The Oze chats ‘Inner Space Blues’, film composers and Italian potty humour

“Change and newness have been the only constants,” The Oze said of the forces behind his dynamic debut EP Inner Space Blues. 

Equally as expansive as The Oze’s sound is his passport. Living everywhere from California to England and now, Italy, the singer-songwriter’s horizons are vast, a quality reflected on his sprawling debut EP, Inner Space Blues.

A smooth and intricate blend of soul, psych rock and modern pop, the five-track project is carried by rich vocal layers, killer guitar solos and electric flourishes. “Change and newness have been the only constants,” The Oze told us of the forces behind the EP.

The Oze interview

Below, we caught up with the musician for a deep dive into Inner Space Blue, the influence of Japanese writer Haruki Murakami, and Italy’s surprising penchant for potty humour. Catch the full interview below, and scroll down to listen to Inner Space Blues.  

HAPPY: What are you up to today?

THE OZE: Enjoying a rainy Saturday after a busy week of teaching and recording. Plugging away on the new tunes, and probably joining most Italians in watching the Sanremo festival.

It’s this great Italian temple of kitsch where 30 pop stars challenge each other for power ballad glory and John Travolta does a chicken dance, but there’s some really cool stuff in there too.

HAPPY: Given that you’re based in Italy, do you find that your work is influenced by the music scene there?

THE OZE: In a stylistic sense I wouldn’t say so, as Italy has a really distinctive singer-songwriter tradition that’s anchored in the poetry and musicality of the Italian language.

Even if I’m fluent now, it’s a leap too far. The local scene has made me evolve in one big way though – back in Philly I never played acoustic solo shows, and they’ve now become a total mainstay of the project. One I really enjoy.

The Oze interview

HAPPY: You worked with a film composer for some of the tracks. What was that collaboration process like?

THE OZE: A trip. Those songs date all the way back to the Covid lockdowns, when I was in a bedroom in Italy with a $200 Washburn and Andy was hiding out in the California desert.

We started with raw multi-track acoustic demos and, working by trial and error thousands of miles apart, built up these wild experimental soundscapes around them.

It was a way for us to stay busy and exorcise the sheer madness that surrounded us, and I think the songs captured the unreality of the moment pretty vividly.

HAPPY: What does a typical day look like when recording a project like Inner Space Blues?

THE OZE: It’s a process that’s accompanied me through a huge life change, so a typical day is hard to pinpoint. Change and newness have been the only constants, along with the daily grind of practicing.

Beyond the production itself, making the EP has been a process of forging relationships with a new group of musicians in a new language.

Method-wise I do most of the composing and arranging, then leave room to modify and improvise in studio as the guys I record with are way better players than me. 

The Oze interview

HAPPY: It’s always interesting to hear about tracklisting. What is involved in the process of ordering the songs on your album?

THE OZE: The main consideration is the flow, the overall composition. It’s important to think about the dynamic arc of the whole thing, how the energy rises and falls and how the weirdness intensifies and subsides.

The experimental tracks (My Own Projections and the ‘Sponsored Content’ interludes) make up the EP’s backbone, and the other two songs balance them out with groove and simpler melody.

My goal is to walk the line between experimental and listenable as best I can.

HAPPY: Is there anything you’ve watched or read that has inspired your work?

THE OZE: Absolutely. The last track ‘53rd Calypso’ is a riff on Cat’s Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut, which I love because it’s just this delirious freewheeling joke on the whole idea of metaphysics.

I spend way too much time thinking about the inner workings of being, and I love stories that take a lighthearted approach to that kind of philosophical thinking. Borges’ short stories are awesome for that, and Haruki Murakami’s brilliant as well.


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HAPPY:  Italy has a romantic sheen in most people’s eyes. Have you found that to be the case for your music?

THE OZE: What’s wild is that once you get past the sound of the language and the beauty of the place, you find that Italian culture is basically as crude as anyone’s.

I challenge anyone to find a culture that goes harder with toilet humour, and I’ve met loads of artists whose style is more rough and ready than The Chats.

That said, there is an openness toward all things wack and surreal here, and I didn’t find that in the States. It’s definitely shaped my attitude some.

HAPPY: Anything else exciting on the horizon that you can tease for us?

THE OZE: So much stuff. New songs, vids et cetera. Right now we’re finishing up a really cool one in the studio, a duet with my mate who’s a phenomenal jazz and indie pop singer. 


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HAPPY: What makes you happy?

THE OZE: Pizza, Robert Glasper and freedom of movement.