Getting to know Swedish indie-rockers Oxen

Swedish band Oxen is the unique collaboration between life-long friends Erik and Stefan. They have just released their peculiarly original single with angsty 90’s rock guitar flow called ‘Dark and Depressive’. If you are a fan of The Smashing Pumpkins, Fat White Family, or The Cure, this band would be right up your alley. Their previous hit ‘Matrix Moves’ ranked #1 on German College Radio Charts for several weeks and to top it all off, they currently sit close to 1 million streams to date!

We find out more about the promising duo below.

Which experiences inspired your new single ‘Dark and Depressive’?

Been listening to a lot of 80s/90s stuff when writing this album and kinda wanted to catch that vibe. Remember writing this intro, wanted it to sound like something you could have written in high school, I like the simplicity of it.

Take us through your songwriting process. Are there any particular steps you take when putting music together?

Usually, first, there’s an idea that is entirely free from limitations. That’s where we normally fall for a specific part of the song. Then we have to lay some sort of a puzzle to make sense of things. But in some cases, we skip the puzzle part, because the song kind of writes itself.

What gets your creative juices flowing?

There’s this example we keep coming back to, and it’s when we listen to a perfect song. Like ‘Dreams’ by Fleetwood Mac. I think reading into the formula and structure of it really gets our creativity going. Or just simply cool things, like the intro of ‘Deal Wiv It’ by Mura Masa and slowthai.

As a musician, it becomes apparent that there is a huge difference between the art and the business. Is there anything about the music scene that you would personally change?

Not so fond of the whole business and marketing part. Of course, we’re looking forward to showing people our new songs and stuff, but sometimes the process with a release also kills our own “vibe” for the song, but on the other hand, it’s also what makes us wanna write new ones.

About the music scene, there’s obviously a ton of changes that could be made. The most urgent one should be making it equal. Also quite tired of the shutting down of smaller clubs to build some expensive apartment complex.

Studio work and music creation or performing and interacting with a live audience, which do you prefer?

Definitely the live bit, but I don’t think the one could work without the other really. Or wait. I don’t know. Sometimes the thrill of creating beats everything. I’m conflicted.

What is the most memorable response you have had to your music?

At a gig during one of our Germany tours, there was this guy who showed up several nights in a row. Even if we travelled like really far in between the gigs, he’d be there the next day. I remember it so well because he didn’t reach out to us after the shows or anything, he just wanted to listen.

What’s on your current playlist?

Talking Heads, Khruangbin, Cate Le Bon

You have mentioned in past statements that you have prepared a few tracks in the hopes to form a cohesive future album. Why did you choose ‘Dark and Depressive’ as your first release of 2020?  

Maybe it’s not representative for the whole album, but it sure catches the 90s vibe that we had in mind while working in the studio.

Breakdown the news for us: what can we expect from you in the near future?

This single will be followed by a music video, it’s a 10$ production but with a really advanced choreography, looking forward to releasing that one. Then there will be more singles and eventually an album.

Famous last words?

Don’t buy a cat. Buy a dog.

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