Interview: OSKA & Stu Larsen’s Intimate Duet “Honeymoon Phase / Wide Awake & Dreaming”

OSKA & Stu Larsen © Fabian Edelbacher
OSKA & Stu Larsen © Fabian Edelbacher
A musical match made in heaven, OSKA and Stu Larsen evoke a stirring moment of tranquility, intimacy, and connection in their breathtaking duet, “Honeymoon Phase / Wide Awake & Dreaming.”
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“Honeymoon Phase / Wide Awake & Dreaming” – OSKA & Stu Larsen




I’m to blame I’ve been trading gold for a honeymoon phase and lost my ways and my sanity and all that mattered to me…

A musical match made in heaven, OSKA and Stu Larsen evoke a stirring moment of tranquility, intimacy, and connection in their stunning new duet. Combining her song “Honeymoon Phase” and his song “Wide Awake and Dreaming,” the unlikely duet merge two into one in a dazzling display of harmonic beauty and indie folk fluidity. The resulting 6.5-minute performance is an entrancing indulgence of vulnerability and warmth: A touching, tender, and haunting escape from the norm.

OSKA x Stu Larsen
OSKA x Stu Larsen
Ocean days
Swept over rolling waves
Lost to the touch and taste
Of soft summer rains
The Golden Hours
The sun kissed your perfect mouth
Wish it could be enough
to forget the rest of us
Been faking my laughter
so now I chase after the memory

Show me happy please
Aching to come clean
despite how it might seem you don’t know me

Cause I don’t know me
I’m to blame I’ve been trading gold for a honeymoon phase
and lost my ways and my sanity and all that mattered to me

Atwood Magazine is proud to be premiering the music video for “Honeymoon Phase / Wide Awake & Dreaming,” released as a single on November 20 via Nettwerk Music Group. A gorgeous union from the onset, Larsen and OSKA hail from separate worlds but came together over a shared love of music (thanks, at least in part, to their shared label, Nettwerk). An Australian singer/songwriter “with no fixed residence,” Larsen is a true nomad (though we certainly hope he’s hunkered down in one place this year): The globe-trotting troubadour has called over four continents home over the past decade. He released his fourth album Marigold in April 2020; in premiering its second single “Phone Call From My Lover” this January, Atwood praised the artist for rending a track that “comes straight from the heart, capturing at once the pain, as well as the beauty, of love.” His song “Wide Awake & Dreaming” is featured on Marigold.

While Stu Larsen has been bouncing around for over a decade now, Vienna-based OSKA is relatively new; the Austrian singer/songwriter introduced herself through the shiver-inducing piano ballad “Come Home” less than a year ago (mid-December 2019), and has released just a handful of songs throughout 2020 – including October’s heavily streamed “Love You’ve Lost,” and September’s affecting “Honeymoon Phase.”

OSKA and Larsen’s duet strips both songs down to their core, elevating their emotion through breathtaking vocal harmonies that evoke a sense of togetherness and unity in a moment of introspective isolation and disconnect. “In a way both songs are about a separation,” OSKA tells Atwood Magazine. “Mine’s about losing yourself in a relationship and feeling the need to be alone for a while to figure things out. When Stu played me his song, it felt like he was describing the other person’s point of view, wondering if his love would return to him again. Because of that, this collaboration feels like a story or a conversation between two people who are dealing with their break up. I also love duets, and to be able to sing with Stu was really amazing.”

OSKA & Stu Larsen © Fabian Edelbacher
OSKA & Stu Larsen © Fabian Edelbacher

Self-described as a “happy person writing sad songs to stay happy,” OSKA’s debut EP is set for release on January 8, 2021. While it won’t feature on her upcoming record, this new duet sets the tone for her art and artistry to come: A creative spirit influenced by the human experience and relationships, and determined to evoke inspire listeners through poetic verse and beautiful melodies alike. “Honeymoon Phase / Wide Awake & Dreaming” is absolutely stirring: A long listen for the modern ear, perhaps, but not for any self-respecting lover of the “folk” or “indie” genres.

