After a two-year hiatus, London-based alt-pop duo Oh Wonder are back with their newest single, ‘Hallelujah’. We caught up with Anthony West and Josephine Vander Gucht to learn about the duo’s fifth anniversary celebration, their return to Singapore for an invite-only show last month and the influences that have shaped their upcoming third album.
Popspoken: Hi Oh Wonder! We’re curious – why this particular band name?
Oh Wonder: Hi! We love the dual meaning of ‘wonder’. It is to be curious, and also a feeling of amazement caused by something beautiful – like the wonders of the world!
Popspoken: Congratulations on celebrating your fifth anniversary! Did you guys have a celebration for this major milestone?
Thanks! We did an awesome secret show in London to celebrate five years since we started the band – four years since we released our debut album and performed live for the first time.
We sang songs from our first record, as well as our brand new single! It was an amazing night.
Popspoken: What has Oh Wonder been up to lately?
We have been working hard to finish our third album and making loads of crazy music videos!
And enjoying being at home with our friends, families and our dog before we start touring the world again.
Popspoken: You were recently at Zouk Singapore for the inaugural Music Is Universal event and it was also your 320th live gig. How did that go?
It was SO GREAT. Our fans in Singapore are literally the best ever – so engaged, full of energy and smiles. It was a show to remember for sure.
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4 years ago today we played our first ever live gig. This is us goofing around in rehearsals. Before the show I did my make up in the toilet of the restaurant next door and Anthony didn't have a case for his guitar so just carried it on the bus. We never would have guessed that tomorrow night in Singapore will be our 320th show. Dreams are weird cos they actually can come true 😭
Popspoken: While you were in Singapore, did you get to try any local delicacies or go sightseeing?
We sure did! We ate bak kwa, chiffon cake, curry puffs and had some incredible ramen at Maxwell Food Centre!
We also visited Gardens by the Bay, watched the F1 Grand Prix and drank cocktails at The Spiffy Dapper which was awesome.
Popspoken: Tell us more about the new single ‘Hallelujah’ – how did it come about?
‘Hallelujah’ is about defying the expectations of people around you.
We have both been told before that we weren’t good enough to do music for a living, and it’s an anthem of self-belief that we hope encourages others to ignore the naysayers and pursue their dreams.
Popspoken: What inspired the music video and how did you film it? Was it inspired by Feist’s 1234 music video in any way?
That Feist video is awesome! It was definitely inspired by that. We were like, what would happen if we spent a whole music video crowd surfing… The concept was dreamed up by director extraordinaire Gregory Ohrel, so it’s totally his vision.
Popspoken: How about what makes you shout ‘Hallelujah’?
The feeling when we run off stage. Performing live is literally magic.
Popspoken: Will there be new music coming our way? (Or a new Oh Wonder album?)
Yes! We are so excited to be sharing new music in the coming months. Our third album is on its way!
Popspoken: What inspires you to make new music and what inspires your music?
Other music definitely inspires us. So many wonderful songs and albums have soundtracked our lives, and to be able to make music and be a small part of someone else’s life is the most meaningful thing we can imagine.
Our music is inspired by all kinds of things! For our third album… Love, relationships, hospitals, loss, astronauts, family and travel.
Popspoken: And if you could be another music duo in this world, who would you be?
Elton John and Bernie Taupin. They are legends. And are the perfect example of two people complementing each other in the most wonderful and empowering way. They couldn’t make the music they do without each other.
Popspoken: Before we end, we just need to know: will there be a badminton rematch with your music friends, HONNE?
Hell yeah. We lost last time, so it’s ON.