Oh Pep!

For fans of:Margaret Glaspy, Lucius, Feist , Sufjan Stevens

Oh Pep! met almost a decade ago, and it was fateful. While attending a performing-arts high school in Melbourne, Australia, mandolin/violinist Pepita Emmerichs happened to walk down a hallway past singer-guitarist Olivia Hally. “We began hanging out,” Olivia recalls, “and immediately started making music together.”Soon after, the indie-pop duo—who are about to release their second full-length, I Wasn’t Only Thinking About You —wrote a list of friend goals that included channeling artists they admire (likeLucinda Williams) and playing Glastonbury. They made it to that festival while while touring their last album, 2016’s Stadium Cake—hand-picked by singer-songwriter Billy Bragg on the strength and charm of their live show. Oh Pep! seem to have that effect on people: NPR’s Bob Boilen once anointed them “infectious”—after seeing them four times in about a month.I Wasn’t Only Thinking About You—produced by Joel Quartermain (Dan Sultan, Meg Mac),alongside mix-engineer Marky Wallis (Talking Heads, REM, U2’s Joshua Tree)—continues to break the hemispherical sound barrier. “Basically, Liv wrote a bunch of hits,” says Pepita. “This album is a darker form of pop than we have played before.” 

The album explores the melody-rich expanse between indie pop and alt-folk,while dipping into themes about growing older while touring the world together.First single, “What’s the Deal With David?,” is born of their sisterly bond. It’s about “that excited energy of two friends talking about their love lives” Olivia says of the bright, irresistible sing-along. Oh Pep!’s anticipated return at once captures their spirit, their curiosity, their imminent likability.Olivia’s solo travels, from summer 2017 to early 2018, shaped the songwriting. She wrote most of the exquisitely harmonic “Nail and Your Hammer” in Nashville, influenced by the city’s love of Americana. “Hurt Nobody” was co-written with Doug Schadt (Maggie Rogers) during a “bomb cyclone” storm in Manhattan. (“A great way of describing the song is that we were in a very warm room, but it was a blizzard outside,” Olivia explains.) And she collaborated in L.A. with Tony Buchan (Mansionair) on the sweetly soaring “Bleeding Hearts.”

Olivia brought the songs back to Melbourne, where Pepita added strings and collaborated on arrangements. “We do some of that stuff in the studio or on the road. And we do some at our homes individually,” Pepita says. “Liv and I like a similar amount of tension and release in our choices of melodies. Most of the time we agree on whatever the other comes up with.”A few years back, Olivia happened to find that list of aspirations they wrote when they were just teens.“We’ve definitely evolved, but our values have remained the same,” she says. “In the early days, we weren’t sure how we were going to tour the world. We were just going with the flow, in a lot of ways. And we still do.”