After British indie-rock band, The Wombats, were formed by three lads at the Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts in 2003, frontman Matthew “Murph” Murphy, drummer Dan Haggis and bassist Tord Øverland Knudsen went on to create three albums.
By Miranda Chiechi
Their latest one, “Glitterbug,” was released last year. The trio just finished up their “Glitterbug” tour in January. The band has since played several festivals across Europe, Australia, Canada and the U.S. Their next stop is ACL weekend two, where the group will reveal “Glitterbug” hits like “Greek Tragedy” and “Give Me a Try” to Austinite fans for the first time.
Although hailing from across the pond, “Glitterbug” was inspired by the time the band spent in Los Angeles. While Murphy was in California writing lyrics, Haggis and Knudsen remained in Liverpool, focusing on instrumentation. After working on different continents for most of the time, their third creation came together. The album started off based on a fictional woman, who became a reality by the end of the making of Glitterbug.
Lead singer Murph spoke to ORANGE about coming back to Austin, modern day love and what’s coming up next for The Wombats.
First I wanted to ask you about coming to ACL this year. I saw you came to ACL in 2012. Are you excited to be back in Austin and what are you most excited for?
Even before ACL, we played SXSW a couple of times and Austin was one of the first places we played outside of the U.K. — actually one of the first places we ever played in the U.S. — so we love it there and we have an amazing time. We can't wait to be back.
How has the tour been so far and what have been some of your favorite moments?
This year, touring has been kind of weird because it's been really choppy and we have been flying back to the U.K. and then flying back to the U.S., but I think the biggest highlight for me was Reading and Leeds Festival in the U.K. We hadn't played in the U.K. in a while and we had no idea or preconceptions of what it was going to be like. It was probably two of the best shows we've ever done and the crowds were just insane. I mean they were with us on every single song and I think it really rejuvenated the whole Wombats cap which was great. And, obviously all the other shows have been awesome. We're in Des Moines and looking forward to coming and wrapping it all up in Houston.
Regarding the newest album, “Glitterbug”, I read that you said your greatest strength is writing about romance and failings of modern relationships. So how do you consider yourself fitting into relationships of today's society? Do you consider yourself a romantic, old fashioned or fitting in well with modern day love?
I suppose I probably am kind of a bit of a softie, romantic when it comes to it. It's probably the offshoot of being an only child, but I think it's really necessary to be that as a songwriter. All the songwriters that I revere, there's ones who essentially are romantics, so I mean that's a compliment for them, I view.
How do you feel about “Glitterbug,” in comparison to your older albums?
It's very difficult for me to compare them, especially at this point, because “Glitterbug” has just stopped touring, but I kind of need the dust to settle a bit before I start comparing them. They're all three very different albums to make. But I think “Glitterbug” is the right chapter my thoughts have made after [past albums]. “This Modern Glitch,” but obviously “A Guide To Love, Lost and Desperation” were the most fun. But I probably think that the songwriting on Glitterbug is stronger.
What do you guys enjoy doing the most when you're not writing or making music?
I'm going to enjoy not making music for awhile and I'm just going to kind of relax, play golf and try to get my creative juices flowing again.
How do you like the festival environment compared to the environment of a single concert?
Festival environments are kind of more “flying by the seat of your pants,” which once you get used to, I think it's actually probably more fun doing your own show because your own show is kind of like a controlled environment and you feel relatively safe going on stage. You know everything's going to work and it's all going to be good, but I feel like, at the moment, I probably prefer the festivals.
How did you come up with the name The Wombats?
That's a question that you'll have to ask Mr. Daniel Haggis, but there was absolutely no thought put into it. We went with it and it's kind of growing truer by age and we never changed it.
Are you guys working on any more new stuff at the moment?
There's a few things in the pipeline, but, we'll be thinking seriously about that stuff next year.
Anything you'd like to add?
We are just really excited to be coming to Austin and hanging out with y'all.