Where did you go my darling?
Why have you forgotten me?
You left me in the morning
Now you have abandoned me
..where did you go?
Did you go out to the garden?
To take care of your aubergines?
I know how much you love them
You tend to them so patiently
..where did you go?
Wide awake and dreaming
I thought you were my marigold
The full moon it was rising
But now i know it’s almost gone
..where did you go?
Where did you go my darling?
Why have you forgotten me?
Shall i wait until the evening?
Or have you now forsaken me?
..will you return to me?

This duet is one worth the investment for lovers of all sorts of meaningful, intimate music: Full of space, passion, and subtle feeling, it gives us a chance to breath, reflect, and enjoy a moment to ourselves. In transcending the ordinary every day, OSKA and Larsen have tapped into the extraordinary.

Atwood Magazine spoke to the two artists about their unlikely partnership, their inspirations, and more. Stream “Honeymoon Phase / Wide Awake & Dreaming” exclusively on Atwood Magazine, and get to know OSKA and Stu Larsen a little better in our interview below!

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:: stream/purchase OSKA x Stu Larsen here ::
“Honeymoon Phase / Wide Awake & Dreaming” – OSKA & Stu Larsen



A CONVERSATION WITH OSKA & STU LARSEN

OSKA x Stu Larsen

Atwood Magazine: How did this duet/collaboration come about?

OSKA: Our label suggested we talk, and after a very cool phone call, Stu decided to come to Vienna. He only spent around 30 hours here, but somehow it felt like he stayed for much longer – probably because we squeezed so much in just one day: singing, recording, a lot of talking and laughing. As if recording one song in one day isn’t enough, we decided to put one of mine and one of his songs together. I’m really happy with what we’ve done, and I’m really grateful to the label for introducing me to someone I get to call “friend“ now.

Stu Larsen: It was pretty random. But it was meant to be. I am usually pretty quick to say no to these kinds of things, they just never feel right for me. But this was different and I really believed something good would come from it somehow. And it did. I took a long detour and spent a full day in Vienna with OSKA and some people close to her and together we created this. I think I did the least out of everyone, I just turned up for a day and disappeared again. I am so thankful to Maria, Johannes, Alex and Fabian for the endless time and energy they poured into this project. There are some cool things happening in Vienna, and I am happy that I was able to get a glimpse of this for a day.

How do you feel that the nature of the duet added to the meaning of each other’s songs?

OSKA: In a way both songs are about a separation. Mine’s about losing yourself in a relationship and feeling the need to be alone for a while to figure things out. When Stu played me his song, it felt like he was describing the other person’s point of view, wondering if his love would return to him again. Because of that, this collaboration feels like a story or a conversation between two people who are dealing with their break up. I also love duets and to be able to sing with Stu was really amazing.

Stu Larsen: Strangely I feel like these two songs really fit together. As OSKA said, it feels like two sides of a conversation, two points of view on the same situation. To add to this, we realised that we had both written these songs before they had even happened. Somehow these songs were born in a similar way, neither of us really knowing where they came from or what they were about but then both of them came true a little while later. Beautifully serendipitous.

What inspired the lyrics to each song?

OSKA: I wrote ‘Honeymoon Phase’ in like two hours one night at the studio. At the time I’d never experienced what I was describing in the song, but it did happen to me afterwards. What really inspired me to write the first verse was my love for putting words together that shared the same first letter. I just liked the sound of that, so I wrote: “lost to the touch and taste of soft summer rains.“ And the first chorus line, “I’m to blame I’ve been trading gold for a honeymoon phase“ just fell out of me, so I kept it. Sometimes that happens and it’s cool.

Stu Larsen: I wrote most of ‘Wide Awake & Dreaming’ in a guitar store in Brighton, UK. There was a beautiful but overly expensive guitar in my hands, and I just started to play and sing and this is what came out. I had to drive to Edinburgh the next day, and I spent the entire drive singing it over and over and finalising the lyrics. I didn’t really know where the song came from, but a few months later the story fulfilled itself. I’m even sure there are some live clips on YouTube where I introduced the song saying that I didn’t know where it was from or what it was about.

Anything else either of you would like to add or let readers know about?

OSKA: Stu’s pretty awesome.

Stu Larsen: I’m not actually that awesome. But OSKA definitely is very awesome, and I have no doubt that in the months and years to come, the world will fall madly in love with her.

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OSKA x Stu Larsen

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📸 © Fabian Edelbacher

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