Introducing: Oro Swimming Hour – Pterodactyl & 3 Questions

A new release by Oro Swimming Hour is out on the British label Gold Day.

Let’s open with two paragraphs from the press release:

A collaboration between longtime friends, Oliver Wilde and Nicholas Stevenson, both members have seen burgeoning success in their other creative channels. Since taking a break from his acclaimed solo work, Oliver has seen success with his other project Pet Shimmers, who supported Alex G on his last European tour. Admired greatly within the British South West music scene, he also co-wrote one of the standout singles from Katy J Pearson’s new album, Sound of the Morning, entitled Float. Nicholas has triumphed in his illustration work, leading to a 2022 nomination for a World Illustration award, as well as pieces in The New York Times, Radio Times and more.

Indulging the curiosity of pure musical discovery, Oro Swimming Hour invites you to take a leap into their world: Pterodactyl, spanning 20, primarily short songs and home recordings, retaining a child-like wonder, à la Daniel Johnston and those associated with outsider arts. The album has been mastered by Warren Hildebrand of Orchid Tapes (Alex G, Fog Lake) and serves as an ideal soundtrack for the summer to autumn shift.

Henry, who makes music under Sleep Radio and runs the label Gold Day has sent me this album. I am glad he did because this album is a gem. I hope you have already started playing it so by the time you get here, you have realized that as well. I know a lot of you are fans of Alex G, so I do not see any reason why you would not enjoy this album as well. I found on my Bandcamp page that this record is labeled as “hypnogogic pop” and I have googled it and found this: “Hypnagogic pop is pop or psychedelic music that evokes cultural memory and nostalgia for the popular entertainment of the past (principally the 1980s).” I am not sure if this is the case, but I liked the genre in connection to this album. The album has so many different layers, sounds, instruments, atmospheres, etc. It is as colorful as the cover artwork which is very beautiful and I love it in connection with the color of the record. The record consists of 20 longer and shorter tracks, so you have to set aside a longer portion of time to fully check the album. So if you do not have it right now, find it later and give it a proper listen from the beginning to the end. The album deserves it.

I have asked the band the 3 questions:

What inspired you to start making music and what keeps you making music?

Oro Swimming Hour in spirit, is an attempt at a primitive mindset for pure melodic colour and exploring the interoperability of language. Though abstractly we take inspiration from the ideas of Dadaism, Surrealism, Dogma 95, Automatism and Hauntology etc, not to mention more terrestrial stuff like eccentric histories, obscure internet culture, outsider art, magic and so on, our inspiration for starting Oro Swimming Hour, comes from an appropriately unpretentious place. Simply put, by swerving the lethargies involved in trying to ‘make it’ in the ‘biz’, we peacefully resisted these influences for a purer enjoyment of our creative experience.

Although it totally feels like the wider music industry is defiantly moving towards a healthier place in diversity with a balanced input and output, trying to meet its demands and fit the moulds it once required of us was super tiring. We’ve kinda shed that skin. In Oro Swimming Hour, we’re free of overthought, external attentions, self-scrutiny, and insecurity in exchange for a more primitive, explorative practice of fun and absurdity whilst maintaining absolute sincerity. We hope its reflected in our music.

What was the most challenging thing in your music (artistic) path?

I guess in relation to the last question. We do our best to safeguard enjoyment in the absence of stress and anxiety over all the misconceptions we’ve decidedly shed about what ‘making it’ means. Until you decide for yourself what ‘making it’ means to you, uninformed by the overwhelming messages that the industry convinces you of, it’s pretty difficult to have a personal meaningful experience with what you’re doing. You find that the archetypal view of making it can mean money and fame. Which obviously for some is their main incentive and there’s nothing wrong with that. It’s just for the rest of us these things are a bonus or even sometimes an unwanted passive outcome of an already existing necessity to create. It’s not coming from a place of cynicism or elitism in fact the opposite, its one of finding a place for everyone in culture.

What would you dream to do if anything was possible?

Oro Swimming Hour is a pure celebration of life, and a lot of accessible popular music is too which is obviously great. The only dream we have is that music like ours and the less able to meet mainstream music’s needs and fits its moulds, becomes mainstream. There are extraordinary efforts in bridging the worlds of the avant-garde and pop music worlds like the work of SOPHIE, FKA Twigs, Charlie XCX, Björk and Grimes, but normalising this to the point where the idea that because something makes money, somehow represents quality, is dead. It is our dream to see underground forward-thinking music accessible to the mainstream with all the recourses that mainstream music gets, not buried away in obscurity struggling for light. Skydiving would be good too though.

You can support the artist or the label.