Exploring ‘space’ with The Oscillation

British psychedelic band makes its Israel debut next week

THE OSCILLATION’S frontman Demian Castellanos (photo credit: Courtesy)
THE OSCILLATION’S frontman Demian Castellanos
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Multi-instrumentalist, songwriter and singer Demian Castellanos is best known as the driving force behind the psychedelic-rock group, The Oscillation. Castellanos was born in London, grew up in Cornwall and Venezuela and eventually returned to London. In 2006, he formed The Oscillation, alongside bassist Tom Relleen. Since then, the band has produced six albums, including the recently released Wasted Space. According to rock music and pop culture website The Quietus, “What Castellanos’s music creates is a sweeping collection of dramatic landscapes and graphic detail, with huge rolling guitar lines and intricate electronic sounds that scatter the relatively simple song formats.”
Ahead of The Oscillation’s Tel Aviv debut at Levontin 7 on November 17, The Jerusalem Post caught up with Castellanos to discuss his inspirations, perspective on the underground music scene and future collaborations. 
The Oscillation has a unique sound. Musically, who were you inspired by?
Jesus and Mary Chain, Tangerine Dream as well as 1960s stuff, like early Pink Floyd and The Chocolate Watchband. Also quite a lot of punk, from that period when it crossed into early goth, such as Siouxsie and the Banshees.
You’ve been a part of the London underground music scene for nearly a decade. Have you noticed any changes in the genre?
There is still interest in it; however it’s going through this thing where people are getting a bit bored of the word “psychedelic,” in London anyway, because it’s been a thing for quite a few years now. I remember when our first album came out 10 years ago, people had not really heard of bands like Spaceman 3 and Luton. Whereas now, with bands like The Brian Jonestown Massacre and The Black Angels, everyone has heard of them.
You mentioned in a previous interview that playing live goes against your comfort zone. Is that still the case?
The Oscillation was a project that I never intended to play live, and that is probably why I mentioned before that playing live goes against my comfort zone. Originally, I just wanted to hide behind a name and not even play live, and just sort of be an unknown person, like the Aphex Twin. So, then it kind of morphed into playing live. I did stop playing live for a bit and concentrated on recording but I do really like it.
Do you feel pressure to release new albums frequently?
The stuff I am working on, I try to record it without thinking that this has to be for The Oscillation and then I just see how it is when it’s finished. I imagine if you are in a really successful band with a huge machine behind it, there is probably a lot of pressure to write the next album, if you are a kind of marketable product like U2 or Madonna, or Ed Sheeran. It’s a huge financial thing behind it. With The Oscillation, we do music for the sake of doing music. I love it, and if I can make a living out of it that is great.
Where did you get the title for your new album?
The title “Wasted Space” has a lot of different connotations, it’s a bit self-deprecating, a waste space or wasted in space or space could just be wasted.
What does the concert have in store for your Israeli fans?
We will be performing as a three-piece (guitar, bass, drums), so it’s hard to play the really electronic stuff. We will be playing the songs we all like from the albums. That’s the good thing about having quite a few albums; we can pick the strongest songs and change them here and there with different arrangements. When you have repetitive music, it is interesting to find different ways of playing it.
What’s next for The Oscillation?
I’m collaborating with my bass player, Tom, we are doing our own thing, which will hopefully be released next year. That we are recording together. Everyone in the band has their own different projects. Most of the collaboration is happening as side projects from The Oscillation, but no so much within it. It’s been nice to collaborate.
Have you felt any pressure about touring in Israel?
My attitude toward playing is I just want to play to fans of the music. I don’t want to categorize every single person in the world or every single person in a country by what their government does. I’m half Venezuelan and Venezuelans have had a lot of shit going down, and I’m half English and there is a hell of a lot of shit going on here. I’m looking forward to coming. There hasn’t been direct criticism against the band, but I’ve been tagged on things. There are two sides to every story, but I am going to stick with my reasons for playing for people that appreciate the music.
For more info and tickets regarding the concert, visit www.levontin7.com