By Olivia Schroeder
While sitting in a sun-soaked booth during the early afternoon of what would be Oh Wonder’s first concert in Chicago, Hooligan Magazine met with the London-based duo to discuss their new-found tour life and the debut self-titled album that kicked it all off.
Q: What was it like the first time you wrote together?
A: It was instantly quite easy. We both had written with a lot of people previously, and that relationship can often be hard to start— you really have to get to know someone before. But it felt like we actually kind of knew each other. It was an instant “oh wow, this is simple.”
Q: How has being signed impacted the band?
A: It impacted us in a very positive way. We now have a wide team of people all around the world helping us get our music out there. It’s interesting because we started this project on our own and were working on it alone for a year with no one else’s input; everything was done through us— we came up with the music, we mixed the music, and we put it out there. So, it’s tricky to sustain that DIY message. People are excited, wanting to have input and get involved, but you want them to translate it in the same way. It’s become a bigger project, and we have to put even more energy in just to be us. Instead of just us making decisions, it goes to fifty people around the world. Ultimately, you become a stronger artist than you were in the first place. You’re more conscious.
Q: Are there any artists you’d like to collaborate with on your next album?
A: There’s a dream list. We’d love to work with Frank Ocean— he’s a genius. However, there’s something super special about it just being us and doing it on our own. So it’d have to be someone like Frank Ocean.
Q: You guys didn’t start touring until fairly recently— How does it feel to be touring? Is it different than what you expected?
A: We had no expectations of what it’d be like; it’s way different than being in a studio. When you’re in the studio you start the day with nothing, and then you end the day with a song. You work 14 hours a day, and you feel so productive. Where as with touring, it’s all about waiting and anticipating that hour when you perform the show. That makes it all worth it; the adrenaline is massive. You feel like you’re really connecting with people, because you’re playing to a room of people that are singing your songs back to you. There’s a lot of traveling, and we don’t get loads of time to see the cities, but you can tell the culture of the cities from the crowds. When we meet people that come to the show, you can definitely get a flavor of the city. Between Portland and Seattle, there’s a massive difference, even though it’s only a three hour drive apart.
Q: Where’s been your favorite city on the tour?
A: Probably Seattle. Seattle is beautiful, but Chicago is beautiful too. We played an acoustic show at an ad agency earlier today, and we were right at the top of their building where you can see the river. It was completely frozen and cracked, so there were just these huge blocks of ice. It was so stunning. Touring is brilliant, because you get to appreciate small things about massive amounts of places.
Q: Do you have any crazy tour stories?
A: We met a fan in LA who had one of our lyrics tattooed on their arm. And then in Seattle, these two girls wanted us to write “Oh Wonder” on them, so they could get it tattooed the next day. We’ve had a great time, and we’re really lucky that even a couple of our fans are now our friends. We made friends with some people who work at Google, and they gave us a tour of Google HQ, and we got to go in the ball pit. We’ve met some amazing people.
Q: Did you guys ever see it becoming this big?
A: It’s been gradual. There hasn’t been a point where it was like “oh, this is about to be crazy.” It still hasn’t gotten crazy in our minds. The only difference between then and now is that we get the pleasure of working with people who are really good at their jobs. The crew we have now is amazing. The other thing is, you don’t get that deathly fear that no one is going to come to your show, because now we know that the shows are sold out.
Check to see if Oh Wonder is coming to a city near you here: http://ohwondermusic.com/#sggjx6EE7xfU95up.97