The duo Oh Wonder has seen some dazzling success with their project, and they show no signs of slowing down. Beginning with "Body Gold", now at just under a million plays, they have a solid collection of smooth, caressing tunes. Although they haven't been in the spotlight for long, we got the chance to ask them a few questions about their momentous exposure, and their process of songwriting and production.
EARMILK: What inspired this monthly project?
Oh Wonder: We created Oh Wonder as an outlet to satisfy our creative needs. We both love writing songs, and wanted to push ourselves as songwriters by demanding a monthly output. It also means we get to experience the natural high of releasing music every single month, which is genuinely one of the greatest feelings ever.
EM: How did you two meet?
OW: About five years ago Anthony was in the audience of one of Josephine's gigs, and went to introduce himself after the show. A year later, Josephine was inadvertently at one of Anthony's gigs and again, said hello after the show. A year after that we found ourselves working together in the studio with a mutual friend, and consequently decided to stop having random annual meetings and started writing together on a more regular basis.
EM: What is your process of songwriting/composing/producing like?
OW: Typically we write a song in about an hour. It starts with Josephine writing some chords on the piano; we then both contribute melody ideas and write the lyrics together. The recording process begins with a rough piano demo, which Anthony starts layering up with a beat, and then we'll both chip in production ideas and collaborate on mixing the final track. We do everything ourselves- apart from the saxophone on "Lose It", which was Josephine's brother. It was the day before release and he was really hungover, but managed to play it flawlessly in one take. He's that kind of guy.
EM: The lyricism of your currently released songs seems quite delicate and beautiful, what events or people have inspired them?
OW: Our songs are inspired by a multitude of different things: "Dazzle" we wrote after watching a Louis Theroux documentary on gambling in Las Vegas, "All We Do" we wrote after reflecting on the idea of New Year's resolutions and the inherent human instinct of fear and conformity rather than risk. "Lose It" was inspired by a night we had in Melbourne… we went to an incredible 24 hour-long house party and the atmosphere was so welcoming and absorbing that we totally lost our inhibitions and let go. Josephine spent most of the evening dancing in a room by herself playing R Kelly and Sum 41 back-to-back.
EM: Are there any lines you've written that have really stood out to you, either because of a special meaning, or because they just convey your emotions really well?
OW: The chorus to "All We Do" really resonates with us and exemplifies what we are trying to achieve with this project. The lyrics are: "I've been upside down, I don't wanna be the right way round, can't find paradise on the ground." To us, that's about looking at things from a different perspective. So far this project has carved its own path and not followed a typical release plan, and we're really enjoying approaching an album from a new angle, writing it as we go in a very public forum- it's the wrong way round, but you strike gold (or "find paradise") when you do things your own way.
EM: Do you use a mixture of instruments and digital elements, or do you have a preference?
OW: We love using rhodes and piano in our songs because it really humanises the music; there is something wonderful about capturing – in one take – a person playing an instrument when they're totally in the moment, on a real acoustic instrument. For us synthesised or digital instruments fail to create the emotion that only real instruments or voices can capture. Equally Anthony is a wizard at creating his own original digital sounds, and we wanted to try and incorporate both of our own styles to give our music two different sides.
EM: I imagine there must be incredible pressure to consistently release something that’s ready to go, and that you’re happy with?
OW: There is certainly a pressure, but it's one we enjoy. We are fortunate to be in a position where we absolutely adore writing and recording songs, and we haven't written a song that we don't connect with yet. When you do something that is honest, enjoyable and totally epitomises your passion, whatever anyone else thinks and the pressure that comes with that is entirely irrelevant.
EM: So, it seems like every song you’ve released has become a hit! Rightly so, how has this experience been for you?
OW: To be honest, it's incredibly overwhelming. We always set out to release a collection of 12 really good songs, (rather than 3 big songs and a bunch of album tracks), but we never thought our music would resonate on such a wide scale. We are genuinely staggered each time we release a new song and hundreds of thousands of people listen in the first week or whatever. It's crazy! We were aiming for 1000 plays on 'Body Gold' in the first month and now we generally get 100,000 in the first day!
EM: What kind of work would you like to do in the future? Any artists you’d like to collaborate with?
OW: We'd love to continue to push ourselves and keep the writing process fresh. We'd love to work with someone like Chilly Gonzales to really open up our songwriting and sound.
EM: Thank you so much for sharing some insight into your work, is there anything else you’d like to mention or add?
OW: We want to say thank you to everyone that is listening to our music, sharing it with their friends and offering such encouragement and support. We are truly humbled that our music is connecting with people, and we're just so grateful for all the love and positive energy.
Be sure to check out their latest tune "Technicolour Beat" below, and monthly for their next releases leading up to their upcoming album.