Few hours before their set at the Dome stage at Solidays, the three members of the english indie rock band took some times to hang with us.
Hi guys! How are you?
Matthew Murphy (vocals/guitar/keyboards) : Very good thank you, how are you?
Good. How goes the tour so far?
Dan Haggis (drums) : We’re not really on tour at the moment, we’re writing our third album so we’re doing a few festivals this summer. For us, when we think about being a tour, it means that we do 6 gigs a week for a year.
Tord Øverland Knudsen (bass) : Now it’s 6 gigs for the whole summer!
D : One of our crew members is getting married next week, so you know we can bargain work and play, and so this is like (?)
Happy to be back in Paris?
M : Yes, very happy! Last time we played was in 2011…
T : We love it here, it’s great!
D : I live here half the time, I’ve got a flat with my girlfriend in Stalingrad.
Since you have played for the Olympics Games, nothing more can scares you anymore. How did you feel about playing at a worldwide event?
M : It was great, I mean…
D : It was 4 billion people.
M : I don’t think it was quite the world but it was a great opportunity for us and we played kinda 4-5 songs to lots of Liverpuldiens so it was a good fun, very very celebratory.
D : Just by the live building, it was really picturesque. It was a free festival so it was await like everyone involved… It was great to be a part of. Robert de Niro came!
You’re playing today at the Solidays. Do you know the message behind this festival?
D : The fighting against AIDS.
What’s your concern with this cause?
M : I don’t want to get AIDS! (laugh)
D : No I mean it’s obviously a great thing for us to be a part of, I know all the money from all the tickets is going to everywhere in the world, for research for example.
According to you, do you think music can have an impact on people or change their mentalities?
D : Yeah of course. Honestly events like this, it gets a lot of medias attention, and obviously everyone here wants to have a good time but there’s an underline support and I just raise and understand the media among, you know I guess there are a lot of young people here and hopefully they get the message, they need to get aware of it. So yeah our music is a very powerful tool to people’s thoughts.
M : Festivals as living proofs!
The Solidays’s motto is “In Love We Trust”. Do you believe in the power of love?
M : Yeah but I’m not sure if I trust it! (laugh)
For you, what is the message you want to send through your shows or your music?
M : There’s quite a few! When you come to a Wombats show you primarly go to have a great time and to dance around and to not care about anything anymore.
D : Just to live the moment.
M : So it’s fun but when it’s underlying a kind of slighty moral, kind of dramatic messages maybe of how life can sometimes be shit but you have to kind of get on with it and laugh on it.
Do you consider yourself as an engaged band?
M : Within political messages? No.
Speaking about the band, could you tell us the story behind your name whose refers to a little marsupial ?
D : Yeah, right! As most bands you need a name on the first poster and on the first gig you play. Unfortunately I just said « Oh just put The Wombats for now, we don’t have a name! ». They were like « You’re joking? » and we said we would change it but… we never did. That’s shit! *collective laughs* But we’ve grown to love it and embrace it.
In 2008, you made a song called “Let’s Dance to Joy Division”, what means Joy Division to you?
M : It’s not really about the band, it’s more about the memories that I have attached to the band, you know. That song’s about kind of, when we first started, going to indie clubs in Liverpool because there were many at the time. It’s kind of a… I don’t know, it reminds me of nights like that and obviously I love Joy Division and that whole kind of Factory Records scene in Manchester and stuff. Joy Division reminds me of having a lot of fun although the music’s probably never designed to do.
D : It’s kind of a signature I guess. At gigs people dance to the songs but when you listen to the lyrics and stuff, it’s not necessarily very gay…
You’ve been in the music business for 10 years now, what’s your point of view on today’s industry? Especially with the internet boom, the crisis…
T : It’s even harder being in a band now I think, it’s much harder to get a break… It’s obviously with the Internet, you can reach out to lot more people.
M : I think it’s kind of, nowadays, because of the Internet that the music industry is flooded with lots of talents and creative types that become art and break through into it. Thankfully we came up a time where it was just time to move on to that.
D : But obviously it still comes down to if you’ve got good songs and you’ve got a good work and you’re prepared to put the work on, then it’s kind of increases but at the same time, there are still a lot of bands that are making great albums, touring in the world and all the rest of it. You can be very successful even with everything that’s going on, the decline of CDs and stuff… It’s still a great industry to be a part of because live music is more important than ever. We like touring so it’s great for us!
