LASKAAR, MILLENNIALS DON’T BELIEVE IN GENRES

Traición wasn’t only one of the biggest songs from the past year of 2018, it was also the perfect excuse to start talking to Laskaar as the Drake that Spain deserves and needs. But, precisely because of that, as it is necessary to show that there’s much more Laskaar beyond the hype of Traición, we’re interviewing him so that he can explain to us how his approaching this year of 2019. Also, this Friday, he’ll be playing in our Barcelona store and doing a small showcase inside of the exhibition we’re organising with Nike and METAL Magazine to celebrate the launch of the new Nike Air Max 720.

Traición put him on the map. But, beware because Laskaar is much more than just Traición. For starters, he’s one of the kids from the millennial era that doesn’t understand any types of barriers: from geographical ones (his parents are Andalusian, but he was born and raised in Switzerland), to musical genres (his songs aren’t married to one unique musical style), nor artistic clichés… But, definitely, this is not the typical aspiring Latin trap king who turns to R&B in search of fame. By no means. Laskaar is the closest person to Drake we’re ever going to find in Spain. And that’s a tall order.

But it is a tall order that is more than justified by a trajectory that has managed to deviating from the norm continuously. First, we can talk about impeccable songs such as the aforementioned Traición and its deep house vibe with a Latin flair, but also the more than elegant nu-R&B from songs like Drunk or Echo, which remind us of a mix between The Weeknd with Woodkid. And, above all, Laskaar has deviated from the norm in building imagery that goes way beyond music and is seductive when it comes to its ideas and aesthetic. And so from all of this, the music, ideas and aesthetic, is what we want to talk about with Laskaar.

Where does a name as exotic as Laskaar come from?

Right after we’re born we’re given a name that we haven’t chosen ourselves which then becomes a major part of our identity. We’re instilled beliefs and a value system. After meditating on all this, suddenly I felt the urge to give myself a name and to choose who I am at point in time. And so I had the idea of choosing my second name, Oscar, and I evolved it to Laskaar to create something new with which I identify myself, and, above all, I gave it to myself.

Your parents are Andalusian but you were born and raised in Switzerland… How do you think this blending of your roots has translated into your music?

Among many other things, my parents listened to flamenco at home. I think that, unconsciously, I’ve absorbed many things. When I do gigs abroad, people many times say to me that when I sing I had an Oriental or Arab flair. And, in fact, I know nothing about flamenco, but I think that obviously it has influenced the way that I sing and also my identity.

In your songs there’s nu-R&B, trap and even house. But, above all, there’s something that’s very 21st century: not understanding genres and practising music in a totally free way. Do you identify yourself with this millennial disdain towards genres?

I’m very conscious of genres and where it all comes from. I think it’s very important to educate yourself and to know where music’s roots come from, to respect them and, from there, creating something new. I think that repeating something that has been done is not a contribution to the field of music. Personally, I think it shows a lack of respect towards all musicians who originated a feeling, and I don’t want to limit that to a genre. In fact, I want my music to be able to transcend the idea of genre. I’m an Andalusian born in Switzerland, and my biggest influence has been African American music like Soul, R&B or Gospel. In the end. My music is an amalgamation of who I am as a person.

Traición became one of the biggest songs from last year. How have you lived the media frenzy with this song?

I wasn’t expecting it. In fact, I moved to Berlin and, after living there for three days, I was offered a gig in Madrid, After showing people the Traición demo, everyone told me that I had to move to Spain and release kit. Even my record label in Switzerland told me that that was the song they liked the most. In this case, music transcends language, which surprises me and makes me very happy. I finally moved to Madrid, and here I am recording more music and reconnecting with my roots.

You have strong ties with the art and design community, your aesthetic is also very important in your proposal as Laskaar, starting with your music videos. Why do you devote so much energy into them?

I think that art, design and music go hand in hand and they nurture and inspire each other. In my artistic and holistic vision it is very important for the project to have a thread that is consistent and makes sense in both of these fields. Also, I think that, even though we’re individual beings, at the same time we’re here together to co-create, help and inspire each other mutually. That’s why I like collaborating with other artists so much.

Talking about your aesthetic, you pay a lot of attention to your clothes. Which piece of clothing could actually define your whole look and how you dress in the mornings?

I actually don’t pay a lot of attention to my clothes. But I have realised that I really like wearing my friends’ clothes, like a jumper my friend Jean loaned me or a chain that is my roommate’s. I hope neither of them read this interview.

What can we expect from Laskaar in the year 2019?

Do you know when many times people will say that this is going to be their year but then nothing happens? Well, I think that that has been me my whole life, postponing and breaking proposals three days after having made them. But this 2019 I know that it will be different because in 2018 I changed so much and I recorded and prepared a bunch of projects which will bear fruit. So you can expect a lot of new music. Also, I’m moving to New York for six months in March to record there!

Parka NIKELAB ACG, shoes PUMA CELL VENOM, pants JOHN ELLIOTT.
C-shirt and sweatshirt LUKER.
Boots RICK OWENS.
  • Photos: Ana Alborés
    • Stylist assistant: Javier Des Leon