Q & A: OONA’s Oona Garthwaite on her band’s origins and her musical upbringing
May 24, 2013
Written by Roman Gokhman
Prior to her band OONA’s show with Midi Matilda and Holychild last week, The Bay Bridged chatted with opener Oona Garthwaite.
The Bay Bridged: Your song “Metropolis” was just played on So You Think You Can Dance, and it wasn’t even your first one to make it on that show. How did all that come about?
Oona Garthwaite: First you have to know Dave Tweedie who is my better half, particularly in music. He and I started working together four years ago, and he was producing some singer-songwritery stuff. Then we did a song he was writing for that show. The choreographer picked up this song and just ran with it, and all of a sudden, it changed the whole project. It was very early on. That sort of informed the kind of music we were making. It definitely brought us a lot closer together than we would have been otherwise. We haven’t had anything on that show since then. (Tweedie) maintained friendships with the supervisor over there. We sent her the record we just put out a month ago (Flying at the Sun). They loved it and pitched it to their producers, and the producers liked that song…
TBB: It’s a catchy song.
Garthwaite: It’s funny you say that because it doesn’t really have a chorus. It’s like a verse and two bridges and another verse.
TBB: I’ve read how you grew up in a pretty musical family, and your father and his sister were in a band together.
Garthwaite: My dad’s a musician and his sister, Terry Garthwaite, were in a band called The Joy of Cooking. It was a big band in the Bill Graham era and the Winterland era of the San Francisco music scene. My dad was raised by the hippie movement in some ways; it’s like a deep part of my musical background.
TBB: How did you and Dave meet and how did OONA come about?
Garthwaite: His long-time cowriter was fixed up with a friend of mine. They were musicians, and she took me to a show because she knew I wanted to start working with other musicians. I was doing singer-songwriter stuff (at the time), and it was pretty downcast, and aggressive, defensive, and all that. Dave and I have written a lot of music together, a lot of different kinds of music together. He earns his living as a producer-writer. I’m very luck to work with him, but I’m also lucky to be one of his passion projects. All the orchestrations, everything you hear, he played on the record. I wrote lyrics, and we wrote a lot of melodies together.
TBB: Here’s a question courtesy of a fan, through Twitter. What is your favorite mythical creature?
Garthwaite: I like wicked witches in general. I think that they’re a great inspiration for little girls all over the world.
TBB: The Wizard of Oz kind?
Garthwaite: Sure, Wizard of Oz, Snow White. People have reasons for being cruel, and it helps you understand so you don’t take it so personally.