The Oh Hello’s are brother and sister duo Tyler and Maggie Heath from southern Texas. The two began making music together in 2011 with a song written for their mother’s birthday. Later that year they self-produced, an eponymous independently released EP.
The pair are back touring the UK following the release of their latest album Dear Wormwood, a collection of songs inspired in part by C.S. Lewis’ The Screwtape Letters and Patrick Rothfuss’ The Name of the Wind, will feature in the line-up of the already sold-out Green Man Festival on August 20.
Andy Howells recently put questions to Maggie Heath.
How did you first start out in music?
We grew up in a household that encouraged creativity, so it feels like we have always been doing music, really. As far as The Oh Hellos specifically, though, Tyler and I had decided to write a song for our mother’s birthday many years ago, marking the first time that we had ever intentionally collaborated on a musical project together (up until then, it had mostly consisted of our parents strong-arming us to play piano duets at family reunions).
Who or what has inspired you most on your musical journey?
There have been so many! Some are musical — like Sufjan Stevens and Fleets Foxes, to name a few– and some are not quite so tangible, such as the way the air feels when summer turns into fall, and the deep-seated wander sickness it gives you when you feel it.
Can you give us some background about your latest release?
Dear Wormwood was largely inspired by The Screwtape Letters, written by C.S. Lewis, in which a demon in the higher ranks of hell writes advice to his nephew on how best to lead his human prey astray. The book, although entirely fiction, offers a unique perspective on many deep theological issues, and has long inspired both of us to ask the heavy questions regarding life and faith. Much like the books, we wrote Dear Wormwood as a series of letters to our own personal demons as though they were an abusive lover, of whom we were finally mustering the courage to leave.
You’re touring shortly are you looking forward to that?
Yes! And a bit no. It can be very exhausting to uproot yourself for so long, and under such strenuous circumstances as tour. But there’s also a sort of “aliveness” that you only really experience in the places of the world you don’t belong to, and that is definitely worth the weariness. We also have never gotten to play in the UK before, so we are definitely excited to meet everyone who have waited so patiently for us to come visit! But then again, planes are scary…
What are you looking forward to most about playing Green Man Festival?
Diving headfirst into THE GREAT UNKNOWN
What do you enjoy most about the Festival audiences?
I feel like festival audiences are very forgiving in the best way. Most people who go to festivals are looking to dance around and have a good time, which is precisely what we are looking for, too!
What are you enjoying listening to at the moment?
We had the pleasure of playing a festival with The Alabama Shakes last week, and have had their newest release Sound and Color on repeat in the vans ever since. I feel like their front woman Brittany Howard is just the embodiment of rock n’ roll.
What else have you got planned for the rest of the year?
Tour-tour-tour-holiday-tour-Christmas-sleep for a month. Hopefully, at least some of that touring can showcase the Christmas EP we released three years ago but never really got to perform, but we haven’t quite gotten to planning much of that yet.