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Electronic DJ, composer and experimental artist Wuh Oh speaks to us about his latest singles including ‘Zita’ which is out today as well ‘How Do You Do It’ and his huge plans for 2020.

A series of club night posters, a collectable Sir Paul McCartney cartoon figurine and a radio player. What do these items have in common? They all sit on top of Wuh Oh’s piano in his home in Glasgow. Wuh Oh, aka Peter Ferguson is a well known musical figure on Glasgow’s club scene, and has the posters to prove it. One of them dates back from 2016 when he played the intimate Poetry Club in the city, a hotspot for up and coming artists. This year however saw Wuh Oh headline a tour of the UK and had been announced for Glastonbury, Wireless, Reading & Leeds, Lovebox, Parklife, The Great Escape, Live At Leeds and Sziget (some of which have been postponed due to current circumstances).  

From childhood, Wuh Oh has been on a personal journey which has ultimately led him to the piano. He tells me, “my Mum and Dad bought me a keyboard that would let you record up to four tracks of playing the keyboard on top of each other. I got really interested in that and then at some point, they were like, ‘ok, he’s obviously has a thing to do with music stuff,’ so they got me a 4 track so I started doing stuff in that. I was probably about 12 or 13 at that point.” He continues, “my teachers gave me some free composing software called Anvil which records with MIDI and works with orchestral instruments. So I got really into that and then upgraded to FruityLoops and I’ve been on that ever since.” But it wasn’t until Wuh Oh signed to a label last year when the piano became a crucial part of his process. “When I first ended up signing with a label last year and I realised I had a platform. [I could] reach not just people in pubs and clubs in Glasgow, but for some reason it opened up my mind to this universal platform that I never had. Even though I was happily making super wacky and experimental music before, I was like, ‘damn, I want to make pop music in whatever weird way that I make pop music.’ That’s all a top line and vocal loop. I just figured that the quickest way I can get ideas down for demoing is at the piano, so I’ll just try that. I tried that and everything just started coming together so much fluidly; so much more naturally. I was like, ‘well the piano is where i started so maybe the piano is where I’m meant to be.’ ” 

Ideas from his past have come to influence his present material, he reveals. “There are still ideas that I take from songs that I wrote when I was that age, which is pretty crazy when I think about it. There’s a song that’s coming out this year that I wrote about ten years ago, it’s pretty wild. There’s a certain belief that you get from ideas if your mind just refuses to forget them. You think, ‘ok, if I’ve remembered this song for this long, I still think it’s alright, then it’s probably ok.’ More so now probably than ever I’m working with the piano; it’s such a fluid process. I’ll dip into stuff from all through the years.” 2019 saw Wuh Oh release two singles, “Pretty Boy” and “Ziggy,” to great acclaim; they were both picked up by BBC Radio 1’s Pete Tong, and DJ and electronic composer Hudson Mohawke remixed “Pretty Boy.” 

Wuh Oh

Wuh Oh reflects on these earlier singles, “the tracks “Pretty Boy” and “Ziggy” were pretty much experiments that I had. “Pretty Boy” I wanted to try and write a song without drums, so I did that. With “Ziggy” I really liked the idea of doing a song with gobbledygook lyrics and then the whole track came around about that.” Comparing last year’s releases with “How Do You Do It?”, Wuh Oh explains, “they were both experiments and then “How Do You Do It?” was an updated version of another song that I wrote when I was 16 or 17. Then re-doing that and that was sort of a dusty, hip-hop thing for a little while, then I upped the tempo and it transformed into a more big beat thing. Basically it’s horses for courses if you will; it’s different ideas and experiments. I just follow where the initial idea takes me and what the melody feels like it wants to be sonically. It ends up with a wildly different production.” 

“How Do You Do It?” sees the artist in his unequivocally true form. The video for the track saw the artist collaborate with music video director Joe Crogan from Zones Productions. With a fish-eye camera and a green screen, it saw Wuh Oh channel his inner Hype Williams, whom he references as a key influence. He says, “we were just let off the leash. That’s the most freedom we’ve been given so far and I think it shows that we’re just let loose on a green screen and did whatever we wanted. The stuff that we’ve got coming is similarly as purely ourselves and doing our thing. We still figured out and directed the first two but there were more external ideas coming in to push those in a certain direction, whereas now I think our team trusts us to go mental and it will be fine.” He continues, “it was the first stride into building a proper image that I can really get behind. It gave me an excuse to step into styling and fashion territory which is kind of what I’ve been wanting to do for quite a long time.” 

Speaking about the elaborate fashion wear he wore in the video, he tells me, “I always like the ones that make me feel pretty. [Laughs] There’s a red leather, shiny Britney Spears outfit that I’ve got on in one of the scenes which I really like. I love the orange sunglasses; the orange look where I’m standing in a cheese grater, that’s very Missy Elliott inspired. Generally speaking, I really like the androgynous​outfits where I get to feel more feminine.” When asked if he got to keep any of the outfits, he reveals, “I got to keep some knee-high boots actually. I just used them for a shoot the other day. That was pretty sweet. I also got to keep the t-shirt I’m wearing with the orange look with the writing in a different language. Apparently it translates to “Hello Sailor,” which I didn’t realise until afterwards, but that was cool.” 

Today also sees the highly anticipated release of his new single ‘Zita’ which shows off Wuh Oh’s versatility as a producer taking you on a genre-bending journey from middle eastern melodies to gospel inspired crescendos. Wuh Oh says: ‘Zita is the sacred music playing from a shadowy temple in a different, darker dimension. Even when the choir enters and light momentarily breaks through the darkness, the voices are warped, as if reaching us only in distorted echoes from a distant past.’

You can check out new single

Wuh Oh plans on stepping out of the shadows in his live show this year. “I’ve been playing gig venues as opposed to club nights for the first time in a few years, so I’ve got used to the more performance aspect as opposed to standing in the shadows behind the decks. I feel like the live performance has come into its own. Over the years I’ve basically developed this self-styled dancing I do which is difficult to describe. It’s quite freaky looking I think, from an outside perspective. People have called it a very theatrical and performance arty I guess. I’ve looked into practising some mime to prepare for festival season, to get better at performing at using my body to express. So I’m working on the physical kind of stuff, we’re getting a light show sorted and I’m excited to go and get some outfits designed. I’ve been collaborating with a girl called Dana on those recently.” He also reveals there is a full-length project in the pipeline for this year. “My number one [for this year] has got to be the release of a full body of work. I think it’s going to put into perspective my whole thing for a lot of people for the first time. That’s coming this year, and it’s the culmination of everything to do with the whole writing and composing process. We just got into it and it’ll be my musical life’s work up until now. You can’t get much more exciting on a personal level.” 

Writer: Stuart Williams

Photographer: Abeiku Arthur

Stylist: Lewis Cameron

Groomer: Sophie Moore

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