Hi OSTON, welcome to VENTS! How have you been?

Hi VENTS, Thanks so much for interviewing me!!! I’ve been great but busy! It’s been a bit hectic between midterms, gearing up to head to LA for some shows, and releasing music; I’m ready for a nap!

Can you talk to us more about your latest single “way we say goodbye”?

Of course! ‘way we say goodbye’ is actually one of the first songs I wrote for my project (Sitting at the Kids’ Table). I wrote it in the summer of 2017 – wow, I didn’t realize it was that old! It was the summer that I locked myself in a studio for 8 hours a day, 5 days a week and wrote as much music as I could with an incredible group of friends. When we were deciding which songs to put on the EP, my manager kept fighting for this one. I remember it went through so many iterations and vibes until finally I was in the studio with the producers Dino Zisis and lixa and just told them that I didn’t think the direction matched the soul of the song after recutting the vocals for like a 3rd time. We started playing with the chord progression and one of them started playing some ‘darker’ chords and the final product came together extremely quickly after that. I was STOKED!

Did any event in particular inspire you to write this song?

So the inspiration revolves around an ex, of course. This one dealt with our relationship after separating. I was going through that stage of the breakup where I didn’t want to be with them but also didn’t want to be with anyone else. I would see them from time to time when I traveled home and we weren’t on bad terms, so whenever we would see each other that spark would reappear for a moment. Then afterwards I would be reminded that it was a mistake, but a mistake I loved repeating.

Any plans to release a video for the single?

Maaaayyyyyybbbbeeeee. Can’t get into it much but hopefully there will be something soon!

The single comes off your new album Sitting At The Kids’ Table – what’s the story behind the title?

This story is always so funny to me! So my manager, whom I have been working with close to 4 years now, stepped on a 4 inch rusted nail at his day job and pierced his foot. He asked me to take him to the doctor because he couldn’t drive and he was a little medicated so we were being goofy in the waiting room. We went to sit down and there was a kids table and we both looked at eachother like ‘yup, we’re sitting at the kids’ table.’ Silent, for a moment, we looked at each other again and said that would be a great name for the project. We started discussing how it played into how we were both feeling in the industry. I feel like when you’re just starting out you’re getting opinions from everyone around you telling you what to be, how to do it, and to wait your turn. I felt like I was told to sit at the kids’ table, but honestly sometimes it’s WAY MORE FUN than sitting with the adults.

How was the recording and writing process?

Man, like I said, this was written nearly two years ago. I remember writing the song to this really dumb and quirky guitar lick. I found it and I’ll share it with you but you have to promise not to share it! Haha 😉

Here is version 1

Then when we started producing out the record, we thought that it should have a similar quirkiness at first and we ended up making this version as well!

Here is version 2

Then when I started talking to the producers about what the song really meant, we all agreed that it should be darker and we were off to the races with the version you hear now!

What was it like to work with Dino Zisis and how did that relationship develop?

I met Dino through the studio I was studying/working at. He was actually pitching some songs for sync and I was demoing the vocals. That was crazy because I straight up didn’t have a clue what I was doing. This was 3 years ago when all I had done until then was write and record my piano ballads with people in my hometown. Pretty soon after he started taking notice of my writing ability, I asked to do some sessions with him. He obliged, even though he thought I was this annoying little kid. After a few sessions I think we started to click and he always told me he appreciated my work ethic. We did so many writing sessions together over the course of a couple years and he has become like a second dad. He’s a dork and also the best!

How much did he get to influence the album?

The reason that Dino is the best is because although he has strong opinions, he knows when to be the captain and when to let the artist drive. For instance, my first single ‘bad’ was entirely my vision and me telling him what I wanted and how I wanted it. The rest of the project was way more collaborative of an effort between him and the other producer lixa. All three of us locked ourselves in a room for 2 weeks once the songs were chosen and just hammered out directions for each one.

What role does Chicago play in your music?

Living in Chicago changed my life! I have learned more about culture, different people, growing up, and even myself than I ever thought imaginable. Believe me, I know I have a tremendous amount left to learn, but Chicago has been an incredible home and I couldn’t be happier to be living here. The songs on this project are more about things before and during the transition into living in Chicago. You’ll hear more about my experiences in Chicago next time around 😉

What aspect of love did you get to explore on this record?

A lot of them! Passion, intimacy, regret, desire, lust, shame. Ugh, all of the feels!

Where else did you find the inspiration for the songs and lyrics?

It’s really cliché, but all of my lyrics come from things that make me angry, anxious, frustrated, sad, and happy. However I’m feelin in the moment, or whomever gets me riled up, will be the topic. Soooo….WATCH OUT!

Any plans to hit the road?

Totally! We already have a few showcases lined up. Two in LA next week – one on the 21st and then another on the 22nd of March. Then we have a show in Nashville at Mercy Lounge with DMBK on the 4th of April, one in June in NYC, and then in July I am playing Taste of Chicago. Hopefully a tour in the fall or early next year! I’ll keep y’all posted!

What else is happening next in OSTON’s world?

First and foremost graduating college, gotta get that over with. Then be on the lookout for more releases, plenty of shows, and maybe some videos along the way!

Listen here

About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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