ORACLES is the solo electronic project of South African producer Benjamin Samuel McCarthy, who dabbles in many different genres with his music, ultimately creating a unique sound that combines chill, electronic, disco, house and funk. The multi-faced musician has just dropped his latest single, ‘Fast Cars & Shiny Mags,’ which was a great success from the moment it was released, climbing to the top of Apple Music’s Electronic A-List within a week.
ORACLES’ whole life is music and he keeps busy with his various projects and releases. On top of ORACLES, he is director of sound for Supaavision and has worked with artists including and not limited to, Kimbra, Peter $un, CYN, Attom, Gourmet, as well as his own band The World Of Birds.
We caught up with ORACLES and chatted about being a full-time musician, the South African music scene and what’s in store for the future.
To those not familiar with you, how would you describe your sound?
This is always a tricky question for me. I like provoking music that moves you either on the dance floor or emotionally. I would say ORACLES is dedicated more towards my love for electronic music (as I enjoy most styles of music). Everything I’ve made in the past has often ended up sounding smooth and fairly chilled, but I think I’m heading towards finding a balance between smooth sounds with dance floor-oriented aspects, kind of like ‘Fast Cars & Shiny Mags’ I guess?
How did it all start for you?
I definitely have my family to thank. I have always been surrounded by great music and I think once I became old enough to have a deeper look into music, I did. I started making music in high school and they must have been some of the worst songs ever made (my poor mom), but I was so curious and indulged in the process that I just kept doing it. It’s been a few years now and I’ve definitely made the right decision with regards to working on music full time.
What three albums would you say influenced your sound the most?
This question is potentially more tricky than the music industry itself. I am going to go with three more recent albums that have helped shaped my sound or ideas with regards to production and recording. I am a member of a band called ‘The World Of Birds’ and I play keys live and do all the production and recording for the project, so these influences will probably be more apparent in ‘The World Of Birds’.
1.) Kali Uchis – Isolation
2.) Anderson .Paak – Malibu
3.) Tame Impala – Currents
I chose these three albums because they are so neat and well-written. A perfect balance between writing something viable that everyone can enjoy with still maintaining high levels of artistry.
Are there any key pieces of equipment that you can’t live without?
To be honest, all I need is my laptop and a pair of headphones, so I will go with those two.
What are some of your key influences in your music? Whether it be the sound created by others, imagery, films or any kind of art form.
Definitely music by others, the scenery is a big one too, but I think the biggest goal is to capture an emotion or ambience and somehow work that feeling into your music. Music can be the most nostalgic experience when that works out, I feel. If a song can take you back to something from the past then it’s probably a good song.
What is one sub-genre you think doesn’t get the attention it deserves?
I would say all the amazing artists doing things in South Africa definitely need more attention.
Any new or upcoming artists on your radar?
The World Of Birds – We are going to take over the world next year.
What makes your live performances different from the rest?
I don’t think my DJ performance could be much different from the rest, I use an APC 40 and Ableton Live. I just focus on making sure everyone is happy and having all the fun they deserve. It’s a little different with the band though, we put on a pretty special performance.
What single night out has been the most memorable for you? As a performer? As an attendee?
I’ve really enjoyed all the shows I’ve played, they have all been memorable for me. I think performing music is just as important as writing it.
What is your favourite venue of all times?
I really like the look of Red Rocks, I am certain I will end up playing there one day (let’s hope).
What can we expect from you in the near future? Any upcoming projects or gigs in the pipeline that you would like to tell us about?
I am currently working on 47892895749 songs at the moment. Keep your eyes open for the next World Of Birds single. If you are in South Africa / Cape Town then catch us at Rocking The Daisies, otherwise, we’re working on another European tour for next year March.
Famous last words?
Take risks, they often work out in the long run.