Only two days left and the waiting is over. Oskar Schuster is going to release his Pledgemusic funded new album Tristesse Télescopique and I talked to him about his work and what comes next after the album release …
50K MUSIC: It’s been in October last year that we’ve talked about your upcoming album. Tristesse Télescopique is going to be released on Friday this week. Are you satisfied with the result of your almost one-year-long work?
Oskar: I’m never really satisfied with my work and as soon as I have finished a project, I start to think about the next one and what I could do to improve. So this is hard to answer. I’m satisfied if the listeners like it. I hope they will, at least I have put a lot of work into it. But now I’m still too close to the process of creating it in order to really judge it for myself.
50K MUSIC: When listen to Damascus, one of the tracks of the new album, I would expect Tristesse Télescopique to be somewhat different from your previous album. Am I right with my expectations?
Oskar: When I started to work on it one and a half years ago, I thought it would turn out very similar to my previous album, Sneeuwland – like a sequel even. But then it turned out to be quite different. It still has a similar soundscape, a similar combination of instruments, but the music itself is darker and more mystical, not as lighthearted. It’s also more electronic. Whereas previously I only used noises from typewriters and cameras as beats, this time I also incorporated “real” beats into the music. And I took more inspiration from pop music than before, I guess. Lana del Rey was a particularly big influence, though I’m not sure if one can notice it.
50K MUSIC: The album title doesn’t sound very optimistic. When reading the titles of the tracks in this context for me it’s like looking from a distance to all the tristesse in this world. What message do you want to get across with this album?
Oskar: Oh, I don’t want to get any message across. Ultimately I just want to express my inner feelings and create something beautiful and, hopefully, something truthful. For me, the album title is a metaphor for the kind of melancholy you feel when looking back at memories of the past that have faded away to just a faint image in your mind and that will never come back again. But you can interpret the album title and the music in your own way, it’s just abstract emotions, or poetry, that can’t be put into rational words, really.
50K MUSIC: You offer a special artwork coming with the physical album. Please tell us a bit about it.
Oskar: As I said, for me personally the album is mostly about the momentariness of time and the fading of memories. So I wanted to create an artwork that fits this theme. I also always want my artwork to be something unique, hand-made, something that people like to hold in their hands and watch; something that can’t be reproduced digitally. For my last album artwork, I worked with hand-stamped graphics, now I added analog photography to that. After lots of research on the internet, I found a way to produce analog photographs that will fade away gradually when exposed to light. Every copy of the CD edition of Tristesse Télescopique comes with such a unique, self-developed fading photograph, hidden behind a booklet card with hand-stamped graphics, so no light can reach it normally. But if you remove the card, you can watch the photograph through a hole in the CD sleeve – always being aware that the more you watch it, the more it will fade away.
50K MUSIC: … and you’ve made the artwork all by yourself again I suppose.
Oskar: I have to, it would be too expensive to hire someone to do something like this.
50K MUSIC: Your Pledgemusic supporters have already received the album. How did they like it, have you already got any feedback from them?
Oskar: I’ve got some nice positive feedback already, yes.
50K MUSIC: And what comes next for you after the release of Tristesse Télescopique?
Oskar: I already have a piano solo album with 10-15 new pieces quite ready. So this will be the next project, maybe to be released in early / mid 2016. But after that I plan to take a little break and focus on other things than music, like drawing and writing, which I used to do all the time but have neglected now for a couple of years. I feel I just need some space for something new to happen and for new inspiration to come.
50K MUSIC: And as always my last question: anything you want your pledgers and fans to know?
Oskar: I’m extremely thankful for their support!