I was recently on panels for the Guinness Amplify workshops around the country in Galway, Belfast, Dublin and Cork along with some people who have found themselves working in the music industry from people in labels, festivals, managers, radio, publishing, digital strategy and more.
The workshops were set up so that musicians could ask the panel specific questions: either open-ended or targeted to one person. When you’re talking to a room of eager musicians with wide-eyes seeking answers, it’s easy to forget the fundamentals, or state the obvious and that is that the most important thing, before all of the label interest, blog coverage, radio play, festival booking, synch deals or Facebook likes, is that A GREAT SONG, or preferably GREAT SONGS, will kickstart all of the above.
Unfortunately it’s the hardest thing of all to do. All of the other skills can be learned but writing a good song is an a alchemic combination of knowledge, experience, chance and talent: impossible to describe, harder to attain. That’s why it’s art.
In these panels, I referenced the music of Oh Wonder as an example of a band who simply let the music speak for itself. The London band are not doing press or interviews, we don’t even know their names or much else beyond that they are a London-based writing duo writing a song a month for twelve months.
They released their first song, ‘Body Gold’ on September 1st and have quietly released a track on the first of each month since. In between, they had to change their name from Wonder Wonder to Oh Wonder.
Each of the songs have some of that musical magic in them: well-written melodic dual vocals with sparse, piano, bright yet spacious production and a generally slow air. The songs so far, are largely about relationships or life in general ( “I’ve given all my love to you,” / “before you came round / my heart would never beat much faster,” / “my wave / my shark / my demon in the dark / the blue tide pulling me under” / “All we do is chase the day / all i did was fail today” ).
Each successive song ‘Shark’, ‘Dazzle’, ‘All We Do’ and the latest ‘The Rain’ have reinforced their identity and set them up as masters of their craft. Real songs for real people.
So, five reasons why Oh Wonder are the best new band around right now?
They are all the same reason. Great songs dudes. Get on it: