The Producer that Smiles Back: oshi

Photo Courtesy of Leslie Tong

Joshua Brennan, otherwise known as oshi or his rap alter ego NO$TRIL, is an 18-year-old producer from London who now resides in Los Angeles. His signature look, big hair and wide, closed-mouth smile, caught the wide eyes of a few people in the crowd. Immediately after Brennan yelled into his mic, “Damn San Diego!” the two people next to me whipped their heads toward each other and gasped, “He’s British?!”

He is energetic, explicit, and 100% himself. If you were to look up the word “individual” in the dictionary, his name would be the primary synonym. Price Center Ballroom West was only at about a third of its capacity for Warren Live on May 19, but his set made the room feel full. He danced on the turntables, threw his shirt into the crowd, and joined the mosh pit that manifested four times during his set.

In a recent interview, oshi explained that his sound was inspired by people like Mr. Carmack, James Blake, and Kaytranada. His sound is more than just about attaining a danceable beat; it describes the emotions and feelings that one might experience at a particular moment. His songs range from what you listen to when you’re on the elliptical at the gym to what it would feel like to yell at your ex.  

After the show, I was able to catch up with him and ask three questions before security had enough:

Amarachi Metu (The Triton): What inspired you to get into this mix of techno/trap/rap/EDM jumble that you have?

Joshua Brennan (oshi): Okay, so to be completely honest, my friend is Sober Rob. I never prepare my sets, ever. So I always take his USB. Whatever is on his USB I use, you know. But, most of the time, literally I just put anything in my set that I enjoy listening to. As long as I enjoy listening to it, and as long as people see that I enjoy listening to it, I feel like everyone is going to enjoy it. I honestly can’t tell you what inspired me, it’s just what I like to listen to played out live.

The Triton: You’ve done a lot of redos for people like Kali Uchis and other people, but out of all the redos/collabs that you’ve done, which would you say are your favorites?

oshi: Honestly, the ones with my friends. ‘Cause those mean the most to me. Before, I wouldn’t be able to work with anybody just because…I don’t even know how to explain it. It’s just, I don’t have that mindset where it’s just like, “Oh, I’ll come work with you over the internet, blah, blah, blah.” I’ve met so many people living in LA that have become some of my closest friends that inspire me musically. Not even just musically, just generally inspire me so much. They inspire me so much. So my collaborations with them mean the most to me, and I love them so much. [oshi blows a kiss to his friends]

The Triton: Do you think you want to come back to UC San Diego anytime soon?

oshi: Oh hell yeah, dude.

The Triton: We are looking forward to it.

Amarachi Metu is a staff writer for the Arts and Entertainment section of The Triton. She can be reached at ametu@ucsd.edu.