Soaking up the success

Dunedin's Soaked Oats are back on tour this month having just released a new EP. Photo: Jacob...
Dunedin's Soaked Oats are back on tour this month having just released a new EP. Photo: Jacob Turnbull
After taking their infectious brand of jangle pop technicolour around the world, Dunedin's Soaked Oats are back home with a new EP and record deal in tow. Adam Burns spoke to frontman Oscar Mein about building confidence on the road and why it is time to move on from the Dunedin Sound. 

Do not expect Soaked Oats to take the mickey forever.

Although it has been a whirlwind two years for the Dunedin four-piece, they are only just waking up to the notion that what started as an occasional lark is winning people over.

Last month they announced they had penned a deal with Australian independent Dot Dash as the sole Kiwi outfit on an eclectic yet largely Australian roster that features the likes of Methyl Ethel, Carla Geneve and Client Liaison.

The band have recently returned home after playing a series of showcases including Brighton's The Great Escape last month.

Keeping his jet lag in check, vocalist Oscar Mein said the band is elated with how things are tracking.

"We're stoked to be on the bill, there is some amazing bands on that roster."

The band's signing aligns with the release of their long-awaited EP Sludge Pop, which officially surfaced yesterday. The title of their latest release could serve as a byword for the band, having received swift comparisons to indie wanderers Mac DeMarco and Woods' Kevin Morby.

Although Mein says the Dunedin narrative is "well played out", a recent conversation Mein had with Morby touched on the circular nature of influences as the Texan singer-songwriter expressed his adoration for The Clean.

"For me, I really love The Clean also but whenever I hear them, I can't help but hear New York '60s-'70s bands like The Velvet Underground. And people say we sound a lot like Kevin Morby and there's a strange sort of circular thing going on. I wouldn't say the Dunedin Sound and bands likened to that have had a huge influence on us."

Having formed in early 2017, Soaked Oats has followed a relentless trajectory of recording and touring.

They reportedly played about 60 shows during their first year of operation. Somehow they managed to fire out a pair of EPs that year - Stone Fruit Melodies and No Slip Ups.

Despite boasting a tireless work ethic on paper, this has not been at the price of writing music that is fun and cheeky. Stone Fruit Melodies is probably the best fuzz-pop record ever written about stone fruit.

They played further shows in the US last year, which boosted the band's collective confidence after self-doubt threatened to stifle the band's outlook.

"At the start there's a lot of that imposter syndrome mentality that feeds a lot of the worry and anxiety of what you're doing and whether you're worthy."

Mein admits Sludge Pop is thematically more direct as he became more attentive to what he wanted to say on record.

"I definitely think there has been an evolution since we started. Like Stone Fruit Melodies were the first songs I had personally ever written. Some of them were jokes and they were very fun to play and we still enjoy playing them because it's a fun thing. I started to come around to the fact that this is going to exist forever and people are listening."

Although the band is in need of some time out and space to focus on a future full-length debut, the band is back on the road in the interim.

"This year is the first year we've consciously intended to slow down. And now we're making an effort to say no."

Next weekend they play Queenstown's Winter Festival before crossing the Tasman for a handful of Australian shows.

They return home for another handful of local shows capped off with consecutive nights at The Cook on July 18-19.

Sludge Pop is out now.

The gigs

• Winter Festival, Queenstown - Saturday, June 22

• The Cook, Dunedin - Thursday July 18 (all ages)

• The Cook, Dunedin - Friday July 19 

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