Life

Oscar The Wild Suck: “I Currently Have 116 Unanswered Messages And 687 Unread Emails”

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There’s a fair bit of buzz around Adelaide rock quartet Oscar The Wild, and rightly so.

Fresh off supporting Bloc Party, they’ve just released their debut EP, She’ll Be Right, and it lives up to its name. Listening to She’ll Be Right will (hopefully) help you forget about life’s issues for a moment, as you get swept up in the band’s assurances that it’ll all be OK. The EP crackles with an energy that’s infectious, while also showcasing the band’s ability to switch moods: the project’s most mellow moment, ‘Leaking Through’, offers a moment of respite, while fast-paced opener ‘Pinch Me Please’ is a perfect opportunity for crowd-band harmonisation when it’s played live. 

Junkee caught up with the members of Oscar The Wild — vocalist/guitarist/saxophonist Ruby Gazzola, guitarist Nicola Willsmore, drummer/vocalist Ariya Gabell and bassist Gemma Willsmore — to mark the release of She’ll Be Right. What unfolded was a deep look into the lives of each respective member. If you’ve ever eaten 12 vegan hot dogs in a week, get scared by adulthood, love Nickelback or just really like TikTok, then you’ll relate to the various plights of the members of Oscar The Wild. 

Junkee: A mistake that turned into an opportunity?

Ruby: For the majority of my life, I’ve mainly played saxophone, and never considered singing very seriously. But in high school, one of the music teachers heard my voice and gave me a solo in the choir. When performance time came around, and my moment to shine was only a bar away, I looked up at my teacher, panic-ridden, and shook my head, barely letting out a squeak. Luckily the girl next to me caught on and sung while I silently spiraled into shame. Apart from instant death, I thought the only way I could undo this grave mistake was to get another solo and slay. I’m still atoning to this day. 

Gem: I wouldn’t say it was a mistake but I worked in retail for a really long time and I HATED it. Like every second. BUT through this shitty shitty retail job, I met my amazing boyfriend who is literally made of angel dust and I thank my lucky stars everyday that our combined 16 years in this garbage workplace brought us something so beautiful. 

Cringe quote you used to live by?

Nic: My family has lived by the phrase “You get what you get and you don’t get upset” and whilst it’s not always true, it is a fun little reminder that some things you can let pass you by and it’s okay.

Ruby: “Things will come good in the end, and if it’s not good, it’s not the end.” A cringe quote I still live by. 

Ariya: I mean in a way I still live by the premise of it (without using the quote itself) but “YOLO” — because honestly at this point in my life I am taking all the opportunities that come to me and living each day to its fullest. Sometimes I might spend heaps of money doing things I love but at the end of the day it makes me happy and fills my cup. 

Gem: I have two that are both cringe but I still live by them. My favourite being “Not my circus, not my monkeys” and I use this ALL THE TIME. Sometimes you just have to relinquish control and let it be someone else’s problem. In a close second place is “Play stupid games, win stupid prizes” which is also used frequently, it’s like my version of karma and it’s very satisfying when it’s accurate. 

Worst advice you got and blindly followed?

Ariya: This is embarrassing but when I was younger I fully believed my friends when they said “If you don’t forward all your MSN hotmail chainmails then something bad will happen to you”. One time I didn’t forward one on because I thought ‘How bad could it be?’ and then ended up staying awake for 24 hours because I scared myself into believing the email that said “Mickey Mouse was going to come murder me at 12:30am if I didn’t share this email to 10 of my closest contacts” was true. You can be assured I no longer believe this. 

Gem: Mine is so savage but in year 11, I was prepping for a vocal performance, and I STUPIDLY chose ‘Think of Me’ from Phantom Of The Opera and myself and my vocal teacher had been working on it for literally months. Like a minute into the performance, the teacher grading it told me to stop because I wasn’t doing it justice and I was told to think about if singing was the right choice for me musically and I believed him and it’s literally taken six years for me to start feeling comfortable singing again.

The worst failure you’re up for sharing, and what you learned from it?

Nic: Probably relationship failures, they’re the first ones that come to mind. The first break-up I went through I was so worried that that was it for me, but it taught me that I could pick myself up and dust myself off, and that it wasn’t the end of the world. It also gave me the perspective that I am not defined by my relationships.

Ariya: I have to agree with Nic. I was in a super long-term relationship that just wasn’t right for me but at the time I thought it was everything. When that failed I too thought that that was it for me and that I would never be loved and that I was getting too old to start new relationships. Since then I have become so confident and comfortable within myself as an individual. I have found a love for (and from) my friends and my experiences I take on within my life, and a comfort in not needing the love of a partner to feel ‘complete’. It took me a while to feel comfortable in not settling for what you think you need VS what you really need in a partnership. I know one day that love will come and there’s no point in forcing it — I am just enjoying connecting with other humans and life experiences day by day. 

Anything you used to be wrong about?

Nic: I used to be one of those people who would go around saying I listened to “Everything except country music”, but I didn’t realise how much fun country music can be! I listen to SO much of it now and I’m out here living my best life!

Gem: I used to be wrong about life. No one prepares you for the harsh reality that is being an adult living out of home. No one teaches you about taxes and interest and inflation or how to not shrink your clothes every time you wash them or that you need to CLEAN YOUR WASHING MACHINE.

Ruby: Ya gotta drink water. 

Embarrassing internet habit?

