When you hear the name Oh Wonder your mind most likely immediately associates it with the chilled, reflective, bliss sound of their music that thousands have come to love. What started as an outlet for Josephine and Anthony to satisfy their creative needs and express themselves has grown into a largely successful project. All of their songs have been featured here on Stereofox! The monthly songs that these two philosophical Brits have drawn from within themselves has connected with and captured so many hearts - including my own.
Each of their songs are written naturally and fluidly, and you can hear it very well in the music. We emailed the band, and they were happy to answer some questions and help us get to know them better as individuals!
What kind of music did each of you hear while growing up?
As kids we both grew up listening to great songwriters like Elton John, Joni Mitchell and James Taylor, which really shaped our love and respect for the craft of songwriting. In our teens we discovered artists like Death Cab for Cutie and Feist, who remain two of our favourites!
Before starting Oh Wonder, you both were involved in music for a while. Have you ever at any point in your life wanted to do something different?
Anthony: I always knew I wanted to be involved in music. I used to record my friends' bands in my living room when I left school, and since then have never thought of doing anything else. I want to make music until I can't anymore.
Josephine: I also loved music from a very early age, but never had the confidence or support to regard it as a viable career. Growing up I didn't want to do anything else, but it's easy to get swept up in the education system and feel almost obliged to go to university, get a degree and find a good job. My school frowned upon people not going to university, so I studied English Literature, with a loose plan to become a lawyer. After a few weeks at uni, I immediately realised that I wanted to do music, and started counting down the terms until I could leave and make music for a living. It was worth the wait. It made me so hungry for it.
What part does each of you play respectively in the writing of a song?
We both take a very equal role in the creation of our songs. Josephine normally writes the chords at a piano, and then we both write the melody and lyrics. Because we've worked together for so many years, we are very open and vulnerable when we write. It's not a problem to say 'no, I don't like that', because we trust and respect each other. It's actually a really amazing and free process.
Your songs are about a lot of different things, but they usually have a reflective, thought-provoking nature to them. Are you very philosophical?
Ha! Well, we both think a lot about life and our role within it. We are both avid writers and often write creatively or reflectively, a stream of consciousness kind of thing. It's important to us that we routinely analyse our lives, our goals, the people around us. It's all too easy to get lost in the day to day minutiae of life and forget the bigger picture. That's why a song like 'All We Do' was so important to us. It's easy to sit and do the same thing, play it safe, not take risks. If you don't critically look at yourself from time to time, it's easy to slide onto the conveyor belt of life and do the same thing day in and day out, which to us, isn't living. Life is about challenges and risks and the excitement of the new and the unknown. It's like that Einstein quote: 'Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.'
Which of your own songs is your favorite so far?
Oh man, that's such a tough question. The way we have individually released these songs means that we are really attached to each one. We are really excited about playing 'Lose It' live; it's gonna be an opportunity to have a bit of a dance on stage!
After your music has been so widely accepted, how does it feel when you're about to release a song now compared to how it felt releasing your first song?
You know what, it's actually exactly the same. The first song we ever released, we released for ourselves, because we were proud of what we had written and wanted to have the satisfaction of knowing that we had finished a song, signed it off and put it out into the universe to take its own course. That process is still the same, equally as fulfilling on a creative and personal level, it's just now quite overwhelming that people are actually listening and connecting with the music!
What's the best thing a fan has ever said to you?
Ah, we receive so many messages every day from people who have really connected with our music, where it's either soundtracked a happy moment in their life or really helped them through a difficult period in their life. We actually wrote a forthcoming song called 'Landslide' for one of our fans who was having a tough time with the end of a relationship. The most memorable message in recent weeks said: "I have asperger's. It's hard to understand emotions. Your music helps so much. I love you guys. With all the tears I've found to shed and all those to come I thank you."
That's all of my questions. Anything you'd like to leave your fans and the Stereofox community with?
We just want to say thank you for your support and encouragement. We are truly humbled and grateful and can't believe we get to make music every day!!