By Liam Prost
Disclosure: Roots editor Liam Prost is a Calgary Folk Music Festival employee.
CALGARY — Oh Pep! are young guns. Endlessly touring their sonorous chamber pop, they have finally decided that “now is the time” to drop their debut full-length Stadium Cake. This sounds like a momentous first step for a band, but they’ve already been playing together for five years. Oh Pep! have opted for a patient approach to make sure that they dropped the record “when we felt we were ready for it.”
At the heart, the band is two women, Olivia Hally, the Oh, and Pepita Emmerichs, the Pep! Olivia belts the quippy lyrics and methodically strums an acoustic guitar while Pepita adds texture and melody on violin and mandolin. They also add an assortment of other instrumentation to the stage and the record to add resonance and class to already lovable songs.
BeatRoute talked to both Pepita and Olivia, who describe of the release strategy, “We made the decision ages ago… It takes a little bit of time to organize who you want to make the record with, make the record” and also have “the right songs.”
Pepita and Olivia originate from Melbourne, Australia, but they actually recorded the record in Nova Scotia with Canadian producer Daniel Ledwell, who produced a few of the artists who will be gracing the stage at Folk Fest, a connection they made through the Folk Alliance circuit in Nashville. The band’s connection with Ledwell has led to an astonishing first record, but also successes that in some ways have outpaced the band itself. Stadium Cake is actually going to be available in North America before it comes out in Australia*, both their country of origin and where they have toured more than anywhere else. Stadium Cake has given BeatRoute some “Crazy Feels,” and we hope you catch them on the side stages of Calgary Folk Fest before they end up literally throwing cakes from stadiums.
Oh Pep! perform at Stage 5 on Saturday, July 23rd at the Calgary Folk Music Festival as well as three workshops on Friday and Saturday.
* July update: This interview was conducted last month. The album’s now out worldwide.