Do you think that the economic model will change again? Will it be better or worse?
D : I think we’re in the transition that I have been in for nearly 10 years. It kinda started with people just downloading on appstores and not reallt thinking about it, and now everyone is aware of … it can kill the industry by downloading illegally. The young generation is coming through, they are aware of it. Doing something about it is another thing but I’m sure they’re coming to (?) and it will be fine. Music will always be there, it’s never gonna go away. I figured it out somehow so I’m positive for it all. As long as we’re coming around and make people dance we’ll be happy.
Many people say that today, money only comes by touring and selling merch, is that your case too?
M : The majority of money is from live income.
D : I guess every band is different but we do play sometimes 200+ gigs a year, we play a lot so it’s definitely very important for us. Of course if you’re signed to a major record label you still get some money from them but for us it’s not the case.
M : We don’t get to make any money on albums sales but radio play publishing with adverts and stuff, the only way to raise money if you don’t like touring…
Let’s talk about albums. There’s quite a noticeable difference between your first and second album. Do you ever feel that a reinvention of your sound is sometimes necessary?
M : I don’t see that big of a difference to be honest, to me they’re kind of big pop songs with weird lyrics on both albums really and I think we’re just a bit bored of the format that we had previously. We wanted to change it up and add more things and make it sonically different, which I think we’ll always want to do, we don’t want to make the same things twice.
T : To not get bored I think you need challenge. Every song is different, really.
M : Literally two weeks ago we did a song that was like a quite heavy rock song with heavy riffs and the last song we did was quite electro pop to be honest, even with a 80s vibe in it. We just like to approach songs as we feel it, it’s gonna make the song the best it can possibly be.
You’re focused on the songs you’re creating, not imagining the big picture of the album then…
D : No we worry about that way more than the record! (laugh) But you know even on the second album there are songs that are really different to other songs. In the context of the album you need some evolution and change. It makes it a much more interesting album. I think that’s why it’s good that we just go song by song and see how we feel in time. There’s always a common element within, I think they can all go together and it’s gonna make it a much interesting album.
We heard that you are working on the third record. Are you about to get into the studio?
M : We’ve been working on our third album since Christmas. It’s going well and quite fast, we’ve got a variety of different songs, we just need to keep going for a few moments I think and then hopefully record it.
D : We’re gonna go back to Los Angeles with Eric Valentine that we’ve recorded some of the second album with and we get along really well with him. It’s great.
Can you tell us more about this new album?
D : Not really… We’re very happy with how it is going so far, we’re very excited to get to record it, to let people hear the songs and get back on the road and play them…
M : It’s probably more a beat than our second album.
Are you going to take a new direction for this album?
T : I’d say it’s like the best songs from the first and the second you know and you put it together.
M : That’s the plan! (laugh)
So did you find your own personal sound?
D : I think it seems like no matter how we dress the songs there’s our own sound.
M : We never really thought about our own sound or whatever it is, we kind of after we’ve played a handful of gigs in Liverpool we kind of had the bases of any way/anywhere. We don’t really think about it, we just wanna write songs and make them sound awesome.
What is the recording process for this album for example?
D : We’ve been recording demos, you know, just first versions in a way… Usually we record two songs at a time.
M : On the second album we had like four songs and then get to record them. We’ve got a song and as soon as we all think it’s good, then we’re going to record it. And on this album we’re doing something that we’ve never done before, we’re recording demos. We haven’t necessarely worked on the songs as a band, in a band environment, acoustically or playing guitars, we’ve done straight in the computer and built it.
T : So it’s like we can create from scratch on a blacktop basement.
So you didn’t have songs ready before getting into the studio?
M : Songs are always ready!
T : It’s just the demo process.
M : But we still work on the songs until they’re ready to go, we don’t start from nothing.
Finally, our website is called “RockYourLife!”, what rocks your life guys? Oli Sykes from Bring Me The Horizon said that Xbox rocks his life!
D : … Golf? (laugh)
M : I kinda feel like I rock my own life worrying amounts so I think that would be me!
D : Is there another word for masturbation? (laugh)
T : I think just festivals rock my life!
Okay. Thank you!
The Wombats : Thanks a lot!
Website : thewombats.co.uk