Q & A: Oscar and the Wolf

Babylon Bomonti must have heard that we’re super excited about the upcoming performances from Oscar and the Wolf, as they were kind enough to help us arrange a brief interview with front-man Max Colombie.

The Belgian electropop outfit will visit Istanbul for the first time on January 27 and 28, with tickets having sold out shortly after being released. Max took the time to answer a few questions about being big in Turkey, music videos, and wanting to be a taxi driver.



So this won’t actually be your first time in Turkey, as you performed in Çeşme this past summer for Before Sunset Closing. What were you first impressions here?

Yes, that was the first time. The thing that I actually liked was that we were finally able to play in a warmer country. So, for me it’s really important. I like to play outside where I’m working with natural elements like the wind, the sun and in open nature. That was a really cool experience.

You don’t arrive here until next week. Are you guys currently on tour?

Well we are on tour on and off actually. I am working from here to there. I am going to the States in a few weeks and then I will be going to Brazil and then I’ll be going back to Texas. Istanbul is before that. Then in the summer we’re going to start a bigger tour again. So, it’s all on and off and then sometimes it’s about a few weeks.

That’s a lot of moving around. Are you doing that travel with the other guys or is it just you that is doing a lot of it?

Yea, but I like to travel so it’s nice. It’s going to be basically me for the next few months. I’ll be away working for the next two months. It’s just going to be myself because I’m headed to the recording studio and everything.

Will this be your first time in Istanbul?

Well I was supposed to come last year because I have a friend living there. Then the plans got cancelled. So this will be my first time.

Maybe you are aware, but you guys have a massive following here. Both your shows sold out really quickly and there’s still a huge demand. How does that compare to other countries or cities?

Yea, it’s a little crazy actually! I didn’t expect such a fan base. It’s very nice. In Holland, it’s going really big. Germany and France are going pretty well. But apparently Turkey is going better than Germany. I mean, it does depend on which city we go to. If we go to the south of France, it’s different than when we go to Paris or somewhere else. The bigger cities have quite a good demand because of the internet.

As it’s the beginning of the year, do you have any resolutions for this year?

Well I have to hit the gym a little bit more often. I wish I could do it more but some things just won’t let me. [Laughter] I need to stop nail-biting. But yea, basically just write… write a new record actually.

Do you have a favorite album or track from 2015? Any big influences in the past year?

Well, I am not very up to date with new releases. Mostly I just discover them a few years later. I really like Vashti Bunyan at the moment. She’s like a folk singer from the 70s. I recently discovered her.

I think all your fans would agree that your music videos are really well done and unique. To what degree are you involved or what’s the creative process like?

Basically, I mostly work with the director and we just sketch the image of the video and then we sit down… sometimes we write a story, sometimes it isn’t necessary to write a story. Just images and following up with each other is sometimes enough.

I mean right now I’m sitting with the director of photography … it’s actually going really well. I am probably going to direct the next one. It’s not certain yet, but we are talking.

Which of your videos has been the most fun to work on?

For me, the most fun was Princes. I don’t know why. It was a little bit more chill and we weren’t on such a tight schedule then. It always makes things a little bit easier.

What about live? Do you have a favourite song to perform?

A favourite song that I perform… oof, that’s a hard one. Actually I like to perform “You’re Mine”. There’s no reason for that. It’s just my instinctive feeling.

So we know you’re playing with two different opening acts here. If you could perform with anyone, either as an opener or a headliner, or go on tour together, is there a particular group you’d want to play with?

The thing is I don’t have such good experiences with being a support act. You’re just allowed to play half an hour and people don’t really care. I would rather play for 20 people and the next can be 50 people. Rather than performing for 5,000 people and they don’t give a shit.

So maybe, personally, I’d like to go on tour with Lana Del Rey or whatever. I think it’d be good, because mainly I think they’re nice people.

And what if you weren’t making music? What do you think you’d be doing in regards to other interests or pursuits?

Well I like video… I like that medium a lot. Of course it would probably be something creative.

Or if not that, then I’ve always wanted to be a taxi driver. You have so many different stories in the back of the car you’re driving. There are so many different lives and stories, you know? Just because there are so many different people involved I guess.

When you come to Istanbul, do you already have a sense of what neighborhood they’ll have you staying in?

I have no idea actually. I never have an idea until I’m there. I just follow my orders and I’m just there. [Laughter]

Do you get some time to sightsee on this trip?

I think it’s basically just going to be perform and head off again. I think probably in the summer we might play in Istanbul again and then we’d have some time off there.

Featured Image Source: By Tsungam (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons

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Tarik Yassien
Tarik Yassien is an American who relocated to Istanbul in an effort to connect with his Turkish roots. His passions here include the cuisine, nightlife and football culture.

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