A Conversation with Oso Oso

Words by Grayson DeChant

Courtesy of the artist

Courtesy of the artist

Oso Oso is an amazing band from Long Island, New York. With local influences like Tomahawk Chop and the Atlantic Project and big influences like Brand New and Taking Back Sunday, it’s obvious how the band got their combination of indie rock, emo, and pop/punk sounds. I had the pleasure of interviewing frontman Jade Lilitri after Oso Oso’s opening set for Sorority Noise, the Hotelier, and Citizen in Austin, Texas on November 10th, 2017.

There seems to be a developing negative connotation associated with having one's music labeled as ‘pop punk.' I asked Lilitri what he thinks of people placing Oso Oso into this genre:

“It doesn’t bother me if someone listens and is like ‘oh yeah, that’s pop punk’, I just think that there is a connotation with (pop punk bands) that all sound alike and I wouldn’t want someone to be like ‘oh, it’s just a pop punk band so I’m not going listen.”

Oso Oso isn’t just another pop punk band. The rhythms and strummings of the guitars resemble the pop/punk genre, but the indie/emo lyrics that compose the Yunahon Mixtape and Real Stories of True People Who Kind of Looked Like Monsters… really reach listeners personally. The outcome is music that is both fun to dance to as well as easy to connect with on a deeper level.

The first time I saw Oso Oso play was at a house show during SXSW in 2017. The house show was intimate, but I had a fun time dancing to the music and listening to their new songs. At this show and the Empire Control Room, even more people knew Oso Oso’s lyrics and I was surrounded by people all jamming out to their music. While their music expands to reach more people, Oso Oso has been invited on an increasing number of tours. I asked Lilitri to talk about the differences between playing larger venues while touring and playing more intimate house shows:

“I don’t have a preference (between house shows and large venues), but at this point in my life I have played so many house shows so to play something like this is really cool. So right now, it’s like ‘oh yeah, this is so sick’ but if I was getting to do this all of the time I feel like I’d say house shows. As long as people seem like they enjoy (the music)... Any place where people enjoy the music.”

As Oso Oso’s audience continues to grow and the band continues to produce music that people can dance to as well as connect with emotionally, there is no doubt in my mind that this band is going places.

Big thanks to Jade Lilitri for taking the time to sit down and talk with us.