OSUKARU was founded in late 2009 by the former EYE and KATANA guitarist Oscar 'Oz Osukaru' Petersson and the awarded American drummer Ryan Coyle.
OSUKARU delivers a high-class AOR/Melodic Rock stuff full of big melodies, great guitar work and a tight musicianship.
I had the pleasure of talking with the mastermind of the band, Oz Osukaru, about their up-coming effort, the Swedish Melodic Rock scene, his future plans but, also, some other interesting stuff! Enjoy!
heavy paradise : Hallo Oz! I would like to thank you for accepting my invitation for this interview!
Oz : Hello Vassilis! No problems, my pleasure!
heavy paradise : Firstly, do you want to tell to our readers some things about the creation of OSUKARU?
Oz : Osukaru is a Swedish / US melodic rock band based in Gothenburg, Sweden and Los Angeles, California. The band was formed around Christmas 2009 and after some numerous line-up changes and 2 EP releases ("GBG2LA" 2010 and "Never Too Late" 2011), we are finally about to release our first full length album "Salvation" via City of Lights Records by the end of October or early November.
The band consist of me; Oz Osukaru, on guitar, the beautiful Emma-Lee Gunnari on bass, Chris Tiann on vocals, Carl Dahlberg on keyboards and the American in the band; Ryan Coyle on drums.
heavy paradise : So, OSUKARU is a 'catchy' name! Does it mean something or is it just a name?
Oz : Hehe! Osukaru is Japanese for Oscar, which is my regular name and Oz Osukaru is my stage name. But don't let this fool you, Osukaru is a band and not a solo project.
heavy paradise : Your album will be released later this year. What are your expectations from this release? Can you give us a taste of what are we going to hear from this release?
Oz : A little bit of everything, really. We do have the big sounding pop-rock songs, the edgy hard rock songs, the soulful power ballads and there's a little touch of blues in there as well. We do believe in this album and the material since there is asomething for you all and we have been working carefully on everything from the songs and the stories they tell to the artwork and concept to make this album worth the buck!
heavy paradise : How can you describe OSUKARU? Melodic Rock or AOR? Do you accept the labels?
Oz : I think that's up to the listener. I guess we are somewhere in between those two but it's a very thin line really since everyone has their own opinion about what is what. But of course, we are as much a melodic rock band as we are an AOR band. I have nothing against those labels, contrary, I'm very proud of being a part of the scene.
heavy paradise : What's the story with bands / artists from Sweden? What is the secret behind the success within the Swedish Melodic Rock scene? Is it something in the water :-) ...or is it only talent?
Oz : We Swedes have heard that question a lot lately and I am more and more happy everytime I hear it. I don't know why, but as far as Swedes making it in the music industry, it has been going on for a while now. Max Martin, Andreas Carlsson, Denniz Pop and Anders Bagge just to name a few. All of them have written songs for giants such as Celine Dion, Backstreet Boys, Bon Jovi and so on. And recently, as you said, there have been more and more melodic rock, AOR and westcoast oriented bands coming out of Sweden.
I think that here in Sweden, or Scandinavia in general, we are just very interested in music. Not just songs or a certain genre, but everything. The country itself however is a pretty tough nut to crack, musicwise, so Swedish bands and artists are mostly a lot bigger in other countries than we are in our own. Which to me is pretty nice since I really love to travel and see places, haha!
heavy paradise : Apart from being a musician you are also in the bands management; Blindfoldead International, which actually is owned by you. How difficult is it nowadays for someone who wants to be a musician?
Oz : Correct! Blindfoldead International is my own company and it has been active for some years now. In first hand it's a management, promotion and record label for bands and artists but it's also a modeling agency where our bass player Emma is signed as a model as well. For more information, check out the website; http://www.blindfoldead.com/
To be a musician today is both as difficult as it is easy. Compared to just 10 somewhat years ago, it's a lot easier for an artist to be seen today, all thanks to internet and pages like Facebook, MySpace and what not. However, it requires a lot of strength, patience and good will to make it. You can't just sit there at home and wait for this certain phone call from some hot shot at whatever record label. If you wanna make it, you do have to work for it.
heavy paradise : What is your inspiration?
Oz : For me personally, I'm getting inspired by going to different places. Earlier this summer, for example, I went to Paris for a few days and man, did I get inspired? What a beautiful city! Also, a few months before the early sketches of what came to be Osukaru, I went to the US, which set the entire foundation of this band.
And there is of course good movies... and taking pictures, since I'm also a photagrapher and an art-director. Musically speaking, I'd say good music in general. I love to explore both new as well as old records and artists in different genres.
heavy paradise : Is the song writting in OSUKARU a team work result?
Oz : You could say that. I write most of the music myself and then I collaborate with both members in the band as well as outside songwriters for the lyrics and the lead melodies.
(OSUKARU : left to right: Oz Osukaru - guitars, Emma-Lee Gunnari - bass Ryan Coyle - drums,Chris Tiann - vocals Carl Dahlberg - keyboards - Photo taken by: Niklas Hjelm)
heavy paradise : From the 'new' blood of Melodic Rock bands, are there any special ones that impressed you the most?
Oz : Oh boy, what a question. But yeah, there are a lot of great bands out there that got my attention. The Australian melodic hard rock band White Widdow for example is a really fine one. Their new album is pure perfection! And from Sweden we have Diamond Dawn, which is a very new and talanted young band, also from Gothenburg. And then we have Miss Behaviour, Houston, Titan, H.e.a.t... you have all day? Haha!
heavy paradise : If you had to choose three guitarists just to jam with. Who would they be and why?
Oz : Whoa, dude! You're on a roll here, huh? Haha! But well, I would actually pick one living and two now dead. First, Neal Schon from Journey which to me is the best guitarist in the world of, not just AOR, but music in general. He doesn't just play his instrument, he makes it sing. And his way of keeping his style no matter if we speak about his solo works, Journey or the rougher and harder rock he did with Bad English and Hardline.
And my two dead choices: the reason I went from playing heavy metal to melodic rock in the first place; Steve Clark from Def Leppard, and the one and only - Darrel Lance Abbot a.k.a. Dimebag Darrel from Pantera and Damageplan. To exchange riffs with all these gentlemen... that would be beyond words!
heavy paradise : Are you going to perform live in the near future? If I'm correct, you are going to perform next year in Greece?
Oz : Yes we are! We are coming to Thessaloníki during the spring next year. I think that's all I can say at this point but stay updated on our Facebook, MySpace or upcoming website where everything will be announced in good time before the concert. We are really looking forward to it!
heavy paradise : So, what are your fututre plans Oz?
Oz : To start with, releasing this album and tour as much as possible. I also have some exciting studio projects coming up pretty soon but the priority will always be on Osukaru of course. I can't wait to get out there and share our music with the people!
heavy paradise: At this point I have to thank you once again for this interview and to wish you all the best for the future Oz!!
Oz : Thank you very much for the talk, Vassilis. It was a true pleasure! And to all the readers, thank you for your interest in who we are! Please stay in touch on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/OSUKARU/323280557510 , Myspace: http://www.myspace.com/osukarutheband and our upcoming website: http://www.osukarutheband.com/ . I also hope to see as many of you as possible in Thessaloníki next year! And don't forget to stay true to yourself!