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Interview | Meet Oh Wonder



It’s 2 .p.m, inside the Danforth Music Hall the giant letters “O” and “W” are being hauled on to stage. Soundcheck is still an hour away and the final preparations for Oh Wonder ‘s show are being sorted. Outside, fans are already lining up in the cold for the sold-out concert. They wait bundled from head to toe with smiles unbroken by the below zero weather.

In a tour bus a few feet away, Josephine Vander Gucht and Anthony West, aka, Oh Wonder, wait patiently to introduce themselves to Toronto for the first time. Saturday, before their show, I got to chat with the two and find out a few things you may not have known about them, like how Oh Wonder almost never happened and what all this success means.

Oh Wonder 1.jpg

Your music is very emotion driven, how do you capture that with stories about characters?

Anthony:  It’s weird. We never write about our own scenarios. We always kind of write about people we make up, like a dream world  that we write within. The songs are actually really detached from us. So, I guess people kind of draw things from them.  What would you say?

Josephine: *chuckles* What he said.

Tell me what it felt like to record your first single:

Josephine: It was very inadvertent. We had just written a song and we had just wanted to make a writing demo of it. We just did it on a laptop in our living room. Didn’t we? It was really uninspired.

Anthony:  Oh yeah, the next step was just getting some pizza, really.

Josephine: And then in the end we just had a song called Body Gold which was the first song we ever wrote. We actually recorded that about two years before we released it. We were just living with it quietly wondering what to do with it.

Why didn’t you know what to do with the song?

Josephine: Well, we were jus t in our own projects. Anthony was in a band and I was just a solo artist and it just wasn’t fitting for either of our musical projects. The idea of just joining up as a duo never occurred to us. For two years, it was just a self-imposed thing, no, it was an outside-imposed thing, wasn’t it? We never wanted to be in a band together, it was never the intention.

Anthony: Yeah, we just wanted to be songwriters together. We just enjoy writing songs and producing music together. So, that was the main thing…and then all the touring comes.

What was the force that made you join together?

Josephine: The song really. Body Gold, it was the only song we had. We sent it to our managers and they were like ‘oh guys. This is a really good song, your voices sound really good together. We love the production, you should do something with it.’ They weren’t pushing us or anything. But then I kept pestering you (Anthony) for like two years saying please let’s release it. Because I was really proud of it and it was unlike anything either of us did individually.

Anthony: I think at that point, the people listening to it every month, that’s what really spurred us on to do more and take it more seriously. We were like wow, there are actually people out there listening to us in every country. So for us that was the real inspiration.

What did you both anticipate during the year of monthly song releases?

Josephine: We felt a lot but we didn’t anticipate anything. We had no expectations. It was just a really personal challenge, we just wanted to release music. Releasing music is literally the best thing you can do. It’s like when you release an article, you’re like Yay, I’ve contributed to the world and even if no one reads it and even if no one listens to the song, you still feel fulfilled. So it’s a really self fulfilling thing.

Anthony: Yeah, it’s just so energizing. It was so energizing to start the month with the best feeling you could have as a musician. It felt so good.

Josephine: But we weren’t anticipating anything. We didn’t even really want to play live and now we’re in Toronto performing. The world works in mysterious ways for sure.

Why didn’t you two want to play live?

Josephine: We were just both doing our own thing.

Anthony: We were going to write songs and produce them and put them out, but we weren’t going to tour. It never crossed our minds.

Tell me about the first successful moment for Oh Wonder.

Anthony: A big moment for me was when we first played in L.A. We had our first American show and we could really see the affect of our music across the pond. It was nuts. To be that far away from home, it was like whoa. To actually see tons of people, it was like whoa.

Josephine: Well, it depends how you define success. The success was the fact that we’ve been able to release a song that we were both really into and both really proud of. We designed artwork for it and we were really proud of ourselves. I think the first week, when it unmasked the first 100,000 plays we were anonymous and no one knew us and none of our friends knew us. We were like, hang on. It was a success in itself in the fact that people were listening.

Anthony: So, we see little bits of success everyday. Like today, we’ll see Canadian success and it’s awesome.

What have been some great moments on the tour?

Anthony: We had a really great show in Seattle. I really enjoyed that. It’s a very musical town, you can really feel it there.

Josephine: Yeah, there’s been so many good ones. Just every show just continually surprise us. I’m sure if you asked us tomorrow we’d say Toronto. It’s like the biggest venue we’ve ever played. We had no idea people knew who we were in Canada. We’ve just been told that our album did quite well out here, and we are like how do you know who we are? So I feel like tonight will be really special.

