Tony Oso - 10 Questions Music Interview
Was there something (an experience) or someone in your life that was the "catalyst" for you to start writing music? Tell us about it.
I started writing music around the age of 14. My best friend at the time was a great piano player and a learning guitarist. He and I shared very similar music tastes of Led Zeppelin, Cream, Pink Floyd, Jimi Hendrix and The Who being heavily influenced by our parents. I would go over to his house and we would try to write songs together. Those were some of the best memories of my childhood!
Let's get this out of the way. What is the CRAZIEST thing that has ever happened to you in your music career?
My band in College won a talent show where the winning prize was to open for Sister Hazel and the Goo Goo Dolls. We did open for them and on the night of that performance, a producer for America's Got Talent saw us and invited us to a primary audition. We ended up taping for the show where they acted like they liked us and passed us through the first audition, but they never put us on the air. That was a pretty cool almost famous moment for me.
What has been the high point of your music path?
Releasing my first single as a solo act! I had been in previous bands that didn't work out for various reasons, and I had been waiting for the right group of people to fall in my lap to start a new band with my original material for a long time. I have put together all of the groundwork on my own so announcing my first release was a huge accomplishment for me!
So, how do you approach songwriting or what is your creative process like?
This is a pretty complicated process! With lyrics, I write down poems about my experiences and the motivational messages I want to showcase to my audiences. People who are close to me always say I act twice my age, and it may sound cliche, but I have seen quite a bit in this world already. When it comes to vocal melodies, I am always humming as I go throughout the day. And yes, I love singing in the shower. I find a melody has to be hummable or it doesn't make it to a song. As for instrumentals, I am always coming up with riffs/chord progressions on my acoustic guitar and acoustic bass. I have a Tascam recorder that I can grab and record a riff as soon as I come up with something I like. I then review all of my riffs, melodies and lyrics and write out a storyboard for a song. Sometimes, I can find all the pieces I want and its just a matter of arranging. Other times, I can't find all the pieces that I like and I'll write new lyrics, melodies, or riffs on the spot. I never force any song. If it just isn't coming together, I move on to the next until the right idea comes to me for the song.
What do you see as the biggest challenge facing Indie Artists today? Or, if you could ask the music industry to change one thing, what would it be?
Indie artists pretty much have to do it all nowadays with probably the most important task being promotion. The biggest challenge with promotion is definitely getting your music heard by the right people and finding your audience. With all the promotion and PR options out there, most of them fake, (I know I've tried them) it's like finding a needle in the haystack. I am learning how to navigate social media and other promotional tools to find my fans.
If you could share the stage with one other artist or band, who would it be and why?
I really would like to see rock music make a comeback and one of my favorite new bands that I have seen live is The Black Moods. My music goes along well with theirs and since they're a power trio we could jam out together on a song or two where I could provide some added depth for them.
What are your rehearsals generally like? Or, how do you prepare for a live show?
At every rehearsal, I try to learn a new song with my band whether it is a cover or an original. We all do our homework and learn our parts at home, and then come ready to try a new song. I feel it is important to keep learning new songs so you can keep your live shows interesting for returning fans! As for preparing for a live show, I find getting the set list order to be crucial. I put together a playlist of the songs based on experiences from a previous show and then listen to how the songs flow. I’ll usually make a few tweaks and settle on a final list. Listening to the songs over again, gets me to know the songs like the back of my hand. I had been in previous bands where we never listened to our own songs and you know what I found? We would forget pieces of our own music! Pro Tip: Listen to your own music and the covers that you play!
Pick one song that was your greatest challenge to write. Tell us about it!
My second single “Tucked Away” was the hardest song for me to right so far. This song blends a reggae/ska verse with a punk rock chorus and it took me forever for the song to mold into the final version. On day one, I had the intro verse bassline immediately but the parts to come after didn’t come easy. At first, I couldn’t find a drum beat to match the bassline and I needed help from another drummer to write a reggae beat. Then, I came up with what I thought would be the chorus, but it just felt more like a bridge to me. I struggled to find a chorus, and it finally came to me. But when I came up with the chorus, I created two new problems: the verse didn’t flow into it well nor did the chorus flow back into the verse smoothly. I ended up needing to create a small bridge for the verse to chorus path and an outro riff for the chorus to verse path. Then, I moved my original chorus to the bridge and then started working on a guitar solo. I at first liked it and then moved on to hating it! I ended up coming up with a different riff to use as a second bridge after a chorus which made the final piece of the song! This song had a lot of parts and took me a while to get everything smooth!
What's coming up in the future?
I will continue to release a new single every month in 2020! I will be working on making a music video as well as performing some live shows. I am looking to break into the festival circuit so fingers crossed there!
Tell us where fans can access your music?