Sydney producer Oh Boy created Brentwood Heights, his debut EP, over the course of eighteen months and across three cities: LA, Sydney, and Ka’a’awa in Hawaii. It’s an expansive body of work with each city’s influence dappled through it—LA’s sunshine on ‘Slid333’, a sense of Sydney on ‘By The Wa777’, and the Hawaiian seaside on ‘Talk To M333’.
Brentwood Heights is the sound of Oh Boy growing into his self-expression. He’s produced for so many artists and friends—Mallrat, Golden Vessel, Ninajirachi to name a few—that it’s high time he spear-headed some of his own work. Expanding the EP into visual territory, he created a lookbook to fill out the project. When asked to summarise his learnings from the project, Oh Boy is succinct: “Radiate love and expect nothing in return, you’ll be g forever.”
Catching him in a rare moment of downtime, we spoke over email about his love for Tesla, why he only collaborates with friends, and the best music to drive home to.
Thanks for taking the time to answer some questions from us! It seems like your EP has been quite some time in the works. Where did the name Brentwood Heights come from?
Thank you, I really appreciate you having me. It has been [some time]! I can’t give an exact amount of time it’s taken to put everything together but I’d say around 18 months in total. Brentwood Heights is a suburb in Los Angeles. I spent about a month in a house there with friends relaxing, holidaying and working on music.
It’s quite a boujee area, Elon Musk lived like 10 minutes away from us, as was the house that OJ Simpson lived in when he did all that crazy stuff and got away with it. Intuitively it made sense to me to call the project Brentwood Heights because I wrote a lot of it there. I’d also spent some time in Sydney, my hometown, and a town called Ka’a’awa which is a pretty secluded area on the coast of Oahu, Hawaii.
The visual concept for the EP is beautiful! How did it come together? Where were the photos taken? Have you always enjoyed the creative direction side of things?
Aw, thank you! I love creativity in general and I’m always searching for creative outlets. Obviously music is my go to but I love fashion, I enjoy designing clothes, trying to draw things, making music video ideas, and just creating in general. I really wanted to make something to pair with the Brentwood Heights project and I thought it would make sense if I put a book together that put the EP in context with my creative direction, the writing process, and [the] lyrics to the songs.
I wanted to use it aesthetically to show a few outfits I liked during that time. Most of it was shot in Los Angeles and in a desert about 5 hours out from Brentwood, and there are a few photos taken in Sydney. I had two photographers involved, Joshua Moll and Lulu Phillips, who I love and are dear friends. They’re super creative people and always have such great ideas. After I had received the photos back, I drew on top of the images on my iPad and that’s how I put the whole book together.
Brentwood Heights feels like a meditation on self expression and longing. Do you think you’ve come to a conclusion with that yet? Or is this part of a bigger process for you?
That’s one of the best questions I’ve ever been asked, thank you. I think the goal I had for myself in terms of self discovery was met but it’s also definitely part of something bigger for me and I feel it as a step towards my development as a conscious being. Each of us individually are on our own journeys and I think it’s up to yourself as a physical and spiritual entity to set the pace of where you want to develop and grow in these areas.
Brentwood Heights is me showing my true self to the world for the first time and doing that confidently without caring what others think about me or the project. That was a big challenge as I’ve always been an anxious person and have had the burden of dealing with confidence issues. It’s just self-help and there’s a message behind that but it’s something I want people to interpret in their own way. I don’t know if I answered that question properly but I’m overwhelmingly happy it’s out, it feels therapeutic.
There are some really beautiful collaborations on the EP. How did you all get in touch? What’s your favourite part about working with other artists?
Everyone involved in the Brentwood Heights project are all close friends of mine. I really only work with friends as they are usually people I connect with the most. I just think being able to resonate with someone enough to be able to create something you both love, with love, is really special. I think the planet needs more of that.
In saying that, I’m making new friends all the time! What I love most about collaborating is the amount of ideas that come out during the sessions, and then building on top of those ideas. I also love all the new things you can learn from someone—whether they are teaching you their techniques or through watching how they work.
The intro is the sound of you getting into a car, turning on the ignition, and picking something on the radio. Are you really into cars? What kind of car do you drive? What’s the best music to drive home to?
I actually am, although I have no real mechanical knowledge, I’m more of a fan aesthetically. I love older cars but I wish everything was electric, I’m definitely a big Tesla fan. The Tesla Model 3 you can see in the Brentwood Heights photos is one we hired while we were staying in Los Angeles. It was so beautiful to drive, it sort of ruined every other car for me though, now I just want a Tesla. I currently drive a lil Volkswagen UP! OMG it’s so hard [to choose driving home music] because it really depends on my mood! But I think D’Angelo’s Voodoo album gets the most plays from me when I’m driving.
Check out Oh Boy’s new EP Brentwood Heights