Explain what it feels like when you run into fans who love you guys?

Josephine: Oh, it means a lot.

Anthony: Yeah, it’s when they have a really cool story about how the music’s effected them, or even a story about themselves. Josephine interviews fans after gigs to gain an insight to the people that listen to our music because they’re ultimately the most important people. We’re just the people who make it.

Josephine:  It’s continuously humbling. It’s a reminder of why we’re here. This only occurred to me a year into the project which is that music or art or literature, theatre, dance, sport,  any kind of art or creative outlet is a force for good and a force for positivity in changing the world for the better. When you meet people, even if it’s juts three people outside and one says Oh my god, I just wanted to tell you that this music helped me through a dark period in my life, you’re just like, we’re doing something positive.   We’re not out here trying to change the world. We are here contributing in some small way to building a community in a sense of love and comfort more than anything. Music is comfort for people. We’re comforted by our favourite bands, so meeting fans it’s like okay, we’re doing something good here.


Beginning in London, Oh Wonder is formed of multi-instrumentalists Josephine Vander Gucht and Anthony West. A little over a year into the project, Oh Wonder is currently on a nearly sold out world tour.  If you haven’t heard them, check out their latest video, Without You.


Exclusive: Andrew Silvestro Introduces His New Band: Bad Girls.

Well lookie what I’ve found, a lost post from Canadian Music Weeks with Toronto-based duo, Bad Girls. Take a read and meet the boys of the band. Bad girlss

Starting off in January of this year, the band Bad Girls was able to snag two showcases at Toronto’s up- coming Canadian Music Week on Thursday May 7th at Sneaky Dee’s and Friday May 8th at Hard Luck Bar. The three members, Andrew Silvestro (bass, guitar, vocals) Mat Araujo (guitar, bass, vocals) Brandon Bak (drums, vocals) have a rock- grunge, high-energy sound heard in their tracks Wasted Teenagers and Try. Though the band has three members, founding members Silvestro and Araujo are the faces of the band. With the heavy guitar and the raspy voice of the lead, the band’s music is a collaboration of different musical genres and they are quickly gaining attention with good reason. Their sound is comparable to Tokyo Police Club, Hollerado and Deer Tick, yet they offer a fresh energy only a Toronto born band could offer. During the preparations for their upcoming shows, Silvestro (left) took some time to explain a little bit about the band’s hushed history.

Band Bio:
A: The band was the brainchild of myself (Silvestro) and Mathew Araujo. The two of us were in another band before for about 5 years. Mat and I are the primary song-writers so when that band folded we created Bad Girls.
Describe your sound:
A: Sound wise, I think we are a good mix of old and new. We have elements of old sixties garage rock, and punk but we have taken that and put our spin on it and made it modern.
Where did the name “Bad Girls” come from?
A: The band name came from a song we wrote called bad girls. When we were toying with the band name we were working on that song in the studio that day and we collectively decided that it would be a cool name.
How did you get into Canadian Music Week?
A: As for getting into Canadian Music Week we have been fortunate enough to meet Justin Kwan the festival manager. We applied and they liked our stuff so much that they gave us some really good opportunities to showcase our stuff so we are really excited about that.
What can we expect from Bad Girls?
There is an EP coming out but we haven’t set a date yet. More than likely a stream will be released on SoundCloud where people can access the whole EP. It’s worth noting that we worked with two prominent producers on this record. Japeth Maw(Lyon) and Ian Alexander Smith which was a fantastic experience and I think the quality of the record really demonstrates that.
 What are you looking forward to most about playing CMW?
I’d say the exposure is what we are most looking forward too. We’re on two really good showcases at two good venues so the rooms should be pretty full. Introducing our music to new people is what I think every artist wants on some level.
And playing with the bands we are in the showcases with that’s good to be a great experience as well
What do you want people to take away from your performances?
 A: I think what we want people to take away from our music, or at least what I’m hoping people with take away, is a “sense of wow”. This band is brand new for us so people don’t really know who we are right now. If people walk away saying, “Wow those guys were great” it becomes more probable that those people will walk away from the show remembering who we are and hopefully will seek out our shows in the future.

You Need to Listen To: The Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger (GOASTT)

GOASTT @ The Horseshoe

“We are going to get fully naked and cover ourselves in Crisco and play the Canadian national anthem,” Kemp Muhl said about the performance at Canadian Music Week. They didn’t fulfill their promise but they did put on an interesting set. Their far from normal sense-of-self leaks into their humour, music videos and music. Interviewing Kemp surely gives an inside look at the charm and whit that can only be described as indescribable.

