A Talk with Bedroom Pop Artist Katzù Oso During His First Headlining Tour
Katzù Oso — real name Paul Hernandez — has been through the DIY music scene with his rebirth of 80’s pop music. His hollow synthesized beats and cheesy ballads have landed him opportunities to share a stage with artists like The Marías, Cuco, BROCKHAMPTON, and Tyler, the Creator. Now, he is headlining his own mini SoCal tour with openers Sara King and Yungatita in the cities of Santa Ana and Los Angeles. Before doors opened for his July 20 show at The Roxy, Katzu Oso spared some time to converse with BLENDED’s Holly Grace Jamili, where he opened up about the creation of his stage name, his 80’s musical renaissance, and his future project release.
I heard in your interview on “The Lunch Table” that your name “Katzu Oso” came to you naturally, since you wanted something eye-catching. What were the other names on your list that you had thought about?
Oh my god. Honestly, like the word “Katzu” was there, but there wasn’t a “t” at first. It was like — I was thinking “Kazu” and I was thinking like “Usu Kazu” and then I was like “This just doesn’t ring right” but then I wrote it down and I was like “Katzu...Oso” and it looked weird so then I added the accent and it looked cool, so then I just kept it.
You just had your Santa Ana show last night and now, you’re doing a Los Angeles show. How has the vibe been different here in your home area compared to your shows in other venues?
I haven’t even experienced tonight so I don’t even know what to expect. But yesterday was really cool. The energy was crazy. Like I wasn’t expecting the whole dance floor to be dancing as soon as the first song went on, so I was just tripping out. It was so really cool too, because I played [Santa Ana The Observatory] before to like 30 people, so to see it 200 and something people there — it was fucking cool. The whole show last night was crazy.
Happy 1-year anniversary of your first EP Pastel! What has changed in your life upon the release to now?
It’s put me in contact with so many people that I never thought my music would reach. It’s influenced a lot of people. Seeing all the messages that I get of people saying how much this song means to them or how much the whole project means to them. It just makes me want to keep doing this. Like, I was so close to giving up and I don’t know… life happens.
It’s one of those things where if you tell your parents, “Imma go to school for music.” They’ll be like “Nah, what’s your Plan B?” Same goes for any art like photography, you know, fashion — it’s all the same sense until you work hard and you just gotta have your eye on the prize. Not “the prize,” but your eye on what you want. You know? You have to know what you want.
Because if you go in there not knowing what you want, it’s a mess.
The music you create is extremely unique with its bouncy sound. What name would you give the genre of music that you make?
I’ve always liked the whole synth pop / dream pop sound. I mean — I know that Spotify labeled us as “bedroom pop” artists, but I feel like there’s so many different sounds in the whole bedroom pop scene. They just put us all in one genre. But I like categorizing it as synth pop and silly love songs.
Are there any artists within that bedroom pop realm that you get your style from musically?
Well, everyone now in bedroom pop, we’re all friends! It’s weird! I pull up somewhere and I run into Omar Apollo or Michael Seyer or Cuco. There’s some times when we’re all together. It’s cool and everyone’s really nice to each other. It’s a nice community.
What music has influenced you to create this rebirth of 80’s bedroom pop?
I listened to a lot of New Order in high school and [community] college. I got really deep into New Order. And then, I was like “I wanna mix this with the music that’s coming up right now in the indie scene,” so I did my own little twist on it. I didn’t think people would gravitate to it, since it’s very 80s-inspired. [With] all the music that’s coming out right now, I didn’t think people would give me a chance, you know?
Lastly, I noticed that you have released two singles this year. Will we be seeing an album release in the near future?
Album...for next year. But, an EP for this year. I’m dropping a mixtape — a five-song mixtape. I’m actually performing three new songs tonight off that mixtape. And “kiss u better” is a part of that mixtape.
Oh, wow! I’m down.
Yeah, I think you’ll like it. It’s a lot more dancey. I incorporated a whole 70’s disco feel.
Are you going to have a different theme than Pastel?
Oh, totally. Yeah. I grew out of Pastel. Those songs I wrote when I was like...in the innocence. I was going through so fucking much! “Innocence” as in production-wise. So new to the production field that now I feel like I’ve learned more.
So, when did you start producing your own music solo?
Honestly, for Katzù, I started in August 2017.
That’s crazy. That was the birth year of bedroom pop.
Yeah! I honestly came at the perfect time. I didn’t even know what was going on in the bedroom pop scene, but I dropped my first song on 4/20/2017.
Coming from a background of adversities with your parents getting a divorce when you were at a young age and having to be a role model to your brother, what do you want to say to your fans who also want to pursue music?
I say to do it. I never thought any of this would happen or be possible. But then I told myself that this is what I want for my life. I don’t want anyone to tell me what to do. Honestly, don’t give up. I know it sounds cheesy, but if you have belief in yourself, you’ll get it done. People get lazy. People find excuses and then they don’t.I sacrificed a lot. I sacrificed relationships. I sacrificed time spent with family. I sacrificed a lot to be a certain places and meetings, talk to this person, or just network.
So, it all comes down to what you want. Just be happy. Do what makes you happy. Don’t be forced to what people want you to do. Do what you want to do.
Lead Image Credit: Holly Grace Jamili / BLENDED