They name themselves after an Australian marsupial but hail from England, so it’s only natural that they pay their respects here
British band The Wombats took their name from Australia and always like to give something back Down Under. That has included enough frequent touring of these parts to see their second album This Modern Glitch debuting at No.2 in Australia in 2011, their highest chart position anywhere in the world to date.
The Wombats were in Townsville performing as part of the Groovin’ the Moo regional festival when they got the good news.
“It was one of our biggest benders,” frontman Matthew “Murph” Murphy recalls.
The trio toured This Modern Glitch relentlessly for three years, with a run of singles including Tokyo (Vampires and Wolves), Techno Fan, 1996 and Jump Into the Fog.
The band also made waves in America, although they remember their US record label showing them a website that detailed how many times their songs had been illegally downloaded in the States.
“Jump Into the Fog was doing 10,000 illegal downloads a day and 2000 legal,” Haggis says.
“That as a ratio is not great. Of course right now if 10,000 people a day are trying to listen to one of our songs it’s still good.”
In between random festivals they recorded third album Glitterbug between Los Angeles, London and Liverpool with producer Mark Crew (Bastille).
Murph started the album’s lyrics writing about a relationship with a fictional woman from LA. Soon he met an actual woman from LA and started an actual relationship with her.
“Yeah, it’s not too ambiguous,” Murph admits of the life-imitating-art album.
Talking about the recording process, the three members swerve off on tangents.
“On the second album we worked with different producers in relatively close succession; on this one we worked with one producer on and off for about a year,” Murph says.
“It was six months,” clarifies Haggis.
“It felt like a decade,” says Murph.
“We were ready to record but it was a waiting game for the producer to be available,” Norwegian-born bassist Tord Overland Knudsen says.
“Just when we were getting in the flow we’d have to stop and pack up the gear and take it back to Liverpool,” Haggis says. “Now the album is about to be released everything feels really positive.”
“I can get back to that place quite easily,” Murph notes.
Now living in LA, when the band weren’t recording in America Murph would record his parts in a studio in LA and send them back to the Wombats’ studio in Liverpool.
“It’s a very efficient way to work,” Haggis says. “Efficient is a very boring word to use. but it worked for us.”
Murph is now loved-up and living in LA, while his band mates remain in the UK.
“I was quite happy to get back to England,” Haggis says.
“There’s some weird sense of it feeling homely, you have to go into a pub and warm up.”
British band The Wombats are headlining Splendour in the Grass this month.