Interview: The Wombats: “Hitting golf balls on the moon with large pink wigs on”
Not many people can say that their job focuses on “rooms and fields filled with people singing along and maybe even dancing and sweating a little,” and even less can say that their aspirations look to “hitting golf balls on the moon with large pink wigs on” within the next eight years.
Joking aside, this is the life that Liverpudlian trio The Wombats leads with little hesitation after releasing their third album. New LP Glitterbug sets out to tell the story of a fictional LA relationship over 11 tracks, which drummer Daniel Haggis describes as “the closest we’ve come to capturing our band as we want it to sound so far.”
This doesn’t seem to be an ill-judged statement for attention. The themes coming from the band surrounding the new release suggest that they feel Glitterbug is exactly what they needed, even if it wasn’t planned from the start. Dan said: “We didn’t have a master plan set out from the start of the writing process, we prefer to have a blank canvas and see what comes out.
“After about 7 months of writing we made Your Body Is A Weapon which felt like a sonic starting point for the album. After this song Murph started spending more time in LA so myself and Tord started sending musical ideas and sketches over to Murph (and vice versa) which was a slightly new way of working for us, so the sound and direction of the album took a slightly unexpected detour.”
With a new focused sound comes a new feel to the material the band are producing, both musically and the image the band looks to send out. Naturally new album artwork but a new website and logo show an overhaul of Wombats mainstays of eight years.
Dan said: “Well the album is all about romance (new thriving relationships, old withering ones), big cities and all the success and hope, failure and desperation that get mixed up under the neon lights so we wanted an image that conjured up some of these themes. The artist we used came up with a few amazing images and logos and we chose our favourites.”
Yet these changes had to stem from somewhere. “The 2nd album, This Modern Glitch, which was recorded mostly in LA with several producers in big fancy studios whereas this album was partly recorded in Liverpool in our little studio (The Burrow).
“We then took all the rough versions of the songs to Mark Crews’ even smaller studio down in London and either finished them off or re-recorded everything depending on what the song needed. We were definitely more hands on with the production side of this album having learnt from some of the great producers we’ve worked with over the years.”
Something that seems to be important to the band is the way they use contributors when producing any sort of material. This is evident in the music video for lead single Greek Tragedy. Showing at times graphic images, Dan explains where the ideas came from.
“We wanted a video with a story and a climatic ending worthy of a Greek Tragedy and when the director, Finn Keenan, came up with this idea, we all loved it.
“The last image really sold it to us and getting to experience our gory deaths on-screen with fake blood and prosthetics was so much fun!”
The Wombats aren’t scared to allow creative input from anywhere if they feel it’s worthwhile for their own improvement as a band.
Now in the heart of a British tour, Dan reflected on the new album was going down to live audiences. “I’ve particularly been loving playing Emoticons at the shows recently, but it’s too hard to choose one favourite.”
The tour’s final UK date stops at Newcastle’s O2 Academy. When asked about Newcastle, Dan said: “It’s a great vibrant city, not too dissimilar from Liverpool so we feel very at home there.”
Without taking brash decisions or jerking steps forward, The Wombats have produced an album that they appear to genuinely love. Yet, what comes clear from their output, is The Wombats ability to do things vastly different every time, and will always keep their fans on their toes. As Dan says… “Wombats do cubic shaped poo.”