A world of Oh Wonder at The Wedgewood Rooms
Electro-pop duo Oh Wonder haven't quite followed the rulebook for new bands.
Starting in September 2014, the duo wrote, recorded and posted a track online every month and, at the end of the year, released the results as their self-titled debut album.
Other bands may have tried the single-a-month ploy, notably indie veterans The Wedding Present in 1992, but not to launch themselves.
As Anthony West says: ‘To our advantage over other bands who did, we’ve got the internet and it seemed the perfect platform to do something like this. We thought of it as like a TV show, waiting each month for a new instalment
‘We had no idea these other bands had done it’, adds Josephine Vander Gucht, ‘we had never heard of The Wedding Present.
‘I miss waiting for a week to a see new episode of a TV show like you used to have to, and we wanted to see if we could replicate that with music.’
The pair had never intended to put the songs together as an album – that idea came from their management.
‘We just love writing and releasing music. We genuinely wrote and recorded one song a month,’ says Josephine, ‘and in that respect we had as much idea as the people who were listening and who became our fans.’
The songs were initially put out for free on their Soundcloud page – racking up more than 100m plays in the process.
‘Nobody knew what was going on, but it kept it really fresh,’ says Anthony. ‘We’d finish a song on April 30 and release it on May 1 - capturing that energy and freshness was so amazing.’
And it wasn’t until September 2015 that they played their first live shows – a short run of dates that all sold out in advance.
‘There was a lot of pressure. After all this it was like ‘‘I hope they’re good’’. But it was gratifying, as we’d been sitting on some of these songs for a long time,’ says Anthony.
However, they are in-demand on the live circuit with most shows selling out wherever they play.
They spoke to WOW247 on the eve of heading out on a European tour.
‘We’ve been on one European tour and it went really well, but Brussels, we’re playing to 2,000 people this time which is nuts,’ says Josephine, ‘last time it was 300, we’re not sure who all these people are, but we’re excited.
‘It’s been really encouraging, and not that it’s just been in the UK. It’s been in America, We’ve just come back from the Philippines, we played to 9,000 people there at this festival, so for this to happen around the world is mind-blowing.
‘We’re grateful that we have the opportunity to travel around thee world to people who have been affected by our music, and that’s the dream, isn’t it?’
Although Oh Wonder is essentially just Anthony and Josephine, live they’re joined by two friends on guitar and drums.
As Anthony explains: ‘It’s important for us, we perform the songs very differently live, we didn’t want to just be an electronic band who press play and then dances around.’
‘Mainly because we can’t dance!’ cuts in Josephine.
While they’re still making the most of their debut, the pair are already looking ahead to album number two.
Anthony says: ‘We’ve got some time off next month and we’ve booked a trip to New York to write. We’re touring until December, so that’ll be the only time we’ve got for a while.’
The Wedgewood Rooms, Southsea
Wednesday, March 16