Josephine Vander Gucht and Anthony West are Oh Wonder, one of the biggest musical phenomena of last year. Releasing one tremendous track every month, they made most band’s growth curves look unimpressive in comparison. People like myself got up in the middle of the night to be one of the first to hear each track, captivated by the allure of every smooth note.
All of their shows sold out, they were the second most blogged about band in 2015, and each of their songs hit #1 on hype machine – which means 2016 is going to mean they could possibly move past the indie scene. The craziest part was watching this all unfurl in such a short time.
But before they were Oh Wonder (and before they were Wonder Wonder) they belonged to separate monikers. Here are four different projects that Josephine and Anthony worked on before Oh Wonder. The craziest part is that if you’ve been hanging around Indie Trendsetters long enough, you’ll recognize one of these bands!
This was the first moniker for (surprise surprise) Anthony West, who produced music for a slew of other projects including all the ones we are going to talk about today. His involvement in producing Josephine’s first two other projects is no doubt how they gained such a tight knit relationship, and why they gel so well as Oh Wonder.
We the Wild (UK):
We’ve been following Anthony West as We the Wild for years now. Him and Casey Roarty were the masterminds behind this smashing project all and dang it all if they didn’t make some spectacular music. Their Volume 1. was my personal favourite with “Float” being the chief track among them.
This was Josephine’s first public moniker. She talks a lot in her interviews about growing up playing the piano, and this first project really reflects her love for the instrument. Listening to her as Jose Vanders is a lot like seeing your best friends baby photos; it’s amazing to see how far she has come, but it’s also amazing to see how talented she was from the start.
My personal favourite of Josephine’s two projects, her work as LAYLA is very revealing, in that you can start to hear a lot of Oh Wonder in her work here. She has some brilliant pieces that we will definitely be acquiring for our library right away. “Smokestacks” was her break-away hit and deserves a lot more attention, even if she has moved on.