Growing up on a farm outside of Boonville, Missouri, Lucas Oswald’s initial interactions with music were driven by both boredom and a sense of exploration. Combine living with a musical family with the pre home computer landscape, he picked up the instruments his family had laying around and that turned into what would later become
Growing up on a farm outside of Boonville, Missouri, Lucas Oswald’s initial interactions with music were driven by both boredom and a sense of exploration. Combine living with a musical family with the pre home computer landscape, he picked up the instruments his family had laying around and that turned into what would later become his craft.
After getting in his time as a performing & touring musician with bands like The Appleseed Cast and Shearwater, Lucas embarked on a long and cathartic songwriting and recording process that would result in his sophomore full length, Whet.
Although there are breadcrumbs of the tricks and inspiration he picked up from the bands he played with in terms of how they got songs together and performed them, the songs on Whet are deeply personal and close to Lucas’ heart. That aspect of the record is definitely audible in tracks like Passenger which was “definitely influenced by working as a “side man” or playing “second fiddle” to other artists’ visions.’’ He says ‘’Long Long Year is also about being exhausted, trapped, and broke.’’ The writing & recording process for Whet took about 18 months, with Lucas moving three times in the process while actively touring with Shearwater, so the nomadic lifestyle and his financial & mental struggles turned the recording process of Whet into the main constant in his life. First the music was fleshed out, with lyrics following at times months later.
Contextually, this makes a lot of sense as Lucas wanted to write a record about depression, or more specifically, the stagnancy of depression. So he mulled over the lyrics for months until he got them right. I always liked the phrase “whet your appetite” says Lucas. “So much of being an artist with compulsion problems is this need to constantly whet a certain appetite. I love the definition of whet: “a thing that stimulates appetite or desire.” When you’re depressed, there’s such a lack of that. So I liked the idea of the album being my own cathartic creation that would stimulate my own desire again.”
Whet also means to sharpen a tool, which to Lucas was a great metaphor for growth. “It took a lot of growth to make this album, and for me, as an artist, to sorta become the person I am.” The homophone “wet” means almost the opposite of the “sharpened tool” definition of whet and the album (sonically) is just that: juxtapositions between sharp, punchy, abrasive sounds, and washy/reverby textures. It sounds as much like a singer songwriter record as it does like a reverb-laden Britpop record from the 90’s. Where Lucas’ creative journey ends, the journey of Whet begins.
“Oswald’s credits include guitar, piano, vibes, dulcimer, cello and tape loops, while revealing lovely, breathy vox”- MOJO
“Wonderfully crafted melancholic folk” – Drunken Werewolf
“Transports Americana tinged art-rock into a cosmic realm” – Clash
“It’s melancholic arty pop with shades of folk… the album proves to be a quiet triumph” (8/10) – Peterborough Evening Telegraph
“Gorgeous music” (7.5/10) – The Line of Best Fit