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The opposites of Oscar and the Wolf

Max Colombie talks fear and peace of mind.

In the past week Max Colombie, better known as Oscar and the Wolf, at last released the follow-up to Entity, his internationally acclaimed debut album. In line with the brand new record, Infinity, Glamcult caught up with the Belgian artist for an in-depth and somewhat sentimental—yet refreshing—conversation.

You say your music contains a balance between light and darkness—hence your moniker. In daily life, when are you Oscar and when are you the Wolf?

Mainly when I’m walking, or just during the day, I’m Oscar. And then when I get on stage, I transform into a more dramatic, wolf-like personality. A little bit more rough and eccentric, you know?

On Infinity, whose voice can we hear the most, Oscar’s or the Wolf’s?

It’s a little bit of both. I try to create a perfect balance between light and darkness, so when you hear a song you cannot decide whether it’s happy or sad.

It’s interesting that you say you feel this contrast between light and darkness; it makes me wonder whether there is room for shades.

In a certain way I’ve never seen myself in a gray zone. It’s always about contrasts and it’s always very dynamic and explosive. That’s also a bit how I am as a person—super dark or super light; there is never an in-between or something.

Lets talk more about your new album. Why the name, Infinity?

“Infinity” is kind of my biggest desire: to be in a sort of infinite, perfect and beautiful state—as in, to live somewhere, or to be someone that is forever. Sometimes I have a hard time when things are not endless, when things are not forever or infinite. So I try to reach out to a certain fictional character that makes me think of myself as an infinite entity.

Would you say you are afraid of change?

No, I’m more afraid of blackness, like death. Changes are not so hard for me; death and the unknown are harder.

I heard you had a dramatic year, what happened? And was Infinity a form of catharsis for you?

Well, I’m going to be honest with you. I didn’t read the press biography. I scanned it very quickly and they transformed my words into a “dramatic year”, which is not really what I meant. It’s just that, in general, my life is pretty dramatic—I’m a little bit of a drama queen, so it’s not like something really bad happened to me last year. Creating an album is always going to be dramatic somehow. It’s always an emotional trip. I don’t need something bad to happen; if something bad does happen, I just lock myself up in a room. I never try to create something when I feel super bad. I always create better music when I’m sort of okay—and then I look for the bad things in a fictional way.

Your first album, Entity, felt dreamy and somewhat like a projection into the future. Infinity, on the other hand, feels more melancholic, like a solid memory. Between Entity and Infinity, do you feel like time has passed through you, or have you passed through time?

Yes, how I reflect on a time level… Entity was more about heartbreak—it was about trying to deal with that. It was more about desiring something I couldn’t get, desiring something that was unreachable. And now, with Infinity, it’s more about the process of accepting that I’m sad—being in the process of acceptance but also still being in the sadness.

Where do you find yourself at the moment: in the past, present or the future?

I’m never in the present, that’s the problem. I try to be as much in the present as possible because I want to, but I can’t. It’s like the past and the future are pulling on me. Sometimes I’m busy with the past—I miss things and I can’t get over them. And sometimes I’m busy with the future; “what’s going to happen?” But I need to learn to be more in the present. It’s very inspiring to be busy with the future and the past, but if I am in the present—I don’t know if I’d ever make music again. It would turn into mindfulness, you know. That mindfulness is something that I want, but it also scares me because I think I wouldn’t be creative anymore. I have that feeling. Drama is set in the past and future, in my opinion. [Laughs]

How do you get peace of mind when it gets busy during tour dates, when you are running from concert to concert?

For me it’s actually easy to be on tour and only think about performing. I can really go for that. It’s very calming and it makes me feel like I just have to work. It’s nice, like a holiday for the mind.

One last question! I’m very curious about the song called Last Night; is it you talking to yourself?

[Laughs] No, but that’s a funny way of looking at it though. It’s just a song on missing someone. It’s a… I have to think of the lyrics again. Yeah, this is actually a funny way of looking at the song. Maybe underneath it’s kind of true that I’m talking to myself. It reflects a nostalgic way of being in love; it reflects a little of how I miss being in love. But in a good way.

Words by Alejandra Espinosa


Photography: Yaël Temminck