To release a new single every month for a year is a massive undertaking, one that many acts would buckle from due to pressure, but Oh Wonder have not only successfully taken on the task but they've done so with grace.

The London-based duo are an act that live up to their name. They're also two of the most ambitious creative around, which is immediately what Ken Grand-Pierre learned when he sat down with both Anthony West and Josephine Vander Gucht to find out what inspired this project and what they hope to achieve.

First off, congrats on the first live show! How did it go?

Josephine: Thank you! It went brilliantly. We had been waiting for a year to perform these songs on stage, and it was such a magical and overwhelming experience to have a room of 800 people singing along with us for our first ever shows. We felt so connected and alive.

I read about you lot on The Guardian earlier this year, and it was one of those instances where I had to do a double-take. To release a new single every month on SoundCloud for a year? What inspired that idea?

Anthony: The monthly releases were simply a way for us to build up a showreel of songs over a year. Oh Wonder was intended to be a side project - merely a way of showcasing our songwriting abilities with a view to helping us get onto more writing sessions. The monthly output was a way of implementing structure and routine and forcing us both to write and share a song every month.

How have the logistics of doing this clashed with the expectations? Or has it been a smooth affair?

Anthony: It's actually been an incredibly easy process, and we didn't have any problems throughout the writing process. We set out with no expectations, and to be sitting here a year on, holding an album in our hands is seriously amazing and surprising for us!

How did you two meet and what made you want to form Oh Wonder?

Anthony: We met through mutual friends at gigs and found ourselves on a recording session about four years ago, when I was recommended to Josephine as a producer for her solo material. We instantly connected over shared favourite artists, and started writing songs together for fun. We wrote our first Oh Wonder song, 'Body Gold', nearly two years ago. We held it close, waiting for an outlet to release it: Oh Wonder was finally that outlet. We just had to wait a while to ensure that we both had the headspace and energy to balance another musical project.

Do you feel where you come from has informed the way you write music? Has your location ever inspired the way you write music?

Josephine: For sure. The city is electric, and difficult, and totally harnesses all the wonderful and dismal things about life in one giant territory. Our album's narratives and themes explore that hopelessness, loneliness and apathy versus the need for aspirations, solidarity and communities.

What were the early conversations like when it came to recording these songs? Do you feel that you both meshed well when it came to your ideas of what you wanted to achieve?

Anthony: We definitely clicked on the overall feel and sound of the songs. As a classical pianist, Josephine wanted them to be really piano-heavy, but left me to work my magic on the intricacies and layered sounds of the production. We never really discussed what we wanted our "sound" to be - it naturally emerged and it has elements of both of us in it.

Were these songs created with the single-by-single release in mind or were they created with being an album in mind

Anthony: They were definitely created as 15 individual songs, and we partially see the album as a collection of songs we wrote in a year. It's not a stereotypical record - we've had absolutely no perspective on it, which is the only downside to making an album this way. You get four weeks to write, record and release an album track, and you're essentially making the final one a whole year apart from the first one. But on the flipside it means that we are really attached to each individual song, and are really proud of each song, as they are little reminders of the time in our lives when we wrote them.

What's really struck a chord with me is how minimalistic the songs are, yet how full they are at the same time. I'd be baffled if anyone were to compare you guys to the likes of say The xx, because to me I can hear things such as James Blake and even Ellie Goulding almost (in terms of production). The word 'modern' can be pretty decisive, but the music of Oh Wonder feels just that to me, very 'modern'. Do you feel the songs you've written have been informed by the world around you, in terms of the music around you?

Josephine: That is very kind of you; we adore James Blake and Ellie Goulding and it's a privilege to be even mentioned alongside such original and creative artists. We both grew up listening to the classic songwriting heavyweights - Joni Mitchell, Elton John, Cat Stevens, James Taylor. As artists, they wrote impeccable songs and recorded them in their most pure form. Nothing can beat Joni Mitchell's voice and an acoustic guitar. It's funny you say that our sound is 'modern', because in our eyes, we wanted to return to the purest sense of a "song" - catchy melodies, meaningful lyrics and simple musical accompaniment. That's why the production is so minimal. We wanted the actual songwriting to translate and connect with people, rather than the production.

My favourite single so far has been 'Lose It'. That to me is such a brave track, there's so much going on yet it never feels overbearing or testing. How did that tune come together?

