Belgian pop export Oscar and the Wolf has not-so-quietly transitioned from buzz blog hot topic to festival headliner in recent years, topping the bill at last year’s Pukkelpop alongside Rihanna and LCD Soundsystem, and serving as the first live band to play EDM festival Tomorrowland earlier this summer. In his native home country, he also regularly headlines stadiums, with two upcoming back-to-back dates at Antwerp’s 23,000-capactiy Sportpaleis on Oct 27-28, and a fall tour that will hit Hamburg’s Reeperbahn Festival (Sept. 23), London’s XOYO (Nov. 15), Paris’ YoYo (Nov. 16) and more.
After signing with Neon Gold Records (Charli XCX, Marina and the Diamonds, Christine and the Queens) last year, the fast rising star — born Max Colombie — is now bringing his Europe-dominating dark pop stateside, with a forthcoming self-titled EP out on September 29 via Neon Gold Records in North America, and his sophomore album Infinity out the same day via PIAS / Play It Again Sam in Europe.
He’s even earned an A-list fan in Elton John, who shouted him out as being “the biggest in Belgium at the moment,” last month.
— Studio Brussel (@stubru) August 4, 2017
Today, Colombie returns with the latest single from his upcoming new set, “Runaway,” premiering exclusively via Billboard.
Colombie created and wrote much of the new album at home in Brussels after a year of intense-self exploration following the release and consequent touring and expectation of his debut album Entity in 2015. The new set’s content explores his psyche from a personal perspective whilst taking influences from his love of film and TV. Produced by Belgian techno wizard One Track Brain, the idea behind the new track lifted from the album, as he explains, “is that everything that you desire can ultimately lead to your destruction. Initially bringing the light of affection and devotion, but settling into a sudden unquenchable craving, resulting to ultimate surrender in chaos. Conflict is what feeds life, so light and dark will always need each other, the unbalance however is a treacherous path.”
Below, Billboard caught up with the star to discuss his favorite hometown haunts, local designers, and his very creative style aesthetic.
If you had to give your style aesthetic a tagline what would it be?
Royal Vampire Porn Director
Favorite piece to wear on stage while performing and why?
I never wear the same outfit twice so no idea. Jewelry always remains. My favorite piece I wore was a custom designed crystal coat for my arena shows. A vertical long coat touching the floor, made out of crystals and nothing else.
What’s your off-day wardrobe?
Sweatpants, cap, bathrobe.
What is your favorite clothing store in Belgium?
STIJL Brussels. They have all my favorite Belgian designers — Dries Van Noten, Ann Demeulemeester, Walter Van Beirendonck, Haider Ackerman and AF Vandervorst. Last thing I bought there was a velvet bomber jacket from Haider Ackerman.
If we were in your hometown for a weekend, what would we do/where should we go?
Go to the Palace of Justice after 3AM, bring some drinks or party extra’s and go behind the building (dark area) where you have a view over Brussels. Find yourself a spot and maybe even bring a car for louder music. Spirito club or Jealousy for dancing. Have dinner at A l’hombre de la ville. Lunch at Noordzee — best fish in town.
What’s one thing you never feel complete without wearing?
What’s your favorite accessory?
Fishnet choker from Fallon Jewelry.
Who are some of your favorite designers to wear?
Yproject, Vetements, Wang, Balenciaga, HBA, Fenty, Dior, Dries Van Noten, Ann Demeulemeester, Af Vandervorst.
How has your style evolved since you were younger?
I used to be very emo when I was 16, after that didn’t care very much about fashion anymore cause I was in Art school to become a painter. So on this subject, I was rather careless about fashion. Later, when I started to perform, I always wanted to make sure people in the back could see me, so i started wearing glitter coats or jackets… Now part of my job is designing clothes and ordering stuff online for my concerts. It became more outgoing throughout the years I think.
Has traveling around the world allowed you to gather a global array of threads? If so, what are a few of your favorite finds?
LA and New York are very good with sunglasses. I bought my fav Dior pair there. I’ve recently released a track called “So Real’ . A few weeks after the release I bumped into this amazing pair by Dior, called ‘So Real’ (laughs).
Who are your style icons (past and present)?
Rihanna, Sofia Richie, Bella Hadid, Prince, Bowie, Flaming Lips.
Heading out on a European tour this fall – what is your on stage costume/wardrobe of choice and do you change it up every night or keep it consistent?
Still working on this one. I have a team of designers with whom I’ve worked with for the past 3 years. Now we’re at the part of discussing how many looks we’ll have each show and the type of fabrics we’re gonna order.
You’re tasked with DJ’ing a fashion week after party and you are not prepared at all – what are a few of your go-to turn up anthems?
“Genesis” by Grimes, Booka Shade, Laura Pausini, Lady Gaga “Alejandro,” Rihanna “This It What You Came For.”
For more Oscar and the Wolf, head here.