In a turbulent year for music, The Wombats have thrilled fans with an innovative album recorded remotely from Los Angeles, Oslo, and London. Following the release of this fifth studio album and the announcements of electrifying UK headline tour dates, we had a chat with the indie heroes pushing their electro-pop sound even further this year.
“The fact we were in 3 different cities through a couple of lockdowns definitely had a big impact on both the writing and the recording of the album,” the band begin. “Whether it was lyrical ideas or how we recorded and how things ended up sounding, this was definitely an external factor that influenced the album in one way or another.” They cite Talking Heads, Beck, LCD Soundsystem, lo-fi hip hop, break-beats, grunge, and psychedelia as some of their many sources of inspiration, that bounced around the room as they wrote. “The body of work we had started before lockdown (roughly half of the album) definitely helped to pave the way for the rest of the writing process”, they conclude, describing a chronologically split, yet sonically cohesive final result.
Resilient as ever, the group haven’t let a quiet year for festivals and gigs slow them down. “As well as loving to play live I’ve always been really into the technical side of working in studios,” admits bass player Tord. “I’ve spent a lot of time in the studio playing with sounds … The absence from gigs hasn’t really made me change the way I think about music so much, but has given me some new and useful skills when it comes to creating and recording music!” Calling their fans “The Wombateers”, the band praise how “great” they always are, but admit they have “all missed the gigs and really looking forward to be in the same room again soon”: undoubtedly, fans feel the same.
With a continuously whimsical nature to their music, it remains a testament to their strong identity that this undercurrent has never wavered. “I think the playfulness comes quite naturally from us as people when we work on music”, they explain. “If it doesn’t keep our attention or get us constantly excited we need to change it up or start working on something else. It also comes in handy for our live shows as you were pointing out earlier, but maybe this is more of a subconscious reason for it!”
“I have always felt that music has been a great way to “escape” or forget about your daily worries”, the band continue, in a mantra that has held true for many Wombateers alike, who have turned to the band’s discography during political or social tumult. Speaking on their distance from political involvement, they explain, “it does come to a point where it gets impossible to sit still and not get involved or to speak your mind, but I don’t feel there has been any pressure to do so.”
Listening to the album itself provides a wave of nostalgia and intertwined intrigue: the familiar Wombat sound never wavers, but rather develops in a glorious cacophony of meddled influences. Singling out ‘Method to the Madness’ as a personal favourite of ours, we couldn’t help but ask about the influence of the track itself.
“This is definitely one of the tracks I am the most proud of on the record,” Tord agrees. “I feel like we discovered and covered some new ground both sonically and structurally. We were listening to some lo-fi hip hop in the morning of the session we wrote it and that shines through in the first half. No idea how or when we decided to change it completely for the second part of the song, but it felt bonkers and exciting and also felt like it was supporting the lyrical concept of the song.”
“It’s always fun to play any of the new songs,” the band continue, but highlight ‘Ready for the High’ and ‘People Don’t Change People, Time Does’ as current favourites. These songs, as well as long-standing favourites such as ‘Greek Tragedy’, look set to tear up one of their many upcoming shows, which the band state in their own words should be “a fun and energy fuelled live show with new and old songs and new production that we are really excited about!”
The final note The Wombats want to leave you with? “Can’t wait to be in the same room with all of you legends again!”