"I want to celebrate music as a force for good in the world. I think music, like any form of art - like literature, like theater, like dance, whatever it is - they are the forces for change and they are the things that will make the world a better place."
That's a pretty definitive affirmation Oh Wonder's Josephine Vander Gucht laid on us when she and her bandmate Anthony West visited Baeble HQ last month to discuss their phenomenal, self-titled debut album. Of course, such a statement is not too much of a surprise after reading up on the band in anticipation for our conversation. The band pinned a personal pact to the wall of their South London recording studio. It reads: "We have a publishing deal off the back of writing incredible songs'; 'We are in-demand songwriters, respected for our art'; 'We feel that anything is possible and live the yes life'; 'Music earns us an amazing living and we travel the world thanks to it.'" Clearly, Oh Wonder are determined to make the most of the amazing opportunity the universe has given them.
Like the rest of the internet, we fell HARD for the British duo when they started to trickle out such irresistible, electro-pop confectionary via Soundcloud a little over a year ago. We chatted w/ the band last summer
about the 12 songs they released in 2015 (one a month)...how they originally put a song ("Body Gold") up just to get it out there and have tens of millions of plays of those singles about a year later.
Since our last conversation, the band have flipped that success into a major label deal, a recent run of sold-out shows in North America, and what Anthony describes as an "unconventional" debut album. "We released 12 or 13 singles," he told us. "We didn't write an album as a whole...we were writing songs with as many hooks as you can because they were all singles."
"We're very confused," Josephine admits during our conversation, but it all seems so genuine. Oh Wonder never suspected they would get this far, this fast. "We don't understand how it's happened or where it's come from," Josephine told us. "Now we're on hundreds of millions of plays". But there is nothing to be confused about. Oh Wonder
, the album, offers that rare dose of immediate emotional necessity, in ways we maybe haven't heard since, I don't know...maybe The Postal Service's Give Up
"Because of the nature of how we wrote the record, we weren't really thinking about overall concepts or themes or narratives that we wanted to touch on," Josephine explained. "It was only in hindsight that we realized that the album has a very human focus...We realized what's important is that you focus on the unifying theme of community and support and being there for people. You have to harness an energy between people and be there for people and be nice to people. So many of our songs are about relationships with all different kinds [of people]. It's not a love record, it's about celebrating being human."