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Photo: John Hutchings

Interview: Matthew Murphy of The Wombats

2018 will mark a lot of significant anniversaries in the music world, 10, 15, 20 year anniversaries of some very significant albums, and band formations. One of those big anniversaries is the 15th anniversary of when the members of UK indie rockers The Wombats first met and formed their band.

Matthew Murphy, Todd Overland Knudsen, and Dan Haggis met in 2003 at the Liverpool Institute of Performing arts, and began making music together under the moniker The Wombats. By 2006 they had a collection of tracks they would put out via Japan only release, titled “Girls, Boys, and Marsupials.”

Not long after, in 2007 they, decided to go global and release a proper debut album “A Guide to Love, Loss & Desperation” and from there things took off. Their debut would climb all the way to number 11 on the UK albums chart, and to date is their only full length record to not crack the top 10.

Eight years, and two albums later, The Wombats found themselves as one of the UK’s most popular exports in the indie rock genre, followed around by an intently loyal fan base. Now as we turn the calender over to 2018, The Wombats are gearing up to release their fourth studio album, called “Beautiful People Will Ruin Your Life” due out February 9th via Kobalt Music Group. Before the album comes out, The Wombats have made their way to the US to play some special, intimate venue shows for their die-hard US fans.

I spoke with Wombats frontman Matthew Murphy about the new album, their upcoming tour, and what he thinks of their long standing success.

First off, let’s talk about the new album, “Beautiful People Will Ruin Your Life” why’d you pick that title?

“I was thinking about what inspires me to write music, and it made me realize that I’m a bit of an empath. I just kind of absorb other people’s bullshit and other people’s problems and I feel quite in tune with other people’s emotions and whatever they’ve got going on, and for the most part that can be kind of directly negative toward me, but at the same time it gives me inspiration to create.”

What else inspires you?

“I play a lot of golf, which is kind of a meditation for me almost, it’s really helpful, I work out a lot, traveling generally just meeting people and traveling are what inspire me most when I’m writing. I just kind of think about what resonates with me as a person and usually whatever does, kind of works in our songs”

When you were writing the album, was is a collaborative effort, or did you each kind of do your own thing and bring it together as a whole?

“I wrote three fourths of the album in Los Angeles, and then we did four songs together – well five songs, but four made the album – in Oslo, and then we got together to record everything together in London”

So what should people be expecting from this record?

“My goal for this album was really to create something a bit more organic, less synth driven, less produced really, I kind of wanted to make an album that at least had the chance of being timeless, and not become outdated so in those terms, it’s less production, less synthesizers, less wizardry and more focus on real instruments”

So it’s going to be a bit more like you’re first album than your other two?

“Well it’s definitely not like the first album, on this one I wanted to do something that a bit more swagger and was a bit more confident and sure of itself. Whereas our first album is quite literally three kids screaming like a Yorkshire Terrier, so in that sense it’s not really like the first album, but in terms of the arrangement and instrumentation of it, yes.”

So then content wise, would you said it builds off your two most recent than?

“Yeah I’d say so, I think it’s kind of a transition forward, yeah.”

Now how about in a live setting, you guys are back in the states for a new tour, what should people expect when coming out?

“We’ll just kind of be trekking on as we always are, our live shows always kind of take on a life of their own and we never really know what’s gonna happen, but we’re really excited for our US tour and subsequent UK tour, it’s gonna be kind of a crazy year”

You mentioned how on your first album you were just kids screaming, do you ever just sort of look back and find yourself surprised by what the band has become over the last 15 years?

I honestly had no idea what was going on back with that first album, it did really well in the UK and Europe and was more on the second album where I got a chance to look at everything and think to myself ‘well shit, there’s a lot happening, how are we gonna do this?’ But that first record I had no idea we would ever have a career this long, one part of me is shocked because of the amount of touring we’ve been doing and the shit that we’ve been through, it’s amazing, we’re sort of relentless like animals I suppose”

Just like Womabts!

(laughs) “Yeah!”

The Wombats play the Paradise Rock Club in Boston, MA on Saturday, January 13th at 7pm. The show is currently sold out, but keep an eye out for some tickets to be released or catch them at another show at one of the following dates:

Jan. 15 – Chapel Hill, NC – Cat’s Cradle
Jan. 16 – Atlanta, GA – Centerstage
Jan. 18 – St. Louis, MO – The Pageant
Jan. 19 – Kansas City, MO – The Truman
Jan. 22 – Denver, CO – Gothic Theatre
Jan. 23 – Salt Lake City, UT – Rockwell Room
Jan. 25 – Los Angeles, CA – The Fonda
Jan. 26 – Santa Ana, CA – The Observatory
Jan. 27 – San Francisco, CA – The Fillmore
Jan. 29 – Portland, OR – Wonder Ballroom
Jan. 30 – Vancouver, BC – Venue
Jan. 31 – Seattle, WA – The Showbox

Tickets as well as other worldwide dates can be found HERE.

To pre-order The Wombats new studio album, “Beautiful People Will Ruin Your Life” visit their Official Website.

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