Alt-Pop Duo Oh Wonder Takes the Meaning of ‘Baby Steps’ to Another Level
London based alt-pop duo Oh Wonder know what it means to take things one small step at a time — and luckily, their many small steps have led them to over 35 million spins on Spotify and sold out shows across two continents.
Oh Wonder took “baby steps” to another level by creating a perhaps unorthodox way of releasing tunes: one song per month on Soundcloud starting in September of 2014.
After a year, they tossed in two more tunes, and this became their full album.
At the Los Angeles show a few weeks ago, Anthony and Josephine told the crowd that almost a year ago to date they played a small show with under 300 people in attendance — but this show had over 2,000 adoring fans, all of whom knew the words to every song.
Surrounded by a semi-circle of perfectly timed-lights and a giant light-up “OW,” vocalist and keyboard player, Josephine Vander Gucht held back tears at one moment before she sang “All We Do,” reminding her fans to always “Dream Big,” something she and band member Anthony West are seemingly experts at.
Their set included “Drive,” “Lose It,” a new unreleased track called “My Friends,” and two encores including “Midnight Moon” and “Technicolor Beat.”
If you’re late to the party and you haven’t heard their songs, check them out and listen to how baby-steps morphed into a magical butterfly of 12 truly great tunes.
Oh what a difference a year makes…
We saw you perform at The Wiltern Theatre a few weeks ago, do you have any traditions or good luck charms that you must have with you before every show?
The Wiltern was an incredible milestone for us, as it was pretty much exactly 1 year since our first US show and somehow we went from playing from 250 people to 2400! We generally warm up a couple of hours before the show, making lots of siren noises and then right before we walk on stage we all kiss Josephine’s head, a.k.a. “the lucky egg.” We’ve done this before every show, so it’s become a necessity!
How do you decide your setlist order before going on to perform?
We always try to please as many people as possible by playing as many songs as we can, but we try to mix up the order to keep things fresh and exciting for us on stage too. It helps only having one album’s worth of music to choose from, so our choices are limited until we’re touring our next record!
You surprised your fans with a brand new song “My Friends” at this show, what made you decide to play it for LA?
Having played the same album now for a year, it was an incredible joy for us to be able to play a new song. ‘My Friends’ is a song about missing our family and friends whilst being on the road, and so it seemed fitting to play whilst we’re on the other side of the globe, in front of our biggest US audience to date.
The lights are a very big part of the show, who decided to have those and who decides the colors/patterns they will display during each song?
We have an incredibly talented lighting designer, Ben Mansfield, at the helm. His vision for our show has always been the driving force for the aesthetic of the stage production and it makes for a very photogenic night!
You’ve been on tour for the last year, what has been one of your favorite travel destinations thus far and why?
We’ve been incredibly lucky this past year to have seen some amazing places and met a lot of amazing people. A highlight for us was visiting Russia for the first time, and experiencing a culture so different to ours back at home. We’d love to go back as tourists to explore what cities like St. Petersburg and Moscow have to offer. We loved every minute of being there, and our fans were so appreciative of us coming out and playing for them.
When you are on the road, what music do you guys listen to while traveling? Who is on your playlist at this very moment?
We have one of our best friends, Luke, on tour with us, who has always been amazing at finding new music. Throughout tours he creates awesome playlists that we listen to on the bus and they’re also the music that we have playing in between bands at our shows. Both of us really love listening to whole albums too. We’ve been loving new records from Bon Iver, Anderson .Paak, Frank Ocean, Glass Animals and Gregory Porter, recently.
Josephine, what is your current “go to” concert outfit? Shoes? Makeup look? Hair vibe? Sunglasses? Bag?
I’m currently trying out a lot of things, but I’ve discovered the joy of leotards and metallic skirts so I’m going through a bit of a phase. I wore this fabulous pajama co-ord the other day too, although it did literally look like I was in my pajamas. Makeup, I keep classic with heavy flicked liquid eyeliner, bronzed dewy skin and a red lip. Big natural hair is also the one. I’ve been blessed with curls so gotta let them loose!
Anthony, you play multiple instruments on stage. Have you ever made any major mistakes while swapping from one to another?
That’s a great question, because sometimes during the show I ask myself exactly the same thing! Generally now [that] we’ve played a lot of shows, my muscle memory takes over and controls what I’m doing. My muscles make my feet remember which pedals I’m pressing and tell my hands what instrument I’m playing!
What’s the most embarrassing thing that has happened on stage for either of you?
It’s always mortifyingly embarrassing when you get a total blank on stage and say something like ‘Thank You Montreal’, when you’re actually in Seattle. This has only happened to each of us once, and so we pray that we keep focused and always remember the city that we’re in! Some days, we rarely explore beyond the bus and the venue, which is why this confusion can happen! Or that’s our excuse anyway…
You’ve gone from the last LA show which was 300 people to this most recent LA show which was sold out at 2400. Where do you think you’ll in a year from now?
If we’re honest we have no idea where Oh Wonder will be in a year’s time, as we are completely dumbfounded as to how we have got this far. We don’t like having expectations, as we see everything that is happening as a complete bonus. We do however have hopes and dreams for this project. To be able to come back to the States and play our second record is enough for us right now, whether it’s to 100 people or 10,000.
Find out more about Oh Wonder at the links below!
Music / iTunes: http://republicrec.co/OhWonderOhWonder
Music / Apple Music: http://republicrec.co/OhWonderOhWonderam
Google Play: http://republicrec.co/OhWonderOhWonderGP
Photo by Collect1vemind