Nic: Because of TikTok, I’ve started to watch whatever movie/TV show is put on my FYP in little segments rather than going and watching properly, in full. 

Ruby: I currently have 116 unanswered messages and 687 unread emails. 

Ariya: I am embarrassingly addicted to my phone and will sit for hours scrolling and switching between apps but most of the time I get stuck in a loop of watching non-stop tarot readings on TikTok and thinking ‘Wow this does apply to me, how did they know that? I can’t believe this is going to happen’… And 95% of the time the readings never come true :(. My FYP is awful these days. 

Ideal morning routine versus actual morning routine? 

Nic: I’m a massive morning person so my morning routine isn’t too bad! Ideally I’d have time to do some exercise before starting work but that would require me waking up earlier and I’m not prepared to do that. My morning routine is usually wake up and have some phone time before getting up and cleaning my room and getting in the shower, then I’ll make a cup of tea and go to work. 

Ruby: Ideal morning would be waking up with a smile in my eye. I’d start the day meditating outside with internal peace radiating, rosellas and butterflies would gather, singing sweet tunes of universal consciousness. Then I’d go on a waterslide or something. My actual morning has no routine. I wake up late, put oats in my mouth, and arrive at my destination, late. 

Ariya: Ideal morning would be: wake up and watch the sunrise, move my body in a way (yoga, walking, hike, swim), practice some mindfulness and eat a decent breakfast. At the moment it looks more like: wake up, feed cat, scroll on phone for 10 minutes, put clothes on, brush teeth, rush out the door (skip breakfast), agree to my boss picking me up a coffee as I run late for work yet again. 

Something very off-brand for you?

Ruby: My clothes are childhood rags and my make-up is YEARS out of date, but because I compulsively consume drag content (we’re talking at least 2 hours per day) I am kind of up to date on trends in fashion and make-up. 

Nic: This is definitely not off-brand for people who know me well but it might be to others. I am a big fan of Nickelback and what I think is now being referred to as “divorced dad rock”. 

Ariya: One of my many comfort shows I put on when I am sick or trying to fall asleep is the Jonas Brothers show on Disney. I used to watch it with my younger sister all the time on Saturday Disney and we both know all the words to the songs they wrote for the show. Let’s be real though, ‘Burning Up’ and ‘SOS’ are high-key bangers.

Gem: Ironically the most off-brand thing I do is when my crippling anxiety comes out to spice things up. I’m naturally a VERY social, outgoing, confident person, so when the social anxiety rears its ugly head it’s not very slay-queen-girl-boss of me and it’s a really disjointed part of my personality… confident extroverts can have anxiety too apparently. 

Bad health decision?

Nic: I am addicted to Coke and sugary beverages. I don’t really drink alcohol so this is my one thing. I’ve tried to cut down my consumption heaps but I don’t think I’ll ever be able to cut it out fully. I’m also a sucker for the afternoon sweet treat.

Ruby: I once ate 12 vegan hot dogs in a week.  

Ariya: I hate to admit it but I am a classic ‘social smoker/vaper’. It is so so yucky (sometimes yummy) and I am trying my best to quit. I haven’t bought any nicotine products in months and I am hoping it will stay that way (we will see).

Gem: As a lactose intolerant WEENIE, the amount of dairy I poison my body with is criminal. Also bread. So so so much bread. Croutons, pretzels, focaccia, bagels. All of the bread. All of the time.

What do you waste money on?

Ruby: Hot dogs. 

Nic: My hobbies. They come and go in phases and I’ll go and spend all this money on supplies, use it for a week or so and then they get left until whenever I decide to fixate on it again. Phases have been reading, craft (knitting/crocheting), colouring in, etc.

Ariya: I mean in a way it’s not a waste in my eyes because I enjoy doing it but I have spent SO MUCH MONEY in the last two years on going on trips around the country to watch my friends’ bands play (who usually play in my city) at random music festivals. I’ve just had the best darn time travelling the country and making new friends across all states of Aus.

Gem: My coping mechanism for dealing with stress is to buy clothes and make-up. But when I’ve spent too much money, I get stressed, so then I buy more to get that instant dopamine, and then I get more stressed and the cycle continues forever. BUT I’m making an active effort to partake less in fast fashion trends and fads because TikTok trends piss me off.

Worst procrastination habit?

Nic: I’m not really a procrastinator but I am terribly addicted to my phone. I can scroll through TikTok or Instagram and not realise that heaps of time has passed.

Ruby: I’m not a procrastinator but I have ZERO concept of time and how long it takes to do tasks. I will actually plan to start things at the last possible minute. But it does mean I can chaotically and shittily complete tasks way faster than the average person. 

Ariya: I am the worst procrastinator and I will literally do ANY task to avoid the unwanted/less fun task. I also get distracted easily and will start 5-10 tasks at a time and never fully finish them. I even spent 3 days putting off writing my answers to these questions (sorry). This is classic Ariya behaviour always putting things off, always forgetful and distracted, always running late. 

Gem: My procrastination habit is to do other tasks. If I know I have to clean the house for an inspection, I’ll organise my bookshelf by colour, or clean the fish tank or organise my vinyl alphabetically. No actual productive tasks at all. 

 

Oscar The Wild’s new EP She’ll Be Right is out now. They’re also going on tour in support of the EP in January/February 2024, playing shows in Adelaide, Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne. You can learn more about those shows here.


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Illustration credit: Matt Lauricella, @pigeonboyart