The wonder of Oh Wonder

Oh Wonder - new colour (field) (c) Caroline International 2015

Have you ever wondered how Oh Wonder made it to the stage? Or maybe you’ve wondered about how the duo found each other and started making beautiful music?

So did we, so Artefact caught up with the south-east London duo to explore their music, their relationship and their sell out tour.

Oh Wonder have definitely broken the rules when it comes to following the traditional album campaign.

Josephine Vander Gucht and Anthony West decided to write, record and then post one track a month, and the end result would be their complete album, and an amazing 100 million streams online.

The duo explain that this process was like some form of agreement they had with themselves, which of course upped the pressure. Usually when writing an album you would write on average 60 songs. Oh Wonder wrote fifteen tracks, and released fifteen tracks.

Oh Wonder met around five years ago and met up sporadically to write songs, hang out and just enjoy being in company that share the same outlook on the music industry. It seems that Oh Wonder knew they had something special but like all great things, it was all about timing.

“It was very sincere and very accidental actually.”Josephine

The song Body Gold was written in 2012, two years prior to its release. After Josephine pestered Anthony about wanting to release it and being told the timing wasn’t right, it wasn’t until September 2014 when Josephine received a call from him saying that it was finally the right time.

Josephine told us: “It was kind of born from this love of writing together and releasing songs, and not having pressure and any kind of obligation or responsibility to do something the right way, it was very sincere and very accidental actually.”

Selling out shows this early in their musical career together has shocked both Josephine and Anthony.

Their London shows had sold out six months before they had even finished the album, and then their shows worldwide started to sell out. For a duo that began writing music just for the love of music, this must have been a dream come true.

Having been to Australia and then onto their US tour, Oh Wonder have most definitely conquered what many bands could only dream to do this early in their career.

Josephine went on to say: “There’s so many great places, and so many amazing and wonderful people who knew all the words to our songs and were so forthcoming, it was amazing. It was totally alien to us, we’ve never been to these cities, but the people there made us feel really at home and welcome, it was beautiful.”

The duo speak of how working together compares to working solo. Josephine says that being a solo artist means you have all the responsibility and you only have yourself to depend on, which is great but then you only have yourself to celebrate things with.

Having only yourself to create music with can be very pressurising, so being in a duo alleviates some of that. She says that the two of them respond to each other very well which makes everything so much better.

Image credited to Chuff Media and Caroline International

Oh Wonder [Chuff Media and Caroline International]

Another positive of being in a duo is sharing the workload. Having two people with different lines of expertise evidently creates great music.

Anthony explains how they work together so well: “I would say we both have different strengths and we help out with each others weaknesses. My background is in production and Josephine’s is mainly in playing instruments so I’ll bring more to the table with production but then she’ll instantly come up with the most amazing piano chords. So yeah, the writing process is totally split down the middle. Some days one of us would come up with more ideas than the other but that’s only because we are humans and that’s what we’re like.”

Oh Wonder’s next single is Lose It, which will be released on March 18, just so happens to be their favourite track off of the album. It’s the only track on the album which is about yourself and not friendships and relationships.

Josephine tells us that the song is actually inspired by a house party they were at in Melbourne where they felt so comfortable, and spent the evening dancing in a stranger’s house. She says the idea was so inspiring because it was okay to just be yourself.

Oh Wonder’s tracks are full of delicate sounds and soft electro beats, followed by delicate harmonised vocals.

Dazzle, a track from the self-titled album focuses on what it would be like to be addicted to gambling and the inspiration came from watching a Louis Theroux documentary. Oh Wonder tackle many feelings and emotions throughout this album which makes it exceptionally unique.

Josephine looks back on the year that really made a difference to the success of Oh Wonder and says that it was one of the best years of her life. She quit her job in Waterstones in order to write music every day and make her dream possible.

She told us: “I was living with my parents so I didn’t have any outgoings. I didn’t have any money but I wasn’t spending anything. I was just writing music every day.”

Surviving on beans on toast and surrounding yourself with nothing but a passion is probably why the album sounds as elegant and bewitching as it does. Having nothing else in your trail of thought other than your next lyric, or music note, is a very special privilege to obtain.

Oh Wonder will be at festivals this summer which are yet to be released. If you’re travelling in Europe in the near future then try and catch the duo on their European tour!

 


Featured image courtesy of Chuff Media & Caroline International.