The harmonic hymns coupled with the poetic lyrics of the two-piece band, Sean Lennon and Charlotte Kemp, are something out of ordinary. Take the haunting tone of My Morning Jacket and mix it with the Beatles psychedelic influence and you’ll get an idea of, the New York bound band’s sound. The hard to distinguish clash of dark inventive outlandishness seems to be a pure representation of their inner selves. The two are truly rare, in more ways than one.

The band’s distinct sound, according to Kemp, can only be described as, “the sound of a crab slowly committing suicide, run[ing] through some audio delay and an old shoe,” she said.

Kemp Muhl of GOASTT @ The Horseshoe

The duo has gained international recognition for their suicidal-sea-critter-inspired albums, Midnight Sun (2014) and The Acoustic Sessions (2010). With the release of their last album it seems Lennon and Kemp are confident in their sound of harmonic, alternative rock with the ‘60s folk vibe. The solidity in their sound clearly comes from the chemistry in their voices in both performance and heard in each track, they are two of the same with different vibes. The connection between the two is possibly one of the bands biggest aid and the biggest challenge.

“Making music with your lover is no moonlit walk on the beach, but that friction is also what leads us to do our best work,” Kemp said.

The couple has been performing since the band’s beginning in 2008 but has recently been making their way across late night talks shows, blogs and even caught a holy recognition from Rolling Stone Magazine which placed, Midnight Sun, at #33 on the best songs of 2014. NPR took notice of the band placing, Too Deep, on the best songs of 2014 mixtape. The band has also made their way through this year’s summer music festival circuit. Playing this year’s Coachella Arts and Music Festival, Kemp described the experience as,”surreal, hectic and, of course, an honor.” CMW, and the upcoming international festivals including side performances with Beck, Santana, and The Flaming Lips. But with all of buzz about the band, the greatest recognition the band has received, according to Muhl, is from the fans. “A homeless guy gave me the knowing nod the other day,” she said.

Sean Lennon

Now the band is bringing their sound that is uniquely dreamlike and a constant comparison and contrast of light and airy tones with heavy guitar, or acoustic with soulful voice to Canadian fans which Kemp describes as,“slightly more educated and cooler than your average human.” GOASTT graced the trendy depths of The Horseshoe Tavern for Canadian Music Week May 8th with a crowd first riled up to see John Lennon’s son, once the band began playing, the focus changed immediately to Kemp as she commanded the stage with her sways and utter confidence. With the band touring the world fans can look forward to an oddball collection of music that creates a world and genre of it’s own, with a simple message to take away from each performance.

“—Robots are going to kill us all one day,” Kemp said

Five Things You Didn’t Know About Skye Wallace

Skye Wallace

Two words come to mind when you hear Skye Wallace, haunting and beautiful. The Canadian artist threads the sounds of the prairies into a one of a kind alternative-folk with a country attitude. Smart lyrics juxtaposed with tones, song titles and melody amplify the thought and skill put into each one of her three albums. Her latest album, Living Parts, is the perfect example of the wit embedded into her style.

“The name, Living Parts, is coupled with the skull on the front cover, a decidedly “dead” imagery.  The juxtaposition represents the life in that which seems dead: the stories in history and the lives and experiences of those who are now dead,” Wallace said. “There’s a beauty there and a gruesome, haunting honesty because the story has ended, but the story might remain to be untold.”

The sound is a soft lyrical focused, instrumental focused piece that utilizes her skill of shining a light on darkness and twists the word into Wallace’s own. With such talent, and much buzz around her, she’s one to discover. Here are five things you didn’t know about the talented beauty.

1. She’s aware of her “sex eyes”

 “I often get real fired up when I perform.  I apologize if I give anyone sex eyes at future shows; it’s my default look when I’m really feeling it and I don’t mean to give you the wrong signals,” Wallace said.

2. Her favourite place to perform is right here in Toronto.

“The Dakota Tavern, by far: great sound, great room, and skulls on the walls,” she said. Her latest performance was at Canadian Music Week, where she rocked the cozy Rivioli stage at the BC showcase alongside the likes of Hot Panda, Gay Ninties and The Boom Booms.
”One of the elements I enjoy most about those types of festivals is the devotion to art for a decided number of days, turning off whatever devices or responsibilities that cloud our minds in “real life”.  It brings out the best in people and this crazy cool community forms.  It makes music come alive,” Wallace said.

