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Oh Wonder

Monday, October 16, 2017, 2:30 AM


with Sigrid
In an era in which pop careers require careful planning, Oh Wonder are an anomaly. They're a band formed by accident not design, a duo who didn't intend to play live but spent more than a year touring the world, and a major label act who never saw this being anything other than a DIY project.Ultralife is both Oh Wonder's extraordinary second album and their debut proper. Its eponymously-titled predecessor, released in late 2015, was a collection of songs they had posted online at the rate of one a month, which millions of listeners fell in love with, turning London-based Josephine Vander Gucht and Anthony West into reluctant pop stars."We've never pushed this project," says Josephine. "It has always felt like it's pulling us along. We initially put our songs on Soundcloud hoping to pitch them to other artists. What happened next surprised us as much as anyone. Almost from the moment we began, we felt a connection with fans. We had both put out music before, but never had such a rapid response. We were anonymous at the time. Not even our friends knew what we were doing."Classically-trained pianist and violinist Josephine was about to begin a career in law when she met Anthony, a producer and former member of a rock band, in a south London studio. He offered to produce some of her songs, but the moment they started working together, something clicked. Or as Anthony recalls it, "stars collided."His background in arranging and production -- no less than the legendary Gil Norton had advised him to become a producer -- complimented her classical training and songwriting skills. Their voices in unison were spellbinding. They were better at writing lyrics together than they had been apart.Three months in to their song-a-month challenge, they had established an international audience who were attentively awaiting new music on the first of each month. As their success snowballed, labels came calling, but they refused to sign. By the time some of their songs had racked up tens of millions of plays, the pair finally conceded that they were a band.After self-releasing 15 of their songs as an album, Oh Wonder bowed to pressure to play live, booking just four shows -- in London, Paris, New York and L.A. -- planning to head straight back to the studio they'd built in a room at the bottom of Josephine's parents' garden. When all four gigs sold out within a week they were inspired to tour, ending up crossing the States several times, finding fans as far afield as South America, Australia, Russia and Asia. It culminated in 162 shows in 14 months across 112 cities, and a mighty 83,000 tickets sold. A connection.Along the way, Oh Wonder's songs became soundtrack staples, featuring everywhere from Scream, Elementary and Made In Chelsea to Catfish, Collide and Coronation Street. The dreamy 'Drive' was used in the pilot for the BBC's hit show Doctor Foster. 'All We Do' was the spectral theme tune for Unforgotten, ITV's recent, acclaimed detective series."This band has shown us how powerful music can be," says Josephine. "It has given us opportunities we couldn't have imagined and taken us to places we never dreamed of. We receive messages from fans telling us how our music has helped them and changed their lives. That none of this was planned just makes it more special."The perennial underdog might just be about to become the odds-on favourite. Written in New York and London and entirely composed, produced and mixed by the duo, Ultralife takes the hallmarks of the band's experimental debut -- its hypnotic dual vocals, its exposed, emotional lyrics, its bewitching, ethereal beauty -- and adds the weight of experience, the confidence of success and the coherence that comes from forward planning."Last time, we had no idea what we were doing," laughs Anthony. "We didn't even have a specific sound in mind. Every aspect of Oh Wonder we learnt on the job, from how to sing together to how to play the songs live. What was great about making

Cost: $25
Tickets: http://www.shareasale.com/r.cfm?u=253529&b=234786&m=27601&afftrack=&urllink=bit.ly/2rEq0Hf

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3350 Sports Arena Boulevard
San Diego, CA 92110

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