?
Yes, there is Khary, Vada, she’s an amazing singer, she just doesn’t know what she wants to do and I’m trying to help her out. Who else, I’m trying to think of rappers and singers specifically. There’s Nova, Nova is amazing. He just came out with an EP, check it out, it’s called 19 (• 19 •). It’s amazing.
You’re joining Zeds Dead on tour later this year, an interesting pairing to say the least. How did that come about?
Honestly, my manager is sitting right next to me so I’m gonna come forward and admit in front of him that I don’t pay attention to text messages. They’ve been telling me that this has been going on for months, but I only fully realized when they announced it. And I was like oh shit, Zeds Dead, me, fuck, shit, oh damn. But honestly I have no idea how that came about. I mean, they followed me quite a while ago and I followed them back. We never spoke honestly, it’s just been one of those cyber relationships where they see me and I see them.
You have a rap alter ego NO$TRIL, have you ever thought of putting your vocals on an oshi track?
Yes, actually. My next single that I’m putting out, I don’t know when it’s coming out, but it’s called ‘Before’ and features my vocals with co-writing from Nova. He helped me come up with the melody for the vocals. But I’m still in the process of writing, but that should be out sometime soon.
How long has it taken for you to grow your hair?
Four years. I grew it directly after I broke both of my legs, same time. Freerunning. Never do fucking freerunning. That shit is wack. Doesn’t matter how cool you look doing backflips, you will break your legs.
When can we expect your upcoming EP, ‘A thing called oshi’?
Honestly, that’s been coming soon for ages. It’ll come out when it comes out. That’s just one of those things where once I feel like it should come out it’ll come out. But that doesn’t mean you won’t be seeing more music from me.