3. The worse part of touring for Wallace is,

“eating A&W Fries and not showering”…the best part of touring? “Eating A&W and not showering,”

4. She avoids writing about herself

“There are so many stories from this killer country.  It’s big, it’s beautiful, and it’s chockfull of stories.  It’s also what I know,” Wallace said. ”I tend to write stories about made up characters over writing about myself.  Right now, I’m in the midst of writing a song about a woman with a propensity to kill her various husbands, and my most recent song, War Years, is about using sex as a tool by a Confederate spy in the American Civil War. I like the idea of always incorporating story telling into my work.

5. She’s a secret Punker

Though she describes her sound as, “a dark, hard folk with slices of rock and alt country with a string section,” the performer has a hidden punk rock side to her.

 “Most obviously, a big musical influence in my life is my Newfoundlander roots.  When I explain to listeners this aspect of my heritage, I’m often greeted with an “Ooooooh, of course!” Less obvious in my music is my serious love of punk.  I find that it’s been sneaking a little into newer songs, though.” She said. “I try maintain the philosophy of not trying to sound like something else, and I am always guided by passion and honesty.  But I guess even if I was trying to sound like something else, it’d still be me doing it. There are so many definitions of/ways of going about staying true to who you are.”

CMW: Q&A with Juno Nominated, 1977

A few weeks ago on a, what seems to be rare, sunny Sunday afternoon, I couldn’t be bothered to do much of anything aside from listening to an array of indie videos on Youtube. While I wasted away my me day, the chilled tunes took an interesting turn that had be rushing for my computer screen to see what great concoction was playing. A sweetly bright melody began playing, immediately the song was catchy, but once the singer began I left my thoughts and focused on the uniqueness that is Julie from 1977. The song was called everyday and had been released a few days previous. The sound is a mix of psychedelic indie pop mixed with a dark alternative with some R&B thrown at you every now and again.With the announcement of 1977 performing at Canadian Music Week, The Dakota Tavern May 1st and at Cherry Cola’s on May 5th of course I had to write about the sweetly dark sound that is a great take on ‘60s influenced rock. But who better to explain the sound than the woman herself?

Enjoy my Q&A with Julie from 1977.


Q: How would you describe your sound?

A: Sad songs done happy.

Q: Who are your biggest influences?

A: The Beatles have always been with me.

Q: The EP was inspired by the demolition of your childhood home, what inspired the album?

A: I was reflecting on time, dreams, and relationships.

Q: What is the best part of performing in the city and where is your favourite place to perform?

A: My favourite place to play is my living room. We‘ve got a piano and a drum kit set up in one end of the room so performances can happen at any moment. I’ve been overcoming stage fright so being able to belt it out at home has been helpful because I know the neighbours can hear me and they haven’t complained yet.

Q: The first CD was self-produced, is there anything you’re currently working on for the future? (If so) How will the sound differ or relate to the past works?

A: I’m getting ready to release my third album that I recorded last year. I went into a studio to record and worked with two producers for this one. It’s spashly, crashy, complicated and simple all at the same time. I love it!

Q: What can fans look forward to when seeing you perform at Canadian Music Week?

A: Songs they haven’t heard yet. We’ll play some old ones but mostly we’ll be playing songs from the album that’s coming out later this summer.

CMW: Key into the ’60s inspired sound of Elephant Stone

Elephant Stone is by far the most interesting band you’ll hear at Canadian Music Week. The sitar-inspired psychedelic rock by Rishi Dhir (vocals, bass, sitar, keys) Miles Dupire (drums backing vox) and Gabriel Lambert (guitar, and keys) is what gives Elephant Stone their unique and eccentric sound. The band began in 2006 when Dhir left his old band the High Dials. Though Dhir says their music isn’t genre specific, there isn’t another band quite like them out there. The band’s upcoming performance on May 8th at Hard Luck Bar is sure to leave crowds with a healthy sense of the bands style. The sound is a throwback to the ‘60s with a modern-pop twist. The peppy melodies and chilled vibe of Elephant Stone has caught the attention of media outlets across the world and has granted them the privilege to tour internationally. The hippy-vibe is the bands large focus, despite Dhir admitting that he doesn’t find their sound that “genre-specific”.

“I write pop songs first and foremost… the rest is just window dressing,” Dhir said. After a family trip to India in 1997 was where Dhir first picked up the skill of playing sitar, since then he has become one of the worlds most desired sitar players and has toured with musicians including Beck. At their upcoming performance, the band expects the audience to take “peace” away from their showcase and absorb the “influence of heart and soul” that the band tries to incorporate into their music.

“We’ve been lucky and fortunate to have people around the world that actually value our music,” said Dhir. “The challenge would be ensuring those people know they are all valued and loved.”