While many of us may find isolating at home during the Covid-19 pandemic boring and monotonous, British indie pop duo Oh Wonder is savouring the experience.
“Normally, we travel so much, there is no routine in our lives. We’re in a different hotel every night, in a different city every day, ” says member Josephine Vander Gucht in a conference call with StarLifestyle from Britain.
“On a Monday we could be recording a music video and then on a Tuesday, it could be a radio interview and on a Wednesday, we’ll be writing a song and so forth.
“Now, it’s like every day is the same. And I love it. I’ve never had this in the last five years of being in a band.”
Oh Wonder – comprising Vander Gucht, 30, and Anthony West, 31 – released its self-titled debut album in 2015 and has since amassed a strong following in the indie pop scene internationally. The duo even performed in Kuala Lumpur back in 2017.
“I eat the same breakfast every day – eggs on toast. Absolutely unbelievable, ” she says about her consistent daily routine.
Another routine the members have established is making a point to perform for their virtual audience daily, completing 37 performances in 37 days recently.
West realises he has grown to love the stripped-down sessions they presented on Instagram Live: “When you’re on tour, you can have loads of production, lights, a live band. But actually, it’s kind of just as enjoyable watching someone performing with just a piano. I think it’s really cool having just one instrument and singing the songs the way you first wrote them.”
Oh Wonder released its third full-length album, No One Else Can Wear Your Crown, in February. Vander Gucht talks about the inspiration behind the album’s empowering title: “Before being in the band, I was somebody who needed external validation. I’ve never really loved myself, I suppose.
“When we released our first album, people started telling me that my music has affected them in a positive way, which made me realise I can do something that’s valuable and worthy.
“(Naming) this album, No One Else Can Wear Your Crown, with such a statement, is my way of realising that I’m awesome, but not in an arrogant way. Up until a few years ago, I never saw myself that way my whole life. I thought I was rubbish and that’s such a waste of energy.”
She also talks about their creative process as a duo.
“We’re just super honest. And there’s no ego. If one of us doesn’t like something, we don’t do it, we don’t have to make a case for it.
“I think when you have loads of people (in a band) you have to accommodate loads of people’s needs and be polite.”
Vander Gucht and West, who are also a couple, talk about how their personal and professional lives have intertwined, now more than ever, during the stay-at-home order.
“In terms of space, we’re obviously not that used to being home (together) this often, ” says West. “But we are lucky that we have a studio, which is separated from our living space. That has definitely helped recently.
“Like I’ll leave her to edit the vocals while I do something else. We kind of know when to leave each other alone.”
Vander Gucht sees working together with someone close as an advantage.
“I imagine that if I was on tour on my own, and something went wrong, like it’s five minutes before a show and I’m crying because my dress had ripped, I wouldn’t know how to navigate that very well.
“Whereas, with Anthony, he knows how to calm me, how to get me back in the zone.
“Everybody’s going to get stressed or upset or frustrated or any of those emotions that you don’t know how to contain. I think it’s awesome having somebody next to you who knows what to do when you’re like that.”