Josephine: That's one of our favourites too, and one we are most proud of. Josephine wrote these amazing jazzy piano chords, and together we wrote the verse and pre-chorus melodies and lyrics and were really excited by it. We immediately sent it to our managers, and they were like "it's cool, but there's something missing," although none of us knew what it was. It was much later when we realised it needed that 'Lose it, lose it, lose it, we gotta lose it!" section with the funky bass riff. Anthony was in the studio, and I was at home, and we had a moment of inspiration and starting singing bass lines down the phone and screaming "LOSE IT" to each other in a state of mad excitement that we had found the missing piece of the puzzle.

One of the great things about doing such a thing is it helps you to conjure an aspect of anticipation and it makes the fans of your music constantly responsive.

Anthony: Definitely. It felt like our fans were waiting for each track as much as we were, so it felt like the whole process was a collaborative process between us and the people that were listening. They were waiting and we were creating. There was such a sense of momentum and community.

Was the fact that you'd be doing shows after releasing all these tunes at all inform how you aimed to write music?

Anthony: We never anticipated that we'd be performing shows, so it wasn't until a couple of months ago that we even entertained the idea of taking these songs to the stage. They were wholly written and recorded as studio recordings. It's been lovely re-imagining the songs for a live setting, because it means we can infuse lots of musicality and jam sections into the tunes.

How have you prepared for these shows throughout the year?

Anthony: We have been rehearsing for the past four weeks with our two friends Yves and Frank, who are joining us on bass and drums respectively. We were all itching to perform by the end of the month, so these forthcoming shows have arrived at the perfect time. For us, the live show is brimming with energy, because at its core, it is four musicians playing on stage together.

What's the dynamic like for you two when you're in the studio?

Josephine: Generally Anthony is wired on his eighth coffee of the day, and then I'm going caffeine-free and trying to snooze on the sofa! But it's great. We bounce off each other and run absolutely everything past each other. Recording the vocals is so special; it's one of the most intimate things you can do. There were a few occasions when we quietly cried to ourselves when we recording the vocals. You definitely give a piece of yourself over to the song and the music; it's really powerful.

I can honestly say, that this is one of my favourite releases of the year. It's...a package, but a very eclectic one. People can read about you two and think 'ok, they released songs for a year, cool' but what's really startling is at the end of the day, you guys do have songs. You actually have the songs to back up your aspirations and it's quite inspiring to see. I'm curious, did anyone get to hear the finished product (the debut album) while you were releasing songs? (such as friends and family).

Josephine: We obviously wrote each track on the album every month, so no one really got to hear the album until we had finished it and presented it to the world. But there are five people that we relied on to offer opinions and ideas throughout the whole process. Our two managers, my parents and my brother heard every song each month and were so helpful in adding the finishing touches and responding to what we had made. We did absolutely everything ourselves with these songs, so it was a pleasure to have a small group of non-musical ears to bounce ideas off.

One of the things that made me gravitate towards your music is how it feels so honest to me. There are moments of cleverness, in the lyrics, but as a whole these songs are fully direct. Do you feel that that was an important aspect to get across? That at the end of the day these songs are experiences as a whole?

Anthony: We wanted to write about experiences and emotions that were meaningful and relevant to us. Writing a song is obviously one of the most cathartic experiences you can have, so it was inevitable that our songs would reveal themselves to be honest and direct conversations between the two of us. That said, we love that the listener can interpret each song and carve their own meaning from the lyrics. That's what music is about; it creates a very personal and interpretative soundtrack to your life.

'The Rain' is also a beautiful track, especially how your voices come together. The dual vocals throughout the singles is prominent but there's something about 'The Rain''s build up that's just fucking grand. How did that tune come together?

Anthony: Perhaps the reason our dual vocals shines in 'The Rain' is because the actual song is a one-sided conversation between two people who have given everything they have to one another, every last ounce of their love, and now they are empty and hollow. It's such a powerful feeling, and so important. That build up tried to encapsulate that absolute terror when you realise that you have loved someone so hard that you have nothing left. Love is like that though; you either have to give someone or something 100%, or let them go. It's an emotion you can't do half-heartedly. You can't love someone with half a heart, because that's just a broken heart right? (This is deep).

Lastly, when it comes to evolving from this point, what's something you'd love to see Oh Wonder achieve?

Josephine: Firstly, it's so important to be overtly ambitious. No one ever got anywhere without having a dream, some faith and the intent to work your arse off to achieve it. Belief and perseverance are so important. But to answer your question, we have a ton of aspirations. In the short term, we'd love to fulfill our commitments to tour these songs around the world. The two shows we played this week revealed to us the power music has to connect and comfort people, and we're so excited to get on the road. We would also relish the opportunity to write and release a second album, and approach it in a more traditional way. A Grammy wouldn't be a bad thing either. We can all dream...